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
At the beginning of a relationship, an abuser will always say the jealousy is a sign of love. He/she may question you about whom you have spoken to or seen during the day, may accuse you of flirting, or be jealous of time you spend with family, friends, children or hobbies which do not include him/her. As the jealousy progresses, he/she may call you frequently during the day or drop by unexpectedly. He may be unhappy about or refuse to let you work for fear you’ll meet someone else, check the car mileage or ask friends to keep an eye on you. Jealousy is not proof of love, it is a sign of insecurity and possessiveness. Controlling behavior is often disguised or excused as concern. Concern for your safety, your emotional or mental health, the need to use your time well, or to make sensible decisions. Your abuser may be angry or upset if you are ‘late’ coming back from work, shopping, visiting friends, etc., even if you told him/her you would be later back than usual. Your abuser may question you closely about where you were, whom you spoke to, the content of every conversation you held, or why you did something he/she was not involved in. As this behavior gets worse, you may not be allowed to make personal decisions about the house, clothing, going to church or how you spend your time or money or even make you ask for permission to leave the house or room. Alternately, he/she may theoretically allow you your own decisions, but penalize you for making the wrong ones. Concern for our loved ones to a certain extent is normal – trying to control their every move is not. http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/warning_signs.html
Relationships are like glass.
Sometimes it’s better
to leave them broken
than hurt yourself
trying to put it back together.
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
If you are in a relationship, and you recognize that it is heading toward the same negative outcome as past relationships, you can stop the momentum and avoid another tragic ending. You and your partner are most likely collaborating in creating the negative dynamics in your relationship. Not only is he/she the same kind of person you always end up with, it is most likely that you are the same kind of person he/she ends up with, too. Even though there are real qualities we love and admire in the people we choose to become romantically involved with, we must consider that each of us is also making sure that the negative baggage we each carry fits nicely into one another’s undeveloped emotional compartments. Talk with your partner about how your patterns of relating fit together and about how you may be playing out dynamics from your pasts with each other. As you discuss how they play out in your relationship, you will each have ideas of behaviors you can challenge and recognize that your relationship is not doomed. Remember that, in any relationship, you are going to face your own limitations as well as those of another human being. The better you know yourself and your partner knows him/herself, the stronger you will both be in dealing with these limitations. You can both evolve and grow in the relationship. As you each challenge yourselves and give up your old negative identities, you will discover new aspects of yourself and of your partner. Taken from an article by Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/wrong-relationship-choices_b_830989.html
Most people are other people.
Their thoughts are
someone else’s opinions,
their lives a mimicry,
their passions a quotation.
Although some people are more curious than others, it’s very common to have lots of questions about the marital affair, especially initially. If you have little interest in the facts, so be it. However, if you need to know what happened, ask. Although the details may be uncomfortable to hear, just knowing your spouse is willing to “come clean” helps people recover. As the unfaithful spouse, you might feel tremendous remorse and guilt, and prefer avoiding the details entirely, but experience shows that this is a formula for disaster. Sweeping negative feelings and lingering questions under the carpet makes genuine healing unlikely. Once there is closure on what actually happened, there is typically a need to know why it happened. Betrayed spouses often believe that unless they get to the bottom of things, it could happen again. Unfortunately, since the reasons people stray can be quite complex, the “whys” aren’t always crystal clear. No one “forces” anyone to be unfaithful. Infidelity is a decision, even if doesn’t feel that way. If you were unfaithful, it’s important to examine why you allowed yourself to do something that could threaten your marriage. Were you satisfying a need to feel attractive? Are you having a mid-life crisis? Did you grow up in a family where infidelity was a way of life? Do you have a sexual addiction? It’s equally important to explore whether your marriage is significantly lacking. Although no marriage is perfect, sometimes people feel so unhappy, they look to others for a stronger emotional or physical connection. They complain of feeling taken for granted, unloved, resentful, or ignored. Sometimes there is a lack of intimacy or sexuality in the marriage. If unhappiness with your spouse contributed to your decision to have an affair, you need to address your feelings openly and honestly so that together you can make some changes. If open communication is a problem, consider seeking help from a qualified marital therapist or taking a communication skill-building class. There are many available through religious organizations, community colleges and mental health settings. By Michele Weiner-Davis, M.S.W. http://www.divorcebusting.com/a_healing_from_infidelity.htm
Guilt and no guilt:
these were the worst things.
The only thing worse
than the guilt was
the fear of getting caught.
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.
Marriage does not cause Codependency; it is just a place where it is practiced a lot. The roots of Codependency are always in childhood. Controlling, critical, abandoning, abusive and shaming parents and caretakers inflict the wounds in the tender psyches of children that result later in life as the low self-esteem, powerlessness, voicelessness, other centeredness, low entitlement, passiveness and depression that we correctly call Codependency. Many times this damage can seem subtle during the childhood itself. If it is all that you have ever known then what do you have to compare it to? In a healthy family children and teenagers are encouraged to have a voice. They are encouraged to speak up and make their cases. That is a skill that they will need in relationships, in school and on the job down the road. In a healthy family a child gets the focus and the attention and the care that they need. The focus isn’t on dad’s alcoholism or mom’s depression. The parents have the ability to really be there for the kids consistently. Parents can give praise directly to the children and they are lavish with it. Home is a safe and a predictable place. The child does not have to grow up too quickly. They can just focus on being a kid. They don’t become the emotional caretakers of their parents. Women are especially trained in our society to be Codependent, although there are also millions of Codependent men in our society as well. Women are taught to be sweet, supportive, nurturing, gentle, not too assertive and not too opinionated. The message a Codependent gets growing up is that they aren’t quite good enough. They don’t quite rate dad’s attention or his time. They don’t quite measure up to mom’s expectations. They need to try harder. They need to eliminate the self and anything positive that the self could have done for them. They need to live for others. From an article by Mark Smith http://www.familytreecounseling.com/fullarticle.php?aID=278
I have always considered marriage
as the most interesting event of one’s life,
the foundation of happiness or misery.
It’s often obvious that a needy, demanding woman who clings to a man has codependent tendencies. However, a relationship consists of two people, and HE is no less responsible. In fact, his behavior can also be labeled “codependent.” Two people who have codependent tendencies may act in opposite ways: While one is needy and drains her partner, the other may have an enlarged sense of responsibility to his partner, and is overly sensitive to her needs and demands. In fact, people with opposing codependent styles tend to attract each other. These opposing psychological profiles have been termed “takers” and “caretakers.” Codependent relationships are complicated, and they’re often characterized by manipulation, lack of boundaries, repressed emotions, emotional volatility, jealousy issues, verbal abuse, etc. Both partners tend to have complicated back-stories, which often serve to justify abnormal behavior. If you’re a man feeling stuck in a codependent relationship, realize that your happiness is worth the effort it takes to move on. You feel that you’re responsible for her, and it’s your job to make her happy and solve her problems You suppress your emotions and avoid confrontation You have the sense of sacrificing the life you want so that you can be with her and take care of her. You feel trapped at times, and have the sense that you are planning an eventual escape. You feel tremendous guilt at the thought of abandoning her. Being in a codependent relationship makes for a stressful and unhappy lifestyle. And yet, your avoidant tendencies may keep you from following through with a break up or separation. You may be planning to break up for a long time, but you just keep holding off — many men wait years, or even a lifetime, remaining in such a relationship. The longer you wait, and the more time you both invest, the more difficult it becomes. http://www.codependencyfreedom.com/codependency/for-men-11-signs-youre-in-a-codependent-relationship-and-how-to-get-out.html
Fear is the great
enemy of intimacy.
Fear makes us run away
from each other
or cling to each other
but does not create
According to a Penn professor who studies these things, every American man has about a 28 percent chance of being struck by a woman at some point in his life (in related news, the number of girls ages 10 to 17 arrested for aggravated assault has doubled in the last 20 years). And yet no one seems to take the phenomenon that seriously. Maybe it’s because men, generally speaking, are bigger and stronger, and we assume there’s a real limit to the physical damage women could actually inflict. We don’t picture these scuffles resulting in bloody noses and black eyes or a trip to the station house. Furthermore, pop culture has made the idea of a pretty girl whaling on a guy a wacky comedy staple — Angelina Jolie smashing wine bottles over Brad Pitt’s head in Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Cameron Diaz cold cocking Edward Burns in The Holiday were both played for laughs. But the reality of getting hit by your girlfriend isn’t so sexy or hilarious. A male friend of mine — let’s call him Tom — was hit several times by his. “We’d get into these exhausting fights,” he tells me. “Like, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., where nothing would turn the volume down except sex and sleep. With her, everything was fine in the morning, but I was upset for days. She actually seemed to think it was sexy. I remember her showing me finger-shaped bruises on her arms where I had restrained her from swinging at me — and she raised an eyebrow, made a saucy comment. But I was petrified. I was doing stuff like putting the knives up on the very top shelf. For me, it wasn’t fun at all.” But what, really, does it feel like for the guy? First, there’s the shock of betrayal and a palpable urge to hit back. Second, there’s outrage at the presumption that this won’t happen. This is all perceived through a haze of humiliation at the fact that, yes, you got hit by a girl — and it hurt. The experience tends to bring some deep-tissue change to the relationship. “The second time [she hit me], I started to feel threatened by what she could potentially do,” says Tom. “Not just physically but emotionally. I started not trusting her.” In the end, the best reason not to hit your guy is also the most empowering: You don’t have to. You can hurt us way worse with a withering glance and some choice words. Or by banishing us to the couch, where we sometimes belong. From an article by Chris Norris http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/relationship-issues/abusive-women
All violence is the result of people
tricking themselves into believing
that their pain derives from other people
and that consequently those people
deserve to be punished.
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