Since you didn’t cause the problem, you can’t control it or cure it. One of the most difficult aspects of being in a relationship with the addict is the vulnerability. The reality that I will be impacted by the choices of someone who has devastated me in the past can be horrifying. The feeling of helplessness can lead to a state of depression and despair. The trauma of betrayal may lead a partner to try to manage many things in their environment that are beyond control. This comes from the desperate desire for safety and stability. Many partners realize the futility of their efforts and the amount of time and energy invested in a lost cause, and frustration sets in.
Some spouses take responsibility for making the addicts appointments for therapy, find groups, get information on workshops, creating book lists, and the like. In the past this behavior was almost automatically labeled as codependency, or “acting out.” This approach ignored the devastation of traumatic betrayal trauma. With few exceptions, it’s a trauma response. It may bring a temporary sense of relief. The thought of letting go can feel devastating. It can feel like you are being asked to roll over and play dead. Don’t ignore your gut instincts. Check them out. Part of healing is learning to listen to your intuition again. The thought of managing the addicts life can also feel devastating. As you navigate the grief and trauma, this will get better. A supportive, healing community can be a very helpful sounding board as you work through these issues.