By Tracy Harder, MSC, LAC, Workshop Therapist and Andrea Sauceda
Do you find yourself ending up in one painful, damaging, and disastrous relationship after another? Do you feel like a failure because you haven’t yet found true love?
Do you want to know the secret to finding your soul mate? Do you want to know how to find a person with whom you can live happily ever after in a perfect and blissfully all-consuming romantic relationship that books, songs, and movies have told us since we were kids that we are supposed to have?
The secret is… There is no secret. Those kinds of relationships don’t exist.
Intense and overwhelming feelings of “love at first sight” and the belief that the other person “completes you,” may actually just be delusions brought on by Love Addiction.
That sounds terribly cynical, doesn’t it? I don’t mean to say that true love—mature love—does not exist. It just means that you might have to do a little work to break through your addictive cycle before you can find it.
What is Love Addiction?
is characterized by feeling “high” during the initial phases of the relationship. Love Addicts often describe the feelings that come after a person has triggered their fantasy of an ideal mate as intensely pleasurable. They often make statements to the effect that this person is their “soulmate” or “love at first sight.” This person becomes the sole focus in their life, to the detriment of other relationships with children, friends, work, and self-care. Love Addicts will tolerate almost anything in the relationship due to a fear of being left.
Breaking Down the Wall of Seduction
Love Addicts are often drawn to people who are Love Avoidant. A Love Avoidant is drawn to a Love Addict’s neediness due to a belief that their role in a relationship is to take care of the other person. The Love Avoidant begins the relationship with a Wall of Seduction. In other words, they present as a “Super Woman” or “Super Man.” This Wall of Seduction impedes true intimacy.
Eventually, the Love Avoidant will become overwhelmed by the Love Addict’s neediness and will withdraw from the relationship by creating intensity outside of it, perhaps with work, a drug addiction, or another person.
Shattering the Fantasy
During the Love Addiction / Love Avoidant cycle, there typically is what Meadows Senior Fellow Pia Mellody describes as a “shattering event.” This event destroys the Love Addict’s fantasy about the Love Avoidant, throwing the Love Addict into withdrawal. The withdrawal results in extreme pain, fear, panic or even rage. Eventually, the Love Avoidant’s guilt or their own fear of abandonment may bring them back into the relationship with the Love Addict, and the cycle begins all over again.
This unhealthy cycle of behavior is unfortunately what often passes for “romance” and “love” in our society, but in reality, it is neither. It is addiction, relationship compulsivity, and a fear of love and intimacy.
A “healthy” relationship after recovery from love addiction and/or love avoidance (and yes, there can be recovery) involves what Pia refers to as “mature love.” Mature love involves loving a person “warts and all” and not leaving them or punishing them because they cannot fully embody your fantasy. A healthy relationship requires realistic expectations that are discussed openly and honestly, especially at the initial stages of the relationship.
For the Love Addict in recovery, it involves getting rid of their fantasy of the ideal mate and not demanding unconditional positive regard, self-sacrifice, and care at all times from the other person. For the Love Avoidant, it begins with coming out from behind their walls and letting their partner see who they really are.
Love addiction and Love Avoidance can occur not only with romantic partners but also with friends, children, bosses, etc.
Source Link:- Rio Retreat Center