11 Jul Tough Love And Addiction
Tough love is many things and has been known as being cruel to be kind. As the Urban Dictionary says, “ to show somebody tough love today may save them heartache in the future BUT, it may cause a small amount of upset for the person receiving the tough love…”
At The Whitehaven Clinic, not only can we assist your loved ones with their addiction, we can assist and help YOU! We will help you understand tough love and help you use this as a tool when needed.
Sometimes the person most affected by addiction is the person who is watching them, often helplessly. One of the approaches we can help with is ‘tough love’. You may have heard of this term before but may not understand its meaning. When we think of love, we think of kindness, care, compassion and so ‘tough love’ can often be misunderstood as the opposite of love. This isn’t the case and we are here to clarify.
Tough love doesn’t mean ‘no love’, it means not losing YOURSELF in someone else’s addiction or in the process of trying to help them. It means providing the right kind of love and the right kind of support.
Our programs will help you with the following:
- help you break the habit of enabling
- establish healthy boundaries to protect you until your loved one chooses to move toward recovery
- understand addiction and root causes
- understand personality types
- anger management and communication strategies that work and more
Tough love is about maintaining a healthy relationship with your loved one, having a balance to ensure that boundaries are in place and your loved one is being accountable for the work that they need to do and the consequences that belong to them.
As counsellors, we are very aware of the issues and thoughts that people face when someone they love has an addiction, which is why we put together treatment packages that are tailored to each individual. Some of the areas we cover around ‘tough love’ are;
Not being afraid of the outcome
Many people struggle with this concept. “What if I stop helping them and something bad happens? They need me!” are some of the common things we hear. We cannot be responsible for others in the long term; we cannot face the consequences for someone else’s actions without enabling their drug use to continue. It is when someone faces these issues themselves that the real journey to recovery can begin.
Set rules and boundaries
Make your rules and stick to them. If you can’t lend them money, say no. If you can’t give them a lift somewhere, say no. If you will not let them stay with you whilst intoxicated, let them know this and follow it through if they present this way. Remember it is hard to help anyone when you aren’t looking after yourself. It is hard to help anyone that does not want help nor acknowledge that they need it.
Understanding you cannot ‘fix’ them
Some people feel like a failure if they cannot ‘fix’ their loved one. Remember to be realistic when these feelings arise – you have no control over anyone in this world apart from yourself. Your loved ones are subject to the same rules, they can only control themselves and not others. You can guide them, talk to them and listen to them, but you cannot make anyone do anything.
Remember, everybody has a right to self-care
Usually someone supporting a loved one with an addiction will put themselves and their needs second (for a variety of reasons). Some people feel selfish when practicing self-care, however self-care just means looking after your own health and well-being. If you don’t practise good self-care, this will impact on your ability to support your loved one. You deserve to take care of yourself!
For more information for yourself, your loved one or someone else you know that needs support or counselling please contact our clinic
Phone: 1300 766 925