If you’ve been living in the fog created by addiction, you may be questioning yourself and your reality. You may have been told you’re crazy, over-reacting or that your partner’s behavior isn’t that bad. As the advertising industry and politicians know all too well – if you hear a message repeatedly you will begin to believe it.
If you’re feeling crazy, chances are you’re in a crazy-making situation.
Most partners have had their reality invalidated so frequently that it becomes necessary to re-establish trust in their reality and intuition. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is to begin paying close attention to your intuition.
Check in with yourself frequently to identify your reality. Ask yourself:
- what am I thinking?
- what am I feeling? (pain, fear, joy, shame, guilt, fear, love, passion)
- what do I want to do about the thoughts and emotions I’m having, if anything?
Identifying your thoughts and emotions as well as asking yourself if there is anything you want or need to do about them is a way to stay present and grounded in your reality. This practice will help you immensely if you use it regularly.
Below is a Partner’s Bill of Rights. As you read them you may notice that although you agree with many or all of them, you are struggling to claim them for yourself. The first Right is the Right to be Wrong. Why? Your intuition has and will continue to give you information about yourself, your partner and your situation.
More often than not your intuition is right, but sometimes it isn’t and that’s okay. Trust it anyway. If – with the passage of time or new information – you realize your intuition was wrong you can always change your mind – Right #2!
- I have the right to be wrong
- I have the right to change my mind and change course
- I have the right to honesty in my primary relationship
- I have the right to expect my partner to honor our mutual agreements, commitments and vows
- I have the right to say no to any request that feels uncomfortable physically, emotionally, sexually or spiritually
- I have the right and the responsibility to protect my children from the addict’s acting out behaviors
- I have the right to take actions to protect myself physically, emotionally, sexually, or financially
- I have the right to request any reasonable behaviors or actions that will create safety and rebuild trust
- I have the right to be angry and to express it in responsible ways
- I have the right to request a polygraph as part of a formal, therapeutic disclosure
- I have the right to full disclosure of my partner’s sexual acting out behaviors, money spent, and the extent to which my children may have been impacted by my partner’s addictive behaviors
- I have the right to request recovery check-ins and/or information about my partner’s recovery activities and process
- I have the right to request that my partner sleep in another room or live elsewhere for a period of time
- I have the right to receive proof that my partner has terminated a relationship and/or contact with an affair partner
- I have the right to request that my partner follow the recommendations of his therapist, sponsor, accountability partner or clergy member
- I have the right to choose to have no contact with current or former affair or acting out partners regardless of their relationship to me or my partner (including family, co-workers, or religious leaders)
- I have the right to choose a boundary for myself (versus controlling another) regardless of the opinion of others
© Vicki Tidwell Palmer, LCSW (2014)