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
Relationships can break your connection to your family. Relationships can be the ultimate symbol of growing up. They represent starting our own lives as independent, autonomous individuals. This development can also represent a parting from our family. Much like breaking from an old identity, this separation isn’t physical. It doesn’t mean literally giving up our family, but rather letting go on an emotional level – no longer feeling like a kid and differentiating from the more negative dynamics that plagued our early relationships and shaped our identity. Love stirs up existential fears. The more we have, the more we have to lose. The more someone means to us, the more afraid we are of losing that person. When we fall in love, we not only face the fear of losing our partner, but we become more aware of our mortality. Our life now holds more value and meaning, so the thought of losing it becomes more frightening. In an attempt to cover over this fear, we may focus on more superficial concerns, pick fights with our partner or, in extreme cases, completely give up the relationship. We are rarely fully aware of how we defend against these existential fears. We may even try to rationalize to ourselves a million reasons we shouldn’t be in the relationship. However, the reasons we give may have workable solutions, and what’s really driving us are those deeper fears of loss. Most relationships bring up an onslaught of challenges. Getting to know our fears of intimacy and how they inform our behavior is an important step to having a fulfilling, long-term relationship. These fears can be masked by various justifications for why things aren’t working out—but we may be surprised to learn about all of the ways that we self-sabotage when we get close to someone else. By getting to know ourselves, we give ourselves the best chance of finding and maintaining lasting love. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
In the arithmetic of love,
one plus one equals everything,
and two minus one equals nothing.
Love is often unequal. Many people I’ve talked to have expressed hesitation over getting involved with someone, because that person “likes them too much.” They worry that if they got involved with this person, their own feelings wouldn’t evolve, and the other person would wind up getting hurt or feeling rejected. The truth is that love is often imbalanced, with one person feeling more or less from moment to moment. Our feelings toward someone are an ever-changing force. In a matter of seconds, we can feel anger, irritation or even hate for a person we love. Worrying over how we will feel keeps us from seeing where our feelings would naturally go. It’s better to be open to how our feelings develop over time. Allowing worry or guilt over how we may or may not feel keeps us from getting to know someone who is expressing interest in us and may prevent us from forming a relationship that could really make us happy. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
I feel it take over,
It knocks out my wind,
The feeling then lowers,
And it hits me again,
I feel like I’m falling,
This time it’s for real?
Or am I logically stalling?
Afraid to feel.
From “Time To Be Bold” by Dennis
Many of us struggle with underlying feelings of being unlovable. We have trouble feeling our own value and believing anyone could really care for us. We all have a “critical inner voice,” which acts like a cruel coach inside our heads that tells us we are worthless or undeserving of happiness. This coach is shaped from painful childhood experiences and critical attitudes we were exposed to early in life as well as feelings our parents had about themselves. While these attitudes can be hurtful, over time, they have become engrained in us. As adults, we may fail to see them as an enemy, instead accepting their destructive point of view as our own. These critical thoughts or “inner voices” are often harmful and unpleasant, but they’re also comfortable in their familiarity. When another person sees us differently from our voices, loving and appreciating us, we may actually start to feel uncomfortable and defensive, as it challenges these long-held points of identification. With real joy comes real pain. Any time we fully experience true joy or feel the preciousness of life on an emotional level, we can expect to feel a great amount of sadness. Many of us shy away from the things that would make us happiest, because they also make us feel pain. The opposite is also true. We cannot selectively numb ourselves to sadness without numbing ourselves to joy. When it comes to falling in love, we may be hesitant to go “all in,” for fear of the sadness it would stir up in us. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
Your greatest task
isn’t to find love,
but to discover
all the barriers
that you have
built against it.
Real love makes us feel vulnerable. A new relationship is uncharted territory, and most of us have natural fears of the unknown. Letting ourselves fall in love means taking a real risk. We are placing a great amount of trust in another person, allowing them to affect us, which makes us feel exposed and vulnerable. Our core defenses are challenged. Any habits we’ve long had that allow us to feel self-focused or self-contained start to fall by the wayside. We tend to believe that the more we care, the more we can get hurt. When we enter into a relationship, we are rarely fully aware of how we’ve been impacted by our history. The ways we were hurt in previous relationships, starting from our childhood, have a strong influence on how we perceive the people we get close to as well as how we act in our romantic relationships. Old, negative dynamics may make us wary of opening ourselves up to someone new. We may steer away from intimacy, because it stirs up old feelings of hurt, loss, anger or rejection. As Dr. Pat Love said in an interview with PsychAlive, “when you long for something, like love, it becomes associated with pain,” the pain you felt at not having it in the past. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
Love takes off masks
that we fear we
cannot live without
and know we cannot
James Arthur Baldwin
Men show their appreciation through achievements, women through words. In one of my seminars a woman asked, “How do you know how much a man loves a woman? They certainly don’t seem to tell us every day, do they?” I asked my husband the same question that evening. He thought about it for a brief moment and then said, “By what he is willing to do for her.” Plain and simple. In relationship coaching, this issue comes up in almost every session. Men and women show their love differently and not only does this create conflict it also causes huge amounts of pain. Women want to talk to men about their feelings. We create environments of pleasure and relaxation by sharing and talking. It relaxes us. The problem is, it does not relax men in the same way. On the contrary, it creates tension for them and confusion. Don’t get me wrong, men do want to please us, do the right thing and say the right words, they just don’t know how. They only time a man knows what to do is when a woman has shown him how. In most cases, men will remain silent and women will feel hurt. Why is it so painful when a man does not respond with attention, words, smiles, and those little gestures that make us feel better? As women, we are aware of what goes on around us at all times. We pay attention to the mood in a room, to the mood of the people in the room, we smooth out ups and downs in the energy, we smile, we touch, we play and we make sure everybody is happy. It’s a natural flow for us, it is easy and it feels good. We are used to showing our affection that way and it creates a void when a man does not respond in kind. Don’t expect him to be something he is not. You can be angry at your guy for not getting it (and be miserable for the rest of your life) or you can accept him for who he is. It’s up to you. Give him a chance to win. Men like to be heroes and they like to win for you. Let him show his brilliance and have the last word. So many women have to constantly prove that they can do it themselves. It’s exhausting. Give in and relax. Realize how much he wants to impress you, how much he revels in your admiration and enjoy your feminine power. From an article by Karin Lehmann http://shine.yahoo.com/love-sex/why-men-dont-say-i-love-you-and-what-to-do-about-it-481890.html
The most important things
are the hardest to say,
because words diminish them.
1. Love – Development of self first priority.
* Toxic love – Obsession with relationship.
2. Love – Room to grow, expand; desire for other to grow.
* Toxic love – Security, comfort in sameness; intensity of need seen as proof of love 3. Love – Separate interests; other friends; maintain other meaningful relationships.
Toxic love – Total involvement; limited social life; neglect old friends, interests.
4. Love – Encouragement of each other’s expanding; secure in own worth.
* Toxic love – Preoccupation with other’s behavior; fear of other changing.
5. Love – Appropriate Trust (i.e. trusting partner according to fundamental nature.)
* Toxic love – Jealousy; possessiveness; fear of competition; protects “supply.”
6. Love – Compromise, negotiation or taking turns at leading. Problem solving together.
* Toxic love – Power plays for control; blaming; manipulation.
7. Love – Embracing of each other’s individuality.
* Toxic love – Trying to change other to own image.
8. Love – Relationship deals with all aspects of reality.
* Toxic love – Relationship is based on delusion and avoidance of the unpleasant.
9. Love – Self-care by both partners; emotional state not dependent on other’s mood.
* Toxic love – Expectation that one partner will fix and rescue the other.
10. Love – Loving detachment (healthy concern about partner, while letting go.)
* Toxic love – Fusion (being obsessed with each other’s problems and feelings.)
11. Love – Sex is free choice growing out of caring & friendship.
* Toxic love – Pressure around sex due to insecurity, fear & need for gratification.
12. Love – Ability to enjoy being alone.
* Toxic love – Unable to endure separation; clinging.
13. Love – Cycle of comfort and contentment.
* Toxic love – Cycle of pain and despair.
Love is not supposed to be painful. There is pain involved in any relationship but if it is painful most of the time then something is not working. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship – it is natural and healthy. There is nothing wrong with wanting a relationship that will last forever – expecting it to last forever is what is dysfunctional. Expectations set us up to be a victim – and cause to abandon ourselves in search of our goal. If we can start seeing relationships not as the goal but as opportunities for growth then we can start having more functional relationships. A relationship that ends is not a failure or a punishment – it is a lesson. By Robert Burney http://joy2meu.com/codependent2.htm