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Aubrey Hammack

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Addictive Relationships
by Aubrey Hammack   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, April 26, 2007
Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2002

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Dealing with relationships that are addictive.


Sometimes we get ourselves into relationships that are extremely addictive and they are bad for us. We know it yet feel helpless to do anything about it. Many times there is a lot of love and commitment in this type of addiction. But to be genuinely loving and committed, one must freely choose another person.

 Ken Keyes in his book on A Conscious Person’s Guide to Relationships states that addiction means creating emotion-backed demands in my head that dictate what my partner should say or do—it means “ownership”. Involvement means that I choose to share a large part of my life with my beloved and build a mutual reality together. Addiction makes me impose a lot of emotion backed models of how my partner should be for me to let myself be happy.

Now one of the major points of addiction is compulsiveness, which limits freedom. A person that is addicted will be limited as well as his or her partner. In addition to the compulsion, panic qualities will be seen. These are present especially when one feels he or she is losing ground or the relationship is ending. When it ends a person will go through withdrawal similar to that of a drug addict when coming off of a drug.

Drug addicts and people addicts do share similarities when breaking the habit. Both of these go through periods of feeling a sense of incompleteness, emptiness, despair, sadness, and feelings of being lost. When the final break is made though, they will feel a sense of liberation, triumph and accomplishment. This is the best part of a bad trip.

 Now longing for someone to be close to is a normal desire that most of us experience. No one is probably so emotionally healthy that we don’t need someone else to complete our lives. But when one person feels such compelling, powerful feelings of love for another that it controls the relationship, then there will be problems.This longing for attachment to others seems to be associated with birth. While in the womb, this longing begins. We have the basic needs to be loved, cuddled, fed, and nurtured. This fusion seems to be such that we spend the rest of our lives in search of someone to replace these needs. We find it in bits and pieces. It comes in many forms: sex, touch, kissing, music, film, and painting to name a few. One of the major ways we find it is through the in-love experience.

People that are addicted come in all shapes and sizes and from a variety of circumstances. They might be married, single or divorced.

 The following vignette will help explain how a married woman might feel with a man other than her husband. She might feel such attachment-hunger that she looks outside her marriage many times unconsciously for someone to meet these needs. Before this takes place, she realizes that she feels unwanted, unloved, rejected, neglected and needy. This has set the stage for her for chemistry to develop between her and someone else. She then meets someone and an affair begins.

 As the affair ripens, she uses different ways to make the relationship continue. Control is a tool that is used in these affairs. There are several aspects of this. They are: power, weakness, servitude, guilt, and jealousy. In the power phase she threatens to leave the lover unless she gets her way. For instance, she might tell him, “I am weak and will fall apart if you leave me. Please help me! In the servitude phase, she feels that she must meet all of his needs because no one else will have her. The guilt stage shows one member saying, if you leave me, I’ll die, fall apart, I’m bad, weak, or threatens to kill oneself.

Jealousy happens to us all. It is based on a fear we will lose the other person and if we lose them to someone else somehow we are no good to ourselves. If the latter is the case, we can easily believe we have lost our love to someone more intelligent, attractive, appealing and worthy than ourselves. If this is the case, the other partner can easily invoke jealousy.What usually happens in these relationships is that one person will be more needy than the other.

How do we resolve it? How do you end this sort of relationship? One of the ways that is helpful is to be open with friends that you really trust with information about what is happening to you. They will usually listen and make suggestions about what needs to be done. It is not that you don’t already know these things. You just need to hear it spoken by someone other than yourself. This is a supportive system.

Some things that you might ask friends are: to listen to me and try and understand what I’m going through, remind me that these bad feelings won’t last forever, remind me that I can live without this person, affirm that I am still an okay person and that you love me in spite of getting myself in this mess, remind me that this relationship is bad for me, and encourage me not to see or call this person anymore.

Another helpful hint is to keep a diary of evens and contacts between you and this person. Document every disagreement, disappointment, and the bad feelings that you have. RE-read these to remind yourself of the insensitive side of this person that you love so much.

 On writer suggested that a person contemplating breaking a love addiction can do so by saying good-byes either verbally or by writing them in a letter but not mailing them. These should include not only negative things but positive ones as well. I feel this is very important for dealing with the grief in letting someone go as we do when someone has died.

These are some things that can help when going through an addiction. Tell yourself, I can live without him or her. A love relationship requires both of you to feel the same way. We need also to remember a loss doesn't last forever. We also need to listen when someone tells us that they want to end the relationship, grasp that he or she doesn’t have to love you, you will not be alone forever and this too shall pass.

These are just some ideas of how, why and what to do about love addiction. By no means is this list of things meant to be inconclusive. There are many intervention techniques.   

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Reviewed by La Belle Rouge Poetess Of The Heart
What a powerfully presented and easily understood article. I'll be back for more valuable instruction.
Reviewed by Sara Coslett
Thank you for this very informative article. ~ Sara
Reviewed by M. B.
Love addiction is the same as Co-dependency. Well written article.
Reviewed by Shelley Moss (Reader)
Well written!!! I am so glad to have come across your area here at AD. Other writers here feel that I should team up with a professional to help expand what I do as well as the other person. Maybe by creating a mental health newsletter or taking both our talents and becoming one. I would like to hear your thoughts on this matter. I thank you kindly for your time!!
Reviewed by William Cottringer
Great article. These types of relationships really test our skills of trying to leave the other person in a little better condition than when we met him/her, beofre we get too contaminated/damaged from their unhealthiness. I guess the key is tough love--understanding and accepting them and then being fair and firm with our own boundaries. We all want to help and nurture other people in need with our love, but when that effort jeopardizes our own well-being, it may be time to consider accepting failure and moving on--not any easy decision. People have done it with me and I have been thankful afterwards. Again, great article.
Reviewed by Jeanette Foresta
I have read several of your articles. Very helpful, thank you so much for sharing your expertise!
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