Know your limitations

Shadow of a friend, photo by Marco Caliulo, Salerno, ItalyI cannot stress enough that people who are not experienced or qualified need to know their limitations when it comes to providing guidance or therapy to those who are afflicted with dysfunctional or addictive behaviours. I am being approached by so many visitors to this website who think that they can help by accommodating or enabling an addiction otherwise the person depending on them will die. Such people at times have risked their own and their children’s happiness and wellbeing in the belief that their partner is more important. The best action is to refer the afflicted person to a therapist and to also get help themselves to process the trauma they have experienced. Here is the answer I gave to one such comment.

Christy, your life is not only miserable but you have the responsibility of providing a safe upbringing for your children. Your husband is obviously in the clutches of addiction and so it is up to you to rescue yourself and your children. You have several options. You can leave him and set yourself up (and your children) in a new life free of his addiction. You can get help from a therapist specialising in this field and/or others who have had the same experiences and have succeeded in changing their lifestyles, like members of a 12 Step fellowship. Staying in the same situation and not doing anything about it, or just griping about it is not an option, particularly because you have the children to protect. So tell me what your decision is.

Shadow of a friend, photo by Marco Caliulo, Salerno, Italy

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2 thoughts on “Know your limitations”

  1. There is only one thing to say here, you are absolutely and without shadow of a doubt, right on the money.

    If you really want to help people, pay for them to see a professional… Or go with them to AAA meetings.

  2. I couldn’t agree more… I am not a therapist, though that saddens my therapist as I apparently have great insight to outward situations… I have seen so many people that have destructive co-dependent friendships and I grew up that way to. Sitting by my phone waiting for yet another friend to call for help “only I could give,” until I realized 911 was the only number that could truly help them (ie. qualified persons, not me). I can be an ear, I can give suggestions; but if they truly want help, like I did… it’s 12 steps, a Dr. of some sort or the police, their choice.

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