You Can Tighten or Loosen the Compulsive Grip
“I don’t want you, but I need you… I want to leave you, don’t want to stay here, don’t want to spend another day here… I want to split now. I can’t quit now, you really got a hold on me.” — Smokey Robinson, You Really Got a Hold on Me
When we have a loved one who deals with compulsive behavior, the above language typically reflects the internal conflict they’re going through. They are battling within themselves on a daily basis, sometimes on an hourly basis. No matter how badly they want to quit and leave their compulsion behind, there are times when that grip is tighter than we realize. The compulsion, regardless of what it may be, has a hold over our loved ones that we cannot ignore. We need to be able to empathize with our spouse or loved one during this war they are waging within.
While we may not think it fair how tight the grip is, we must also realize that our loved ones are trying their hardest to let go and overcome their compulsion. They do not want to spend another day in that mindset or situation because they know what damage it does to the family. They find themselves returning to their compulsion because of the grip it has over them. We must be able to show our compassion during this time of recovery. It is when our loved ones are most vulnerable we need to be the most understanding.
Are They Trying?
We can not imagine what it is like dealing with a compulsion unless we have dealt with one ourselves. Yes, at times it may be hard to believe our spouse and loved ones when they say that they are trying or that they are working harder than ever to overcome their turmoil. Showing frustration to your spouse or loved one when they relapse is tightening the hold of the compulsion. Show compassion, love, and understanding, you are loosening the grasp of the compulsion and tightening the grip of empowerment.