7: Dealing With the Toxic Things My Partner Says and Does

How to deal with hurtful comments, gaslighting, crazymaking, justification, denial, blaming, verbal attacks, refusal to acknowledge your feelings as valid and other thoughtless, hurtful words from your addicted partner.

Addicts not in full recovery sometimes say thoughtless, unflattering, unfiltered , immature, defensive, offensive things.

They gaslight in an attempt to make you think you're the problem (fact: you're not the problem) or avoid accountability to change their behaviors.

The reason they do these things can be varied, but trying to figure out “why” they say what they say, can be an alluring, distracting rabbit hole which serves no purpose.

It doesn't matter why they use hurtful and sometimes wounding words that can qualify as verbal abuse.
What does matter, is your response to protect yourself from further wounding.

It doesn't mean they honestly believe what they're saying. They've stuffed or medicated their authentic emotions and beliefs for so long with their addiction, they honestly don't really know yet what they authentically feel or believe – or what they truly value.  In recovery, they work on using healthy coping for emotions, and work on uncovering their authentic emotions and values. But that takes time.

Part of our recovery is learning to observe, but not absorb that behavior as data about where they are in their recovery and growth.

You can acknowledge the feelings those words brought about you, and your right to be in a non-toxic environment,  and at the same time, not place a high value on those hurtful words. You remove yourself from the situation and walk away. Journal/document it and you can set a boundary around the specific thing that was said using the “WHEN YOU/I FEEL/IF YOU/I WILL as outlined in our BOUNDARIES section of this course.

If you've advanced to couple's work with a professional, you can bring it up there also, if it truly wounded you so you can be heard and ask for amends.

In the following topics, there are several books that can help you shift your perspective on the things your unrecovered partner says and doesn't say, and how to reduce your own frustration when in conversation with them.
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