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6 Things You Need To Know When You Love An Alcoholic

6 Things You Need To Know When You Love An Alcoholic

When someone close to you has an addiction, like being an alcoholic, it’s hard to keep up a healthy relationship with that person. At times, you will feel the need to step back and re-evaluate your relationship with that person. But you do know that leaving an addict on his own is only going to make his or her addiction worse.

If you look at the numbers, 3 million deaths are linked to alcohol intoxication, each year. These include not only deaths caused by alcohol intoxication, but also as a result of impaired capacities, due to the alcohol consumption. Fighting with an addiction is a tough and long process, which drains everyone involved, not just the alcoholic.

Though the overall picture is bleak, you can still do a lot to make a difference to your loved one, helping him or her get out of the black hole of addiction. Unless you understand a number of facts about addicted people, you can easily become another problem for them. Here are some things you need to know when you are loving an alcoholic.

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1. You are not guilty

Many kids of alcoholics grow up thinking their parents’ addiction is their fault. Sisters, brothers or parents of addicts should also deal with their sense of guilt as the addiction is never their fault. Each person has his or her choices to make in life and if your loving spouse, brother or child chose to drink, it’s their own choice.

2. You are never alone

When you are dealing with someone’s addiction, there are many times when you feel alone. Fighting alcohol addiction is going to make you feel like the only person in the world who has an alcoholic loved one. Don’t let this feeling overwhelm you and prevent you from reaching out! If you really want to help an alcoholic, reach out to the others who are facing a similar situation. Statistically, there are over 16 million alcoholics in US only, each one with their own bunch of family and friends, so you are not alone. Not even close!

3. You won’t be able to forgive your loved one

Addiction is hard to cope with and it often makes the addicted steal or lie, which is definitely going to put a toll on your relationship. When your son or parent is going to hide things from you, then you will be angry on him. Forgiveness is not going to come easy, but this is a part of the process of loving an alcoholic or any other addicted person. Even when your loved one is going to be sober, you might have to struggle to forgive all the lies. Disappointment is going to be part of your relationship for a lot of time, but you need to be honest and keep an open mind. Be careful of what you say to your addicted loved one, during their recovery, as they are prone to falling into the alcohol trap again.

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Most people try to hide their real feelings towards their alcoholic special someone, but this is the worst thing you can do. The best way to deal with anger in your case is confronting it, with your alcoholic or in the presence of a therapist.

4. You need to detach from him

When you love an alcoholic you need to be able to detach yourself from the situation and analyze how much can you give without being drained by the highly demanding alcoholic in your life. Instead of running around, trying to solve all the problems created by the addiction, take a step back and continue to support your loved one, without constantly taking over his or her life. It will be difficult to stop solving all the messes they create, but it’s necessary, for your own sake and for the sake of the alcoholic in your life. If he is not able to stop destroying himself, you can’t do much and you are definitely not helping if you continue to solve all his problems.

Establish boundaries and keep them up, even when the alcoholic is not sober – it will be challenging, but effective for everyone in your family. Alcoholics don’t have limits, so establishing boundaries and clearly stating what you are willing to accept and what you can’t accept, can help your loved one overcome his addiction. If you need help establishing boundaries, turn to a therapist, who can help you.

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5. Learn to deal with the stigma

Alcohol addiction comes with a strong stigma and if your parents or other close family members are addicted, you will also carry the stigma. This is why you have to learn how to deal with it. People who never had to deal with alcoholics can’t understand what you and your loved ones have to put up with. They are not willing to understand, being guided by myths, so you have to learn how to ignore them. Turn to support groups, where you can find other people in your situation, who can provide emotional support you need. Get out there and get advice from people who are familiar with alcohol addiction and can help you, as well as the alcoholic in your entourage. Don’t let the stigma silence you!

6. Take time for your own recovery

When you have an alcoholic in your life, you can easily forget that you have your own feelings and needs, as you focus on the alcoholic. There are times when the people around you will judge you, when the alcoholic is going through a bad phase and you will feel there is no hope left for you. There is hope! There is always hope and you need to be comfortable with the fact every single door you open can bring you more unknown situations. Relax and take things as they come.

Accept the fact you can’t control everything. Remember you also have needs and look for ways to relax and recharge your batteries. In order to be able to support an alcoholic, you need to keep your own sanity and health, so never ignore your own person.

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Featured photo credit: Diricia de Vet/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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