Is It Love Or Addiction?
Some people have the discernment required in connecting with others. Many, despite their intelligence, self-sufficiency, and well-meaning hearts, often find themselves in unhealthy relationships.
There was a time that I, too, lacked that discernment. I had to learn the hard way never to ignore the following:
1. Red Flags Waving
We witness behavior that raises an eyebrow, things we don’t ordinarily condone.
It could be cruel, inappropriate, abusive, or manipulative behavior toward another, derogatory remarks, infidelity, and lack of boundaries or respect for boundaries.
Sometimes a person admits to being a jerk, a bastard, or a bitch, and our first instinct is to contradict and thereby comfort them.
Sometimes we think because a person can be sweet and charming to us, we are the exception, the chosen one who will make it all better. We’re not, and we won’t.
2. The Pedestal
Our perception of this person goes from one extreme to another. He or she walks on water or is a monster. We have defined who they are — essentially, a paragon of the ideal.
We decided beforehand how they should behave and respond. It’s not reality-based, and it’s not love. It is obsession — a persistent and disturbing preoccupation with an unreasonable idea.
What we’re feeling has nothing to do with that person. We can’t love someone we don’t see. They are no more than a channel for what we need. An obsession is an addiction. It distorts our perception and impairs judgment.
It comes with denial and control patterns that become manipulation. There is no direct communication about needs and desires. Resentments build, fester, and then erupt into anger.
When reality kicks in, it is a long tumble for that person up on the pedestal to the ground. Unrealistic expectations create devastating disappointment.
3. Unnecessary risks
We are willing to compromise ourselves and our well-being, even when we don’t have to, and sometimes the safety and well-being of others.
We may rush headlong into a physical relationship with little knowledge and a good measure of denial, instead of awareness, education, and caution.
4. Compromised principles
There is unwilling compliance to avoid wrath and rejection. We find ourselves continually compromising our principles and lowering our standards.
5. The Stranger in the Mirror
We don’t recognize ourselves. We don’t like who we are in this situation or relationship, or we don’t like who we are becoming or the way we feel, act or think. We were never this whiny, this controlling, this hurt, this confused.
We sometimes feel like a basket case. At the same time, we have an unbalanced self-esteem. We feel the other person could not possibly want to live without us, even while we find it increasingly difficult to live with ourselves.
6. Goals On Hold
The relationship distracts us from our goals, or seems to have replaced them. It happens in new relationships, but if we are unable to get back on track, or have abandoned our dreams entirely, it’s a problem.
7. Confusion and More Confusion
We don’t know what to believe because our judgment and perception remain clouded.
8. Way Too Much Stress
We are not taking care of business or ourselves. We may feel more paranoid, more OCD, more anxious. People have a lot to work through in relationships.
Stress is normal, but constant stress that renders our lives unmanageable is not.
9. Bondage Without Leather and Chains or That Monkey On Your Back
We try to fight it. We want to be free of this person. At the same time, we want nothing and no one to come between that person and us. We may isolate to have more time to focus on our obsession.
When what we want dangles before us, we can’t resist. When deprived of it, we are sick — mentally, emotionally, sometimes physically.
We may feel we cannot be honest about this relationship or situation with anyone including ourselves.
We continue to want the same thing from this individual, not realizing that after a while, we don’t enjoy it, and maybe we never did, yet we still need it. The moments of comfort and bliss are fleeting. A feeling of emptiness prevails.
It causes agonizing pain for us. We may feel as if we are in bondage, because we are. At times, we can’t stand up for ourselves, because we are somehow at a disadvantage and at the mercy of our obsession.
Here is the question to ask: What is the payoff? Because there is one. An issue that we likely didn’t know we had made us vulnerable in this situation.
We were addicted to at least one thing that this liaison was getting for us, and it’s doing a lot more harm than good.
Love, on the other hand, is good, but to feel comfortable when loving and receiving love in return, we must know we are worthy.
Getting to that place opens another door in the journey of our recovery from past trauma and emotional abuse. Beyond it, more beauty and more joy await us.
“Love isn’t a battlefield; the mind is.” ~ Martin Soulreader
Kyrian Lyndon is the author of Provenance of Bondage, the first book in her Deadly Veils series. She has also published two poetry collections, A Dark Rose Blooms, and Remnants of Severed Chains. Kyrian began writing short stories and fairy tales when she was just eight years old. In her adolescence, she moved on to poetry. At 16, while working as an editor for her high school newspaper, she wrote her first novel, and then completed two more novels at the ages of 19 and 25. Born and raised in Woodside, Queens, New York, Kyrian was the middle of three daughters born to immigrants — her father from Campochiaro, Italy; her mother from Havana, Cuba. She has worked primarily in executive-level administrative positions with major New York publishing companies. She resides on Long Island in New York.