Love Addiction: Definition
It is part of the nature of human beings to seek shelter from those things or circumstances which bring them harm or discomfort. Obsession is one such situation. However, those who rest under it too long forget about its negative impacts in one’s general life. It isn’t until their situation has gone out of hand that they show the concern needed to address it.
Love dependence defines an intense positive feeling one possesses towards someone. This can be a relative, friend, brother, sister, spouse or any other person. In their obsession, they tend to utilise most of their time thinking and obsessing a lot about these people, more than they do towards oneself or any other individual.
In most cases, they sacrifice precious moments which they would have instead used to work on issues regarding their personal development to focus on these people they have affection towards.
The strangest aspect about this type of obsession is that it might not necessarily relate to anything erotic or romantic. It’s just love but a strong one towards given individuals. These could even be people they have only watched on television series or seen in a magazine or journal.
Just like alcoholics who believe alcohol can cure stresses, love devotees also perceive ‘strange’ love affiliation to bear great benefits. They often have the thought that all solutions relating to their problems entirely rely on these people. Hence, if they find this to be otherwise, then they grow irritated and resentful. Some may even extend their sadness to relationships they have with others.
Often, love addicts can concentrate fully in themselves when not captured by any addictive relationships. However, the moment they get involved in one, then all their attention shifts. Most would rather care for these people and forget about oneself. They will be at the service of these people all the time, whether they are needed or not.
According to many research studies, the obsession towards love comes as a result of historical facts, including abandonment. When a child grows with fear of abandonment, then that fear can grow into something much bigger, like growing into an association for both desertion and intimacy fears. The entire mix drives low self-esteem among these people which keeps on weighing them down every day.
The recovery process, just like other addictions, is never natural. It requires a lot, beginning with personal willingness. It refers to self-discovery. An addict needs to confess their obsession, realise all associated negative impacts and finally know the right paths they can follow towards seeking a reliable solution.
Depending on the level of your obsession, one can opt for different recovery procedures. They can visit a rehab center where they will receive full medical and therapeutic training – mainly cognitive-behaviour therapy.
Joining support groups also offers great assistance in the bid for recovery. The main processes involved with them include procedures such as the 12-step program, which provides a practical framework towards reclamation.
During any withdrawal moments of this condition, lots of both mild and severe symptoms do come up. A doctor and, in this case preferably, a therapist will be handy in offering you the best counsel on your historical experiences; these can include abandonment, fears, anger, emptiness, pain and many other sad experiences, such as trauma. The withdrawal periods usually are very critical as this is the time most people face relapse.
It is often essential that one gets an early diagnosis before any worse symptoms surge in.
Signs and Symptoms
The individual ill-health indicators, plus phenomenon around this syndrome, mostly focus on the unhealthiness of dependency in a love affiliation. They mainly comprise of:
- Distortion and neglection of oneself
- Strange or exaggerated behaviours
- Unrealistic expectations or fantasies
Most addicts will fall or can fall in love as fast as possible but then do not maintain it to the end. Whenever the first joyful honeymoon phases fade, they will begin losing interest and focus on once again finding such a connection.
A lot of health clinics exist which can help one recover completely from such an addiction. They mainly focus on correcting one’s behaviour through training involving therapies like the cognitive-behaviour therapy.
The behaviours relating to love obsession include:
- They can easily get attached to someone in an expeditious manner.
- Such passion causes one to begin loving someone during their initial interaction and they do not focus on whether these people have the right qualities they need.
- Whenever they bond relationship-wise, they do not let them off the hook
- Most of these people tend to think about love more often. They try to fantasise about moments they would be together chatting or doing activities together.
- Love addicts will always have fantasies anywhere and everywhere, not caring whether it’s distracting from their “things to do” list.
- In frequent cases, they will be present to provide all the soothing their partners would need.
- They regard love as everything. Each time they wish to be closer to these people they “love”.
- Often it happens that those people love addicts feel attracted to do not offer equal love back.
- Being in a love affiliation with cruel persons who do not show you love.
- Whenever a relationship ends, these people often feel done, used and bitter about everything. Most of them would even attempt suicide.
- They try to avoid loneliness at all costs. They can also look for a close partner to help engulf their loneliness and emptiness.
- Many are usually vulnerable to the entire relationship and therefore do not say no to anything – even when the other party threatens to drop the connection.
- Would be in full-time concern of these people they love – denying oneself special moments and instead creating time for a lover.
- Feel like they are in charge of their partner and often feel jealous whenever something to deny them comes in. Hence, they keep a close watch at them.
- These people usually try to stalk both their previous and current partners at least once.
- Whenever they feel attracted to someone, they will do all they can to pursue them regardless of their marital status.
- As an addict, your pursuit towards these people you “love” can extensively occupy your thoughts and time, until you forget about your hobbies. You will always be thinking of moments with your partner.
- In case you are in a quixotic kind of affiliation, then your family and friends will miss you as you won’t be spending time with them.
Similar to other addictive conditions, most addicts do not agree or confess that their situation is an issue which needs a solution. The denial is often towards people around them and oneself as well. Various ways they do this are:
- Ensuring that their unhealthy love habits do not affect them adversely health wise.
- Refusing to listen to any criticism about their love connection. Mostly they grow furious whenever anything negative is mentioned about it.
- Pretending to your family and friends about your obsessive love condition.
- Always blaming others for faults in your relationship.
Causes of Love Addiction
No study yet has revealed the main causes behind the obsession towards love. However, most of them indicate that it all relates to one’s childhood background — experts in this agree that the characteristics of a person’s upbringings have a large impact on their core values, beliefs and self-perception, as well as their capacity to build the healthy relationships that are expected of adults.
This doesn’t mean that some people had a perfect childhood. It’s just that some people have scars of deep sadness, agony, and trauma that others do not. Below are some of these childhood life experiences which influence one towards acquiring such a syndrome.
In ordinary situations, almost if not all people feel the pain that comes along due to the demise of an initially strong relationship. Being in a close romantic, platonic or parental relation builds a strong bond customarily attached to a person’s emotions. Healthy adults will often have an understanding that such a relationship can end and, therefore, form high self-esteem to engulf the situation.
However, for love addicts, this is different. They will develop great fear when abandonment comes in. Studies indicate that persons who had strong childhood relationships with parents or friends and then situations such as death, betrayal, or family disagreements caused a separation, are likely the ones to suffer this sort of addiction. They will always be reflecting on the pain they had experienced when they were deserted, thus none of them would be at peace letting or seeing their loved ones go or walk away.
These people grow into adulthood believing they are less essential persons and that they need to have other “stronger” people besides them to rely on. For that reason, therefore, they will always trust in relationships and spend a lot of their time focusing on people they think or imagine are real friends, lovers or relatives. The can also easily shift from one relationship to the next whenever they sense abandonment.
Revisiting Childhood Stories
Studies have also revealed that those adults who did not receive love and attention from one of the parents tend to shift their attention or focus to people of similar order as those parents. For instance, if the mother was not there for them while growing up, there is a tendency of the child growing up with a love inclination towards females regardless of their gender.
This situation has also been the primary influence on gay activities. The addicts only try to fill that gap of love they didn’t have while they were growing up.
The therapeutic contribution towards the correction of this condition involves offering an in-depth explanation of the reasons behind the abandonment, as well as the importance of the two human sexualities. The treatment helps them discover the reason behind their attraction towards same-sex and give them a reason why they should not.
Trauma experienced in the childhood has a significant impact on one’s general love addiction lifestyle. In most cases, addicts tend to divert their attention to alcoholism, drugs and sometimes food. However, there exists a peculiar condition where one gets entirely obsessed with relationships of love to alleviate stressful, desperate and empty feelings. The love might not necessarily mean romance, but can be a strong affection towards a friend, relative, colleague or family member.
Trauma results in a feeling of worthlessness, emptiness, loneliness, and sadness. Those who may have experienced sexual, emotional or physical trauma may have it even worse. Most of them suffer low self-esteem and therefore believe that only others are right and can help them confront the challenges they meet in life, such as financial problems. They can quickly shift from one relationship to the next to maintain the feeling of belonging and satisfy their ego for always wanting to have someone beside them.
Addictive Role Models
It is true that some parents, especially single mothers, tend to teach their children improper means of survival. Feeling empty and having low self-esteem themselves, they also introduce their children to doing what they do to survive. Most of them would shift from one relationship to the next looking for what makes them comfortable. When the relationship ends, they grow sad, frustrated and desperate. After a while, they enter another which also barely lasts.
Children of such parents are likely to imitate this same trend in their adulthood. They will install the vague perception that love and relationships bear happiness and frustrations and, therefore, they will never care about true and healthy love.
Most of them will generally believe that it is within the corridors of love that one finds happiness. It is sad that those within their relationships tend to care less or show less concern towards them.
This describes a severe, addictive, and compulsive anomaly which influences negative impacts on an addict as well as those they are obsessed with.
Its Major Causes
No particular cause relates to this condition. However, suspicions are raised on past childhood experiences such as trauma.
Trauma causes distress, feelings of worthlessness, emptiness, and low self-esteem, among many other significant effects. Out of all these, addicts tend to develop unhealthy relationships towards people for either romance or protection purposes to help fill the void.
Most persons obsessed with relationships find excitement in shifting from one relation to the next, looking for what makes them comfortable.
Men, who are the majority affected by this syndrome, show lots of weakness regarding standing on their own. They will always want to have people near them to be their comforters and assist them in facing life challenges.
People suffering from this disorder tend to experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Addicts tend to take too much responsibility of their love partners
- Delegating lots of their time in focusing on their partners in a relationship
- These people often get hurt whenever they notice less concern about them from the people they are attracted to
- Their minding of relationship goes beyond normal
- Most of them would prefer to have their relationships seen by all
- Many of them lack self-confidence
- They always prefer being under control
- They require personal trust
- Are afraid to suffer loneliness
- They can’t easily or correctly perceive other people’s’ feelings
- They aren’t able to pay respect for intimacy and boundaries
- Poor decision making
The management procedure for this illness does not rely on a single remedy. Depending on the extent of its encroachment, the ailment calls for different curative methods. Among them is therapy.
In this case, cognitive behaviour therapy is the most commonly used method. It involves listening to the historical background and life experiences of a person, then finding the best solution to accepting and coping with these past issues.
All these, however, must begin within the addict. If they confess their condition and have the desire to change, then they can move forward to rehab centers or visit other health experts for assistance.
Recovery from Love Addiction
No matter how frequent and extensive this condition occurs, effective remedies have also been in existence to help people recover from it.
The best places one can seek reliable help is both rehab and medical centers in case of other co-occurring illnesses.
How long one takes to recover fully depends entirely on how they are responding to the treatment procedures.
Problems of addiction of whatever kind creates substantial negative impacts on lots of people’s lives. Love addiction, rare as it may sound, comes with so much of this negativity, including the destruction of marriages and friendships. To other people it ruins their jobs, owing to the fact that most of their commitment and priorities are always directed towards their “loved” ones.
While still having no particular cause, the disorder continues to dock people’s lives in horrible situations of depression and anxiety. Childhood experiences have been on the suspect list as the top possible causatives of such conditions. These include cases of trauma, abandonment and even influence from people they once loved.
It is of great concern when addicts of this kind can’t mind their own business, instead giving all they have including time, romance, or wealth to persons who in return show less interest back. At the same time, most of them would keep shifting from one love affiliation to the next looking for an opportunity for self-fulfillment and a sense of being cared for.
Therapeutic procedures work best towards the correction of these illnesses. Experts will offer you step-by-step guidelines until you fully recover.