The first step in Breaking a Relationship Addiction would be to define the addiction:
An addictive relationship is defined as being addicted to a particular relationship and feeling great anxiety and despair (withdrawal symtpoms) when trying to pull back or get away from that relationship. Just as in any other addiciton, relationship addiction is a state of losing yourself to an outside force. Addicts often suffer through bad (sometimes abusive) relationships rather than risk the chance of being abandoned - or being alone. It is not alcohol, heroin, pills or pot that is the drug; it's another person.
As in all addictions an addictive relationship can be damaging. The relationship and all of it's trappings cause isolation, loss of self-esteem, self resources and self respect due to the result of losing the vital "connection" to self. The stress, anxiety and despair resulting, can cause real havoc on the body. It can exhibit itself in real health issues such as; decreased immunity, migraines, high blood pressure, substance abuse, clinical depression and in some cases as severe as suicide.
How do we recognize an Addictive Relationship?Recognizing the addiction can be different for everyone. As in all things in life. Not everyone is the same.
Here are some key points:
Approval: Living a life solely based on what another person does or does not do. A craving for approval of what your goals are and basing those goals on the approval of another. Feeling good relies on getting approval from others. Only feel good about themselves if they feel "liked" by others
Losing Self: Losing interest in personal goals, interests and entertainment. Nothing is as interesting as seeing the relationship happy. Your relationship's happiness is central to your own. Hobbies and interests are sacrificed to share the interests/hobbies of others
Accepting: Accepting of aspects in your relationship that you don't agree with, and that may be unhealthy for you, just to maintain the relationship.
Addicts often are not honest in expressing opinions or desires; fears of rejection or anger keep them from discovering or revealing their emotions.
Dillusion: Unhealthy attachment to trying to change or modify the relationship aspects that are painful. Telling themselves they are over-sensitive, jealous, needy. Believing they can change and become the person the relationship needs.
Unworthy: Experience feelings of unworthiness or nothingness without the relationship. They have an inability to see life or happiness outside of the relationship.
Powerless: Often feel lost, empty, powerless, depressed. Completely jaded to the ability of the self.
Crave Attention: Crave attention from the relationship whether, positive or negative. They feel abandoned and anxious when the other person pulls back and is isolating, so they "act out" in whatever way will end in attention. This sometimes is evidenced by, multiple phone calls, nasty messages, sexual overtone or enticement, romantic promises etc..
Frustration: Ultimately this relationship doesn't work. The addicted party does in fact have needs whether recognized or not. Those needs are not met in a one-sided relationship. Thus frustration occurs. The addicted one then exhibits behavior that can be defined as "out of control". ie: rage, crying, screaming, exhibitionism, attention seeking and sometimes physical violence to self, or others.
Staying too long: Lastly, this person has been in a relationship for quite awhile that, generally, is unhappy. Author Jewel Taylor states ""People have convinced themselves that there is a shortage of good men and women, so they're just thankful to have `somebody.' Some would rather be in a bad relationship than no relationship." The reasons are plentiful. Books have been authored solely on this subject.
Recognition of such an unhealthy existence is a major part of being able to conquer it. Once recognized as unhealthy, the participant can move forward toward health and to "Self". Increasing independance and self-worth through confidence building exercises and daily inner exploration of the self through journalling, can be the first steps to freedom.
When journalling, the reading back over time periods, gains confidence through personal goal setting and comparison of day to day accomplishments. As the first few entries will most likely be based on anxiety and fear, (withdrawal symptoms) comparing those entries to latter entries in the following days will let the participant clearly see the ability to move forward without negative consequence and actual fulfillment of personal goals. Instilling affirmation of Independant happiness.
Physical ActivityWalking and affirming are great motivators. No competition. No goal. Just simply walking to walk. Simply walking for 30 mins, 3 times a week can be a mood elevator. This gives us the ability to be alone with our thoughts
affirming a gift to ourself.
Physically; Walking can increase the production of "Endorphins", a natural "opiate". A brain chemical that makes you feel good!
This will replace the need for the negative chemicals the brain was trained to need previously. Walking has several health benefits that also include making it easier to sleep.
Tips for walking would include a device that makes it possible for you to listen to your favorite music, or record some affirmations and play them while you walk. Reinforce what's RIGHT and GOOD in your life.You can listen and recite them as you walk along. Pick a favorite place to walk. A beach, a beautiful path, a busy downtown avenue. Something that excites you. Remember this is a gift to yourself! YOU deserve it!
There are several websites and resources for Relationship / Love addictions. I have included some at the end.
As in anything, talking with a professional may lighten the load and give you an added resource from someone who won't judge you.
Someone who is paid to listen and has a vested interest in your success.
My personal interest in the issue is this:
You need to realize at some point that YOU are the only one who can live your life.
No matter how much you would like someone to be more important, or how much you convince yourself that you just don't matter to anyone.
It is YOUR life. YOUR experience. Honestly life will go on with or without you. Everyone has THEIR own life. YOU make it what YOU want it to be. If you are miserable where you are, then it's where YOU want to be. If not, CHANGE IT! It REALLY is that simple.
At the end of the day, we are all given a certain amount of time on earth, It's like a vacation. Either choose all the activities or choose to lay on the beach. But it is YOUR CHOICE. Just dont sit and find excuses to waste the time...You owe yourself more.
Thoughts on, Why people stay? Let me know.. Don't agree with me, let me know that too.
Next time: Plain Inspiration