Do you wonder if you might be in an addictive relationship? Most of us go through at least one addictive relationship in our romantic life. But even more of us will suffer the withdrawal from several of these relationships before we learn to stop our destructive patterns of behavior. Like any addiction, denial can keep us from waking up to the truth of what we're doing.
Why does this happen to so many of us? The addictive behavior has its start in childhood where many of us experienced a lack of emotional support. That, when coupled with other influences, can make us grow up as desperate and needy women longing for male attention. This is the perfect storm to create a victim of addictive love -- feeling at the mercy of men as we try to get our dependency needs met.
How do you know if you’re in an addictive relationship?
- You cling to the relationship even though intellectually you know it's not what you want.
- You feel a sense of panic and physical anxiety when you start to leave and you end up running back for relief.
- Your friends and family encourage you to leave him and you agree with their reasons why, but when away from their influence you forget or dismiss everything they've said.
If these resonate with you, you have a choice but you might not see it yet. Part of any addiction is denial. Things usually have to get so painful that we have to "hit bottom" before we can see the truth of our situation.
Eventually, like any addict knows, the "drug of love" that seemed so strong and euphoric in the beginning loses its potency. We become a little crazed trying however we can to get that initial feeling back. We will manipulate, plot and scheme to get the love we so desperately long for.
We know that if he just loved us more we'd be safe; so we begin to push. We begin to "love" more to get more. We become dependent on their feelings and we start to chase them. We end up doing all sorts of things we normally wouldn't do or would be ashamed to admit.
Nothing is more painful than a relationship based on emotional neediness. When we're addicted our need for them to love us is all we can think about. We want them so we can feel okay, so we can feel lovable.
The only way out is to stop the denial and to admit we are in an addictive relationship. If we were in control we would not wish this situation for ourselves. We have to get the help we need to wean us off it; whether with a counselor, a Twelve Step meeting, or the right book.
Once released from your addiction it’s unlikely you'll relapse and make the same mistake again. You’ll have the freedom of choice to stay or go, and to change how you show up in your future relationships.