It is possible you are here because your relationships have caused such severe pain, fear, and shame you are unable to cope. Perhaps you feel a sense of desperation to find relief, your usual means of coping falling short. Perhaps you desire a different ending to what seems like the same story on repeat. Whatever it is lets get to the bottom of it and get you on the path of healing.

Is love addiction therapy for you?

Below you will find a questionnaire, take a minute and read through, if you find yourself answering yes, yes, and yes,
you may struggle with love addiction and may benefit from love addiction therapy.

  1. Your partner seemed too good or perfect to be true when you first met, was charming and thoughtful in the beginning and then became cold and distant over time.
  2. You have said to friends before, 'He/She was so charming and thoughtful in the beginning; I don't understand why he/she changed'?
  3. When you are in love, you only see what you want to see. You distort reality to quell anxiety and feed your fantasies.
  4. More than once, you have neglected family or friends because of your relationship.
  5. You have no impulse control when you are in love.
  6. You need constant approval and reassurance from your partner to feel secure and good about yourself.
  7. you tend to use a love relationship to help you feel alive, worthy, and valuable.
  8. When you are in love, you are overly possessive and jealous.
  9. You feel an overwhelming need to check up on someone you are in love with.
  10. You try very hard to be who your partner wants you to be. You will do anything to please him or her—even abandon yourself (sacrifice what you want, need and value).
  11. When you are in love, you trust people who are not trustworthy. The rest of the time you have a hard time trusting people.
  12. When you are in a relationship, you are often described as needy
  13. You have a high tolerance for suffering in relationships. You are willing to suffer neglect, depression, loneliness, dishonesty—even abuse—to avoid the pain of separation anxiety (what you feel when you are not with someone you have bonded with).
  14. You have stayed with an abusive person.
  15. You have blamed yourself or made excuses for your partner's abuse.
  16. You take on more than your share of responsibility for the survival of a relationship.
  17. After long periods of unhappiness and progressively worse abuse, you still hang onto the belief that one day things will change.
  18. You believe if you just hang in there long enough, you can love your partner into being who he or she really is.
  19. Once you have bonded with someone, you can’t let go.
  20. You have been asked by a family member or close friend why you stay.
  21. You feel abandoned when a relationship breaks up, even if you were the one who ended the relationship.
  22. You are terrified of being abandoned. Even the slightest rejection feels like abandonment and it makes you feel horrible.
  23. You have been in so much pain after an unhappy, troubled relationship has ended that you go back when your partner promises to change.
  24. You chase after people who have rejected you and try desperately to change their minds.
  25. You love romance. You have had more than one romantic interest at a time even when it involved dishonesty.
  26. Sometimes, when you are lonely and looking for companionship, you lower your standards and settle for less than you want or deserve.
  27. Sometimes, when you are lonely and looking for companionship, you lower your standards and settle for less than you want or deserve.
  28. When a relationship ends, you feel your life is over and more than once you have thought about suicide because of a failed relationship
  29. Even if you are not in a relationship, you still fantasize about love all the time— either someone you once loved or the perfect person who is going to come into your life someday.
  30. As far back as you can remember, you have been preoccupied with love and romantic fantasies.

Love addiction is painful. No getting around it. The only thing more painful is love addiction withdrawal, as the same chemicals are at work in your body as that of a heroine addict coming down. If you find yourself in this space give yourself a little slack, a little grace, a little self-love as what you are going through is real and gut-wrenching.

But we have a catch-22 don’t we. If you struggle with love addiction you have no idea what your needs are not to mention being able to meet them yourself. That is how you got yourself in this pickle to begin with. You believed someone else was going to come to your rescue, to give you the love, attention, and care you never received as a child.

Wait. How did this become about your childhood?

Let me explain.

Love addiction is born out of childhood relational trauma, either abandonment or neglect (physical or emotional), by one or both primary caregivers, The child suffers from a lack of attunement to his/her needs and subsequently has an over the top fear of abandonment in their adult relationships. They enter adult relationships with the fantasy that someone else will rescue them and fill the void, provide them with the unconditional love and attunement they failed to receive as children, and will know and meet all of their needs. With their fear of abandonment driving the boat, they tend to be needy, demanding, and overwhelming in relationship albeit they don’t tend to see themselves in this light. Although they are led by the fantasy of the rescue and the white horse, they attract what is familiar: someone who is emotionally unavailable. This emotionally unavailable person is more often than not a love avoidant.

And so the dance ensues. A dance of pursuit and distancing.

The love avoidant is terrified of intimacy, puts up walls, and has all sorts of distancing techniques ranging from passive aggression, coldness, the silent treatment, criticism, you name it, to keep the love addict from getting too close. They too have suffered from childhood relational trauma, theirs in the form of enmeshment whether acting as their parent’s caregiver, confidant, or the object of their obsession or anger, and thus remain emotionally unavailable in order to feel safe and not become overwhelmed by another’s needs. The love avoidant has no idea how to communicate his or her needs and thus withdraws setting off the love addicts abandonment fear into overdrive.

Well that’s depressing. Maybe. But it also holds power. Awareness is the first step. When you have awareness of what your problem is, begin to see your patterns, then and only then can you work to change it.

So how do you get from point A. to point B.

Love addiction therapy involves much exploration of your inner world. It involves connecting with the child in you that was neglected and abandoned and learning how to identify and meet her needs. It involves learning how to self-soothe, to move through your wounds and not live in them. It is about recovering your intuition and identifying your unique gifts, it is about letting go of the fantasy of a rescue and stepping into the belief that you are responsible for your happiness. This work takes time, effort, and courage, yet the reward is to find at the end yourself:

free, full of grace, strength, and a quiet knowing that you are precious, loved, and valued beyond what you had every dreamed possible.

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