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The Influence in Dane County WI.
Someone that begins using alcohol or other drugs excessively may not be outwardly open about their use due to strong feelings of shame, guilt, and fear of judgment. They may think others will not understand or accept the situation, which breeds the tendency to be secretive with their loved one. They may lie about:
At times, secrecy will increase to the point of the complete distancing or isolation. This can put enormous strain on any relationship.
With increased lying and deception associated with secrecy, it is only a matter of time until the significant other begins to notice differences between fact and fiction.
The loved one may begin to develop trust issues due to the perceived lack of respect, honesty, and loyalty. Trust is essential to feelings of safety and care in a relationship and reduced trust often leads to the emergence of a number of relationship-damaging issues like jealousy, anger, fear, and resentment.
Anger and Abuse
Anger and violence can become concerns as a relationship deteriorates. Frustrations will be high, but if someone is using a substance that is known to cause aggression, the situation may be even more dangerous. Drugs known to increase anger, irritability, and violence include:
Living with an addict or alcoholic can put the loved one at greater risk of victimization. Additionally, the loved one living with an alcoholic or addict may have an increase in their own frustration, causing them to express anger or act out violently against the substance user.
If you are experiencing domestic violence in your relationship, you can always reach out to a domestic violence hotline or call an agency that provides domestic violence counseling, like Family Service Madison.
Anger is not the only way substance abuse can impact the user or a loved one. At times, in a flawed attempt to help the addict, a loved one will transition into an enabler. Enabling includes:
A classic example of enabling is providing money on a consistent basis so that the user is able to retrieve drugs. He or she may ask for money for gas or groceries, and while their loved one may suspect it is going to drugs, they provide it anyway. The line between helping and enabling is often extremely difficult for those who love someone struggling with addiction to discern.
Codependency shares some traits with enabling. According to SAMHSA, codependent people:
Codependent individuals often get involved in relationships that are one-sided. Someone who is codependent may be frustrated by the needs and actions of their addicted loved one but may also feel a compulsive need to take care of that person. The codependent needs the addict as much as the addict needs the codependent. Their identity may become wrapped up in the “martyr” role, feeling compelled to “serve” or “sacrifice” for their partner, yet simultaneously acting to fulfill their own needs for attachment and closeness.
Codependent relationships typically involve their fair share of enabling, as the caretaker figure will often try to cover for the addicted individual or resolve their issues instead of allowing them to face the natural consequences of their substance use.