In an intimate relationship you have a sense of freedom vs. in an addictive relationship there is a sense of compulsion. In healthy relationships, there's a sense of emotional and physical freedom that you can say what's on your mind, ask for help, make suggestions and choices that won't result in ridicule or abandonment. In addictive relationships however, a person may feel as though there's certain things they have to do, feel an emotional drive to do, in order to avoid being made fun of, or to avoid arguments. Or, a person may do things to make sure a person feels happy, stays around the house more, or to get approval.
In intimate relationships you feel the desire to share needs and feelings vs in an addictive relationship there are "no talk" rules, especially if things are not working out.
When you're in a healthy relationship, you are encouraged to share your needs and feelings, and are rewarded for sharing (by thank you's and that person sharing with you as well). This is how we get to know each other on a deeper level and create stronger bonds. In addictive relationships, deep conversations are avoided, mainly becuase one or both people are uncomfortable with strong emotion. If things aren't working out, one or both people believe ignoring the situation may make it go away, only to find it blows up later down the road.
Intimate relationships are always changing, vs addictive relationships which always stay the same.
Healthy relationships grow together, mature together and evolve. The couple finds things to do that emotionaly, or mentally stimulate themselves and stretch them beyond their comfort zone. Addictive relationships are like pond-water. Not much changes with them, they don't really have anything to report in terms of updates, and sometimes they report low life-satisfaction when it comes to happiness.
Intimate relationships want to be present vs addictive relationships feel as though they have to be there.
In healthy relationships, the couple feels as though they are choosing to be with their significant other. They want to be in the relationship because of love, validation, respect, and gratitude. If the relationship were to end, each person would know and believe they'd be alright. They know they would grieve the loss, but they know deep down their worth and value is not because of the other person. In addictive relationships, the individuals believe they have to be there. They worry how their significant other will get along in life if they're not there. Or, they worry about how they will get along in life if they don't have the relationship. They're dependent on the unhealthy relationship to provide them a sense of value and worth.
We hope this week's topic is educational and helping you develop a positive start in your relationships, or change some unhealthy patterns in your current relationships. We have several more to share with you, so please return!
Source: Leaving the Enchanted Forest: The Path from Relationship Addiction to Intimacy by Stephanie Covington and Liana Beckett
Written by: Tamara Wilhelm MA, LMHC, LCAC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.