I am struggling with similar things with my partner.
I am not a religious person but I have been thinking about “tough love” alot lately and Corinthians 13 really does speak to me. I am not one to typically quote the Bible (unless I’m trying to school some hateful person) but that passage reminds me to recenter and try to calmly assess where my boundaries perhaps need to be reinforced but with love. I have yet to find this balance myself but I believe it can be done.
“Love is PATIENT, love is kind. It does not envy…it always protects…ALWAYS HOPES. ALWAYS PERSEVERES”
We have been taught over and over again that what is really love and support is enabling and codependent. We can’t change that narrative over night. It takes practice to shake off all those old teachings and try a new perspective. Tough love does not inspire change. It is difficult sometimes but I really believe that in establishing clear boundaries WITH LOVE and PATIENCE we can support those we love who are struggling. If we are the ones struggling, we can harness that love and support to persevere and move forward toward positive change. I have to believe this because the alternative is not something I can accept about this world.
I work in harm reduction so I see the outcome of tough love every single day. So many wonderful but suffering people I know have lost their loved ones because of the problems their using had brought into all of their lives. I am not saying these people should be free of accountability or be thrown a pity party. Im not pointing fingers at their families either, they believed that their person needed to hit rock bottom and be confronted with ultimatums that they couldn’t possibly honestly choose from, in order to “recover”. But “rock bottom” for many is jail, HIV and HepC. It is isolated, violent, and exploitative relationships. It is continued, cyclical, snowballed trauma that just pushed people further and further away from positive change. How can anyone come back from these consequences without love, patience, perseverance and hope?
I don’t know what the answer is. Love yourself first. This I know it vital. Be patient and kind to yourself too. Keep your heart open to change in your loved ones and in yourself. Celebrate it upon its arrival.
Thank you for this post so that I could use this opportunity to explore my own feelings about this issue here in the forums. Having myself a little cry now but a good cry. Wishing you the best.