We teach other people how to treat us.
Generally speaking, as adults, we train other people how to treat us by what we accept. If we act subservient, for example, then we shouldn’t be surprised when people treat us as less than their equals.
We bring up this point because most of our clients share the problem of being demeaned in their personal relationships, marriages, or other social situations and, yes, this applies to men as well as women.
Most commonly, as personally passive individuals, we find ourselves abusing alcohol as a passive-aggressive weapon against a controlling spouse or other significant person.
Unhappily this always backfires as the drinking becomes the issue, not the abusive, controlling, or other intimacy destroying behavior on the other person’s part.
Remember, almost everyone believes the myth that “your drinking is the problem” rather than the reality that your drinking is a symptom of other problems.
It also pays to remember all of the benefits that others get from your drinking:
- they look saintly for putting up with your behaviors;
- you lose your vote in family decision making;
- your drinking covers up their destructive behaviors, including their drinking;
- your alcohol induced regressions to childishness excuse their immaturity;
- their arbitrary and crazy-making behaviors get ignored;
- and so on….
Yes, we do a lot of assertiveness training as we help you to gain – or regain – your equality within your various relationships.
Granted, it takes time to retrain the people around you, but you can, and as passivity goes away, and you feel the pride that comes from standing up for yourself, another reason for drinking will move into the “been there, done that” scrap heap where it belongs.
Roles and Rules
As relationships evolve over time we discover that we all have “rules” we didn’t know we adhered to, and “role” expectations that we unconsciously react to as well.
Many people are shocked to discover that the “rules” they lived by before marriage change dramatically immediately after the wedding. This is especially common when it comes to money, sex, and common household responsibilities.
No, it’s not just women who are suddenly disinterested in sex, or men who grasp for financial control. It’s just as apt to be the opposite.
Yes, women more often complain about unshared household and childcare duties, but men as often point out that wives want to dictate how these duties are carried out.
Couples who can acknowledge these conflicts, and approach resolutions with a degree of good will and good humor, are much more successful at leaving alcohol problems behind.
Helping you become aware of your own unconscious rules and role expectations is part of what we do in the CBT portion of the program.
Combined with a degree of assertiveness, this increased self-awareness allows for relationships where the delicate balances between responsibilities and authority are much more equally distributed.
Equality equals less resentment as does replacing passive-aggression with assertion.
Admittedly, it’s a process that will have it’s difficult twists and turns, but that’s why we stick with you for months, not abandoning you just as you head home.
Real help; real tools; real solutions!
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And the start is just a phone conversation away..