The alcoholic's wife - who is she? What types of alcoholic wives are there?
In narcology for several decades, there is no concept of alcohol or drug addict in isolation from the so-called codependent person. Any doctor will tell you this. Today, both the addict and the codependent are always undergoing therapy and rehabilitation. In addition to psychotherapeutic help, the first, of course, receives medication, the second, of course, only psychotherapeutic. For, paradoxically, he is also dependent, but purely psychologically, and on this his dependence is not so obvious to those around him and to himself. Often codependents for a very long time (if not at all) refuse to believe that they, alas, are also sick. Perhaps this is due to the fact that psychological "ill health" in our country is associated with something terrible, with something connected with psychiatric hospitals. Typically, these people have absolutely no idea that the levels of "ill health" can be different. And that completely psychologically "healthy" probably simply does not exist - each of us has its own oddities, peculiarities, internal problems. Maybe someone has fewer of them, someone has more, but everyone has them, regardless of whether a person wants to admit them to himself or not, whether he considers himself “healthy” or does not. And what is health and "adequacy" is a rhetorical question.
Most often, a woman, the wife of an alcoholic, is a codependent. Let's talk about her.
Victim or rescuer
Perhaps this is the most common type of alcoholic wife in our country. The fact is that sacrifice and the ability to endure in Russian Orthodox reality have always been elevated to a cult. The sacrifice of a woman is especially appreciated. It is customary for us to worship mothers, especially those who live for the sake of their children, give them “all the best”, all of themselves without a trace, and then sigh sympathetically with them over the ingratitude of such grown-up children. We like to condemn sexually liberated, sensual and self-worth women - they are called bitches and egoists, and those who are passionate about their work and self-development - careerists. Of course, this does not mean that being a caring mother is bad or being a sensual woman is good. Both the one and the other side are the hypostasis of the same image - the female. The point is only that one side of this image can be excessively exaggerated, while the other, on the contrary, can be pushed out to the “backyard” of consciousness.
Alcoholics' wives are often such "mummies" - kind, caring, ready to come to the rescue of each and every one at any moment. And they treat their husbands like children - they control them, babysit them, pull them out of the police, a muddy puddle, call their boss to find excuses for the fact that their husband did not come to work today, drag the whole house on them, work for three works while their "child" -the husband once again goes into a binge. The victim is exhausted, sometimes it seems to her that she is about to die, but deep down she feels very significant and, not without pride, tells her acquaintances how she went to the night shift today, stood at the machine during the day, and ran to do lessons with children. The victim cannot stop, because “how can I leave him - he will get drunk and die”, “what will I feed the children with,” “my husband, after all,” etc. As a rule, only illness can stop her. Often victims are prone to diseases of the spine, which seems to "inform" its owner - the load is prohibitively heavy, stop.
In childhood, such a woman felt the love and approval of her parents only when she did something useful: she helped around the house, translated her grandmother across the road, studied well and diligently.
The opposite role to the victim.All the wife's anger is directed not at herself (as happens with the victim), but directly at the culprit - the husband. All efforts of the persecutor are reduced to punishing the addict - in any way: moral, and, perhaps, physical. The addict is constantly blamed and hated. The task of the persecutor is to generate in the addict a sense of guilt, with the help of which he could be manipulated. Quarrels and conflicts constantly arise between spouses.
Partner in crime
Not so noisy, but no less dangerous role. The accomplice hides from all the consequences of drinking, thus helping the addict. Often it is not a wife, but a friend, colleague, father, mother or any other person who constantly eliminates the problems created by the addict for himself and the people around him. All this help is simply a way for the accomplice to feel needed by someone. An accomplice may be driven by an unconscious lust for power or fear of rejection. Most often, such a role is assumed by people who have had an experience of illness in the parental family.
Alas, this role is sometimes also assumed by the wives of alcoholics. They do this because they think that sharing will help them better understand their spouse, and he - to quit alcohol. What this can lead to is probably not worth talking about.
Roles can change depending on the situation, but they all have one thing in common - they are always dysfunctional and ineffective, neither in the fight against addiction, nor in improving their own well-being and the atmosphere in the family. All they can do is maintain the disease. Only the rejection of the role and the detached position, as well as the skills of the so-called "tough love" - those components that can bear fruit. We will talk about them next time.