Healthy love is wonderful and makes life worthwhile. On the other hand, “love addiction” can cause pain, suffering, and even death. Knowing the difference between love and “love addiction” can be life-saving.
1. Healthy Love develops after we feel secure.
Addictive Love tries to create love even though we feel frightened and insecure.
2. Healthy Love comes from feeling full. We overflow with love.
Addictive Love is always trying to fill an inner void.
3. Healthy Love begins with self-love.
Addictive Love always seeks love “out there” from that “special someone.”
4 Healthy Love comes to us once we’ve given up the search.
Addictive Love is compulsively sought after.
5 Healthy Love comes from inside. It wants to give.
Addictive Love comes from outside. It wants to take.
6. Healthy Love grows slowly, like a tree.
Addictive Love grows fast, as if by magic, like those children’s animals that expand instantly when we add water.
7. Healthy Love thrives on time alone as well as time with our partner.
Addictive Love is frightened of being alone and afraid of being close.
8. Healthy Love is unique. There is no “ideal lover” that we seek.
Addictive Love is stereotyped. There is always a certain type that attracts us.
9. Healthy Love is gentle and comfortable.
Addictive Love is tense and combative.
10. Healthy Love is based on a deep knowing of ourselves and our lover.
Addictive Love is based on hiding from ourselves and falling in love with an ideal “image,” not a real person. http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/cc-is-it-love-or-love-addiction/
My fear of abandonment
is exceeded only by
my terror of intimacy.
Ethlie Ann Vare
There are some who might argue that falling in love is by its very nature a sign of mental illness. It’s not natural to develop such deep emotional bonds and passionate feelings so quickly, and the expression of those feelings can often border on the irrational. The need to be in the company of a loved one can override physical pain or all sense of propriety. That person can almost fulfill the role of a drug or any other addictive substance. Society appears to encourage some irrational behavior when it comes to passionate romance, but there is clearly a line between passion and obsession. After the initial rush and excitement of a new romance has had time to cool a bit, one partner may notice that the other’s behavior has changed significantly. Petty arguments become much more heated quickly or expressions of affection become more serious. He or she may seem to be demanding more and more of your time and attention, to the exclusion of other friends or family members. If this is the case, you may be caught in the unhealthy throes of an obsessive relationship. Sometimes an obsession will burn itself out and the relationship returns to normal, but other times the obsessed partner will exhibit signs of true emotional instability, love addiction, and codependence. From an article by ichael Pollick, http://www.howtodothings.com/family-and-relationships/a1953-how-to-recognize-an-obsessive-relationship.html
Just because something is addictive
doesn’t mean that you will get addicted to it.
But . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
if your stomach ties up in knots while
you count the seconds waiting for a phone call
from that special someone . . .
if you hear a loud buzzing in your ears
when you see a certain person’s car (or one just like it) . . .
if your eyes burn when you hear a random love song
or see a couple holding hands . . .
if you suffer the twin agonies of craving for
and withdrawing from a series of
unrequited crushes or toxic relationships . . .
if you always feel like you’re clutching at
someone’s ankle and dragged across the floor
as they try to leave the room . . .
welcome to the club.
Ethlie Ann Vare
Love Addicts compensated for lack of nurturing as children by immersing themselves in fantasy. Fantasies of being rescued or being the rescuer abound. Knights, dragons, romance novels – getting high from fantasy becomes habit. When a Love Addict plays with fantasy, they can get high in about 10 minutes, and stay there for 2-3 hours. Endorphins are released into their system, relieving emotional pain. Love Addicts begin relationships by trying too hard to please and connect. They are driven to find someone to tell them they are loveable and loved; to find someone who will rescue them from their inability to care for themselves; rescue them from their loneliness, emptiness, lack of self-love, inability to feel safe in the world without someone to protect them. They look for a relationship to make them feel whole. By Mary Ellen O’Leary, MA, LPCC http://insidetherapy.com/codaloveaddict.html
I liked it. I craved it.
I wanted more and I took it.
I took it like I needed it,
like my life had a limit
and if I didn’t get as much
of it as I could I’d quit
breathing the next instant.
“As long as we believe that someone else has the power to make us happy then we are setting ourselves up to be victims”. One of the biggest problems with relationships in this society is that the context we approach them from is too small. We were taught that getting the relationship is the goal. It starts in early childhood with Fairy Tales where the Prince and the Princess live happily-ever-after. It continues in movies and books where “boy meets girl” “boy loses girl” “boy gets girl back” – the music swells and the happy couple ride off into the sunset. The songs that say “I can’t smile without you” “I can’t live without you” “You are my everything” describe the type of love we learned about growing up – toxic love – an addiction with the other person as our drug of choice, as our Higher Power. Any time we set another human being up to be our Higher Power we are going to experience failure in whatever we are trying to accomplish. We will end up feeling victimized by the other person or by our self – and even when we feel victimized by the other person we blame our self for the choices we made. We are set up to fail to get our needs met in Romantic Relationships because of the belief system we were taught in childhood and the messages we got from our society growing up. There is no goal to reach that will bring us to happily-ever-after. We are not incomplete until we find our soul mate. We are not halves that cannot be whole without a relationship. True Love is not a painful obsession. It is not taking a hostage or being a hostage. It is not all-consuming, isolating, or constricting. Believing we can’t be whole or happy without a relationship is unhealthy and leads us to accept deprivation and abuse, and to engage in manipulation, dishonesty, and power struggles. The type of love we learned about growing up is an addiction, a form of toxic love. As long as our definition of a successful relationship is one that lasts forever – we are set up to fail. As long as we believe that we have to have the other in our life to be happy, we are really just an addict trying to protect our supply – using another person as our drug of choice. That is not True Love – nor is it Loving. By Robert Burney http://joy2meu.com/codependent2.htm
You have no control over
what the other guy does.
You only have control
over what you do.
A. J. Kitt
Mate after mate we find ourselves trying to adapt to who they want us to be till eventually we lose our true identity. We spend countless years learning each mate but never take the time to learn ourselves. In the end we know our mates better than we know ourselves. If and when the mate walks away we are stuck living with a stranger, ourselves. If u can’t find comfort in yourself how can anyone else find comfort in you? Al-Saadiq Banks
You’re reaching out
And no one hears you cry.
You’re freaking out again
‘Cause all your fears
Remind you another dream has come undone.
You feel so small and lost like you’re the only one.
You wanna scream ’cause you’re
You want somebody, just anybody
To lay their hands on your soul tonight.
You want a reason to keep believing
That someday you’re gonna see the light.
You’re in the dark
There’s no one left to call
And sleep’s your only friend.
Well even sleep
Can’t hide you from all those tears
And all the pain and all the days
You wasted pushing them away.
It’s your life, it’s time.
People generally become love addicts due to a past history of abandonment from their primary caregivers. Adult love addicts usually recognized as children that their most precious needs for validation, love and connection with one or both parents were not met. This affects their self-esteem dramatically in adult life. It results in a conscious fear of abandonment and an underlying subconscious fear of intimacy. To a love addict, intensity in a relationship is often mistaken for intimacy. As with any addiction, recovery from love addiction is a process of self-discovery. It requires taking specific steps: breaking through denial and acknowledging the addiction; owning the harmful consequences of the addiction; and intervening to stop the addictive cycle from occurring. Ultimately, love addicts must enter a grieving process to address the underlying emotional pain that is at the core of the addiction. Love addicts experience withdrawal symptoms. Working with a therapist can help guide the love addict through the process of talking about childhood experiences of abandonment, navigating through the feelings of pain, fear, anger and emptiness that may surface, and releasing old emotions that contribute to negative acting-out behaviors. A solid relationship with a skilled therapist trained in love and sex addiction can help guide the love addict through this process. From “What is Love Addiction?” By Alexandra Katehakis, MFT, CST, CSAT http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/26/what-is-love-addiction/
When one has nothing to lose,
one becomes courageous.
We are timid only when
there is something
we can still cling to.
People develop addictions to shield themselves from intolerably painful feelings. An addiction always creates harmful, often ignored consequences. Only when the addiction becomes unmanageable will people do something about it. Love addicts spend much time, effort on a person to whom they are addicted. Love addicts value this person above themselves, and their focus on the beloved other often is obsessive. This behavior results in love addicts neglecting to care for themselves in a variety of ways, in essence abandoning important aspects of their lives and well-being to stay connected to the object of their affections. Love addiction doesn’t necessarily pertain only to romantic or sexual relationships. It is possible for a person to relate as a love addict with their friends, children, sponsor, guru or religious figure, or even with a movie star, whom they have never met. A love addict’s core fantasy is the expectation that someone else can solve their problems, provide unconditional positive regard at all times, and take care of them. When this unrealistic need isn’t met, love addicts may find themselves feeling resentful, and may create conflict in their relationships with others. Some love addicts find that when not involved in a love-addicted relationship, they are able to care for themselves quite adequately. However, when they become involved, the love addict quickly finds that their self-care capacity steadily declines. From “What is Love Addiction?” By Alexandra Katehakis, MFT, CST, CSAT http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/05/26/what-is-love-addiction/
My fear of
is exceeded only
by my terror
Ethlie Ann Vare
Romantic love is described in idealistic terms as something huge, uncompromising, and without limitations. Statements like “The world has changed, everything is different now,” “Loving him is wonderful; my whole being expands into unprecedented realms,” “I am surrounded by nothing but you” are common among lovers. If “All you need is love,” and “You are everything I need,” then it is difficult to see how love can be criticized as being excessive. Emotions might be harmful when they are excessive. Emotional excess is harmful for the same reasons that other kinds of excess are harmful. As in other emotions, excessiveness in love can impede the lover from seeing a broader perspective. Even normal cases of romantic love tend to create a narrow temporal perspective that focuses on the beloved and is often oblivious to other considerations. Although it is difficult to define what constitutes excessiveness in love, characterizing love as “too much” implies that some damage has been done-either to the lover or the beloved. When intense love blinds our sight and makes us act improperly, people may say that such intense love is too much. A remark such as, “I couldn’t help it, I was madly in love with her,” indicates that sometimes love can be excessive. From “ Loving Too Much” by Aaron Ben-Zeév http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-name-love/200908/loving-too-much
People always think that the most painful thing
is losing the one you love in your life.
The truth is, the most painful thing
is losing yourself in the process
of loving someone too much,
forgetting that you are special too.
A serial monogamist is a person who has many sexual partners in his or her lifetime, but only one at a time. He or she will seemingly form what looks like a lasting commitment to one person, but the commitment is usually only superficial. Some such people are incapable of commitment for a long period of time. The partnership can either be through marriage or a more casual relationship. Usually, the serial monogamist is aware of the pattern that he or she follows, and each relationship may be entered into with a how long will this one last? frame of mind. This does not mean that he or she does not try to commit, but it seems that commitment is not something the person feels comfortable with. Fear of commitment and perfectionism play a large part in the thinking of this type of person. Childhood influences typically also a play a large part, and bad role models may give them an inherent fear of commitment. They are unable to cope with the pressure of the family unit for long periods of time and eventually seek their independence once again. If the partnership begins to show problems similar to those witnessed in childhood, then it will no longer mirror the ideal the serial monogamist has in his or her head. Many people think that they can be the one to change the serial monogamist’s way of thinking, but this is sometimes a futile effort. http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-a-serial-monogamist.htm
We are the inheritors of a wonderful world,
a beautiful world, full of life and mystery,
goodness and pain. But likewise are we
the children of an indifferent universe.
We break our own hearts imposing
our moral order on what is,
by nature, a wide web of chaos.
For whatever reason, some people choose to stay in relationships that are no good for them. In many cases, even those who do end an unhealthy partnership have extreme difficulty letting go. They struggle to move past where they once were and have trouble starting over. There is an overwhelming fear of never having anything better than what you had with your partner. The feeling stems from a low self-image… In many instances, people whose self-worth are low have long listened to her partner explain that she(he) could never have anything better than what she(he) has now, or that no one else will ever want her(him) like he(she) does. If she(he) doesn’t feel that she(he) deserves better, letting go of even a bad relationship can be impossible. Fear doesn’t need to mean that you are afraid of someone or something physically. It can mean that you are afraid of what lies ahead for you. You cling to the bad relationship that you have because it’s what is comfortable to you; even though it hurts you emotionally or physically. Fear will not only keep you from letting go of a relationship, but it will also hinder your ability to let you see yourself as a wonderful and beautiful person. As scary as it sounds, in order for you to let go of a bad relationship, you must look to the future. Envision a life for yourself without the person who made your relationship bad. Find your own true self and independence away from your past hurts. Discover things to do on your own that won’t remind you of the bad relationship; by gaining your own independence, the past relationship doesn’t feed on your new life without the other person. Facing the future can feel impossible if you’re leaving a bad relationship, but staying in a relationship where you aren’t valued, loved or appreciated is far worse than an unknown future. Taken from on-line article by Nichole Smith http://www.life123.com/relationships/issues/breaking-up-moving-on/letting-go-of-a-bad-relationship.shtml
Moving on is easy.
It’s staying moved on
Katerina Stoykova Klemer