11. Healthy Love encourages us to be ourselves, to be honest from the beginning with who we are, including our faults.
Addictive Love encourages secrets. We want to look good and put on an attractive mask.
12. Healthy Love flows out.
Addictive Love caves in.
13. Healthy Love creates a deeper sense of ourselves the longer we are together.
Addictive Love creates a loss of self the longer we are together.
14. Healthy Love gets easier as time goes on.
Addictive Love requires more effort as time goes on.
15. Healthy Love is like rowing across a gentle lake.
Addictive Love is like being swept away down a raging river.
16. Healthy Love grows stronger as fear decreases.
Addictive Love expands as fear increases.
17. Healthy Love is satisfied with what we have.
Addictive Love is always looking for “more, bigger, better.”
18. Healthy Love encourages interests to expand in the world.
Addictive Love encourages outside interests to contract.
19. Healthy Love is based on the belief that we want to be together.
Addictive Love is based on the belief that we have to be together.
20. Healthy Love teaches that we can only make ourselves happy.
Addictive Love expects the other person to make us happy and demands that we make our partner happy.
21. Healthy Love creates life.
Addictive Love creates melodramas.
We are addicted to our thoughts.
We cannot change anything
if we cannot change our thinking.
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.
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.
Our families helped shape our attitudes about emotions, our abilities to identify emotions, our ways of interpreting events, and our ways of expressing emotions. If you are having difficulties in any of these processes and are trying to change them, you may find it helpful to consider what you learned about them from your family. Many people do not recall being taught “family rules” concerning emotions, but such teachings occurred, whether directly or subtly. A subtle example might be where a parent distanced him/herself from you or left the room whenever you got angry, thus indicating that expressions of anger were unacceptable. In other families a parent may yell, “Don’t raise your voice at me,” suggesting a rule against the child’s expressing anger, but subtly conveying the rule that expressions of parental anger are permissible. Identifying your family’s rules can help you change the ways you experience and express your emotions. Some common examples of problematic family rules include:
– Always treat other people’s feelings as more important than your own.
– Never do anything that might cause dissension or negative feelings for someone else.
– Don’t express anger.
– Use anger to get attention.
– Ignore your feelings, or better still, don’t feel.
– Don’t trust others with your feelings; keep them to yourself.
– Never trust your feelings; trust only your logic.
– Be happy all the time.
As a child growing up you may not have been able to experience or express your emotions in ways different than those prescribed by your family. As an adult you have more options, including replacing those rules which are not helpful. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
All parents damage their children.
It cannot be helped.
Youth, like pristine glass,
absorbs the prints of its handlers.
Some parents smudge, others crack,
a few shatter childhoods
completely into jagged
little pieces, beyond repair.
No matter the quality or quantity of sex, some people remain hungry for more and more sex. It’s as though they are sexually insatiable. Most often, their insatiable sexual hunger is related to deep-rooted psychological factors. Toxic early childhood relationships can influence their sexual hunger in adulthood. Although sex addicts can be male or female, for discussion purposes, I will use the female pronouns here. Insatiable sexual hunger is not really a desire ─an act of will─ but rather a desperate need, a compulsion that is experienced as a craving. The need is pursued like a drug. Although sex addicts are enslaved to sex, it is far from their goal. Rather, the pursuit of sex is in service of a different goal─ to dispel feelings of inadequacy, depression, anxiety, rage or other feelings that the sex addict experiences as unbearable. Like a drug addict or alcoholic, the sex addict relentlessly seeks satisfaction from an external source to palliate an internal pain. Here’s a little of what goes on in the brain of sex addicts. The brain’s dopamine receptors ─ the pleasure-reward system─ is activated during sex, drugs, alcohol, or gambling. In the case of sex addicts who quickly slide down into despair after the sex act, their dopamine receptors are left hungry for more sex. These primed dopamine receptor, thus, crave more sex. A craving is, thus, set up biologically and psychologically. Fixes provide a state of ecstasy, calm, nirvana. Alas the shot of nirvana during the sex act lasts only as long as the magic of sex wears off. Result? The sex addict is rendered emptier, distressed, and fragmented. To quell these painful feelings, she is compelled to resume her pursuit for her next fix. As you can see, the sex act is not borne out of love, but performs the function of a drug to satisfy the primed dopamine receptors. Of no consequence other than to provide the sex addict with a fix, the sex object is indispensable. Rather than desiring a sexual partner, the sex addict craves the sexual object─ her fix. She is constantly seeking to repair early deprivations and to palliate depression, anxiety, self-esteem blows. How do sex addicts recover? Twelve step programs work for some people. For others, I recommend deep analytic therapy that focuses on visiting the past, but living in the moment, learning coping skills, finding internal satisfaction, pursuing healthy passions that fulfill the emptiness. From an article by Frances Cohen Praver, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-doc/200910/what-drives-sex-addict
that you dated
somebody is just
a polite way
of saying we banged
a couple of times.
The term ‘recovering from a broken heart’ usually means that there are still strong feelings and attachments to the person you once loved and whom you depended on. It also may tend to imply that the breakup was not the outcome you desired, leaving you feeling some form of powerlessness. There is probably some underlying message that somehow you’ve failed or that you may not have been good enough in some way. Those who have faced an ending to an important relationship with someone they loved, and perhaps still love very much, can certainly relate to an aftermath of sadness, grief, disorientation, self-doubt, and often a temporary feeling of depression and despair. It takes time for your heart to mend, which usually involves a time of thinking through and reliving all the shared experiences. It takes time to re-evaluate your choices from beginning to end, to look for clues that may not have been apparent at the time. This can mean weeks or months and even years for some, of feeling waves of emotion as your mind revisits experiences that keep getting triggered by your daily activities. One of the most difficult parts of breaking up is getting through the initial shock, sadness and loss. Even those who feel that it was their choice to end the relationship go through a period of feeling lost and confused without their former partner. After all, life has changed drastically and quickly! It’s important not to misinterpret the pain you’re feeling as a sign that you did something wrong when the relationship came to an end. Most people tend to feel that they are in more pain than the other person. It’s a natural part of the healing process to feel this and it means that you are now focused on yourself and what you need, instead of thinking in terms of the other person’s needs. Allow yourself time to engage in recognition of your pain and your loss. The deepness and dependence on the relationship is often rooted in unfulfilled needs from childhood. What seems like a brief relationship may take a year to heal, where a long-term relationship may end and be processed in a relatively short time. There are no real rules for how much time it takes, but it’s a good idea to seek help if the time seems extensive and protracted, beyond what would seem a normal time to each person, or if there seems to be no progress in the healing. From an article by Dr. Judith L. Allen http://www.asktheinternettherapist.com/articles/recover-a-broken-heart/
You will lose someone you can’t live without,
and your heart will be badly broken,
and the bad news is that you never completely
get over the loss of your beloved.
But this is also the good news.
They live forever in your broken heart
that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through.
It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly;
that still hurts when the weather gets cold,
but you learn to dance with the limp.