I believe what the brilliant author and spiritual leader Thomas Moore asserts: that most addictive behavior is a misinterpretation or distortion of our soul's longing. And I have come to notice over the years that when we don't really know who we are, what we want and what we feel, we don't know what we need.
We are far more likely to succumb to those potentially destructive, unconscious, programmed behaviors we learned as kids to temporarily alleviate or quench those longings. Behaviors we adopted as a means to comfort ourselves, in particular the ones closely associated with being externally referenced that fall into the "object love" category — which many times sets us up for addictive relationships when unchecked.
Repetitious behavior in and of itself is not inherently bad; we count on some of our repetitive behaviors to create success. It's when repetitious behavior is deleterious or destructive that we need to be concerned. At which point, if we can catch it, we have an invitation for self-inquiry and deeper examination. We can take an investigative look at what we really long for or need. Then we can choose conscious, healthy ways of giving ourselves just that, so we can avoid harming ourselves and anyone else any further.
I know, how boring! Bring me the drama, I like the bad boys and the tortured souls, it's so much more interesting and fun. Maybe …temporarily. I would argue that in the long run it's depleting and soul-sucking and often proves to be dangerous. If you think you might be one of the hundreds of thousands of people affected by relationship addiction each year, here's a quiz that may help you tell:
- Do you feel a kind of high when this person calls or makes contact with you?
- Does your attraction seem somehow bigger than you?
- Do you feel agitated or restless when you don't know where they are?
- Is there a sense of the forbidden in the relationship?
- Do you find yourself doing (or not doing) things you normally would (or would not) with this person?
- Have you found yourself increasingly rationalizing their actions or behavior?
- Do you feel more insecure or suspicious than usual, in this relationship?
- Do you find yourself trying to be sexier, more accommodating or agreeable, in hopes of holding this person's interest?
- Does this person display behaviors and values that you find dissimilar to your own?
- Do you know deep inside that this person isn't right for you but something keeps you there?
- Do you feel empty or ultimately unfulfilled by this person and the relationship as time has gone by?
- Has the relationship negatively affected any of your other relationships with children, family or friends?
- Do you, despite knowing the relationship is unhealthy or even a dangerous relationship addiction, keep finding reasons to stay? Keep reading ...