Love addiction is a strong passion, a dependence on a person. Love addiction is not a type of love. It is a type of co-dependency, just like addiction to drugs, alcohol, virtual fortune-telling or slot machines.
Despite this, many people mistake addiction for love. And they sincerely believe that pain is a property of love, when in fact it is a property of addiction. Actually, this is one of the main difficulties in treating love addiction: as long as a person perceives his heartache as a manifestation of his love, he does not want to get rid of it. Because real love is worth the suffering!
There are several forms of love addiction.
- Loss of one’s own individuality and the desire to maintain attachment through the substitution of one’s psychological territory by the partner’s territory. Often the co-dependent gives up his friends, his interests, his goals, and begins to live the life of the significant Other. “Without you there is no me.” The partner is placed in the position of the Parent, the co-dependent – in the role of the Child in the early stage of life, when he is completely dependent on the mother. “I am a part of you.” Here masochistic tendencies can be realized.
- Seizure of the partner’s individuality and his personal boundaries, his psychological territory. The co-dependent himself becomes in the position of the Parent and out of this a behavior characterized by super-control is born. An example of such dependence can be compulsive jealousy. The partner’s right to self-determination and personal choices is not recognized. The co-dependent seeks to maintain attachment through the desire to realize “ideal care”, to become irreplaceable.
- Aggressive destruction of the partner’s psychological territory . “You are only part of me.” Sadistic tendencies can be realized here. Through the destruction and total suppression of the partner’s individuality, the co-dependent seeks to fill the emptiness of his ego, to extend his boundaries beyond himself.
Co-dependent people have difficulty acknowledging their addiction and often prefer to hold on to their ideas of what love is. And they have it equal to suffering.
We cling to those old feelings, even if they bring us suffering, just as alcohol and drug addicts cling to the drug, realizing that they are ruining themselves.Even if on a logical level we have realized that it is not worth trying to win back a partner, that this relationship does not bring happiness, it is not enough. Because on the level of emotions we still want to return to the former relationship, despite the fact that the partner’s behavior clearly does not indicate respect and love for us. Thus, there is a split man: “the mind everything I understand, but I can not do anything with myself.
Why is it “I can not”? Because I do not know how to control my feelings, I do not know how to control myself. Many times we have heard: “Believe the heart, it will not deceive. And in fact feelings are deceptive (read about this in the article Drunken commander, or Where do our feelings lead us). By the way, psychological addiction is more difficult for women, in particular, because women are more susceptible than men to the influence of feelings, more prone to surrender to them completely.
In addition, former feelings for the partner who left us are greatly reinforced by all kinds of fears. It would be more accurate to say that fears and feelings that overwhelm us mutually reinforce each other, a vicious circle. Fear of the future, fear of change, fear of loneliness, fear of the unknown and uncertainty…
Fears, including fear of reality, are a type of intrusive thoughts. They prevent us from living and being happy. So it is important for us to separate ourselves from these thoughts, to realize that these fears, these considerations are not mine. They come from outside, and we don’t need to accept them at all. On the contrary, we need to fight them. Read about this in the article Psychological and Spiritual Methods for Overcoming Intrusive Thoughts.
Learn to control feelings with your mind at all times. Not to allow your emotions to return you to your previous unhealthy and extremely biased attitude towards the situation, and when emotions “attack” your intellect to return you to the already formed (see points 1 and 2) sober view of the state of affairs. To do this, it is necessary to fight against intrusive thoughts, and often you will have to literally switch your attention to something more pleasant and “right” (this is individual).
A very good means of controlling emotions with the intellect is to have a “conversation” between the rational person and the sensual person (meaning the two people who live in each of us). The rational one asks questions to the sensual one, which tries to answer. The surprise for ourselves may be that there will probably be nothing to answer, so the emotional person himself will be forced to admit defeat, that is, reason will prevail over emotion, which is what we are trying to do.
Example: Why do I think that the spouse who left me will come back to me? Is there any logical reasoning behind it? The answer is NO. Then why am I counting on it and thinking about it 90% of the time? You can also keep a similar diary, write your thoughts in it, inspired by emotions, and consider them with a logical eye.
Psychologist Mikhail Kamelev
Love is wonderful. But it is often mistaken for a completely different feeling: love addiction. Unfortunately, it is as widespread as, for example, alcohol addiction. Only they don’t call for treatment, but they write songs about it and powder the brains of TV talk-show viewers. To begin with, let us define the main difference between love and love addiction. Love does not paralyze a person’s life, it is joy. It is a basic symptom. Whether the loved one is there or has flown away to Antarctica for two years, it exists in the world, and that’s already great. Love doesn’t get in the way of having a career and enjoying life. When a man loves, he gets prettier, slimmer, younger, his hair curls, his eyes light up. He, of course, longs to see his beloved by his side. But he doesn’t stop longing for anything else in life. This is exactly typical of love addiction, when the world boils over in the beloved: “I can’t live without him/her, I can’t do anything. In essence, this is the same as alcohol, drug or gambling addiction. Only instead of a drug, there is a living person. And if he or she isn’t there, you’re screwed. “In love” (you will soon understand why we put this word in quotation marks), he loses weight (or fat – who knows), looks haggard, begins to fall ill. He has the most natural withdrawal pains. And he does everything, like an addicted alcoholic, just to see his “beloved. He calls 50 times a day, waiting outside his house, writing letters, imposing. But the main symptom: love addiction is always pain and suffering, even when the “beloved” is there, it’s still pain. It is a physical attraction to the object of passion, the desire to literally glue itself to him and not to let him go anywhere and never. By the way, if you listen carefully to songs about love, it turns out that they are all just not about love, but about. right, about love addiction. And why? It’s simple: the more passionate the songs, the better. Quiet, calm and joyful love on this background is simply boring. It has, as the professionals say, “no theme to the song.” By the way, it is also possible to distinguish addiction from love by creativity. The “addicts” write about how bad and difficult it is for them to live without their beloved, how they want to die of love, etc. Normal lovers write about how they feel good that such a bright feeling has come into their lives.
Addiction flares up immediately and very brightly. The addict doesn’t trust the one he loves. He is afraid of being abandoned. Everything is on nerves, on suffering. At the same time, the addict wickedly notices the faults of the beloved. And in general he is a little angry with him. But he strives for him with all his strength. To give it all. Ready to sacrifice himself, just to be appreciated and to give him a glance. Love addiction, by the way, is also sometimes mutual: when both are dependent on each other. And one day they begin to hate each other for this unfreedom.
There is a psychological “risk group” of people potentially susceptible to love addiction. These people are unable or unwilling to make decisions until they consult those around them. It is hard for them to be alone. In relationships, they often fear being abandoned. Overly sensitive to criticism, willing to submit to others and agree with them out of a desire to be liked. Because they are very afraid of rejection. They are insufficiently confident in themselves, tend to diminish their merits and fixate on their shortcomings. Most likely have some other addiction: alcohol, drugs, food, gambling addiction, from tobacco.
“I feel bad with him, but it’s even worse without him.” What is a love addiction and how to get out of it
Dependent relationships make people suffer and can lead to depression.
Mila Grigorieva I work at the Center for Public Health and know everything about healthy lifestyles. I also study psychology, run a blog about taking care of curls and I love to write texts.
In movies and books, we often see characters build relationships through pain and suffering. But romantic stories are not always healthy. And while any couples face some form of hardship, suffering doesn’t have to become a pattern.
Love addiction (also called “love addiction”) is the uncontrolled attention to the other person, the constant concentration of thoughts on him or her and the showing of concern at the expense of one’s own interests. It is just as much an addiction as a drug or alcohol addiction. The whole life of an addicted person is defined by this relationship, he may even experience withdrawal when his partner isn’t around. His physical and emotional state is directly affected by what is going on in the couple.
Of course, everyone decides for himself how to build his relationship. But it is important to understand that an addictive relationship causes a person to suffer and can lead to depression. According to studies, women are more prone to such addictions than men.
Research also suggests that certain categories of people are more likely to become addicted to something because of personality traits. You may be prone to forming addictive behaviors if you find the following traits in yourself:
Signs of love addiction
A healthy relationship between two adults and self-sufficient people does not require complete dissolution into each other. A relationship is a voluntary decision by people to be together. At the same time, separation, work, hobbies do not prevent each partner from feeling happy and full of energy.
By comparison, you can call a relationship healthy if:
Love addiction marker phrases
I found out that my husband was cheating on me two months after we were married. I was hurt and resentful, but I could not leave him. Because I could not see myself without him. I couldn’t imagine him belonging to someone else. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or work properly, because I was thinking about my husband, imagining him with another girl, digging inside myself: “What is wrong with me? Why is he doing this to me?” There were times when I would pack up and leave, but he would bring me back.
I remember my thoughts, “I feel bad with him, but it’s even worse without him.”
We were married for almost four years. During that time he had relationships with at least four other girls. The relationship between us was getting more toxic by the day, it got to the point of him being violent.
Studying psychology helped me to understand that the relationship was unhealthy. One day a friend called me to a free lecture by a psychologist on how to build harmonious family relationships. I began to go to lectures regularly, even called my husband with me once, but he said, “I do not need it, I already know everything. Even then I realized that only I needed this relationship. I began to read more about types of love and the signs of a healthy relationship. And I realized that my relationship with my husband was not healthy.
Many times I thought about seeing a psychologist, but I did not dare. Now I regret that I didn’t. I think a specialist would have helped me deal with the problem much faster. And for a year I couldn’t dare to break off this relationship.
It also helped me a lot to talk to my family and friends. I kept quiet for a long time about what was going on in our couple. But when I started to open up to my loved ones and tell them what was going on, it was like everything fell into place in my head.
I did a lot of work on myself to realize that this was not love, and that I needed to get out of the relationship.
We’ve been divorced for a year and a half now. I have never felt so confident and free. I am trying to build a healthy relationship with another young man. I have learned that you can only be happy in a relationship if you are happy with yourself. In a normal relationship, both people are self-sufficient and develop in their own directions. Each of us is an individual and we are not dependent on each other.
What to do if you see signs of love addiction
Zoya Egorova, a practicing medical psychologist at the Tomsk Regional Center for Public Health and Medical Prevention, helped us answer this question.
1. Admit to yourself that you have a problem. Only then will you be able to begin to solve it.
2. consult a psychologist. Remember that it is not a shame to go to a specialist! Psychologist will help you look at the situation from the outside, because we are very difficult to objectively assess themselves. The psychologist has a baggage of knowledge, experience of other clients, this will help you through joint efforts to solve the problem. Regard the psychologist as a competent interlocutor to whom you can tell the most intimate things, which no one else will know.
3. Work on your self-esteem. For this purpose, you can keep a diary of your achievements. Write down in it even the smallest successes. We often do not notice how many important things we do, how many obstacles we overcome, how many fears we cope with. Try to focus on your strengths, learn to appreciate and respect yourself. Make it a habit to keep a diary every day and write down at least five achievements a day. This will help you learn to think positively and appreciate everything you do.
4. Learn to express and share your feelings. Don’t try to be “comfortable.” Talk about what you are thinking and feeling. Talking out our emotions to someone or even writing them down on paper helps us understand them better.
5. Learn to set your personal boundaries. Inner freedom is impossible without clear boundaries. Boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Become aware of your self, your personality. Realize that you are self-sufficient and you don’t need anyone to be you.
6. Love yourself. Remember that you are the most precious thing you have. And if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else can.
These steps are not done in one day. Try to move forward gradually and don’t hesitate to ask for help.
Where to get free psychological help
Single helpline . You can get psychological help by calling 8 800 333-44-34. Calls are free throughout Russia.
Emergency psychological help of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia . This is a portal where you can ask a question to a specialist without registration. The answer can be seen by all users of the site. If you register, you can get a personal consultation with a psychologist, undergo psychodiagnostic online testing or use exercises that will help to adjust your way of thinking or behavior. In addition, the Russian Emergency Ministry has a psychological hotline: 8 (495) 989-50-50. All consultations are free and anonymous.
Moscow Psychological Aid Service for the Population. Distance counseling is available not only to residents of Moscow. Consultations are conducted online (by preliminary request), by e-mail, and on the forum of psychological support.
The charity project “Helping Others – Helping Yourself” . It employs psychologists with disabilities. You can get help by correspondence or via Skype. Psychologists work on weekdays from 12:00 to 15:00 Moscow time.
There is also a program called Love Addicts Anonymous (ALZ or LAA – short for Love Addicts Anonymous), which brings together people who want to get rid of compulsions. LAA offers a 40-question love addiction test and a list of books to help overcome love addiction.