Thursday, July 2, 2015

How To Respond To An Addict

First off, his behavior is not your fault.



Remember, HE LEARNED THIS BEHAVIOR AS A CHILD. YOU DID/DO NOT CAUSE IT. He is going to always find a way to self sabotage himself so he can find someone to blame. He will always find a way to be the victim.

This is important, I'm going to tell you how to respond to an addict....ready?

When an addict blames and turns into a victim and becomes defensive, it is very very important that you do NOT own his sh!t.

Do not act defensive back.
Do not react to his "hurt and shock".
Do not argue or respond frustrated.
Do not show him your upset.
Do not use sarcasm.
Do not criticize him.
Do not shame him.
Do not condescend him.
Do not coddle him when he feels betrayed, hurt or depressed when you lovingly stand up for yourself.
Do not try and prove him wrong.

If he sees that he can get ANY reaction of emotion out of you, then it lets him know that his blame worked and that you doubt yourself and feel guilty, which MAKES HIM FEEL HE'S IN CONTROL OF YOU. And if he's in control of you, then he gets to continue on in his negative behavior.

Ok? Do. Not. React.

The second he gets defensive, starts the blaming, or doing the pity party jargon "You think I'm a piece of crap, I can't do anything right", this is what you do...

Imagine he's upset because he had a bad day at work. Imagine that he is venting and blaming his boss at work. And if he came home from work upset about his boss...would you take it personally? No. Because it has nothing to do with you. You'd most likely empathize and say something like "Aww I'm sorry you had a bad day at work", right??

So when he's defensive, imagine he's venting about someone else and then put on the best sincere, loving, CALM face you can muster and emphatically say to him "Aww, bummer.", then say upbeat, energetic, and LOVING (and mean it),

 "Im not going to tolerate blame. I am always here when your ready to talk calmly and nicely, ok? I love you".

Then walk away from the conversation as if you are busy and in the middle of something.

Walk away.

Cheerily go back to making dinner, or talking to your kids, find stuff to laugh about with the kids, or go back to happily reading a book, or start doing laundry, or watch a funny YouTube video....ANYTHING, it doesn't matter what as long as you WALK AWAY and divert your attention AWAY from the conversation (or mentally walk away if your in a position to not physically walk away. You can happily go back to reading a book, or listening to the talk at church etc).

If he follows you and says something more blaming like "I AM trying to talk to you. That's what I'm doing. YOUR the one who doesn't want to talk. Why don't you want to talk about this?" etc etc, blah blah blah... calmly and happily repeat :

"Id LOVE to talk to you when your calm. Let me know when your ready :)".

Then ignore him and walk away again. Not obviously, of course. But ignore him as if your happily really really busy and you simply don't have time for his negative behavior. And actually make yourself busy. Because "ain't nobody got time fo' dat".

IF he gets more upset (he most definitely will get more upset) and repeatedly continues to badger or talk to you while he's upset and won't leave you alone (This is him desperately trying to get you to react so he can feel like he has control), then sadly, calmly, and sincerely say "That's such a bummer. That makes me sad" and try and leave the house.

You can go get the mail, or happily tell the kids (not your husband) your going to the store real quick, or that your going to meet a friend real fast, or even excitedly ask the kids if they want to go out for ice cream.

The point of all this is to lead by example that you WILL NOT own his shit, that you WILL NOT give attention to bad behavior, and that you can still live a happy life regardless of what he's doing. This also proves to YOURSELF that you deserve better and won't tolerate disrespect.

It's OK for you to be upset when he acts like this though (who wouldn't be?). But when he's being a blaming victim booger he is not a safe enough person to show these emotions to, and will only use it to his advantage to control you. Instead, write in a journal, punch pillows while alone, go for a walk, do self care, cry as much as you can, or vent your feelings to your friends--to safe people--and tell THEM alllll the things you want to say to your husband. Get your angry words out in healthy productive ways.

I know it takes allot of practice to do this. It's VERY VERY HARD NOT TO REACT OR RESPOND to their blame or when they play the victim "waaah, you don't love me" crappity crap. (Although I fully admit an occasional 1x a year screaming match can be very rewarding :) )

Your husband may calmly come back to talk in a few hours, few days, few weeks, or he may never come back and calmly talk or apologize. But that's important information for you to know, because wouldn't you rather find out NOW if he's willing to change, then 5 years from now? (Note. Some men do not know HOW to talk and need lots of therapy. In this case, a general submissive type presence will do for now, aka "nice behavior".)

If he chooses to calmly talk though, THEN vulnerably tell him more about how you feel, "I feel sad and alone in this marriage. I miss you. I love you. I want to be connected to you. I want to feel close to you. " etc.

This does not mean you have to trust him. This does not mean things have to be O.K. This does not mean he is "all better". This does not mean you won't go through this again (I promise you will).

It's important to learn to not react or respond so YOU can know how to stay in control of yourself and not reveal to him he has the power to control you. The second we allow ourselves to argue back and get sucked into the "crazy", the second it makes it even harder to walk away from the conversation. It "tips him off" to better ways of baiting and hooking you. Which leaves YOU feeling like crap, and him feeling triumphant.

Ain't nobody got time fo' dat.


  1. Excellent. Excellent. Keep writing!

  2. Beverly NikolausJuly 15, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    Good one, Kate. Excellent! I'd still love to meet and talk to you about what I'm doing and wish I could transport you here to help complement these efforts. Keep up the awesome stuff you write and do!

    1. Or maybe you could just move to Arizona??? Haha jk

  3. What do you do if your husband literally runs away from home and goes to others and plays the victim, villainizing his wife, blaming her for all his problems, and they believe him because he is such a "nice" guy?

    1. You throw bananas at him as he's running away....

    2. Ok jk jk, haha don't do that Spring. But since I know your story already, I think you handled it pretty darn great! Your awesome!

    3. my husband does that too, if I threw bananas he would say I was assulting him!!

    4. I found soo much awesome stuff here!! Thank you Thank you Thank you!!

  4. I absolutely love this. I've been learning it slowly on my own but you just really helped me with an exact plan. Thank you Kate. Miss you a ton!

    1. I love you Andi!!!!! Why am I just now seeing this comment? I miss you too :(

      I-statements have also helped me a TON in these situations. People tend to respond less defensively to I-statements for some reason ha.

      I-Statement's: How to Communicate