How Can I Show My Loved One Some Compassion?

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!

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Posted by:  Angela Whiting, North Hampton, NH

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