Month: August 2018

How can I help, when I don’t understand?

When you’re in a marriage, you work as a unit.  But what happens when the unit isn’t functioning like it should?  Depression can cause friction between married couples.  When your spouse is depressed you may feel like you have failed them.  If you have never dealt with depression yourself, then you might not understand the feelings your spouse is going through.  But don’t worry, the professionals at Family Restoration Counseling Services can help you both.

How can I help, when I don’t understand?

If your spouse is depressed, there are a few things they need to know from you:

  • Your spouse needs to know that you are there for them regardless of how dark things might get.
  • They need to know that you are on their side and you function as a team.
  • Your spouse needs to know that there is nothing they cannot tell you.
  • They need to know that your home is a judgment-free zone.
  • They need to know they are loved for exactly who they are.

You as the spouse need to know:

  • You as the spouse need to know that sometimes there is no particular reason for the depression that they’re in.
  • You as the spouse need to know that it’s not something they can “snap out of”
  • You as the spouse need to know that it’s not about you. They might say things that are hurtful, but they don’t mean to hurt you. And usually feel guilty afterward
  • You as the spouse need to know that your significant other might feel like a burden and they do not want to worry you with their feelings of depression.

Keep in mind, things that seem simple to you might feel overwhelming for them.  Confrontation can make them shut down.  And if things don’t make sense, then that’s ok.  Work together as a team and allow Family Restoration Counseling Services to help your spouse regain their life and maximize your marriage.  Don’t wait to live your life together, contact us today.

Addiction Recovery: Fighting Family Denial

“She ate something that made her sick,” rationalizes the mother of an alcoholic. “He just went a little overboard,” says an uncle about his passed out nephew. It is not uncommon to hear parents and loved ones attempt to justify an addict’s damaging behaviors. From an outsider’s perspective, these reactions seem counterproductive. However, for a family that deeply loves their struggling brother or aunt, facing the reality of an addiction can be emotionally overwhelming.

Addiction Recovery: Fighting Family Denial

The mixture of feelings families may feel toward their afflicted loved one can lead to family denial. Families might feel resentful while protective, hurt but loyal, afraid but heroic. These emotions contrast and confuse; denial unconsciously becomes the solution, or perhaps more accurately, a coping mechanism.

Next to this bundle of emotions, denial can also mitigate the financial worries that come with helping a loved one. By remaining in a state of denial, the family is free from the time-consuming and costly burden of seeking medical treatment for their family member. Additionally, denial protects the family from the social burden of having “an addict” in the family. It may be a form of saving the family’s reputation.

As you can see, denial is a powerful mechanism that inhibits healing. To enter into the recovery mindset, family denial must first be dismantled. Like a thick vine hurting a tree, denial blocks growth.

4 Strategies for Pushing Through Family Denial

1. Facts. Write down facts connected to the addiction. Once the gravity of the addiction is documented and organized it is much easier to see the problem clearly. We may be able to compartmentalize or ignore memories of recent arrests, but on paper, the arrests become unbiased and factual, showing the problem in a more logical light.

2. Communication. Be open and curious about the “alleged addiction.” It’s easy to fall into denial when you don’t ask questions. Simple questions like, “What took you so long in there?” or “Why are you so sleepy?” can help disable denial for both the family and the addict. This helps the addict see his/her impact on his/her environment. His/her behavior is not unnoticed. Also, being curious can shed light on the depth of the addiction.

3. Respect. By respecting each other, a family can strengthen their sense of trust and closeness. Once trust is established, the road to recovery is less painful. Avoid judgmental thinking; focus on understanding and kindness. It is important that a family not associate addiction with shame, otherwise both the family and the addict are less likely to face the addiction.

4. Learn. Families must prioritize knowledge and strategy rather than emotions like fear or resentment. By recognizing that knowledge instead of denial enables improvement, family members can become empowered and more likely to succeed at reaching or encouraging recovery.

Denial blurs reality; it makes accurate diagnosis or recovery impossible. The first step to healing is noticing the wound. Getting through family denial is crucial for recovery. Do you have questions? Feel free to contact us for help.