Blended Families & Addiction
by: Donna M.
Stepparents, partners and other family members, may not want your teen or adult child who has a substance use disorder around them. Stepparents and partners may not want your child in the home that you share together especially when your child is in active addiction or even early recovery.
When your children are in active addiction they wronged many people and those people often won't be as forgiving as the maternal parent or the chief enabler. It may feel wrong to you when people close to you don't have empathy and compassion for your child; however, it is not wrong for them to feel the feelings that they have. Often Stepparents, partners and siblings try to protect the codependent parent, they are often full of resentment and anger. Some blended families in this situation have great support and will stick by the maternal parents side through thick and thin, while others can't take the chaos and drama and decide that they can’t handle the trouble the person struggling brings into their life and home so they remove themselves emotionally and sometimes physically, leaving the maternal parent feeling more alone and hurt.
While your natural instincts as a parent are to protect and defend your own adult children when situations become difficult, the counter-intuitive more positive approach is to protect each other as parents/partners instead. It is imperative that you and your partner are on the same page because when you are on the same page, you are able to discuss and decide clear boundaries, you will be able to see yourselves as a team first, and advocates for your children second. When you have a positive plan in place that you both agree on you have a much better chance to avoid the divisions that can develop in blended families.
In order to detach with love, the two of you will need to sit down and create a living agreement that sets healthy boundaries and consequences. Creating a clear plan with each other allows you to back each other up, especially when one of you is feeling anxious and stressed. Creating an agreement will provide you with the balance and accountability that can prevent the stepparent from over-reacting and the maternal parent from giving in to the adult child.