How to deal emotionally when an addict shuts you out?



How do you deal with the emotional torture when an addict shuts you out when you’ve done nothing wrong?!
My ex has shut me out suddenly and with out any valid reason except that he has “some stuff going on in his life right now”. I’m scared for his health because he relapsed recently and I don’t know if he’s getting help or if he’s going into a dark place. But more importantly I don’t know how to not take it personal and move on.


Isolation is a common trait amongst active alcoholics and addicts. There is a great burden of shame and sense of failure that is carried, especially following a relapse. There is only so much that you can do, including what we refer to in recovery as “detach with love.” You cannot save anyone that does not want to be saved themselves. Addicts/Alcoholics have to want to reach out for help, and they have to want recovery. The best thing that you can do is to hope and pray for his well being. As frustrating as your circumstances seem, he simply has not hit his personal “rock bottom.”


I completely understand this. I went through this with my boyfriend several times. When an addict uses, there is so much shame and guilt associated with the using that they will shut everyone out who cares about them. My boyfriend does this and it’s really hard. All you can really do is say I love you, I care about you, and I am here for you when you are ready to get some help. It’s been a few weeks now, how is everything going now? Any updates?


Thank you for this! Some days are easier than others, but I can’t imagine living the life he is.


Thanks for the response, Joanne. Well, let’s just say he very rudely asked me to leave him alone and gave no real answer for it so that is exactly what I did. No contact for 21 days now (ironic it takes 21 days to quit a habit). It’s been tough for me because I care about him and his well being and just wanted to help. Clearly he didn’t want me to be a part of anything in his life. What can ya do, right?

Katrina Cantu


My husband has done that to me in the past to “protect” me from his actions. It’s an addicts way of justifying and thinking they are being “selfless” but in fact, they are being selfish. It gives them an excuse to either start/keep using or to have bad behaviors. Detaching with love, as Jaywalker said, is a good thing for you to do. You have to keep on keeping on. You don’t have to live his “bottoms” with him.


@kc1283 I’m sorry to hear that you have not heard from him. This is a great moment to work on something very important, YOU. Go hang out with friends, take a bath, go watch a movie you’ve been wanting to see… in the moments where I have been really frustrated - I hang out with my friends and just try to enjoy myself. I did that this past weekend actually. My boyfriend relapsed recently and he was picking fights with me and just being totally disrespectful so I decided to leave. I hung out with some friends all day - we had a picnic on the beach, went to a pop up carnival, and ate some good food. I had a lot of fun and laughed a lot. It was a great way to distract myself and finally have fun for myself for once.


Hi, I hear you. Setting boundary with recovering people is challenging. I think that in such case, “detach with love” is probably is the best thing you can do, both for your wellbeing and his. I have personally experienced how people recovering from psychological issues are resistant to help. They tend to build walls around their traumas which are at the root of their addictions. I think as someone close, it’s important to respect those walls, even though in common sense it would make sense to offer our help. Timing is an important aspect of healing. In a way, using substances is a way that they have found to bring them temporary relief. They just have to realize that to break free of their pain, there are deeper issues to be addressed. It is a typical process for healing. There is nothing more you can do than to let him know that you’re there when he needs you.


Hi, I am going through the exact same thing. It is extremely difficult but it’s only been like two weeks for me. It is helpful to hear everyone’s responses. I am also scared it’s hard not knowing. I think they push us away due to the shame and as a way to protect us. How are you holding up? Have there been any changes?


Just checking in. How are things going for you lately?