This week we’re going to answer this question:
Why do I stay in an unhealthy relationship?
First, I will never tell you to stay or leave.
There are many women in this community who choose to stay in their marriage or relationship and it works for them. And there are women who leave.
My goal for this community is to get you healthier and happier so you can make the decision that is best for you. The choice is yours and we will never judge you. Ever.
There are many reasons we decide to stay in an unhealthy relationship – we love them, we see their potential, we find self-worth in helping others, fear of what others will think, fear of breaking up a family, and so much more.
Today we’re going to be covering a reason I’ve never discussed before.
Here’s a question I received from a wonderful and strong woman in our Secret Facebook Group that we will use as a great example (I think a lot of you will be able to relate):
Q: I have been in a relationship with an alcoholic for over two years. At first, I thought he just drank a lot, but then his obsession with drinking made me realize he is an alcoholic – a highly functioning one.
In the whole relationship, I gave and he took. I could see that when something interfered with his drinking he would avoid it. But as soon as I began to put some demands on him, basically just asking him to treat me like I treat him, he began to talk about how our relationship wasn’t working.
So now we are not together, except to go out to dinner once in awhile, which I am about to put an end to.
But why does it hurt so much to let this man go? I loved him like I never loved anyone else. I was so selfless and always thinking of him. I just can’t understand why my heart hurts so much, but my brain is telling me I am lucky it has ended and to get on with my future without him. I still love him.
This is a question I get a lot. Why do we know in our heads that leaving is the right thing, but our hearts want to go back?
Are you ready for the truth? It might be difficult to read but if you’re honest with yourself it may be something you need to hear.
The truth is, when we don’t completely love and accept ourselves, we are always looking for people and circumstances to reinforce our negative beliefs.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say your partner promises to come home at a certain time. And you wait for him or her. But it’s late and they don’t even bother calling to tell you that they are running behind schedule. And when he or she does finally walk through the door, they smell like alcohol or look high. You ask them if they have been drinking or using and he or she tells you that you’re paranoid and overreacting. In other words, they belittle you for not being cool with the situation.
What’s really going on in this scenario is that you came into this relationship feeling unimportant and not good enough. And your partner is reinforcing that belief about yourself by the way they’re treating you.
When he or she doesn’t show up on time because they’re at the bar or out with friends after work, their ACTIONS are telling you that you’re not important enough for him or her to choose your relationship and get sober.
And then you start to think, “What could I have done better to get them home on time? What am I doing wrong that they don’t love me enough?”
You take it as a personal rejection that something is wrong with YOU. And you think that if you just “get it right” he or she will finally find you important enough to come home and stop choosing drugs or drinking over you.
That is the reason this disease can be so powerful over us. Because it attracts women who already believe they are unimportant or unworthy of being cherished and have hearts that want to help others.
Addiction can identify types of women like us a mile away. And you want to know how it confirms we are the women who will fall for the person who suffers from addiction? We stick around. We are the ones who stay and try to help the ones we love get sober.
Think about it, if a really confident woman was going on a date with someone who said they were going to pick her up at 7:00 pm and then shows up at 8:00 with alcohol on their breath or high as a kite – do you really think she would get in the car with them? No. She would probably refuse to go out and never call them back.
Why is she so different than us?
Because she knows she’s important and she loves herself enough to not accept dysfunction into her life.
We need to start falling in love with ourselves more than we fall in love with the alcoholic or addict.
It might be the most difficult thing we ever do, but it should be our new goal.
Because only then can we walk away from dysfunction without looking back. We can start to honor ourselves. We can find the worth in who we are and were created to be. We can look at ourselves in the mirror and believe I am enough.
And when all our decisions and choices come from a place of self-love, we can become the most powerful and attractive version of ourselves. Everything in our lives will change.
If you want to learn exactly how to take steps toward your own recovery when you love someone who drinks too much or suffers from addiction, I would love to help you. Your healing starts with you – not him. I’ve put together a free guide with 12 tips to get you started on this journey. Following these tips won’t always be easy, but it’s the beginning of your transformation. Sign up below and I’ll send them straight to your inbox.