Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

What Helps and What Doesn’t

Some spouses just want to know what they can do to support the recovery process. The most important thing is to work on healing your own heart while he’s dealing with his struggle. Don’t neglect yourself, and don’t be an enabler or a doormat. You are in charge of yourself, and how you relate to him, but you’re not in charge of him or his responsibilities.

How to help during the recovery process:

  • Let your partner own their recovery
  • Encourage but don’t push
  • Accept struggles & mistakes as part of the process
  • Give your partner space to learn
  • Don’t judge or criticize
  • Don’t lecture or analyze
  • Be a compassionate listener
  • Don’t make excuses for him
  • Be patient, but be firm about your boundaries
  • Work on healing your own heart
  • Model a healthy lifestyle
  • Spend quality time together doing things you both enjoy

Don’t Be An Enabler

It’s often hard for women to tell the difference between helping and enabling. Parents often do this too, because we care and we want to help. Some things you just do instinctively, often to protect yourself, maintain stability or keep peace in the house. But these actions don’t help in the long run. Here are some common enabling behaviors:

  • Ignoring the problem, or behaviors that indicate porn use
  • Bottling up your own emotions
  • Acting out of fear (fear of loss/ fear of what others will think)
  • Prioritizing the needs of others over your own
  • Lying or concealing the problem from other close relationships
  • Projecting blame or rationalizing, for example: blaming society, blaming parents or others
  • Taking over your partner’s responsibilities or making excuses for them

Look at the resources below to discover if you have any enabling behaviors, and how to change them. Everyone does this a little bit from time to time. However, to help your spouse, you have to discover the difference between unconditional love and enabling.

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