Those of us living with addiction and mental health issues often find ourselves in toxic relationships in part because the unhealthiness within us attracts people who reflect that back to us and who compound our issues, pushing us to learn even more about ourselves and gain a deeper understanding of who we are. Unfortunately, many of these relationships include abuse, whether mental, emotional, physical or a combination thereof. Abuse can take the form of dishonesty, manipulation, control and physical harm. We find it incredibly hard to separate from our abusers, in part because we blame ourselves for the abuse, and in part because we hope we’ll be able to help them get better and help them see why they should make important changes in their lives. We hope that our love for them will be enough to convince them to treat us well, to get help and to stop being abusive. We put our love for this person and the relationship above our own needs. We sacrifice our own well-being, peace of mind and even physical safety, and often there are a great deal of psychological factors at play influencing our decisions to stay, many of which we’re not yet conscious of, such as our fears of abandonment and loss. When we know we need to leave but continue to stay, well past the point of being endangered, how can we finally separate from our abuser?
The decision to leave an abuser has everything to do with our recovery from addiction, because the self-destructiveness, the self-hatred and the lack of self-worth that are fueling our choice to stay in an abusive relationship are the same things we’re struggling with when living with addiction. The subconscious limiting beliefs about our worthiness are the same in both areas of our lives. When we’re in an abusive relationship, and when we’re struggling with addiction, we often subconsciously believe that we’re not good enough, that we don’t deserve happiness, and that we don’t deserve to be treated well. These beliefs convince us we should stay when we’re being mistreated. They convince us the relationship is more important than our own well-being.
Making the choice to leave our abuser comes down to making the crucial decision that we deserve better. It involves telling ourselves constantly, each and every day, that we deserve to be loved, respected and treated well. It means getting in touch with our anger and refusing to be mistreated any longer. It means telling ourselves over and over again, until we really believe it, that our happiness and our safety must come first, above all else. Once we really, truly love ourselves, the decision to leave our abuser is an easy one.
Your new life starts today. Let Riverside Recovery be your support system as you do the work to heal. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information on our addiction recovery treatment programs.