February is a month full of romantic ideas. Valentine’s Day puts us in the mood for love. Aisles are filled with traditional heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, cutesy toys and cards for every person in your life. The obvious message is that we all want loving connections. For the person who is vulnerable to addiction, loving connections can be a mixed bag of emotions. Can a person actually become addicted to love? The answer probably can be found by looking at the extremes that a person may go to in order to get their love needs to be met. Early childhood experiences play a very important role in how we feel about love. Every person needs to feel that they are loved and valued in order to be happy. It is when these needs are not met in childhood that problems will begin showing up.
Choosing the wrong partner
The child who was abandoned or neglected will become the adult who will choose people that are emotionally unavailable. The patterns that they experienced in their early years may create feelings and behaviors that leave them feeling neglected. The unwanted child will later seek out relationships that match what they have already experienced. The negative thoughts of not feeling valued will override the possibility of finding someone who will give them the attention they desire. Also, fears of abandonment can play out as behaviors that will guarantee rejection. No relationship can survive a partner who has deep fears and distrust. These negative patterns actually create rejection. For the love addict, fears of abandonment may cause obsession. Stalking behaviors are not only for the criminally mentally ill. Obsessive texting, calling, emailing and even driving-by are signs that you are addicted. Aggressively pursuing the object of your affection will only create more painful feelings and emptiness.
For some love addicts, the thrill comes from avoiding true intimacy. The addict will seek intense feelings outside of their relationships. This is usually played out with other addictions such as sex, substances or even gambling. The addict that avoids love may be avoiding feeling trapped in a relationship. The avoider does not want to be “trapped” in a relationship. They may have been forced to take care of their parents or tolerate an abusive situation out of a sense of duty. Childhood experiences like these can be overwhelming. For the avoider, relationships can feel like suffocation. Love addiction takes hold when fantasy becomes an obsession. Love is not something you can project from your mind onto another person. The rush you feel with the chemical spikes is not loved either. We cannot expect others to love us if we don’t love ourselves. Love of self is the first step towards ending a love addiction. It may be time to seek out the support of a recovery group. As you change your inner world, your outer world will follow. You will become a love magnet as you become a healthy new you.
Northpoint Recovery is a private, highly specialized drug and alcohol detox and rehab treatment center located in Southwestern Idaho. We specialize in helping adults, adolescents, and families affected by substance use who require inpatient and detox services. We accept most forms of insurance, credit cards, and private payment. For More information, please visit us at www.NorthpointRecovery.com