“Not feeling is no replacement for reality. Your problems today are still your problems tomorrow” ― Larry Michael Dredla

An individual can put themselves at serious emotional and physical risk by remaining in a relationship with someone who has a Toxic Flaw. These people often have deep psychological issues or cause their partners extreme distress and disappointment. Toxic Flaws can be mild, moderate or severe and in serious cases will cause severe problems in any relationship. For heterosexual women there are certain men they should definitely avoid.

Mr. Addict

When you begin to date someone new its always sensible pay close attention to his attitude and habits towards alcohol to assess if he might have a problem with excessive drinking. Compulsive behaviors are typical with addictions like drug, alcohol or gambling dependency and many men and women are susceptible to becoming addicted to a substance or activity.

Common Addictions

• Alcohol
• Legal & illegal Drugs
• Sex
• Food
• Gambling
• Shopping

Research supports a genetic predisposition to addictions so the problem can be inherited while serious addictions cause physical changes to the addicts brain functions. Alcohol dependence is a substance related disorder where a person is addicted to alcohol either physically or mentally. There are different levels of alcohol dependency but if someone needs to drink everyday whether they get drunk or not, they’re an alcoholic. There are different levels of alcohol dependency and if someone needs to drink everyday whether he or she gets drunk or not, they’re an alcoholic. According to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association) a minimum of three out of seven of the following criteria must be present during a 12 month period to diagnose alcohol dependency:

• Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down on alcohol use
• Consumed in larger amounts or for longer periods than intended
• Tolerance
• Withdrawal symptoms or clinically defined Alcohol Withdrawal

There are a variety of definitions for alcoholism and not all meet the criteria of alcohol abuse. A person who is alcohol dependent may not necessarily experience physiological dependence and there is a difference between being dependent and someone who is an abuser. Alcohol usually leaves the body after 24 hours while certain illicit drugs can remain circulating for as long as three months after consumption and alter the body’s chemistry.

Addicts can cause a variety of problems in their relationships including:

• Inadequate Emotional Connection
• Frequent Low Moods
• Unpredictable Behavior
• Frequent Emotional Unavailability
• Sexual Dysfunction & Lack of Desire
• Outbursts of Anger or Violence•
• Frequent Periods of Depression

Addictions severely disrupt relationships because the addicts’ attention is always divided between the substance or activity and their partner. Drugs and alcohol make addicts numb to their own internal feelings and often unaware of what’s happening around them or even in their own lives. The addict is usually seeking subconsciously to escape from negative internal emotions or unpleasant external realities.

Reality Check!

When you begin dating someone new it’s important to explore his personal history and to ask pertinent questions. An adult who has witnessed or coped with the consequences of their parents/caretakers addictions during childhood may struggle with addictions themselves. A young mind will be greatly influenced by watching their parents/caretakers trying to escape reality or unpleasant emotions by indulging excessive in alcohol or drugs. As adults, they can be inclined to copy the substance abuse activities as a way of escaping reality themselves or self-medicate to dull negative feelings or have a general tendency towards addictive behavior.

Understand this:

• The addiction will always come first and the relationship second (or third or fourth…)
• Numerous promises to change will not be backed up with any real action
• The relationship will lack any genuine emotional connection
• Any sacrifices to maintain the relationship will be made by you

Making any compromises on possible addiction issues at the beginning of a relationship usually leads further unwise compromises once you’re involved.

Anyone who has recently embarked on a recovery programme to beat their addiction is a very poor candidate for a serious relationship. His priority should be on focusing completely on recovery so he will need time to heal the issues that triggered the addictive behavior in the first place. You might decide to be supportive, but there is no point getting involved with a recovering addict because he will not have the time or energy to contribute to a meaningful relationship. Alcohol and drugs addictions destroy lives and damage many relationships beyond repair because addicts inevitably hurt the people they love. Don’t make the mistake of going into denial or compromise your values regarding any possible warning signs which may indicate substance abuse or addiction problems. Becoming involved with a man you suspect is a alcoholic, drug addict or has any other serious addiction means you’re entering very dangerous relationship territory where the potential to get hurt emotionally and financially is very real.

Already Involved

If you’re already involved with an alcoholic or a drug addict, you know he is an expert at providing excuses or denying there’s a problem and probably expects you to make sacrifices to support his addiction. Challenging an addict can result in being accused of disloyal or with threats to end the relationship. Addicts are often in deep denial about the extent of their addiction and usually will not freely admit their addiction is controlling their attitude and behavior. Many addicts use their addiction as an excuse; they use explanations about the addiction as excuses, blaming the addiction for making them powerless.

Addicts rarely stop voluntarily so you have to demand he seeks and receives professional help or joins a support group. The chances of changing the habits of a hardcore addict without professional support are very slim so this is not a realistic expectation. A relationship with an addict who is unwilling to seek support to try and beat his addiction is a waste of time because the substance will always come first and you will always come a distance second. A person who is addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex or gambling has lost control; sadly an addict is a slave and the addiction is the master who controls their life choices.

Extract: How To Avoid Abusive Relationships: A Practical Guide to Toxic Personalities by Nigel Beckles (Due for release November 2017)