How To Avoid An Argument When You Love Someone Suffering From Addiction

How To Avoid An Argument When You Love Someone Suffering From Addiction

You know how we always say addiction happens to good people, right? I truly believe that. And I also believe that addiction can bring out the worst in the ones we love. Why do they want to start arguments and fights?

Let me give you an example:

Every few months I talk with my ex-husband, and for the most part, it’s is a polite, respectful conversation. Over the years, I have taught him that I won’t put up with being bullied and that I have zero interest in arguing about the past. If he goes there, I end our conversation – quickly.

I have created enough distance between me and addiction over the years to recognize when I’m being baited for an argument or fight, and most of the time, I don’t fall for it.

But a few weeks ago I had a conversation with him concerning an important and touchy subject. It required me to see it through, instead of ending the conversation quickly. And when I find myself discussing a topic with my ex-husband that requires my cooperation and thoughtfulness (while still respecting my boundaries), I try to keep it short and sweet.

So how do I avoid getting into that argument or fight, back when we were married, and even to this day?

The most important virtue that prevents me from throwing my gloves off and stepping into the ring is dignity.

I try very, very hard to remain dignified. Why? Because it’s the kind but strong choice.

And when my back is up against the wall and every ounce of me wants to fight back or run for the hills and avoid, choosing to remain dignified is always the way out.

So after listening to him, I politely responded to his prickly words, by saying “I hear what you’re saying and if I put myself in your shoes, I can see where you’re coming from. I’m going to take a few days to think about what you’ve shared and I will call you back with some solutions.”

Dignity, right?

You know what I got back?

He mocked me. He literally started imitating me.

And that’s when it hit me. Addiction wants me to fight back. Of course it’s making fun of me for being respectful and mature. Because addiction can’t identify with those words. Addiction is manipulative and selfish. It takes from us and the ones we love, it certainly doesn’t consider other people’s feelings. Addiction is immature and wants to bring us down to its level.

Let’s be clear: men and women who suffer from addiction are very capable of having loving, thoughtful and considerate conversations. And they can communicate with being in an argument. But only when they are healing and healthy.

That is exactly why it’s so hard to love someone with addiction. Sometimes you can have a conversation with the one you love and it’s magic. They remind you why you fell in love with them in the first place. You see their goodness, their truest self. It feels safe to be vulnerable.

And then there are the times when you’re no longer dealing with that loving person. Instead, you’re dealing with the addiction. Their words sting and you feel tricked and hurt.

So next time you begin a conversation (argument or not) with your loved one suffering from addiction, you must first ask yourself this:

Ask yourself who are you dealing with?

If it’s addiction, then prepare yourself by being detached and dignified.And if you’re dealing with your true partner, and it feels safe, you can choose to be vulnerable while still honoring your own personal boundaries.

You’ve got this. It’s not easy but I’m right here beside you. We have a community of women ready to cheer you on so make sure you’re not doing this alone.

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson

Michelle Anderson has over 10 years of personal experience with loving someone who suffers from addiction. She was married to a good man who suffered from addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography. She's used this experience to create this powerful community full of women in the same circumstance. Using her own personal experience, combined with years of research and studying, she presents ideas, tips, and tools on how to handle this disease, and take care of yourself, and your family.

Explore the Love Over Addiction program

Computer, phone and worksheets of Love Over Addiction program

Remember being fun? Laughing? Feeling giddy? Being carefree? Addiction can take all those things away from you and replace them with worry, anxiety, fear, and anger. It doesn’t have to be that way. Discover how to change your life and your relationship today.

Explore the Love Over Addiction: Stay or Go program

Have you ever wondered? Or maybe you know… but you don’t know how. Staying or leaving your relationship is a huge decision. There are questions you need to ask yourself, and ways to prepare no matter what you decide. Find out how to make this decision, even if you’re not ready to make it today.