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The Progression of Love Addiction
. . . The lover says, "I cannot love anyone else, I cannot give up loving, I cannot give up this love, for it would be the death of me and I would die of love." Soren Kierkegaard in "Works of Love."
Love Addiction does not happen over night. It is a progression of events and emotions. People always ask me when romantic love becomes an addiction. The answer is it happens when you cannot let go no matter how hard you try; you have lost all control; you have decided that only this particular person can make you happy. At this point you are hooked.
How fast and how far addiction to love can progress depends on:
⋅ The love addict's level of attachment hunger ─ need;
⋅ The age of the love addict ─ diminishing self-esteem in a youth-oriented culture;
⋅ Failure heaped upon failure ─ mounting fears and diminished hope;
⋅ Level of denial ─ I don't have a problem;
⋅ Level of stubbornness about needing to change ─ I'll die trying;
⋅ Refusal to get help ─ pride;
⋅ Childhood experiences ─ trauma.
In the beginning stage the symptoms are just tendencies. Love addicts still have their health, as well as a moderate amount of self-respect, and they will not hold on to a relationship too long if their needs are not being met.
In the chronic stage the symptoms of addiction to love are a way of life. Love addicts experience one addictive relationship after another and stress-related emotional and physical problems have begun to develop. Also, subsidiary addictions will now start to become a problem because the love addict is trying to find ways to take the edge off of his or her emotional pain.
Dying for Love
As pointed out by Robin Norwood, in her book "Women Who Love Too Much," obsessing in a relationship can not only cause physical and emotional problems, it can kill you. Death may come from stress related disorders (heart failure, strokes, ulcers, etc.), or from the violence that is often a part of an addictive relationship. Death can also come as a result of suicide.
⋅ Childhood trauma occurs;
⋅ An excessive hunger for love first appears;
⋅ A fear of abandonment and loneliness appear;
⋅ Emotional pain becomes apparent;
⋅ A need for relief increases;
⋅ Mood altering experiences are used to relieve anxiety;
⋅ Romantic fantasies become a fix;
⋅ A preoccupation with romance becomes habitual;
⋅ Relationships become a fix;
⋅ Unhealthy dependencies begin to appear;
⋅ An obsession with someone may occur;
⋅ Addictive thoughts and behavior become ritualized;
⋅ The patterns of addiction are repeated and become entrenched;
⋅ Problems associated with obsession and dependency develop;
⋅ Emotional distress appears;
⋅ Health problems appear;
⋅ Subsidiary addictions continue to progress;
⋅ Addiction to love becomes a problem;
⋅ The love addict loses control of his or her life;
⋅ A crisis appears;
⋅ Chronic depression sets in;
⋅ A life-threatening situation develops;
⋅ Danger is imminent;
⋅ Death or intervention occurs.
If you are a love addict reach out for help. There are books, therapy, support groups and God. They all work together to free you and bring you the happiness you deserve.
"Addiction to Love," by Susan Peabody
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