Robin Norwood, in her book “Women Who Love Too Much”outlines a ten step plan for overcoming relationship addiction. While this book is directed toward women, its principles are equally valid for men. Stated here (reordered and sometimes paraphrased), Norwood suggests the following:
1- Make your “recovery” the first priority in your life.
2- Become “selfish,” i.e., focus on getting your own needs met more effectively.
3- Courageously face your own problems and shortcomings.
4- Cultivate whatever needs to be developed in yourself, i.e., fill in gaps that have made you feel undeserving or bad about yourself.
5- Learn to stop managing and controlling others; by being more focused on your own needs, you will no longer need to seek security by trying to make others change.
6- Develop your “spiritual” side, i.e., find out what brings you peace and serenity and commit some time, at least half an hour daily, to that endeavor.
7- Learn not to get “hooked” into the games of relationships; avoid dangerous roles you tend to fall into, e.g., “rescuer” (helper), “persecutor” (blamer), “victim” (helpless one).
8- Find a support group of friends who understand.
9- Share with others what you have experienced and learned.
10- Consider getting professional help.
When to Seek Professional Help
A- When you are very unhappy in a relationship but are unsure of whether you should accept it as it is, make further efforts to improve it, or get out of it.
B- When you have concluded that you should end a relationship, have tried to make yourself end it, but remain stuck.
C- When you suspect that you are staying in a relationship for the wrong reasons, such as feelings of guilt or fear of being alone, and you have been unable to overcome the paralyzing effects of such feelings.
D- When you recognize that you have a pattern of staying in bad relationships and that you have not been able to change that pattern by yourself.
Indifference and neglect
often do much more damage
than outright dislike.