Are you addicted to Love?
Addictions are based on emotions. What is more emotionally consuming than a love relationship? When we think of addiction, we think- drugs, alcohol, gambling, cigarettes; we rarely think of an addiction to relationships. Media has glamorised love addictions, passions and obsessions, but such addictions may destroy lives, or even lead to ending them.
How do you identify a love addiction?
An addiction is anything you rely on for normal functioning despite harmful consequences to emotional, physical, sexual, psychological or financial health.
Certain people who have a strong sense of self may have the ability to break away from relationships they identify as abusive or unhealthy, whereas others continue, knowing the relationship is unhealthy and rather painful. Such people may be said to have developed a relationship addiction- an inability to function without their partner, despite knowing that the relationship is damaging. People(especially women) are often drawn to narcissistic partners, where their sense of self is stripped away, leading to an ‘addiction’ to the relationship, coupled with psychological abuse.
Love Addiction Checklist:
(Even through I have used the female pronoun, this applies to both sexes.)
- You harbour a sense of ‘ insecurity’ about the relationship.
- You excuse his behaviour time and again, even though you do not agree with it.
- If he shows any level of disinterest or what you perceive as disinterest, you panic.
- Constant doubts and fears of ‘maybe he doesn’t love me anymore’.
- You fear emotional and mental survival if the relationship stops.
- You know the relationship is emotionally abusive, but you find excuses for his behaviour, or even blame yourself–‘Now I have let go, so things are fine’
- You feel terrified of him getting off the phone or leaving.
- It is an unstable relationship( on-off, hot-cold, emotional polarities)
- Other aspects of your life are suffering.
- You are engaging in activities that do not interest you or mean anything to you, just to be near him, or keep an eye on him.
- You plan your schedule to fit in with his life.
- Your days are based on a ‘relationship thermometer’ hot= good day, cold= bad day.
- You give into unreasonable demands, unclear communication and uncomfortable situations, just to retain the relationship.
- You crave his attention/company, enough is never enough and when you are in his company, you may feel anxious or upset.
- You begin to contact friends, acquaintances, family, to get info on him or get their reassurance of his commitment to you.
- You begin to exhibit behaviours that you normally would not condone in another, or deem as insulting, but you can’t “help it”. A common complaint is “ I want to but I can’t”.
- You lie to yourself about the sacrifices you are making, thinking it is all a part of ‘showing love, affection and care’.
- You believe that with adequate ‘loving’ he will change.
- You feel you can make the relationship work just by sheer will. In the bargain, you become more controlling, defensive and blaming.
- You need him to always be available, and any perceived abandonment sends you into a flurry of mending or accusing.
These feelings may occur in all relationships. We do not want to lose the one we love, but there is a difference between constant pain and occasional pain. You are the best judge of your situation.
What can you do now?
- Claiming your Self
- Developing your power, interests and personal mission,
- Processing and healing the emotional issues that led you into painful, abusive and addictive relationships
- The development of healthy belief systems, healthy boundary function and healthy self-esteem to eliminate the need to attract or sustain a painful, abusive or addictive relationship.
This is a process that requires support, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. The world is interdependent and at some point, we all need one another.
Remember, love isn’t pain. It is an emotion which sustains, nurtures and supports. No relationship is perfect, but if a relationship is harming your life, it’s time to pause and check in with yourself.
May you find peace and love in your life.