Addictive Love is An Intense or Exaggerated Reaction (to) Involvement (with)
Expectations (of) Another That Results in Inadequate Attention Concern Care for Yourself.
Addictive Relationship (definition) The relationship addict feels a sense of
incompleteness, emptiness, despair, and sadness that he or she seeks to remedy by
connecting with another. The relationship is viewed as a means of meeting one's needs for
love, attention, and security rather than as a shared experience. The addictive
relationship becomes an arena for trying to resolve unfinished business from the past.
Addictive relationships are characterized by a simultaneous excess and lack of love; an
over abundance of love to obsessive attention is bestowed upon someone else while an
inadequate amount is given to self. You think and daydream about your partner or friend
much too often; you give excessively of your time, energy, and hopes. All healthy
boundaries disappear in terms of what you are willing to do or to give up to maintain the
relationship. Ultimately, the self is abandoned in favor of someone else:
The Other is emotionally over-available is emotionally unavailable focuses on the other
focuses on self gives encouragement, support, money, time, and so on has desires and needs
met gives more than 50 percent gives less than 50 percent gives up or losses power gains
power validates the other is validated tolerates inappropriate behavior often engages in
appropriate behavior attaches or becomes enmeshed with the other detaches or moves away
Relationship Addictive Responses Overreacting
Experience intense feelings of needing the other person. Experience intense feelings of
needing the relationship. Experience intense feelings of infatuation. Experience feelings
of jealousy and possessiveness. Are self-sacrificing and self-depriving. Express affection
prematurely. Disclose your feelings prematurely. Blame yourself when conflict occurs. Are
unable to endure separation.
Are preoccupied with the other person and the relationship. Have limited or no social
contact outside of the relationship. Have no interests outside of the relationship. Find
that your life revolves around hearing from and seeing the other person. You notice that
every act or event is connected to some aspect of your partner. You find that your life is
out of balance.
Focus only on the future and the outcome of the relationship. Expect the relationship
to change your life-to make your life better or make you feel better about yourself.
Attempt to change the other to fit your fantasy. Play roles, engage in ritualized
activities, and "act out your fantasy."
Choosing to Change
Recovery from an addictive relationship requires bringing love and concern into
balance-you must learn to develop a healthy regard for YOURSELF.
What are you in for when you decide to change? Exactly what does choosing to change
Taking a Risk. When you decide to change, your relationships will most certainly change
as well; your relationships may also end. Your changed self may be distasteful to your
friends and/or partner that it makes them decide to leave the relationship.
Facing the Unknown. You will not know what to expect when you decided to change the way
you relate to others. Things will definitely be different, but you don't know how
different. You don't know how you or others will respond. You will have to learn to trust
that you will be able to handle whatever situations bring.
Change. You must learn how not to repeat the same old patterns that bring the same
unsatisfactory results. You must do things and think about yourself differently.
Making things Happen. You must take responsibility for making good things happen in
your relationships and life. You and only you can change the ways you respond within your
relationships. You must be actively involved in creating the relationships you want.
Discovering your Personal Power. You will begin to feel a new sense of self-confidence,
self-reliance, and self-respect. You will realize that you can handle your relationships
and your life. You will discover that you don't have to accept crumbs, nor do you have to
give 110 percent to make relationships work. In order to change you must:
Accept yourself, addiction, and all. -Confront the unhealthy aspects of your behavior.
Assume responsibility for your self-worth.
Steps to Change
Step 1: Determine why you are choosing to change.
Step 2: Choose to change.
Step 3: Decide what you would like to change.
Step 4: Start some aspect of the change process now.
Step 5: Evaluate your progress and reward yourself for taking steps toward change.
Fall in love with yourself and you will always have love.
You will never again have to fear being abandoned.
Self-validation involves accepting and approving of yourself. It is learning to do for
the self what you have needed and expected from others to do for you. You will have to
unlearn the many erroneous beliefs you have about yourself and relationships. It appears
clear that learning to validate yourself can be a difficult and frustrating job. However,
the benefits of feeling good about yourself and being able to have the types of
relationships you desire will clearly out weigh the effort and struggles you may face.
The self-validation process contains three main steps that must be worked through if
you are to experience true happiness with yourself and others:
Step 1: Accept yourself. Change can only happen if self-acceptance occurs which unlocks
the doors to respecting and loving the self. It is important to remember that self-
acceptance doesn't mean that you do not want make improvements-but rather that you accept
the realities at any particular moment in time.
Step 2: Appreciate yourself. Discovering the uniqueness of you is essential to learning
how to validate yourself. The goal is to uncover and praise what is positive.
Step 3: Act loving toward yourself. The final step in being self-validating involves
acting in ways that reflect self-love. You actions should show respect, concern, and
caring for your well being. In no time you will discover that treating yourself in a
loving manner has become a part of you and is not simply an act.
As you continue to self-validate, a strange and wonderful thing will happen regarding
how you feel and think about yourself. You will experience an increase in self-esteem,
self- confidence, and self-reliance.
Creating a Balanced Life and Changing Unhealthy Expectations
If you are involved in an addictive relationship, your life is probably not in balance.
You are probably giving most of your emotional, physical, and mental energies over to some
else. To create a balanced life is to own your life. When you take responsibility for your
life and happiness you always feel an increased feeling of self power. A balanced
perspective on life is a prerequisite to enjoying a sense of wholeness as a complete
person. There are several arenas of life that most people struggle with while attempting
to create a balanced life; these life arenas include, but are no limited to, work
(school), leisure, social, and personal. Creating a balanced life consists of four steps:
Step 1: Gain an awareness of your level of involvement in each arena of life.
Step 2: Choose to establish and maintain balance in your life. set goals for increasing
or decreasing involvement in specific arenas.
Step 3: apply the principle of balance to your life arenas. Take steps to increase or
decrease involvement in specific arenas.
Healthy relationships come from healthy expectations, while unhealthy relationships
come from unhealthy expectations. If you are in an unhealthy relationship it may be very
difficult for you to know what healthy expectations. The faulty belief system regarding
yourself and relationships have helped you to develop distorted views of what is
appropriate to expect or not expect in a relationship. A healthy relationship is reality
based. You have realistic expectations of what the other can provide to you. You are only
able to have healthy expectations about relationships when you have healthy expectations
about yourself. Within a healthy relationship you can expect to:
Unhealthy expectations come from unmet needs of security, completeness, and validation.
You will often experience chaos, insecurity, and unpredictability. During your childhood
you may have, experience feeling helpless and powerless which made you feel that you need
someone else to make you happy and whole. You subsequently expect your friends or partner
to fill your life with fun and excitement. There is a strong tendency to focus on what
could happen in the relationship instead of focusing on what is going on presently. The
product of relationships becomes more important than the development.
To change the outcomes of your relationships you will have to change the expectations
you tie to these relationships. The steps to change unhealthy expectations into healthy
Step 1: Understand your expectations regarding your friends, partner , and
Step 2: Challenge your unhealthy or unrealistic expectation.
Step 3: Choose alternative ways to meet your needs for security, completeness, and
Step 4: Learn and reinforce healthy expectations.
Step 5: Evaluate your progress and reward your success.
Readings to Consider
Bireda, M. R. (1990). Love Addiction: A guide to emotional independence. New Harbinger
Halpern, H. M. (1982). How to break your addiction to a person. McGraw Hill.
Woititz, Janet G. (1985). Struggle for intimacy. Health Communications, Inc.