I Suspect that my Loved One Originates from a Home of Addiction. What Could Confirm my Suspicions, How do I React and What Would Becoming Whole Entail for Him or Her?

There are a few behavioral signs which often, but not always, indicate that someone was raised in above-mentioned circumstances: They….

  • Struggle to have fun;
  • Seek constant approval and stay loyal in spite of proof that the other person is undeserving of the loyalty;
  • Are hyper-responsible or hyper-irresponsible;
  • Guess what is “normal” and experience problems in close relationships;
  • Struggle to complete projects;
  • Lie even when it would be just as easy to tell the truth;
  • Feel different from others;
  • Are impulsive and self-condemning;
  • Overreact when uncontrollable things happen.

It is important for you to remember that this behaviour developed during their childhood to survive psychologically. Therefore separate the person from their behaviour in your thoughts. Don’t jump down on your loved one, but also don’t ignore it. Rather create a safe environment to talk. Convey the message that you would really like to get to know them completely and will still love them unconditionally. But think long and hard first: The fear is rejection and should you go back on your word, you will traumatize your loved one. Be an example on how to have fun, to laugh at yourself, to plan ahead, complete projects, etc. Also give your loved one honest – but respectfully sensitive – feedback about their behaviour.

The process of becoming whole can be suggested in the image of small lights being turned on in a dark room full of fear. Only if the light doesn’t explode in his/her face, will he/she have the courage to flick the following switch. Eventually your loved one will be able to see situations from another angle and will gain new perspective. Should they be able to see through new eyes and have all of the lights switched on, they will experience relief. Becoming whole therefore is not to forget, but to remember the incidents and sense of lessons in them. This deactivates the unwanted feeling and your loved one can then live themselves out, feel in control and stop being handicapped.

About thatpsychologist

Clinical Psychologist in private practice in George and Mossel-Bay Kliniese Sielkundige in privaat praktyk op George en Mosselbaai.

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