Can you be addicted to love?
For the majority of people, the word 'love' represents a feeling of warmth and closeness. Often, it invokes the ideas of family, home, comfort and security. It can be difficult to understand how someone can become addicted to love, and what a love addiction is, precisely.
When someone falls in love, there is an initial rush of intense feelings. The other person fills their thoughts, they spend periods of time daydreaming, and they recall pleasant memories of their loved, one over and over. In a healthy relationship, this encourages the evolution of the couple's bond by retaining their interest in and fondness for one another, while true intimacy and a lasting love evolves.
For a love addict, they feel a distinct need to constantly be enveloped in those intense feelings and crave an instant connection with their beloved. Often, they are seeking 'the one' who will make them feel utterly complete. They may rapidly go through sequential relationships, never knowing what their true needs are, and placing increasing demands on their lovers to fulfil the wants they have conflated with their needs. Their addiction to love is often combined with other obsessive behaviours and risk taking. Eventually, things will crumble around them and they will be left amidst the rubble of broken relationships and broken hearts.
Love addiction and low self-esteem
Many love addicts have very low self-esteem and they only experience feelings of self-worth inside of a relationship. They may have experienced childhood neglect, abuse, and rejection and think that they can only be considered 'good' if someone loves them. This sort of relationship becomes co-dependent almost immediately, and the addict can seem to begin disappearing into their partner, shedding their personality and anything they feel sets them apart from their lover, in search of a deeper connection. Their depression, anxiety and fear of abandonment creates erratic behaviours, and the inability to create the 'perfect' relationship or be the 'perfect' lover can cause them to question their core beliefs or their lives. They are also at risk of attaching to an abuser because they fear what will happen if that person ceases to 'love' them - their terror at being alone is greater than any fear that happens within the relationship.
When things begin to fall apart for anyone suffering from an addiction, they can enter a very dangerous mindset or state in which they may be harmful to themselves or to others. It is crucial that they receive help before they slip further down the spiral.
At Life Works, a healing plan will be created that includes treating any medical, psychiatric and psychological issues. We will work together to uncover the true reasons for compulsive behaviours and why the person with the addiction feels so empty, and why they must fill themselves with the approval and love of others. Focus is placed on new, healthy coping strategies, and helping the patient create positive relationships and friendships with others. They are also taught how to find value and completeness in themselves.