Putting the Focus On Me
Being enmeshed with your addicted loved one can be, in a word, painful. There is no end to your partner and no beginning for you. There is no separation or individualism. His problems are your problems. Her feelings are your feelings. You like what he likes. When you are asked what you like, you are not sure. You often look to her to approve your choices. When your partner doesn’t do what you want and you can’t control the situation, it makes you crazy. You have to know where he is, what she is doing and whom he is with. Does this sound familiar? It is all crazy making behaviour and it can make both of you miserable.
When we are enmeshed with our loved one, we lose ourselves. We spend so much time focusing on the other person that we stop taking care of ourselves. We stop doing the things we love and we lose who we are. We don’t have to stay enmeshed. We can have separation and individuality. We can make our own choices and do things we love. We can like things our loved one or partner doesn’t like. That is what makes us individuals.
One of the things I had to get over was my partner being a reflection of me. When I learned that what he did was none of my business and it didn’t affect who I was in any way shape or form, I was able to have a bit of separation. I got more separation when I started doing things for myself and stopped looking to him to decide what we were going to do.
The key was to take the focus off of him and focus on myself. Do things that I enjoyed and take better care of myself. I started off with a plan of doing one thing a week for myself. It wasn’t for the kids or my husband. It wasn’t for my Mom or my friends. It was just for me. I started to feel a bit more like myself. I started not worrying about what my partner was doing, where he was going and who he was going out with. I started to say things like, “Have fun. I’ll see you when you get home.”
The more I focused on myself, the happier I became. I started to be me again and I actually started to like myself. It has been a process and I am nowhere near perfect at it. Sometimes I still find myself sliding back into old patterns and worrying about him and what he is doing instead of being genuinely interested in what is going on for him. It is usually when I am anxious about something and as soon as I realize what is going on, I can stop, sit down and sort out what is really bothering me. That is a big change for me. Focusing on myself has made my marriage better, my relationships better and reduced my stress and anxiety. I don’t feel like that crazy person anymore and that is a huge relief.
If you feel like you are struggling with your own emotional boundaries and anxiety, book a 15-minute free consult and see what you can do to help yourself.
is a Vancouver-based Addictions Specialist and Family Therapist with training and experience in numerous areas related to healing and recovery from the devastation of addiction & alcoholism.