Love Addiction – What is it?
For many individuals, letting go of a relationship or being thrown into withdrawal, feels like the world is coming to an end. We understand that the term “Love Addiction” can be almost impossible to identify with when all you ever wanted was love.
At Five Sisters Ranch, we use the term Attachment Dysregulation. We use this term to highlight the severity of the condition. Love Addiction often results from an Adult Attachment Style that was created by adopting survival patterns in order to tolerate feelings of abandonment or neglect.
Often love addicts will resonate with the term attachment disorder when they start to look at the abandonment and neglect they experienced in childhood. Often when people are challenged with Attachment wounds, the “go to” in a relationship is to cling on because of a deep fear of abandonment and neglect. This unmet longing is difficult to tolerate and can leave one feeling empty and lifeless. Most individuals who simply cannot leave a relationship will stay to try to “get it right” to feed the illusion of “winning”. Individuals who have been left and abandoned are in a destabilizing position – feeling anxious and depressed and unable to show up for commitments, work, and family due to the relational withdrawal.
Most individuals who experience anxiety often find they are relationally challenged with people and situations. People who have anxiety find that throughout the day they are challenged with showing up for their life in a healthy way. Anxiety can create a pattern of addictive relationships and result in being diagnosed with love addiction and codependency.
Most Common Signs and Characteristics of Love Addiction:
- Lack of nurturing and attention when young
- Feeling isolated, detached from parents and family
- Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at any cost
- Highly manipulative and controlling of others
- Unrealistic expectations of others in relationships
- Mistake intensity for intimacy (drama driven relationships)
- Hidden Pain / Denial
- Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
- Inner rage over lack of nurturing, early abandonment
- Sense of worthlessness without a relationship or partner
- Need for positive regard
- Tolerance for high-risk behavior
- Presence of other addictive or compulsive problems
- Using others, sex & relationships to alter mood or relieve emotional pain
- Confusion of sexual attraction with love at first sight
- For some, a tendency to trade sexual activity for “love” or attachment
- Outer facade of “having it all together” to hide internal disintegration
- Existence of a secret “double life”
- Refusal to acknowledge existence of problem
- Tendency to leave one relationship for another. (Inability to be without a relationship.)