In an intimate relationship you know that you begin your feelings with yourself. You know your feelings come from within. In an addictive relationship, your feelings are due to someone else’s choices or behaviors. In healthy relationships, we own our feelings. We know that no one else can make us feel any way. In healthy relationships we communicate our needs and wants with “I feel…” and “I need…” In healthy relationships we have our own sense of self and independence to feel our feelings regardless of what our partner does. In addictive relationships, we blame our partner for our feelings. We use phrases that begin with, “you make me feel…” or “if you would not ____, then I would not be sad all the time”. Being in an addictive relationship only gives room for you to respond to your partner’s feelings and behaviors. There is no room for you to have your own independent feelings.
In an intimate relationship you can take care of yourself. Both partners understand you are solely responsible for figuring out what you need and communicate those needs to others. In addictive relationships, you assume your partner will know what is right for you and fix the problem.
In healthy relationships we know we are responsible for our own happiness and we want happiness for our partners. We support our partner’s journey to achieve happiness and join in the journey when we both want the same thing. When healthy lovers communicate well, they can achieve support and receive support. Healthy lovers can ask for help or communicate wants and desires as well as dislikes. Addictive relationships create double binds where no one can win. A partner may believe that if they tell you what they want, and you do it, it does not count because they had to ask for them. If they do not tell you what they want and you don’t do it or if you don’t do it the way they ask, it does not count. In the end they feel unloved. In addictive relationships, we demand the partner take care of our needs.
In intimate relationships, partners deal with reality. Addictive relationships are based on delusions.
Lovers who are in intimate relationship live in the real world. They are able to be together while meeting the needs and overcoming the challenges of daily life. They are able to make time for each other and come back to each other and reconnect when they have been separated by life’s events. Addictive relationships are usually based on fantasy. Many affairs are this way. In this situation, perhaps a couple is only having rendezvous and not dealing with the day to day tasks of family life. This relationship is an escape, or a high. It is not based in reality.
Please continue to check in this week as Natalie talks about more examples of Intimate vs. Addictive Relationships.
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Source: Leaving the Enchanted Forest: The Path from Relationship Addiction to Intimacy by Stephanie Covington and Liana Beckett