Unbalanced & Toxic Relationships

It’s easy to see that our lives are out of balance when we’re drinking too much, but less obvious whether the drinking is the cause or the effect. Over time the answer usually becomes clear, it’s both.

As we have noted in other articles, we typically self-medicate conditions including anxiety, loneliness, boredom, depression, trauma, unbalanced relationships, and lost roles. For the moment, I’d like to go into a bit more detail on the “unbalanced relationships” condition.

First, what is an unbalanced relationship, be it personal, professional, familial, or otherwise? The imbalance can occur in many forms from the obvious “I have all the power and you get all the responsibility” that governs controller’s models be they marriages, work, or any other situation in which we find ourselves.

Then there are the common jealousy and envy outbreaks found in many toxic families. You’re the one who escaped, went to college, left the economically depressed area, succeeded, and now all you hear is “You were just lucky,” as though you’d won the lottery rather than taken the chances and done the work. This “lucky” label is usually followed by an unending demand that you “share” your good fortune, served with acres of guilt inducing rhetoric.

Is it any wonder that, saddled with the work, being targeted with resentment, and nagged by guilt, that you would respond by disappearing into a bottle? Yes, alcohol provides respite, a protective “bubble,” and a passive-aggressive FU to all concerned.

But of course the relief and revenge only last as long as the bottle does and there is no change on the horizon. Plus you now also have the artificially induced depression from the alcohol, the guilt from what you’re doing and not doing, and no way to defend yourself from those who get to also assail you with “you’re just a drunk.”

It should become apparent that we end up doing a lot of assertiveness training so that the passivity and passive-aggressiveness that helped get you headed down Vodka Alley and Chardonnay Lane can be reversed and you can begin to weed out the people and relationships that are making your life unmanageable. That’s right, it’s the relationships, not the alcohol, which is creating the morass from which you need extricated.

Think about it a bit and give us a call for a free discussion of what and/or who is driving you to drink.

Lost Roles Leaving Your High and Not So Dry?

Aging, among other things, has the effect of changing a well ordered life into one devoid of the roles that structure our lives – and you needn’t be all that old to have it happen.

We’ve seen former Olympians who have focused on gymnastics since they were 3 who are “too old” at 18; professional athletes who are washed up in their 20s; parents who are lost at 50; and professionals whose careers foundered or retirement found them ill-prepared for unstructured and unfilled days.

Lives that have been focused by an activity, children, careers, and other structuring conditions tend to fall apart when these go away. Especially if the end is unexpected.

Take the professional baseball player who’s been a star since Little League and who is sidelined by injuries at 23. His identity is gone (just like the stay-at-home Mom’s is at 50 something), as is the roar of the crowd. It’s isn’t just the money.

So too the career person who has become obsolete, or too expensive, or is tired of keeping up in an ever more rapidly changing world.

What to do?

Well, maybe I’ll just have another drink and think about it……….

As one client said, “I came to you when I realized that I was just drinking to pass the time, waiting to die.”

Again, the drinking is the symptom, and, yes, you can put in the time until you die that way. But why not try a few other things first?