First of all, what exactly is compassion?
Compassion means “to suffer with” and is an emotional response of sympathy. But it’s not just a feeling. The feeling is combined with a desire to help. Because we have compassion, we want to take action and help the person who is suffering.
Notice the last word of the definition above — “with.” We are called to suffer with someone, to suffer together. This is what differentiates compassion from empathy.
How is compassion normally shown?
To be compassionate is to have open-mindedness and to be non-judgmental. It involves finding commonalities to help relate to what someone else is going through. Compassion is normally shown in the following ways:
- Listening without interrupting
- Being able to appreciate, understand, and accept other people’s feelings and emotions
- Showing genuine interest and concern for others
- Offering support to others
- Asking what they can do to help
- Providing a gentle touch such as soft back or arm rub, touching or patting the hand, or a hug to show they care
- Encouraging, complimenting, and praising others
- Showing emotions though facial expressions such as a sympathetic face, sincere smile, or tears to show sadness
- Showing kindness without expecting anything in return
- Speaking up for others and defending people they care about
- Showing respect for and consideration of others
Does the addict really deserve my compassion?
I know my loved one is an addict. They are making my life miserable and unmanageable. I really can’t take it anymore! I’ve tried to be compassionate in the past, but now I just feel so used and resentful towards them! They have been:
- lying to me
- deceiving me
- sneaking around
- stealing from me
- manipulating me into feeling sorry for them
- making me do things for them that they should be doing for themselves
- making me buy things for them that they should be buying for themselves
- begging me to give them money
- as well as a bunch of other things I know are just not right
But … I know I love them with all my heart and I see their pain and just want to help them make their life happier or easier any way I can — even though I am so frustrated with them. I know there is a kind, gentle, caring, and loving person somewhere still deep inside of them and I want so badly to see that side of them again.
What I want more than anything is for this to all just go away or to be fixed. I want the constant drama and chaos to stop. I want to stop trying to control this uncontrollable person and situations they put me in. I basically want to put an end to the insanity of it all.
How on earth will I ever be able to show my addicted loved one compassion?
Believe it or not, by changing your attitude and how you react and respond to the addict can make a huge difference. There are things you can do to keep the insanity and chaos at bay and become a happier, less worried, less stressed out person. The article “How To Show Compassion For An Addicted Loved One – Without Being A Doormat” is a must read to get you on the road to being more compassionate towards your addicted loved one. Changed attitudes really can aid recovery!
Posted by: Angela Whiting, North Hampton, NH