For those of us beginning recovery or contemplating recovery, reflection may lead us to feelings of pain, anger, shame, and more. We may feel embarrassed about how we’ve acted in the past or how we’ve treated our loved ones; after all, addiction and mental illness can cause us to behave in ways we may not normally behave. On some occasions, reflection may lead us to blame our loved ones. “Why did they never tell me that I had a problem?” “If they would have told me sooner, maybe my downhill spiral could have been avoided”. This may be a few thoughts you have, but it’s important to consider where your loved one was coming from during those troubling times.
Many family members don’t know what to do when a loved one shows symptoms of a mental illness or an addiction. Just as you may deny that you have a problem, your family members may be engaging in denial as well. The American Counseling Association states that with denial, family members lie to themselves about the reality of the situation. They may make statements to themselves that nobody is “ready” for a major change, that confronting you or making huge decisions regarding your mental illness or addiction could turn their world “upside down”, and more. Your loved ones may have tried to tell you, but they were either too subtle in their actions or you may not have been willing to listen to them at the time.
These fears only perpetuate enabling behaviors, however. The University of Pennsylvania Health System notes that many reactions stem from denial. Justifying your behavior, keeping their feelings to themselves, attempting to avoid “problems”, minimizing the situation, attempting to protect you, lecturing you, taking over your responsibilities, treating you like a child because they don’t understand, feeling superior to you, controlling you, and simply enduring your symptoms are several ways that your family members may have reacted. In short, your family members likely didn’t know how to handle the situation and were afraid of what the next step would be.
What’s most important to remember is that you are now aware of your addiction/mental illness. You understand that you need help, and you are taking steps to seek it. Look forward to bettering yourself in the future and forgive everyone else, as well as yourself, by making the decision to seek treatment.
If you are seeking a treatment center that truly care about your holistic health, call us today at 888-316-3665. New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several California state-licensed, mental health and addiction recovery treatment centers. Our beautiful facilities will offer you the space that you need to focus solely on your recovery. Take back control over your life today, and call us for a consultation.