Breaking free of love addiction/avoidance, by Jim Hall MS (a summary by Pat Evert)
We can break free from unhealthy dependency and live in healthy loving relationships. Addictive relationships significantly diminishes the capacity to experience healthy relational intimacy. Addiction leads to painful relationships, a destroyed sense of self and unhappiness in life.
The love addict feels they need a person in a romantic relationship to feel alive, valued, and worthy. The addict first views their partner in fantasy, as being better than – but later in failure to meet unreasonable expectations. Their partner creates distance by focusing outside the relationship. The no contact rule is a crucial aspect of recovering and regaining your dignity and self-respect; including putting a stop to obsessive thinking of an ex. It’s about taking care of yourself. No more fueling your ex-partners wants and needs while disregarding your own. This is to honor who you are as a human being, honoring your personal wants and needs, and learning to love you is the answer to your problems. The experience of withdrawing from an addictive relationship is a tremendous opportunity for growth.
The Love Avoidant developes defensive coping mechanisms. Once hooked… the Love Avoidant flip-flops, seemingly changing into an entirely different person. They all share a profound fear of intimacy. Too much closeness can literally cause them to feel suffocated, like they are losing themselves. They prefer independence to intimacy. Some love avoidant parents can be too vulnerable and enmeshed – becoming love addicts in relation to their children.
- Partner evades physical closeness- holding hands, hugging, sleeps in a separate bed, etc.
- Partner complains that I am too needy.
- Partner is hyper-focused on independence and self-reliance.
- Partner commonly withholds sex.
The love addict has a strong fear of abandonment, which clashes with a love avoidants strong fear of intimacy. It is important addicts allow themselves to grieve the loss (feel, and validate your emotions; without letting them control you).
We have to first start accepting that we’ve been in fantasy and this is a drug. Breaking denial is what opens the door to authentic healing and recovery, something you and all who are challenged with this problem, fully deserve. Because of impaired boundaries, they are in constant pursuit to merge with their partner; therefore, they become clingy and smother their partners. They aren’t in love with their partner so much as they are in love with sexual acts with their partner.
With relentless and persistent effort in your recovery, you will eventually look back on this experience and will wonder why you were so desperate for this “hit.” You suffer in silence – often feel lonely, unheard, unimportant, or invisible. People in a toxic relationship (thinking they NEED them) are chronically dissatisfied, embittered, and unhappy. Self-care is a key component to a healthful life and relationship happiness. You are not a victim to your love addiction patterns. You have more power than you realize – you have the power of choice. Learn to love and establish a healthy/strong loving relationship with yourself. You are enough just as you are. Your worth is innate and permanent. Accepting all of who you are allows you to be more authentic and relational with others. There is nothing of which to be ashamed. You CAN be free from your love addiction.
Unrealistic expectations – No one can be accountable for our emotional well being.
1. Fear of abandonment… one of the love addict’s greatest fears.
2. Impaired Self Worth and insecurity… false beliefs of victimhood.
3. Unrealistic expectations… more than any relationship can deliver.
4. Boundary impairment… extreme neediness.
We need to learn how to hug our feelings and emotions instead of ignoring, minimizing, or beating ourselves up for having feelings. The person’s one essential contact point with life or their only identity was the relationship. We all were born with inherent worthiness and lovability. With healthy boundaries, we claim ownership and responsibility for ourselves. There’s no quick fix. This is for the rest of your life.
You were born on this earth to honor, respect, and value your desires. This is not selfishness, or egotism, or mean, it is healthy, functional, mature, self-love. It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit! Love addiction withdrawal syndrome is a psychological addiction to a person or the fantasy of a person.
Detachment is one of the most valuable things we can do as love addicts in recovery to reclaim ourselves. Detachment means to separate ourselves emotionally when to engage emotionally is not in our best interest for our well-being. Men are left in isolation and on our own to deal with internal distress – and this is very unhealthy.
Let go of unrealistic expectations.
The Oyster (YOU) has the power to change this irritant to something new and beautiful inside of you, the pearl. For love addicts, having a meaningful and truly fulfilling relationship that’s calm and without high intensity feels actually uncomfortable, ‘weird’, and even feels boring. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Addiction confuses love with obsession, neediness.