Relationships as a "Drug of Choice"
It is fairly easy to understand and visibly see a person who is addicted to alcohol, food, drugs, money, or nicotine as these are all concrete substances. But an addiction to love is not easily visible.
Love addiction is something that affects many people. It is not easily recognized or understood as an addiction. Yet it is disabling to those of us who use love relationships as our “drug of choice.”
Many years ago I came upon a book called “Woman Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood. As I read and read, my entire body was stiff but weak. Pieces of my own soul kept oozing from every page.
What is Love Addiction?
Love addiction is defined as “loving too much, when being in love means being in pain, when our relationship jeopardizes our emotional well-being and perhaps our physical health and safety, when we become so obsessed with our partner and our relationship that we are unable to function.”
My Drug of Choice
When I first read the list of characteristics describing someone who loves too much, I was shocked because I related to each and every one of them. I couldn’t believe how addicted I was ~ to love.
For example, “terrified of abandonment, we will do anything to keep relationships from dissolving.” And “by being drawn to people with problems that need fixing, or by being enmeshed in situations that are chaotic, uncertain, and emotionally painful, we avoid focusing on our responsibility to ourselves.”
I found my life entangled throughout the pages of this book. The characteristics really made me take a look at myself. They validated that I was in a lot of pain and that I wasn’t alone.
LOVE ADDICTION comes in many forms: Click HERE to view 40 questions to help determine if you are a Love Addict.
You Could Count on Me
I’ve always been a very nice, kindhearted person. I was a person you could count on. I don’t really have any enemies. Most people like people like me. I was the person who was always there for everyone, yet I was never really there for myself. I thought I could “fix” everyone that came into my life.
The few significant long-term relationships I’ve been in all had the same patterns. My partners were alcoholics and/or drug addicts, emotionally unavailable to me. I worked very hard on a relationship and my partner wasn’t mentally there. I lived in a fantasy of how it could be. I had critically low self esteem and did not know how to set boundaries with others. I thrived on chaos. The more crazy the relationship got, the more energized I was.
When I Was a Little Girl
I watched my mother tolerate my father’s drinking, verbal abuse and emotional abuse. No matter how bad it got, Mom stayed with him “for better or for worse.”
Being the oldest of three girls, I was the daughter who always tried to keep peace. But whatever I tried never worked. One minute we would be having fun and the next we were afraid because we were being too loud. One minute my parents were screaming “I want a divorce” and my mother was kicking my father out of the house. One half hour later, mom was fixing dad dinner. Total confusion. Nothing was ever stable. Nothing was easy to understand.
IS LOVE ADDICTION and SEX ADDICTION THE SAME THING?