Over the years while helping others in their recovery, I have seen how recovery can be manipulated, turned, twisted, and weaponized.
Knowledge, words, concepts, catchy phrases, lines, labels and even a clinical diagnosis can be used as a weapon – much like loaded gun that is always ready to be used against friends, family, or a partner.
This weapon can be used offensively or defensively.
Most often, I have observed recovery being weaponized between partners or spouses.
I have witnessed my own words spoken to partners taken out of context and used against the other.
It is amazing what I tell clients and what they often hear are two totally different things.
Text taken out of context is a pretext and presumption.
At first as you read this, it might seem surprising. However, hurt people, hurt people.
When a partner of an addict is in pain, trauma, and hurt, they want the addict to feel their hurt and experience a similar pain.
Initially, I do not believe this to be intentional.
However if it continues over time, their behavior may show that is most likely intentional.
The partner is most likely justified in such, just like the addict has repeatedly continued in the addiction promising to stop but continues to relapse.
It can look and sound like this:
“You are an intimacy anorexic.”
“You are a sex addict.”
“The therapist even said _________.”
“Once an addict always an addict.”
“Your psychological evaluation proves you are a narcissist and bipolar.”
“Call your d*** sponsor!”
The addict will also weaponize what they have learned by using words, concepts, labels and phrases to fight back.
The addict might respond like this:
“Well, the therapist told me that you are _____________.”
“You drink too much and are an alcoholic.”
“You are a codependent.”
“You have daddy issues.”
“Your eval shows that you have an obsessive compulsive personally disorder.”
“You need to take a time out!”
You get the picture.
Ego will take over and all hope of constructive communication.
Constructive communication will cease because of flooding with increased heart rate, blood pressure, and emotion. Hearing can physically shut down.
It is in this intense moment of anger both are pursing to be “right” rather than pursuing understanding.
Check out the previous blogs I have written to better understand how and why recovery information, tools, and words become weapons.
- One must kill the ego to pursue understanding.
- Many times, passive anorexic men marry assertive dominate women.
- Continuing to shame and victimize each other will only keep you stuck.
- Both individuals have a different realities based on life their own experiences.
- It is important to get out of your own perspective.
- It starts with taking personal responsibility for yourself.
Just as hurt people hurt people, they will fight to the death if you try to disarm them.
Transformed people, transform people.
They pursue understanding and love. They put their weapons down and are willing to disarm themselves.
As couples put down their weapons and egos, healing can begin to occur.
Cory Schortzman is an author, speaker, teacher and licensed mental health professional. Since 2008, he has served as the Executive Director of Transformed Hearts Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, CO. He is the founder of SARA, the Sexual Addiction Recovery Association. Cory is passionate about helping couples and individuals overcome sex addiction. He is also passionate about bringing awareness to the public and supporting the elimination of sex and human trafficking. Cory has been married since 1998 to his beautiful wife, Kerry, and lives in Colorado with their four daughters. He and Kerry have been seen on the CBS Early Show, Inside Edition, and ABC Good Morning America, Fox 21 News, and TLC/Discovery discussing the harm of sex addiction and the joys of recovery. He has also been heard on numerous radio programs.
Cory’s books include: Out of the Darkness, Into the Light the Workbook, Into the Light the Steps, Ashes to Beauty the Steps, 301 Dating Ideas, 301 Conversational Ideas, 301 Ways to Say I Love You, 301 Ways to Love Your Children & 301 Recovery Tools & Tips.