My favorite quote right now is: "The light at the end of the tunnel is not an illusion. The tunnel is."
The same can be said for being addicted to love. Love is not the illusion. However, being addicted to another person is. The belief that another person's "love"can give us self-esteem is flawed. Especially since the result would be having other-esteem, not our own. It is important to explore the definition of love addiction; the most recent of which entails "a condition characterized by severe, pervasive and excessive interest toward a romantic partner" ("Love Addiction….", 2014, Medscape.com).
This pre-occupation towards another person is often at ones' own expense, leading to self-deprivation as one obsesses over the other for attention, affection, validation, and love.Love addiction, as is the case with sexual addiction, is considered an attachment disorder, along with a desire to escape uncomfortable emotions and situations associated with one's past.
Adults with love addiction (like sex addiction) typically come from rigid families, a history of emotional, physical abuse or sexual abuse and/or neglect, and have a deep-seated feeling of being inherently flawed.
Do you find yourself addicted to someone in the name of "love"?
You may not feel addicted, perhaps, but you may find yourself pre-occupied with someone else. Whatever is the case, ask yourself, "What is my preoccupation with another person really about? Can they give me the love, validation, acceptance, I crave? Or does this desire come from someone or something in my past that I need to explore and resolve?"
When folks tell me that their current addiction to another person has nothing to do with their past, it is evident that they are in denial. After all, if one comes from a healthy childhood, they will more often than not demonstrate that which was learned~healthy behavior~ in their relationships. Our own sense of shame, the belief that I am bad, leads us to seek out people, situations, and things to help us feel better and often escape our pain.
In the case of someone that is love addicted, the person of interest becomes like a drug. Without them, one experiences withdrawal, feelings of irritation, often irrational, racing thoughts, severe anxiety, depression, and in some cases, destructive and dangerous behavior.
If you feel like you are addicted to love, there is hope. There are things you can do (besides jumping into another relationship) to heal from love addiction. Here are some suggestions:
1. Attend individual therapy and begin exploring unresolved childhood issues. 2. Read a book on love addiction (Pia Mellody's book Facing Love Addiction is wonderful). 3. Attend a support (SLAA for example) or therapy group to develop healthy intimacy skills 4. Explore the anxiety that comes up when you are not around your person of interest; process your feelings with a safe person. 5. Learn tools for self love and self care (this takes much practice and is often learned in therapy). 6. Create your own hobbies and interests (i.e., exercise, yoga, social groups) 7. Learn skills for detaching and having healthy boundaries. By detaching you will start to learn healthy ways of attaching.
And as always, know that:
You are Worth It.
*Your worth is not dependent on another's approval of you. You are of value simply because you exist in this world.*
*Join Candice Saturday, June 14th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for her annual Healing Financial Disorders Seminar. Tuition is 4 payments of $50 starting the day of the seminar, or $175 if paid in full by June 14th. Free book included. Two seats left! Email Candice today!