Seven Deadly Sins Of Love Addicts.
You might have heard of the saying, People would rather talk about their sex life than their money problems, referring to how the topic of money is entrenched with so much shame and calcified fears in our culture.
I felt the same way about love addiction. I think I would have felt less shame if the words I had to speak were, “Hi. My name is Banu. I am a cocaine junkie.” It was what it was, and giving it a Greek name was not going to change the inner work I had to do to break free from it.
The patterns in my thinking and behaviors were very important to become aware of. Because, even though they weren’t the reason for my addiction, they were showing me how the addiction was manifesting in my life.
This way, I could see the patterns and work on healing them, instead of becoming a victim to them for the rest of my life.
After getting real with my addictive patterns when it came to romantic relationships, I identified seven basic patterns in love addiction that were true for me and for the people I worked with.
I hope that the realities I have discovered and share with you pave the way for healthy relationships based on equal power for you.
1. We are attached to staying in the puppy love stage. When we see the other person through the eyes of addictive love, we actually only see, know and experience what fits our template of the dreamy, perfect partner that was shaped by our personal experiences and cultural conditioning.
For it to turn to mature, conscious love, we need to be able to see them and love them as who they really are. This includes their negative traits, stinky socks left on the floor for three days, or their laziness.
In a non-addictive, romantic relationship of two equals, love means giving the other person the gift of seeing and loving them as a whole person.
The best way to recognize if you are attached to staying in this stage is by paying attention to your emotional responses when romance and the sex start fading away and you don’t know how to close that gap with intimacy.
Do you feel anxiety and panic? Do you go out and buy new clothes, get a new haircut or try to find an external solution to it? Those are signs to pay attention to.
2. We create a power differential from the get-go. We get lost in fantasies about a better, more exciting, more secure, more something future, with them in it. Your thoughts may be consumed by what you will experience with them, rather than what you hope to get out of life and give back to it.
When our future happiness depends on experiences that this person will bring to our life, that is a sign that we think that this person will offer us what we currently don’t have. That automatically creates a power differential between two people who are supposed to be equals in a relationship.
This fits with the addiction model. In any addiction, the person temporarily gives their power to feel good to the hands of the addiction (substance, person, work, internet, shopping, etc). We all know how well that turns out.
3. We confuse intimacy with romance. The relationship is full of addictive fixes — some of which the love addict recreates on their own by reading old emails, listening to old messages, talking about the love object any chance they get, etc.
Love addiction prevents intimacy because you can’t look behind the image you are in love with in your mind. If you think about it, this is unfair to the other person because they are not loved and adored for who they really are, they are adored because they fit your love template.
If we aren’t allowing the other person to safely reveal who they are, then we are not loving them, we are using them to fill a void in our lives.
Romance essentially is a set of words and behaviors towards the loved one that makes them feel special and creates excitement for both people. Intimacy requires honesty and vulnerability. Intimacy is not exciting in the same way and does not produce the same kind of high.
Intimacy is like the foundation of a house, whereas romance is the beautiful crown molding.
4. We set ourselves up for disappointment. Just like any other addiction, we have moments or days when we come down from the high created by romance. We are faced with the reality of our lives that we’ve been escaping by fixating on our love object.
Love addiction is about being in love with being in love. It is about the thrill of the peak emotion that we try to re-create and get addicted to.
That, of course, leads us to the opposite of that feeling we seek to re-create. Loving a fantasy person leads to disappointment, resentments and unhappiness. The love object can never measure up to the standards of the ideal man/woman that is in our mind.
Now, we have set ourselves up for disappointment because a person will not be able to make their negatives disappear to be able to stay in the romantic image box we have created for them.
5. We lose our authenticity to match the image we have created. We have to be perfect to be worthy of this dreamy partner we have. We lose connection with our core self.
We forget to ask ourselves Who do I want to be? and live up to that. Instead, we ask Who does (s)he want me to be? and override our own desires and needs in the moment.
We behave the way we know they like or lavish them with gifts and compliments with the hopes that the adoration will come back to us.
6. There is a predatory angle to love addiction. We enjoy the chase, the planning of what we are going to wear or say for the most impact, racking our heads to make meaning of every text, look or gesture… It is detective work. It is our own personal psychological thriller.
Some of us have pretty boring, monotonous lives. Some of us don’t know how to add adventure and excitement into our lives. We seek to escape this boredom (and maybe the indifference) that is slowly invading our lives, by looking for the highs of the chase and keeping our focus on them.
7. We live a life of highs and lows. Just like any other addiction, we have moments or days when we come down from the high created by romance. We are faced with the reality of our lives that we’ve been escaping by fixating on our love object.
In those moments, we turn to other addictions to distract ourselves, which cause us to neglect our responsibility for our own happiness.
Why are these seven patterns problematic? I have discovered three good reasons:
* They rob us of the pleasures and the lessons of the present.
* They create serious blocks to intimacy and personal growth.
* We lose personal power when we stop living according to our authentic responses in the present.
The only place to affect anything is the present. This is why breaking our addictive patterns, especially in relationships, is crucial. So we can take our power back and use it to create a life we are in love with first.
Maybe you identify with some or all of the above, and feel inspired to start the process of change towards healthier relationships. If that’s the case, begin by getting real with yourself and recognizing how this pattern is actually depriving you off of a real connection.
The kind of connection where your whole self is loved and accepted, and where you experience the joy of offering that to the one you love.
Give yourself the gift of conscious, mature love between two equals.
Banu Sekendur is an intuitive coach and a healer. Her passion is removing mental, emotional and energetic blocks that hold people back from the ultimate joy of living. You can connect with her on Facebook and her website.