But after a few short hours away from him I start to panic and frantically start phoning or texting him. Sherry — a 40 year old woman with a 12 year old son from a previous marriage — is not alone. Like many people in addictive relationships, she thought her relationship with Jack started out well — in hindsight almost too well. It was a romantic, whirlwind relationship where they wanted to be together every minute of the day. Declarations of love were made early, at less than two weeks into the relationship.
Things started to fall apart about a month later, when Jack started criticizing Sherry. At first it was about little things such as the way she was dressed. Then he began questioning her parenting skills. Shortly after that he accused Sherry of being too needy, and said he needed space.
At that point Sherry panicked and started chasing after Jack. Without him she felt like her world was falling apart.
So what exactly is going on here? What is Relationship Addiction? But if you remember one of the classic definitions of addiction, which is to pursue a behavior compulsively in spite of negative consequences, then relationship addiction fits the description.
Relationship addiction can be one of the hardest behaviors to break, because the person experiencing it — and others — may not recognize it as a destructive, compulsive behavior. But like any addictive behavior, it can come to feel like the sufferers life depends on being able to hold on to the relationship as an external source of self validation. Rational thinking is in short supply, and the addicted person needs a recovery program.
Patterns of Painful Relationships. Addictive relationships tend to have most — though not necessarily all — of the following stages in common:. The painful cycle of attraction, bonding, rejection, panic, reconciliation and rejection is what characterizes love addiction.
This anxiety triggers panic, low self worth, feelings of emptiness, isolation and possibly depression. The addict may believe they are worthless without their partner. They almost always feel unbearable emptiness. Relationship addicts may intensify their obsession by subtly or overtly chasing or stalking their former partner. If the addicted person How to get over an addictive relationship or learns their former partner has a new love interest, they feel devastated, and imagine that this new person is getting something they never got, i.
The vicious downward spiral continues, unless the addict stops the behavior and gets help.
Roots of Addictive Relationships. The roots of addictive relationships can generally be found in childhood, where original love relationships with parents were accidentally or intentionally inadequate, negligent, abusive or broken such as through chronic illness, addiction, divorce or death.
This relationship breach leads to fractured bonds, How to get over an addictive relationship emotional needs that are destined to be unmet. In order to grow into secure adults capable of healthy relationships, children generally need the following support from parents or care givers: Adult relationship addicts typically have had few of their critical emotional needs met as children. In fact, many experienced rejection or abandonment when reaching out to their parents to try and get this support.
In the absence of this critical emotional support, a child may come to believe they are unlovable and unworthy of love. Unfortunately, these beliefs get carried — often unconsciously — into adulthood where they wreak havoc in love relationships.
The main motivator for compulsively pursuing unhealthy relationships is a positive one — that is to achieve inner and interpersonal validation that one is a lovable and worthy human being.
This was denied in childhood, and has become the missing piece of themselves that addicts are seeking. Although the motivation to heal is positive, the effort is destined to fail if they pick the same kind of person as the parent or principle care giver who was unable to give them genuine love, caring and emotional support in the first place. Unfortunately, relationship addicts tend to select partners who seem familiar and are therefore similar to the unavailable parent they desperately needed love from.
The second fatal flaw is that the relationship addict is seeking external affirmation that they are worthwhile — meaning loveable — human beings.
This dependency is structured to fail as feelings of self worth must come from within or will never feel sustainable or authentic. A person trapped in the vicious circle of relationship addiction, and lacking recovery skills, does not share that perspective. Usually they lack a strong enough sense of self worth to believe it is worth the risk of disengaging from compulsive How to get over an addictive relationship, and are doomed to repeat the cycle of longing for love only to be rejected or disappointed over and over again.
How to Begin the Healing Process. Relationship addicts are wounded people with distorted love maps or blueprints inherited from childhood. Fortunately, as with any addiction, recovery is possible. And all addiction recovery starts with acknowledging the existence of the problem. If you believe you, or someone you love, are caught in relationship addiction, here are the steps forward:.
Need Help Overcoming Relationship Addiction?
Please check out my other article on Relationship Addiction: Patterns of Painful Relationships Addictive relationships tend to have most — though not necessarily all — of the following stages in common: Going quickly into the relationship without taking the time to establish common values, goals or to build trust.
Intense bonding and sexual activity — fueling feelings of being ecstatic and high. Wanting to be together every waking moment. Neglecting friends, family and themselves to be with this person i. Continuously fantasize about the love object. Early declarations of love and commitment. First fight — often a bad one — where they discover their lover is not the person they thought they were.
Partner withdraws — time, attention, affection, sex, acts cold, critical, etc. Love addict begs, pleads, sell themselves short in a frantic effort to reconnect with partner. If partner returns, romance starts all over again. Next fight, often shortly after reuniting. Distancing by partner and anxious pursuit by addict resumes. How to Begin the Healing Process Relationship addicts are wounded people with distorted love maps or blueprints inherited from childhood. If you believe you, or someone you love, are caught in relationship addiction, here are the steps forward: Admit you are in pain, and How to get over an addictive relationship relationships tend to feel bad more often than good.
Real love makes you feel valued, cared for and stronger about yourself. Back away from compulsive, painful relationships and give yourself a chance to heal and learn how to identify real love. Accept that obsession is How to get over an addictive relationship the same thing as love.
You may feel temporary relief while caught up in your obsession. But like a drug, you need that fix over and over again to try to overcome feelings of emptiness, and prove to yourself that you are lovable or adequate.
Recognize irrational beliefs or fears that can sabotage you and keep you hooked. Once you start to pull back and learn to understand and manage your thoughts and emotions better — from the inside out — you will gradually begin to feel your confidence grow.
You may feel worse at the outset rather than better. Hang in there and give yourself a chance to develop your strength.
Know your triggers — Usually feelings of unlovability or unworthiness to receive love, and believing that you can only be restored to wholeness in a love relationship. If you feel high in the presence of the person you are obsessed about, and panicked when you are apart, this is a sign that addictive relationship dynamics have been triggered.
Connect your feelings of unlovability to their origins in your childhood. Develop empathy for the unloved, abused or neglected child you were.
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If you feel overly attracted to someone very quickly, pull back. Make a point of learning healthy coping strategies to deal with negative beliefs and emotions. Get group support with others in recovery, such as in an online forum.
Connect with a skilled Psychotherapist who understands relationship addiction and recovery strategies Need Help Overcoming Relationship Addiction?
Posted by Glynis Sherwood. Glynis Sherwood MEdlove addictionlove addiction therapyOnline video counsellingrelationship addiction. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. In his book, How to Break Your Addiction to a Person, Howard Halpern really been like and felt like, what have been its patterns over time, and (c) It To get some idea if your relationships have had repeated patterns, it can.
You're in a bad relationship, but for some reason you don't get out. Learn how to recognize and deal with addictive relationships.