Always seem to give far more in your relationships that you receive back?
Scared and Alone?
Do you feel that you NEED this or at least a relationship in order to be happy?
When you fall in love… is mostly one way traffic?
Have you felt frequent heartbreak?
Do you often fear abandonment , or feel scared of being alone?
Are you terrified of relationship breakup
Do you stay in the relationship at any cost, despite the hurt, despite the mistreatment….
Is it love? Or is it love addiction?
Love addicts are drawn to the fantasy of a perfect romance. Tragically they usually find themselves attracted to partners who do not reciprocate, forming unhealthy relationships that bring them frequent torment.
Is it love or is it obsession?
In the same way a drug addict becomes so obsessed by a need for the next fix, a person with Love addiction can become so obsessed by a lover that the relationship becomes the centre of their universe and there main or only source of happiness. They feel powerless to contemplate the end of their relationship no matter how poorly they may be treated.
People in healthy love relationships have mutual respect, reciprocal giving sharing and support and stable boundaries. Above all they have “a walk away point” beyond which a partner’s mistreatment of them will result in their own decision to end the relationship no matter how much they may love that partner.
People in healthy relationships are able to look at how they are being treated in the relationship and how the relationship makes them feel rather than just how much they love there partner.
The first hallmark of an addiction is the feeling of being driven towards something. The alcoholic or drug addict feels driven towards the addictive substance even when he knows it is bad for him. In the same way a love addict feels driven towards maintaining the relationship even when they know the relationship is bad for them.
The second hallmark of addiction is the panic one feels at the possible absence of the substance (person)
The third hallmark of addiction is the withdrawal symptoms. As bad as the panic is at the contemplation of a possible breakup, it cannot compare to the devastation when the breakup actually happens. Just like a drug addict who goes cold turkey.
Love Addiction like any other physical or psychological addiction leaves those suffering from it feeling powerless to break free and at its mercy.
Fortunately Love addiction, again like any other physical or psychological addiction, frequently responds well to individual therapy combined with 12 step self help programmes (like that originally developed by AA)
The Love addict cycle
1 The love addict is attracted to the seductiveness and apparent “power” of the love avoidant.
2 Feels “high” as the “fantasy” is triggered
3 Feels relief from pain of loneliness, emptiness, and not mattering to partner
4 Shows more neediness and denies reality of the love avoidant’s walls
5 Develops awareness of partners walls and behaviour outside the relationship and denial crumbles
6 Enters withdrawal
7 Obsesses about how to get love avoidant to return
8 Compulsively acts out obsessive plans
9 Repeats the cycle with the love avoidant if they return, or with a new partner
AM I A LOVE ADDICT AND WHAT CAN I DO?
Do I have a problem with love addiction?
Can you relate to or identify with many of the following?
Do you tend to stay in relationships, even though you’re hurt over and over again?
Do you make excuses for the way your partner mistreats and hurts you?
Do you know that the relationship is bad for you or causes you frequent pain but can’t contemplate leaving for the terrible fear of being alone?
Does your self-esteem or mood depend on your partner’s behaviour towards you?
Do you attempt to subtly manipulate your partners to change and or stay with you?
Is the relationship your primary source of happiness? Does its survival eclipse everything else in your life?
Are you so considerate to your partner in order to please them that you put your own needs second much of the time?
Do you let abusive people remain in your life?
Do you or those you are attracted to mistreat you or refuse commitment?
Do you need another in order to feel fulfilled?
Do you give far more in the relationship than you receive?
Do you cling to the 1% chance it will all change and work out?
Do you believe you NEED a relationship in order to be happy?
What can I do?
Private therapy with creator of this site Mr T. Roberts, Dolphin Psychotherapy Practice in person, or worldwide via telephone/webconference sessions
M: +44 7790 333431
HOW TO BREAK YOUR ADDICTION TO A PERSON (Howard M. Halpern)
FACING LOVE ADDICTION (Pia Mellody)
IS IT LOVE OR IS IT ADDICTION? (Brenda Schaeffer)
KEEPING THE LOVE YOU FIND (Harville Hendrix)
LINKS to other helpful sites
WHAT CAUSES LOVE ADDICTION?
The routes of love addiction are grounded in childhood experiences
If a child is loved and nurtured fully by their primary caregivers from birth then the child will likely develop a healthy sense of self identity, self-esteem and appropriate boundaries.
If such nurture is not received, then the child may develop a shaky sense of self and non-existent or distorted boundaries. A deep need for security from another rather than from within is laid down and the seeds of love addiction are sewn. Love addiction is therefore a close cousin of but not entirely the same as co-dependency.
Love addicts escape at an early age into the realm of fantasy, of a rescuer, a perfect love, in order to escape from an intolerable reality that their primary caregivers have failed to transmit to them through appropriate nurture; the messages that they are important, they matter and they are loved.
To quote Pia Mellody, one of the world’s top authorities on this subject
“I have come to believe that people fall into love addiction because of the unhealed pain from childhood abandonment, and the feeling that they cannot be safe in the world without having somebody else to hold them up.”
Love addict’s primary conscious fear is of abandonment, Tragically Love addicts are almost always most attracted to Love avoidant’s whose primary conscious fear is one of commitment and/or engulfment. As such the relationship is going to be at best problematic and at worst doomed to failure and filled with pain and torment.
Why then would a love addict be attracted to a love avoidant?
Whilst the following may sound bizarre, it must be remembered that what follows refers to that which goes on in our minds outside our conscious awareness, deep childlike drives and logic over which we have little or no conscious control.
At an unconscious level, the love addict is attracted to the love avoidant for a very good reason (in child logic). The love avoidant to whom they are attracted, in some way reminds them of their opposite sex primary caregiver from whom they failed to receive proper love and nurture. If they can receive love and nurture from this partner… symbolically it will put right the relationship with the primary caregiver. It is of course a strategy by its very nature, doomed to failure.
The similarities to which I refer can be very subtle and far from immediately obvious.
Drawing on my own clinical experience to demonstrate. I recall some years ago asking one of my patients, "in what ways does your ex-wife remind you of your mother?" He could see absolutely no similarity between them. However some time later, he realised that although there was no similarity on the face of it, there resulting behaviour was in fact almost identical. His mother had severe Borderline Personality Disorder and as such could not be reasoned with…. His ex-wife had a learning difficulty which meant that she could not be reasoned with.
I then asked him “in what was does your current partner remind you of your mother?” Again he could initially see no similarity or connection. However, once again after some time he realised the link…. Another major characteristic of Borderline Personality Disorder, is the principal of come close, go away…. Being pulled in then pushed away….. his partner had major commitment issues and therefore, despite the cause being completely different, her behaviour was almost identical.
Individual personal therapy can be invaluable and sometimes essential to gain such insight.