Addicted to the Wrong Kind of Love
Through self discovery, I can say that the roots of love addiction extend back to early childhood. My experiences lead me through years of domestic violence. A history of abandonment, neglect, or inadequate or inconsistent nurturing can lead to love addiction. Like other addictions, love addiction is often the result of insecure attachment patterns. Most love addicts had a parent, or parents, that were not attuned to them as children. They were unable to meet their child/teen’s primary needs for love, connection, and validation. This lack of parental nurturance, or worse, parental rejection, is extremely painful to a child. The child, and later the adult, takes refuge in a fantasy of love to avoid the pain. Love addiction develops when reality is too painful for the conscious mind to manage and so a fantasy version of a loved one and of life with that or another person develops. The love addict’s behavior comes from an unconscious place of pain due to trauma from abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual) and/or neglect that occurred early in life. By focusing on someone else, the pain of trauma and/or neglect is avoided, remaining unconscious.” This is why a love addict’s needs in adult relationships feel so enormous; it’s because they were not met when they were a child/teen.
Essentially, love addicts are attracted to people who are not able to meet their needs. Even though love addicts feel as though they want a close relationship more than anything in the world, they unconsciously choose partners that avoid closeness at all costs. This relationship dynamic creates a toxic cycle that (though very painful) distracts the love addict from focusing on the unresolved pain of their early childhood or teen years. 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. 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. The more that love addicts begin to recognize, articulate and understand their role in this addiction, the easier it is to break the cycle. By understanding their past and resolving traumas from childhood, they can develop more inner security.
Coach Sharon G.