Quitting And Handling Withdrawal
Seeking Relationships With Unavailable Partners
If you continually find yourself in situations where your partner is either married or emotionally unavailable, its important to look at that pattern. Some people who struggle with love addiction subconsciously seek out people who can never fully return their love or be there for them in a full romantic relationship as a way to protect themselves. Although this seems counterintuitive because its actually setting them up for pain, the love addict doesnt see it and is often driven by a subconscious, self-destructive drive. Just as alcoholics will still drink too much even when they know the horrific consequences, love addicts will engage in self-destructive behaviours that they cant seem to stop without help. Psychology Today says that love addicts need to learn self-soothing techniques as well as how to stand alone.
I Stayed Single For The First Year Of My Sobriety
I used to believe that having a partner made me a complete person. I attached myself to a partner in an attempt to feel whole. To break this pattern, I stayed single for the first year of my sobriety. Schaeffer describes addictive love as an attempt to satisfy our developmental hunger for security, sensation, power, belonging, and meaning. I had to find that type of satisfaction within myself. I could not find it in another person. I began to welcome loneliness as a friend, and eventually, I stopped feeling so lonely even when I was alone.
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I Built Healthy Relationships With Other Females
One morning as I sat in my psychiatrists office at treatment, he told me that one of the best ways to measure the health of a woman was to look at her relationships with other females. In that moment, 30 days sober from substances and still active in my love addiction, I had no healthy relationships with females.
It wasnt that I never had strong friendships with females, because I did. However, men brought on the familiar rush of heightened euphoria and increased dopamine levels, which was eerily similar to an amphetamine high. I had to back away from that compulsion and surround myself with females. I moved into an all-female sober living home and lived there for a year. I stopped hanging around men and started to build healthy relationships with females. At this point in my love addiction, it was important for me to avoid temptation and start to understand the power of female support and friendship.
How To Get Rid Of Love Addiction
The reasons for addiction tendencies usually lie in childhood trauma. And if you notice that in building relationships with the opposite sex you are playing the same painful scenario solve the issue globally, contact a specialist.
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To Get Free Of Love Addiction
To get free from love addiction, we must clearly understand how deeply the cravings for love penetrate our hearts. Its what comes out of our hearts that affects everything else we do. There is no deeper emotional desire we have than to love and be loved.King Solomon, whos been called the wisest man in the Bible, said,
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
Emotionally, our hearts are extremely fragile and can be easily hurt, therefore sending us in the wrong direction of life. Our innermost being started out as a beautiful creation of God, but with wrong choices we can easily trash it and leave it sick and in great need.Picture in your mind for a moment a beautiful white carpet . Then picture someone coming into the room where the white carpet is, and throwing garbage, manure, and staining paint all over the carpet. The white carpet was never designed to be trashed like that. Something beautiful has become disfigured. That is a lot like our hearts. We, and other people, do not guard our hearts and therefore they become stained and damaged.
So where does the healing for love addiction begin? It begins by admitting our hearts are priceless, and affect every area of our lives. We must make a commitment to protect our hearts and not just throw them away looking for love in people and places where love cannot be found. Let us all respect our own hearts.
Types Of Love Addiction Dynamics
People facing love addiction have several ways of showing up in such unions. Susan Peabody, known for her writings on love addiction cites 4 main types of love addicts:
- Obsessed/obsessive love addicts
- Narcissistic love addicts
- Ambivalent love addicts
Obsessed love addicts struggle with detaching from partnerseven if the relationship is no longer healthy, or the partner is emotionally distant. Next, the codependent love addict uses their partner for their source of self-esteem and self-worth. They people please in relationships, hoping to get validation from their significant other. If the other partner is codependent, it may not be a problem early into the relationship, but resentment can build if the partner seeks a more emotionally independent partner.
Lastly, the ambivalent love addict avoids true intimacy. They can function as the one who holds on to past loves, engages in one-sided relationships , and can sabotage their relationships. Furthermore, they are addicted to the illusion of relationships but may run away or be inconsistent about getting close in relationships. Any of these models of love addicts can use sex to maintain unhealthy attachments, lie, manipulate, play out past relationship dynamics, or even threaten themselves or their partner if they decide to leave.
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How Can Someone Recover From Love Addition
The first step in recovering from love addiction is to recognize the problem. Like fighting any addiction, the process can be challenging. Feelings of withdrawal may arise. Recovering love addicts may have to face unresolved childhood pain. However, with help, people can break the pattern of love addiction and go on to form truly fulfilling and close intimate relationships.
Many people find help by entering a 12-step program for love addiction. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous offers meetings worldwide.
According to Pia Mellody, there are four phases of recovery from love addiction.
- The first step is to address any other addictive processes, such as alcoholism, eating disorder, etc.
- The second step is to disengage from the addictive part of the relationship process.
- The third step is to find a therapist, if necessary, to help deal with unresolved childhood pain. Mellody explains, In my experience, most people who recover from toxic relationships as adults first need therapeutic help with their internal residue of unresolved and harmful feelings from childhood.
- The fourth step is to work on the underlying co-dependent symptoms.
If a recovering love addict is not currently in a relationship, it is very important that they pay close attention to the type of partner they may be drawn to when entering a new relationship. Otherwise, they may repeat the same destructive relationship dynamics.
Finding It Hard To Set Boundaries
Billy Joel may have sung about going to extremes in relationships, but if you consistently go over the line in real life, serious problems may be brewing. The solution? Setting boundaries. Unfortunately, the term boundary can seem like a scary thing for a love addict it may inspire thoughts of keeping your partner separate from you. However, healthy boundaries actually bring people closer together because it empowers them to show a mutual respect for each other.
Boundaries can be literally anything that you need in your relationship to feel good. For example, you may get irritated if your partner calls you a certain nickname. However, if you have a love addiction, you may irrationally fear that your partner will leave if you explain that you dont want to be called the irritating nickname. Therefore, you suffer in silence when your partner would probably be more than happy to accommodate your request. For an example thats a little more serious, experts explain that some love addicts dont turn down sex even if they dont want to have it. They instead do whatever their partner wants. Thats ultimately not healthy for the relationship, and it certainly isnt good for the love addict who repeatedly does things they dont want to do. Part of overcoming a love addiction may include setting firm, healthy interpersonal boundaries and sticking to them.
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I Educated Myself On Love Addiction To Understand My Own Behaviors
I have always been a reader, a knowledge-seeker, the curious type the one who asks a thousand questions and wants to know the answers for all of it. I started buying every book I could that dealt with love addiction. I wanted to grasp the concept of what love addiction was and what love addiction was not. I began to chase answers and solutions.
I developed an understanding of why I was reacting this way to men and why I was consumed by an unhealthy addiction to love. I also found a therapist who specialized in sex and love addiction and began talking more about my past in an effort to overcome both my chemical addiction and my love addiction. I threw the book at it. I started doing the work that would soon change my entire relationship with myself and others, for the better.
Normal Breakup Grief Vs Love Withdrawal
It’s normal for people who experience the loss of a relationship through divorce or a break up to experience a grieving process–feel hurt, pain, abandonment reactions, sorrow, and heartache.
There might be a sense of failure, hopelessness, loss, despair, fear, or desperation. They will move through a grieving cycle . Eventually, as they move through these emotions, they will come to feel better and heal.
For the love addict and some with an anxious attachment style, the grief goes beyond the normal stages of the grieving process where they get stuck in one or more of the levels of grief, which turns into extremely painful withdrawal.It is not a withdrawal from a drug or alcohol– but an emotional withdrawal.
They ache, throb, and desperately want relief. They experience a deep yearning and obsession to have any connection with their lost partner. Because they identified mostly through their partner’s eyes, they feel a loss of self-identity because the symbiotic attachment is now gone.
Withdrawing from love is life without the medication relied upon– coming down from the unrealistic fantasy to reality, no longer available to numb and deny the self.
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What Is Sex And Love Addiction
Most people assume that addiction always involves alcohol or drugs the reality is that addiction is an illness of the individuals brain and that it is possible for a sufferer to become addicted to almost anythingor anyone. Addiction to sex and love is a common manifestation of the illness just because it doesnt involve a substance doesnt mean it is any less harmful or destructive to the individual sufferer, or to their family and loved ones. Classified as a process addiction, sex and love addiction is often overlooked and the correct treatment can be hard to find. Primrose Lodge offers a comprehensive treatment programme for sex and love addiction. If you or a loved one are suffering, you may want to read on
Finding Help For Sex Or Love Addiction
When a person addicted to love experiences a break-up or when a person addicted to sex cannot express the desired sexual behavior, withdrawal symptoms may occur. These symptoms can include anxiety, depression, mood swings, restlessness, or other symptoms. To feel better, the addicted person will often return to compulsive behaviors.
It is difficult to recover from any addiction without help. Talk to your doctor or an addiction specialist for resources and guidance.
Many problems with emotional intimacy stem from negative relationships and patterns established in childhood. Working with a therapist to uncover and resolve deep-rooted issues, in combination with a 12-step program, offers the best chance for long-term recovery.
Turning Point of Tampa has been offering Licensed Residential Treatment for Addiction, Eating Disorders and Dual Diagnosis in Tampa since 1987. If you need help or know someone who does, please contact our admissions department at , or .
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What Is A Love Addiction
When people were singing along to Robert Palmers Addicted to Love in the 80s, few people knew that love addiction was a real thing. However, it is very real, and many people struggle with this lesser-known addiction. According to Psychology Today, a love addiction can be defined as a maladaptive, pervasive, and excessive interest in one or more romantic partners. The love addict can feel a lack of control, lose interest in other things they normally enjoy, and experience a variety of negative consequences. On the other hand, these are the signs of a healthy, solid relationship.
According to psychologist Erika Martinez, up to 10 per cent of the general population has a love addiction, which is a behavioural or process addiction. Like people who are addicted to food, love addicts cannot reasonably be expected to abstain from giving and receiving love, but they can learn to manage the addictive behaviour. Having just one symptom of a love addiction does not mean that you are addicted to love. However, having a combination of symptoms can be problematic, though a true addiction can only be accurately assessed by a therapist. But if you are experiencing dissatisfaction with your love life, it might be time to take a long, hard look at the patterns in your relationships and see whether any of these classic signs of love addiction apply to you.
What Has Changed For You Now What Are The Gifts Of Recovery
These days the general underlying hum of depression and existential angst has vastly cleared with only ripples remaining as I continue to give back to people and being of service to the community. My mental health and wellbeing have drastically improved not that Im not caught in the endless cycle of torture that perpetuated the pain.
Im now able to form healthier relationships, set boundaries and have become more disciplined. Im more independent and derive my own sense of self-esteem internally. Ive regained self-respect, healed extensive amounts of the pain of previous lovers, forgiven those who have hurt me and have learned to love myself.
As a byproduct of these internal shifts, my recovery has given me the stability and confidence to make much desired life alterations including career changes, new social groups, more travel. Ive been able to move to the beach and built a new, healthier, happier lifestyle and have been able to pursue lifelong hobbies and dreams, such as comedy and videography.
Freedom is possible. Healthy relationships are possible. My life is unimaginably better.
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The Narrow View: Addiction As The Result Of Abnormal Brain Processes
Although scholarly attitudes have been shifting in recent years, the dominant model of addictive drug useamong neuroscientists and psychiatrists, at leastis that drugs are addictive because they gradually elicit abnormal, unnatural patterns of function in the human brain . On this narrow view of addiction, addictive behaviors are produced by brain processes that simply do not exist in the brains of non-addicted persons.
One especially popular version of this view holds that drugs co-opt neurotransmitters in the brain to create signals of reward that dwarf the strength of natural rewards such as food or sex. They thereby produce patterns of learning and cellular adaptation in the brain that could never be produced without drugs . According to this strict account, then, addictive drug-seeking is an aberrant form of behavior that is peculiar to drug addicts, both in form and in underlying function. It follows that natural rewards like food and love can never be truly addictive, and that food-seeking or love-seeking behaviors are not truly the result of addiction, no matter how addiction-like they may outwardly appear.
As we explore in the following section, however, other researchers, notably , have begun to highlight the similarities between addiction and even normal romantic relationships by emphasizing the common behavioral, neurophysiological, and neurochemical signatures of both.