Work Addictions are Hard on Relationships
If your partner or family member is addicted to work, you know that the disorder is extremely hard on relationships. You may be tired of playing second fiddle to a job, or of making excuses for your workaholic loved one. You may feel lonely, angry, jealous or resentful; and you may be labeled as judgmental, complaining, needy or unsympathetic. Workaholics are often in denial about the disorder. They may claim the job is extremely demanding or that they are working to fulfill financial obligations, even when the compulsive work is obviously self-imposed. They find it very difficult to delegate work to other people.
Coping with a Workaholic Family Member
Like other addictive disorders, it’s up to your work-addicted friend or family member to admit the problem and to make a decision to change or seek help, possibly in the form of addiction treatment or rehab. However, there are strategies that may help you cope:
- Don’t blame yourself; you didn’t cause the work addiction and it isn’t your fault.
- Continue with your regular activities and don’t allow the problem to stop you from enjoying life.
- Seek counseling if you feel overwhelmed with feelings of anger and hurt, or talk to a trusted friend or family member.
- It’s okay to let the workaholic know how the problem is affecting you, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you can change the person.
- Don’t nag or cajole your workaholic loved one. It doesn’t work and it will probably make matters worse.
- Find healthy ways to express your anger and resentment and don’t hold your feelings in. For example, vent your feelings in a private journal or write a letter to your work-addicted friend or family member, and then destroy the letter.
- Don’t engage in activities that enable the addiction and prevent the work-addicted person from facing the consequences of her actions. Don’t plan your schedule around the workaholic and don’t put your life on hold. For example, don’t wait dinner or cancel planned activities.