As the loved ones of people struggling with addiction and mental illness, we often fall into patterns of neglecting our own well-being for the sake of theirs. We seem to think that by constantly worrying about our loved ones, by devoting all our time and energy to their care, and by taking on their recovery as our own, we’re helping them get better and doing what’s best for them. We feel a strong sense of obligation to them and to helping them. Our loyalty to them and our love can sometimes cloud our judgment. We’re not seeing that the ways in which we’re dealing with them are not only enabling them and keeping them from doing the work they need to do for themselves, they’re also harming us and depleting us of our energy, our balance and our peace of mind.
As much as we want our loved ones to get well, we have to remember our own well-being and prioritize ourselves. We get so caught up in our loved ones’ difficult circumstances, in all the things they’re dealing with, that they start to take over our lives. We’re so committed to helping them that we feel our commitment and our sense of obligation are more important than the ways in which we’re being harmed, limited and held back. We stop having boundaries with our loved ones and allow them not only to overtake our lives but also to mistreat us. We put up with their manipulation, control and abusiveness. We put ourselves last, behind the addict’s demands, wishes, needs and concerns. We stop what we’re doing when they call us and tell us they need us. We neglect our mental and emotional health. We neglect our other relationships. We stop being good to ourselves, caring for ourselves and making time for ourselves.
When dealing with our loved ones’ addictions, we want to remember to prioritize our well-being, because in doing so, we’re protecting ourselves from being brought down with them and harmed by their toxicity. We’re also giving them the space they need to take their recovery seriously and to take full responsibility for it. We’re giving ourselves much needed space and time to prioritize self-care and to get back to our own journey of self-love. We have to establish better boundaries with our loved ones, and let go of our sense of obligation to them. We have to stop thinking we can rescue them, save them, control or fix them. We have to remember that our own well-being is just as important as theirs, and that when we neglect ourselves, not only are we not helping them at all, we’re also hurting ourselves and holding ourselves back in our own life journeys.
Riverside Recovery understands all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and is here to support you. Call us today for more information: (800) 871-5440.