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How Does Resentment Impact Addiction Recovery?

Substance use disorder (SUD) is an illness that causes strife for everyone involved. Resentment happens on both ends of any relationship with SUD, and emotional overload can cause strain. It’s important to understand why resentments may occur and how this impacts addiction recovery.

Person With SUD

In the throes of addiction, the person with SUD may start resenting their family for not enabling them. If a loved one tries to discuss the issue, the person with SUD can see it as a personal attack. When family or friends set boundaries, the person might see the denial of resources (e.g., time, money, lies) as unsupportive.

On the other hand, they may resent their loved ones for not stopping the addiction. Even if they tried to hide their addiction behaviors, they may have hoped that someone would prevent them from using or drinking. If their emotions were ever dismissed by loved ones, the person might have felt unable to talk about the problem.

Family and Friends

When a person experiences SUD, it impacts everyone in their social system. Family members may not understand the disease of addiction, making them blame their loved one. Moreover, children of addiction might feel resentment for neglect or the effective lack of a parent. Spouses could resent their partners for spending money and time on substances. Friends could resent the fact that their loved one didn’t seek treatment sooner. Anybody could feel hurt and resentful for the lies they heard from their loved one with SUD.

The Impact of Resentment

All of these resentments put wedges between an individual with SUD and their support system. Treatment without support makes recovery more challenging. A person with SUD might feel unwilling to open up to their family and friends if there’s resentment on either side.

In this case, the person with SUD will usually feel entirely isolated. They might feel less motivated to push through difficult moments. The lack of support could slow the treatment process. A person may feel less prepared to transition into outpatient treatment because they fear being alone. The stress of broken relationships could lead them to relapse early in recovery.

Additionally, the family and friends may feel incapable of seeing their loved one as anything but an “addict.” They may miss out on the learning and personal growth that occurs during treatment. As such, their loved one may look unrecognizable during long-term recovery. The family and friends may become guarded and emotionally reserved throughout their loved one’s addiction. If they want to keep a relationship with their loved one with SUD, they need to address the impact of addiction on their mental health as well.

Resentment is an issue that impacts most social systems in which a person has an addiction. This feeling can affect everyone involved, creating emotional barriers. If you’re in a relationship impacted by addiction, you should address any resentment you hold. The Guest House offers various forms of therapy that could help you work through your emotions related to addiction. During this process, you might decide whether the relationship is worth preserving or should be ended. Our therapists can help you with your decision. Please reach out for help with your mental health. Call us at (855) 483-7800.