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[personal profile] radicallifechange
For awhile I've been slowly reading a book called Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody.

Today I'm thinking about the differences between my last relationship and my current one, and how in my last relationship I felt that I was experiencing love addiction more strongly. In my current one I believe I'm experiencing love avoidance more strongly, but I'm not entirely sure.

The three characteristics of the Love Addict:
  • "1. Love addicts assign a disproportionate amount of time, attention, and 'value about themselves' to the person to whom they are addicted, and this focus often has an obsessive quality about it."
  • "2. Love Addictions have unrealistic expectations for unconditional positive regard from the other person in the relationship."
  • "3. Love Addicts neglect to care for or value themselves while they're in the relationship."


1. Assigning too much time and value.

Mellody further explains, "Love Addicts focus almost completely on the person to whom they are addicted; they obsessively think about, want to be with, touch, talk to, and listen to their partners, and want to be care for and treasured by them. At the beginning of the relationship, this makes Love Addicts feel good."

This really resonates for me.

I remember that with my ex, the first thing I would do in the morning is check my phone to see if he had texted me. I would feel sad if he hadn't. I would then have long, struggling internal debates with myself about whether or not I should text him. He often didn't reply to my texts, and also often didn't receive them because of his poor cell phone service. Waiting to hear back from him was agonizing.

I remember that I couldn't go more then a short while without thinking about him. Looking back on it, I can't believe I lived like this for so many months. There was such a sense of constant tension, anxiety, a constant sensation of waiting for him to notice me, to remember me, to pay attention to me. I'd be at work and constantly aware of my phone, constantly aware of whether or not it beeped with a message, or how long it had been since I'd heard from him.

Then there would be days that he wouldn't respond to my calls, either. Most nights I went over to his house and stayed over with him, but a lot of times I had no idea when he'd be home, or if we were going to pick up his daughter, or what he wanted to do for dinner, etc. etc. Sometimes I'd get to his house and he wouldn't be there and I wouldn't be able to get ahold of him to find out when he'd be arriving.

I was constantly battling my own obsession with him, too. For instance, if my phone would beep with a message, I'd try to resist looking at it right away, because I knew that it felt wrong how DESPERATELY I immediately wanted to check it.

I also remember that I would react very strongly to whatever the content of his texts/calls were, too. He and I worked together, so if he was just calling or texting me for something work-related, I would feel disappointed. When he would call or text me with something loving -- I remember there'd be times he'd call simply to say "I love you," or he'd send me sweet romantic texts -- that I'd feel pleased.

Achieving contact with him was also painful, though. Because I always wanted to SUSTAIN the contact, and it felt impossible. It felt that I was always the one that wanted more.

For instance, let's say he did text me. I would respond, and then anxiously await a response. This would go on until he'd simply stop getting back to me. I felt that I was always the one sending the last text or the one calling more often.

I remember that there was a very specific way I knew when he was about to ask me a favor -- he would ask me what my schedule was for that morning or the next day. He NEVER asked me questions like that, and would only do so to figure out if I would be available to perform his favor or not. I remember that I always felt angry when he did this. I wanted him to be interested in my schedule and where I was going and what I was doing, but I felt that in general it only mattered to him if he wanted a favor.

I was absolutely obsessed with him and having his attention. It's embarrassing to truly be aware of how intense it was. I remember that even when we were together I was still longing for his attention. We'd be sitting on his bed watching TV and I DESPERATELY wanted him to turn the TV off to talk to me, cuddle with me, pay attention to me, interact with me.

And I didn't want him to do it because I asked him, I wanted for him to crave the contact as much as I did. I wanted for him to be INTERESTED in me, in spending time with me, etc.

When we'd be in situations with other people -- his daughter, his friends, etc. -- I would feel neglected if he didn't somehow give me a sign of his awareness of me (usually I wanted it in the form of touch, that he would try to hold my hand or be close to be even while talking with/engaging with others) or if he didn't try to include me in the conversation.

I feel especially yucky about the fact that there was a way I felt jealous of his daughter. I loved her dearly and loved spending time with her, and yet there was also a way that I felt resentful that he never tried to set aside specific times for him and I to be alone. I occasionally wanted to have a day or night here or there for just the two of us, and I felt very confused about his stance on that, because sometimes he simply wouldn't go pick up his daughter because he had to work too early in the morning or HE didn't feel like it, but if I requested that we have time alone then he would feel bad that we wouldn't be including his daughter.

A lot of it is still confusion for me, and there's a way that recounting it I still see that I felt very victimized by him and that feeling is still there. I felt so at his mercy in many ways -- at the mercy of his availability, his interest, etc.

"While many assume that a codependent is someone who is dependent on, enmeshed with, and takes too much care of someone else, this condition is actually more properly called love addiction. Not all codependents make other people their Higher Power. [...] Making another person our Higher Power is, I believe, the heart of love addiction, an addictive process of its own."

I would say that's a very accurate description of what my last relationship was like.

On the roots in childhood: "One way such children may escape the pain of severe abandonment by the parents to fantasize about being rescued by a hero or some kind. [...] Such children come to believe that by connecting with such a hero, they, like Sleeping Beauty, will come alive and be safe and valuable at last."

This is something else that very much strikes me. I had to breathe deeply for awhile when I first read this. Those words feel like that really hit the chord of the longing that I've felt inside of me for most of my life.

Honestly, this just brings tears to my eyes and it feels so painful, how deeply I've wanted this, to be feel safe and valuable, and how long it's been lacking inside of me.

Well, I was going to get into how now I'm experiencing more the avoidance end of the spectrum, but that was a bit emotionally draining so perhaps another day.


radicallifechange: apple. (Default)

May 2013

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