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Author Topic: 8.20 | Addictive Relationships  (Read 18806 times)
JoannaK
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« on: April 13, 2008, 12:00:15 PM »

US: Addictive Relationships... .  Why we get into them; why it is hard to get out; paths to recovery from addictive relationships.

Many of us come to bpdfamily.com with questions about a current or former relationship.  When the relationship is described, it often sounds as if the relationship was more of an addiction than an emotionally healthy relationship. This workshop is about addiction in relationships.  Some of the questions that are appropriate to consider are:.

What does an addictive relationship look like?  What is the definition of an addictive relationship?

How can I tell whether the feelings of love I have for someone are in fact something unhealthy... more of an obsession than real love?

Why am I so vulnerable to an addictive relationship?

How can I stop myself from continuing in an addictive relationship?

How can I become more emotionally healthy so that I'm not vulnerable to an addictive relationship in the future?

How can I separate an attraction based on physical desire from a deeper, healthier love from someone?

Many people who get involved with addictive relationships have a history of substance abuse.  Many others manage to break free of one addictive relationship and walk right into another.  Many others just insist that the reason that they want to stay in an emotionally unhealthy, addictive relationship is based on "love" for the other, even though the other is absent, cheating, treating them abusively, etc.  

Many of us get into (and stay in) a relationship with a BPD/NPD type not despite the craziness and the roller-coaster quality of these relationships, but because of the craziness and roller-coaster quality.  We find that we need ups and downs, the "rush" of adrenaline and other hormones, to maintain interest in someone.  Many of us passed up perfectly reasonable, attractive, interesting people on our way to the relationship with the BPD-ish person.

These are the kinds of issues that we must explore within ourselves to guarantee more emotional health for ourselves in the future.

I've discovered several articles on the topic, and I will also include links to previous bpdfamily.com posts that have dealt with this or similar topics.


From the North American Mission Board:

Though this site comes from a religious group, the article on Addictive Relationships is well-written and fundamentally nonsectarian:



Addictive Relationships

Millions of people in America are suffering from unhealthy relationship patterns as a result of being addicted to another person. Addictive love patterns are evident in all types of relationships: women with men, women with women, men with men, parents with children, and children with parents. However, addictive love relationships are most often evident in romantic interactions between men and women. Often the dysfunctional patterns are passed on from parents to their children.

An addictive relationship is a single overwhelming involvement that cuts a person off from life. It is an addiction in the same sense as drug dependence, identified by ever-increasing craving and ultimate withdrawal syndrome, with the same dynamics of passivity, low self-esteem, magical thinking, helplessness, and lack of initiative or self-confidence.

In order to work toward mutual understanding and mature love, persons must distinguish between healthy commitment and interdependence, and the destructive exploitation of self and others which masquerades as love.

The following check list is a guide to help in identifying the tendency to form addictive, unhealthy relationships. Agreement with most of the following statements probably indicates a long-standing problem with addictive love.

1.        To be happy, you need a relationship. When you are not in a relationship, you feel depressed, and the cure for healing that depression usually involves meeting a new person.

2.        You often feel magnetically drawn to another person. You act on this feeling even when you suspect the person may not be good for you.

3.        You often try to change another person to meet your ideal.

4.        Even when a relationship isn't good for you, you find it difficult to break it off.

5.        When you consider breaking a relationship, you worry about what will happen to the other person without you.

6.        After a break-up, you immediately start looking for a new relationship in order to avoid being alone.

7.        You are often involved with someone unavailable who lives far away, is married, is involved with someone else, or is emotionally distant.

8.        A kind, available person probably seems boring to you and even if he/she likes you, you will probably reject him/her.

9.        Even though you may demonstrate independence in other areas, you are fearful of independence within a love relationship.

10.     You find it hard to say no to the person with whom you are involved.

11.     You do not really believe you deserve a good relationship.

12.     Your self-doubt causes you to be jealous and possessive in an effort to maintain control.

13.     Sexually, you are more concerned with pleasing your partner than pleasing yourself.

14.     You feel as if you are unable to stop seeing a certain person even though you know that continuing the relationship is destructive to you.

15.     Memories of a relationship continue to control your thoughts for months or even years after it has ended.

Addictive love is ultimately destructive to itself and to the persons involved. Addicted lovers are increasingly unable to cope with anyone or anything else. The relationship becomes the only point of certainty in a bewildering and lonely world. Addictive love does produce a certain excitement that is not present in healthier relationships, which is why some people stay in an unfulfilling relationship long after they've recognized the dysfunctional nature of it.

By contrast, mature lovers have the desire to grow and expand themselves through the relationship. They do not use the lover to fill up the emptiness within themselves, but are self-completed. The relationship brings out the best in them. They are friends who enjoy each other for their own individuality, yet the relationship is integrated into the totality of life, and they maintain other serious interests as well.

Recovery from love addiction is possible, and with it, the opportunity for healthier, non-addictive relationships in the future. The first step is to admit there is a problem. Then there must be a willingness to take action: break old patterns, increase self-esteem, and make new priorities in relationships and in life as a whole.

Spiritual resources are important for a balanced approach to handling any circumstance of life. In a relationship with God, people have the assurance that God is with them always.

See:  www.namb.net/site/c.9qKILUOzEpH/b.695729/k.61C7/Addictive_Relationships.htm
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2008, 12:07:31 PM »

And steps to recovery from these kinds of relationships:

(Again, though this article speaks of God and spirituality, please don't let that discourage you from the good information and ideas in this article if the religious aspects are difficult for you.  

Recovering from Addictive Relationships

Participants in an addictive relationship are unable to function outside the relationship in a healthy way. They are dependent upon the relationship for meaning in life and they lose their individuality. Relational addicts attempt to use relationships to fill voids in their lives. They cannot be happy or content without a relationship. In addition, addicts will initiate or stay in a relationship which is hurtful to them.

Recovery Process

Recovering from addictive love is not one single event but a gradual process. The first step in this process is realizing that change needs to be made. After realizing that change needs to occur there needs to be a willingness to do something about it, a willingness to make new priorities in one's relationships and in one's life.

The most essential priority in recovering from love addiction is to make recovery the first priority. In other words, recovery needs to be more important than meeting a new person, having a date, thinking about an ex-lover, or gaining approval from friends over the decision to recover. After the desire to recover becomes a priority, several steps that lead toward healing come into focus.

Essential Steps in Breaking the Cycle

First, let go of over-involvement in the lives of others. This means letting go of depending on others for approval and the need to have others act in certain ways. Release control of others, even though there may be a fear of losing everything.

An important part of letting go is to refuse to take responsibility for another person's problems. Learn to be lovingly detached: caring, but not trying to be responsible for another person's happiness. Instead of focusing on another person's problems and trying to help him or her through those problems, the relationship addict must release such obsessive attention and allow others to have the freedom to make choices and to suffer the consequences of the choices made.

Second, learn to nurture yourself. Instead of ignoring one's own physical and emotional needs and concentrating on meeting the needs of others, the relationship addict must learn to nurture himself or herself. This involves learning to love oneself, perhaps for the first time.

Third, break the negative, self-defeating patterns learned from childhood. Through the help of a support group or a therapist, the relationship addict will consciously be able to identify and release the painful emotions of the past, make peace with the past, and live more freely in the present. The anger and hurt experienced in a dysfunctional family can be systematically defused.

Fourth, define your personal boundaries. Boundaries represent the psychological dividing lines between two people. Boundaries are important because they help an individual to maintain a healthy sense of self, distinct from everyone and everything else. Without boundaries, it is difficult for a person to maintain his or her own values and goals while encountering the influences and emotions of others.

Help for the love addict comes when boundaries can be reclaimed and clarified. Learn to establish limits, to be able to say "No," or to physically separate yourself from another and still feel OK about it. Become more assertive, and learn to give without giving too much.

Fifth, develop a spiritual life. Within themselves, individuals are powerless to break any kind of an addiction. Admitting such a weakness leads to surrender and freedom from the burden of trying to change oneself or another person. Instead of having to work so hard to bring about change, individuals can turn to God for help.

Turning to God is trusting the one who cares (I Peter 5:17). Even though he may not take you out of your circumstance, you can know that he will go with you through it. He is in control even when the world seems out of control.

Knowing God in Jesus Christ means being born again to a new hope and a new life. The God of all creation becomes an intimate and loving Heavenly Father. You can turn to him anytime and receive strength, encouragement, love, wisdom, and power. Realizing that such a loving Almighty Father is nearby can bring peace in the midst of the storm.

Sixth, learn to make new choices. One of the most devastating effects of addictive love concerns loss of choice. Individuals do not feel as if they have the right to choose. They lose the ability to say no, to maintain their boundaries, to know what they believe, to remain in or leave a relationship. They are focused entirely on others, accepting their values, and failing to see alternatives that might change their lives.

Recovery also involves identifying situations in which you allow others to make choices for you. When you become aware of these areas, you can begin transferring the power to make decisions from others to yourself. Begin by making small decisions such as what to eat or how to spend an evening. This will give you the courage to make the larger decisions: where to live, what kind of work to do, and whom to allow in your life.

Of course, making new choices is somewhat limited. While each person has the power to make choices concerning his or her own life, individuals have no power to control the actions of others. Therefore, the relationship addict must realize that he or she cannot take responsibility for another person's action, attitudes, and priorities. You can only take responsibility for your own. While you cannot always control how you feel, you have power over how you choose to act on your feelings.

Healthy Intimacy

As these steps are carried out, individuals tend to grow stronger in themselves and are more likely to choose partners who are strong enough to return a mature love. These steps will lead to an opportunity for healthy intimacy, the kind of intimacy that involves accepting inevitable differences, allowing vulnerability and honesty, being oneself rather than someone who is trying to gain approval by being what other people might want, and communicating one's needs plainly rather than suppressing them or hinting at them. As one grows in these areas, the possibilities for healthy intimacy will begin to replace relationship addiction.

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JoannaK
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2008, 12:34:27 PM »

From www.theviproom.com:  

(However, I had to edit this a bit to make it readable, so perhaps this was copied from somewhere else.)

Addictive Relationships

Always Giving and Never Feeling Satisfied

The basis for a healthy relationship with another must start with a healthy relationship with yourself.

Relationships Don't Work... .

when you don't know whether to continue a relationship.

when you know you should let go and don't.

when you ask yourself, "What's making me stay."

when you feel your hopes might be unrealistic.

when you believe you can't live without that person.

when you think you will never find somebody else again.

when you feel this he/she will be the only "real" friend you will ever have.


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 Self vs. The Other

The Self is emotionally over-available; focuses on the other.

Gives encouragement, support, money, time and so on.  

Give more than 50%.  

Gives up or loses power.

Validates the other.  

Tolerates inappropriate behavior.  

Attaches or becomes enmeshed with the other.  

The Other is emotionally unavailable, focuses on self.

Has desires and needs met.  

Gives less than 50 percent.

Gains power.

Is validated.  

Often engages in appropriate behavior.

Detaches or moves away.

Relationship Addictive Responses  

You:

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.

Excessive Involvement

You:

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.

Unrealistic Expectations

You:

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 mean?

Change is:

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.

Self-Validation

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:  

Be accepted for who you are.

  -Grow and change.

  -Come to know yourself better.

Be respected, valued, and appreciated.

  -Maintain your individuality and sense of selfhood.

Share some common values.

Share some interests and expectations.

Have your life enhanced by the presence of the other.


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 experienced 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 ones include:

Step 1: Understand your expectations regarding your friends, partner , and relationship.

Step 2: Challenge your unhealthy or unrealistic expectation.

Step 3: Choose alternative ways to meet your needs for security, completeness, and validation.

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 Publications.

Halpern, H. M. (1982). How to break your addiction to a person. McGraw Hill.

Woititz, Janet G. (1985). Struggle for intimacy. Health Communications, Inc.

John W. Wilson  jwilson@theviproom.com

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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2008, 11:23:44 PM »

"You will have to unlearn the many erroneous beliefs you have about yourself and relationships."

I was just reflecting on this and hear it is spelled out... .Thank You!     Smiling (click to insert in post)

I call it hope-less denial when I am not present in an unhealthy situation and I do not speak to it immediately.  Coming to full acceptance is sometimes harder that I would have imagined.

Hoping in the future to be able to state this is not working for me and I wish  __________!

(more involvment, more caring, what ever the case may be!

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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2008, 09:30:39 AM »

Excerpt
Hoping in the future to be able to state this is not working for me and I wish  __________!

(more involvment, more caring, what ever the case may be!

For those people who tend to get caught in addictive relationships, however, one of the reasons that they don't discuss what they need with their partner is that they fear the partner will go away, rage, whatever.  As they are addicted, they can't deal with the prospect of losing that partner. 
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2008, 10:37:31 AM »

Kinda interesting timing for this.  In my last MC session (wife was not there so it basically became a me session  Smiling (click to insert in post) )  T brought up addiction as a possible reason for me staying so long and "dealing" with it.  She suggested the book "Facing Love Addiction" and set up a next appt just for me.  I will admit I have not gotten the book, but have been reading "Is it love or is it Addiction" on netlibrary (VERY good resource by the way if you haven't seen it www.netlibrary.com.).

It talks some about the brain chemicals involved and it shows that the addictions look very real.  I am also seeing the same issues with contemplating leaving this relationship with what I went through to quit smoking a year ago.  Very similar "withdrawals".  'No contact" and "never take another puff" are also quite similar stances on "quitting".

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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2008, 11:27:38 AM »

Hi Joanna... .Im trying to see how all of your info pertains to me and I dont see a correlation... .I come from a very functional home... .I have been alone a year after psycho girl and am quite liking it... So I dont seem to apply to the definition of love addict... .althou she was definitely under the umbrella... So can any of what you wrote be applied to the person who hitches up with a Love Addict... .just because we stay in an abusive relationship doesnt mean we are love addicts but the question of why we stay definitely should be addressed

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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2008, 01:44:49 PM »

Yes, Gary, I'm not saying that everybody with an abusive partner is/was a "love addict".  But it is something for any of us to explore and see if "the shoe fits". 
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« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2008, 04:49:16 PM »

For those people who tend to get caught in addictive relationships, however, one of the reasons that they don't discuss what they need with their partner is that they fear the partner will go away, rage, whatever.  As they are addicted, they can't deal with the prospect of losing that partner. 

So getting caught up in addictive relationships is a continuance of abandonment issues I would say. We fear losing control over the partner so we manipulate by not expressing what we need. By not putting our whole self out there then we aren't exposed to rejection and abandonment.
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« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2008, 05:31:03 PM »

Either abandonment issues or a fear that we aren't "good enough" to keep someone so "special", as so many here imbue the BPDso with so many superior, special qualities.
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« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2008, 09:58:30 PM »

Well stated MZB!

You know I do not want to be with anyone anymore where I am not totally myself and where there is a unhelathy silence or a not speaking to a situation at hand because of the way they way take it, or the way I may feel.  There is a way to speak calmly to things w/o being reactive and just to simply respond in a healthy fashion.  Why not speak up to a reactive situation and call it as one sees it.  W0W your charged on this subject, would you like to talk about it another time, or WoW your sure generating a lot of negative energy here, it makes me feel uncomfortable, or Wow do I remind you of someone?  Have I offended you in some way?     GOOD START YES?    Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2008, 05:22:38 AM »

Well stated MZB!

You know I do not want to be with anyone anymore where I am not totally myself and where there is a unhelathy silence or a not speaking to a situation at hand because of the way they way take it, or the way I may feel.  There is a way to speak calmly to things w/o being reactive and just to simply respond in a healthy fashion.  Why not speak up to a reactive situation and call it as one sees it.  W0W your charged on this subject, would you like to talk about it another time, or WoW your sure generating a lot of negative energy here, it makes me feel uncomfortable, or Wow do I remind you of someone?  Have I offended you in some way?     GOOD START YES?    Smiling (click to insert in post)

Exactly, call it as you see it. Isn't that honesty? It doesn't have to be brutal or unkind. That's where tact comes in, but I thinks it's manipulative and unhealthy not to speak up. You brought up a great point Theomorphic, if you respond w/o being reactive it's being health. Addictive relationships have a charged sense of energy because there is always a misty, cloaked, hidden thing going on. It leaves you exhausted but then again, to an unhealthy person, it gives a sense of excitement of the unkown. I think maybe that's why I stayed in some of the relationships that I did. I had the idea that I could "overcome" or save this person from what ever darkness lurked in there scrambled world.  :Smiling (click to insert in post)  Oh my... .I like normal and boring better.  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2008, 05:12:39 PM »

Let me add something here:

Excerpt
We fear losing control over the partner so we manipulate by not expressing what we need. By not putting our whole self out there then we aren't exposed to rejection and abandonment.

   

We're talking about addictions.  Here is a definition of addiction (probably should be in the first post):


Excerpt
Compulsive physiological and psychological need for a habit-forming substance: a drug used in the treatment of heroin addiction.

An instance of this: a person with multiple chemical addictions.

The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something.

An instance of this: had an addiction for fast cars.

"compulsive", "habit-forming", "physiological and psychological need":

These are some of the descriptions found in a definition of addiction.

An addict fears going into withdrawal if the "drug of choice" is taken away.  When that happens, he/she experiences all kinds of difficult, painful physical and psychological symptoms.  Why are people addicts?  It's unclear...   genetic tendencies.  Dysfunctional coping mechanisms due to difficult childhoods.  There is some talk of an "addictive personality disorder"... in other words, there isn't really a big difference between an alcoholic, a gambler, and someone who falls into obsessive relationships.  I don't think we fear "losing control"... .  I think we fear losing the person period... .  that if erect boundaries, the person, the "addictive substance" will be taken away from us and we will go into withdrawal.  The thing is, in one of these relationships, we are exposed to rejection and the absence of the addictive substance anyway----  even when we don't put our whole self out there (walking on eggshells), we will be rejected somehow some way.     

Excerpt
You know I do not want to be with anyone anymore where I am not totally myself and where there is a unhelathy silence or a not speaking to a situation at hand because of the way they way take it, or the way I may feel.  There is a way to speak calmly to things w/o being reactive and just to simply respond in a healthy fashion.  Why not speak up to a reactive situation and call it as one sees it.  W0W your charged on this subject, would you like to talk about it another time, or WoW your sure generating a lot of negative energy here, it makes me feel uncomfortable, or Wow do I remind you of someone?  Have I offended you in some way?     GOOD START YES?   



O.K... .  but if you have a tendency towards addiction, and tend to gravitate towards partners who bring out addictive reactions in you, how do you stop this tendency?  You may say, "I do not want to be with this kind of person", but those are the kinds of people that you may find yourself attracted to...   because they hit on an addiction receptor somewhere. 


Excerpt
Addictive relationships have a charged sense of energy because there is always a misty, cloaked, hidden thing going on. It leaves you exhausted but then again, to an unhealthy person, it gives a sense of excitement of the unkown. I think maybe that's why I stayed in some of the relationships that I did. I had the idea that I could "overcome" or save this person from what ever darkness lurked in there scrambled world.    Oh my... .I like normal and boring better. 

   

Some people find themselves addicted to risk-taking behaviors... .  or to things that are "forbidden"... .   A difficult person could fit into this kind of category... Or perhaps someone too young, too old, too inappropriate in some way. 
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2008, 07:31:03 PM »

There was a time in my life when I couldn't be alone or be quite.  I had to have an atmosphere of chaos... .always needed to be fixing one situation or another, one bad relationship or another. It was destructive and disruptive. Wouldn't that be considered the behavior of an addict? I never had a problem with drugs or alchohol so I guess I used relationships instead.
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« Reply #14 on: April 26, 2008, 03:04:50 AM »

JK... .No Argument Here!   I have been putting myself out in the dating world and your right, although please know that I have been saying NO as in we are not going past coffee (or drinks) as I no longer

wish to associate with my opposites (once this is determined), I now see the (old) patterns emerging, which is now easier to spot.  I may be/go into infatuation (this is where I do not exist and they are put on a pedestal), when this happens in me I NOW RUN = Literally because I see this is how I am wired! 

They tend to be selfish, arrogant, seductive, cunning and many times they are OK to jump right into bed.  Now this does a number on me because I SAY NO and then I never hear from them again becasue they are insulted when I say, I wish to get to know you.  Although I know this is for the best, it is still hard and puts me thru changes, as in OMG I am turning down sex YES I AM!  Ahhhh I just get to the point where   hmmm   I do not wish to be a victim

nor do I wish any more pain in my life.     

Now just for the record I am also meeting NON's or like for like and I am finding that even here although there is not the Excitement as I find the the BPD=NPD's there is an alivenss felt and I still say NO when I know there is no chemistry or promise.  Actually I find myself today very decerning, picky if you will.   

Alone Alone yes I sit here Alone... .LOL                    

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« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2008, 11:34:21 AM »

WoW... .Everyone one on bpdfamily.com really would want to read this with women substituting the word women for men.  I have to do this all the time in reading anything, in other articles I substitute or switch around the men/male for women/female or vice versa and it works.   anyway... .

This has allowed me to better understand Splitting which OMG so that is why I was torn down and made to feel bad and then this angel face of love suddenly appeared.  I shall read everything by her and buy any books to support her!

THANK YOU!    Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2009, 10:41:44 AM »

Wow... .the more I read here the more I learn about "ME"... .I am thankful that I FINALLY realize true happiness and growth comes from "working on ME" and not "pointing the finger" at others that I think need to change... .

Peace
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2009, 11:59:11 AM »

hi

Arjay yo are absolutly right.

i have came to conclustion that everything depends on me. 

Long time i thought why some people from my life after the meeting with my ex said. HAHA, He is a loser, no interest to speak to him

el, everything is only your illusion and game of mind.

And i tried to argue with them ))).  Now i know that i argued not with my friends, i arguered with myself, because i Knew that he is

nobody,  but i so tried to find the exuses for him,  i felt guilt and shame for him, for myself.

from another hand i followed my moral principles- do not leave person in greif. ...

I wrote about it  it was my fog- my doggy collar.


probably i took this doggy collar off.   I worked so on it. 

and interesting observation-  everything has beed changed,  i set a lot of boundaries with collegues, friends,

Now i am not the first who always hurried to help.  And i am able to take help from another people
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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2009, 12:54:25 PM »

El, it took my BPD "ex" to get me to counseling (I was pointing all the mess at her).  Along the way I realized I was not as kind, loving, attentive, strong, self-assured as I thought!

I have grown a lot... .

Peace
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« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2009, 03:03:37 AM »

The question about how we broke/are breaking free from an addictive relationship is part of this Workshop:

How did you get off of the roller coaster and break the "spell"?

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=97181.0;all
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« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2009, 01:55:59 PM »

I found this in a reply from Steph... .  I don't have the source, but it was written by someone named Michael Douglas:

*****************

  These are some signs of those prone to Love Addiction... .

Signs and Characteristics of Love Addiction:


Lack of nurturing and attention when young

Feeling isolated, detached from parents and family

Compartmentalization of relationships from other areas of life

Outer facade of "having it all together" to hide internal disintegration

Mistake intensity for intimacy (drama driven relationships)

Hidden Pain

Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at any cost

Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship

Inner rage over lack of nurturing, early abandonment

Depressed

Highly manipulative and controlling of others

Perceive attraction, attachment, and sex as basic human needs, on a par with food and water

Sense of worthlessness without a relationship or partner

Feelings that a relationship makes one whole, or more of a man or woman

Escalating tolerance for high-risk behavior

Intense need to control self, others, circumstances

Presence of other addictive or compulsive problems 

Insatiable appetite in area of difficulty (sex, love or attachment / need.)

Using others, sex & relationships to alter mood or relieve emotional pain

Continual questioning of values and lifestyle

Driven, desperate, frantic personality

Confusion of sexual attraction with love ("Love" at first sight.)

Tendency to trade sexual activity for "love" or attachment   

Existence of a secret "double life"

Refusal to acknowledge existence of problem

Defining out-of-control behavior as normal

Defining "wants" as "needs"

Tendency to leave one relationship for another. (Inability to be without a relationship.)

Attempts to replace lost relationships with a new one immediately   


Addicted to a relationship:

Are You Addicted to Bad Relationships?


Sometimes we get trapped into extremely addictive and toxic relationships, which not only hurt your self-esteem but also make us lose faith in ourself. Here we suggest you some ways to identify and avoid unhealthy relationship patterns. Advertising executive, Carol Fena has been in and out of a relationship with banker, Neal for the last two years. They break up for a week or two but then keep getting back together until the next blow-up. Carol's friends can't understand why she keeps going back to Neal and why she is so addicted to him in spite of the fact that he is emotionally abusive.

Many are the people caught in the web of addictive relationships. And often, we ourselves realise that we have been in relationships that have disappointed us in some way or another... .relationships that didn't work out the way we had hoped, wanted or thought they would. And, we're not just talking about intimate and love relationships. We're talking about toxic friends, back stabbing relatives, abusive partners and controlling family members, vicious colleagues.

Sometimes the poisoned relationship is with a family member or an in-law. Or perhaps a friendship has lived out its purpose. In this case, so much time has been invested in the friendship that it is hard to let go. However, addictive relationships are most often evident in romantic interactions between men and women.

UNMET EMOTIONAL NEEDS

Remaining in a bad relationship not only causes continual stress but can also cloud your life with frustration, emptiness and despair. It can drain your energy and make you tense and stressed. Addicts become so elaborately enmeshed in the other person that the sense of self-personal identity is severely restricted, crowded out by that other person's identity and problems. Such people struggle relentlessly to fill the great emotional vacuum within themselves. Despite the pain of these relationships, many rational and practical people find that they are unable to leave, even though they know the relationship is bad for them.

One part of them wants out but a seemingly stronger part refuses or feels helpless to take any action. It is in this sense that the relationships are addictive. In case of romantic relationships, entering a relationship based on the fear of being alone is totally self-destructive. In this type of scenario, an individual will choose to be with just about anybody to fill the void he/she has in life. Desperation for love and romance to fulfill your desires may lead to selection of wrong partners. So, if you use your fears and insecurities to make your relationship decisions, you inevitably will have to suffer pain and suffering.

ATTACHMENT HUNGER

A person who is excessively attached to another person most likely carried those habits over from past relationships. The conditions in past relationships can leave a person feeling inadequate or mentally and/or physically abused. Romantic relationships are not the only type that causes such habits to develop; they can also stem from lack of nurturing or attention during childhood, isolation or detachment from family, early abandonment, unrecognised early needs and fears of rejection. Often, children who are not loved, nurtured and encouraged in their independence are left feeling 'needy' as adults and may thus be more vulnerable to dependent relationships. These 'clingy' feelings which develop early in childhood, often operate without awareness and can exert considerable influence on a person's life. Often, dysfunctional relationship patterns are passed on from parents to their children.

Thus, unhealthy relationships can be a source of great agony if there is emotional or physical abuse involved. Often, relation addicts do not want to see or believe that their parents, spouses, children or friends can be a toxic influence in their life. This kind of denial may last a lifetime, or it may give way to a painful awareness that the relationship is not healthy. Also, for many people caught in this trap, it is often a vicious circle. For them, the end of one relationship is not always the end of the battle. They choose destructive relationships over and over again. The consequences of their choices are painful and emotionally damaging, yet those that engage in this repetitive behaviour never seem to learn from their experience.

BREAKING THE CYCLE OF BAD RELATIONSHIPS

All relationships leave very important clues about who and what we are. Try to remember all the relationships that you know have been bad for you. Think of the relationship history and look for patterns, themes and repeating incidents. "If it is all about everyone else and what they did to you, it means you are a victim, helpless to affect change. When you can see where you are contributing to the problems, you can make changes. Personal accountability is the most empowering tool for healing. You can talk to a trusted friend or a counsellor depending upon the severity of your situation. Sometimes having an outsider's perspective is helpful. Such a person can help you filter through your options and underlying motives for making a decision. Often, it is difficult to sever ties with people with whom you are emotionally involved - say family members, spouses, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. Breaking up will not be easy. Be sure to resolve any guilt you might be feeling. Too often we let other people relate to us on the basis of our weaknesses and faults. We are attracted to bad traits in people and consequently, these characteristics lead to unhealthy relationships. These people have no other way of relating to us. It will take some re-learning and re-conditioning to achieve this change of relating to others through our strengths, especially if the negative relationship has been long term. You have to let go of negative relationships. It could mean you have to break a business partnership. It could mean you need to call off an engagement. It might require you to avoid toxic friends and acquire some new friends who are true to you.

STAYING IN A BAD MARRIAGE

Married people stay together to work out their issues. This approach to marriage counsellings believes that your partner is the right person to help you heal your wounds. With this approach, many marriages can be saved. However, there are three reasons to leave a relationship: The Three As. There is severe abuse, severe adultery and severe addiction. These three extreme conditions rarely change. In such cases, getting out of the relationship is important. You are putting yourself, and possibly others, in serious jeopardy if you continue to stay in the relationship. Divorce in such cases is merited. Also, partners sometimes stay in bad marriages for the sake of the children. But this can be a big mistake if there is abuse involved, because doing so puts a terrible burden on the children. But marriage experts believe that each marriage has different issues and if the problems can be solved amicably, there is no need for divorce. A study conducted by sociologist Linda Waite at University of Chicago suggests that staying together is better for the children. She writes in The Case for Marriage that "most current divorces leave children worse off, educationally and financially, than they would have been if their parents stayed married, and a majority of divorces leave children psychologically worse off as well. Only a minority of divorces are taking place in families where children are likely to benefit in any way from their parents' separation. I do not advocate divorce as a first step when a marriage is going awry. There are always ups and downs in a marriage. Anyone can manage life during good times. It is getting through the bad times that makes or breaks a relationship.

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS

It is not difficult to break bad relationship habits. Once you decide to let go off your clingy nature, healing will automatically come. Once you aim to heal your past and maintain healthy relationships, you will automatically stay away from associating with toxic people. Always try to keep your relationships healthy. People in healthy relationships grow together and don't stunt each other's progress. Learn to respect your individuality and give and take space. Sometimes we have to associate with negative people, but if you have a healthy self-esteem and courage to stand up for yourself, you won't be affected by such people. Thus, the first step towards breaking bad relationship habits is having a strong conception of your own identity. Often, we allow people into our lives who treat us as we expect to be treated. So, if you feel contempt for yourself or think very little of yourself, you may pick partners or significant others who reflect this image back to you. Learn to recognise such patterns in your life and pluck them off. There will be anger, resentment, hurt and pain. But, you will be breaking your psychological dependency on other people. Recovering from relationship addiction is a process of acknowledging and then letting go of pain, and finding ways to build a happy life.

OVERCOMING RELATIONSHIP ADDICTION

1) Make your 'recovery' the first priority in your life. Look for roots of emotional abuse.

2) Go through your early relationships. Tell yourself that you're an adult now, in charge of your life. Invest your time in disconnecting from the emotions that have been eating you alive.

3) Cultivate whatever needs to be developed in yourself, i.e., fill in gaps that have made you feel undeserving or bad about yourself.

4) Learn to stop managing and controlling others; by being more focused on your own needs; you will no longer need to seek security from others.

5) Develop your spiritual side, i.e., find out what brings you peace and serenity and commit some time, at least half an hour daily, to that endeavour.

6) Learn not to get hooked into bad relationships.

7) Find a support group of friends who understand the pressures you might be facing.

8) Consider getting professional help, if need arises.

Michael Douglas is a relationship expert.

 


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« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2009, 11:33:42 PM »

This is excellent and thank you,

One of the things that I learned about myself in my former marriage was how addicted I became to the relationship for a sense of stability via, validation.  When I first met her, my life was changing in many ways and hers was almost completely out of control.  She was on the verge of living on the street and I was able to disregard many of the changes I was going through and focus on "helping her get her act together," in exchange for receiving validation in the "hero" role.  It's ironic that I chose, hands down, the most unstable woman I have ever known to fill that role and fill the void inside of me that I had yet to discover.

This is where I believe I needed such a dramatic example in my life in order for me to see things about myself that I needed to work on (and still do work on them) to begin to fill my own voids... .myself.  It's not always easy sifting through the past and finding something that had been motivating my decision making in my former marriage.  I haven't had such an example of these issues in me, come about in other relationships in the past and this is where it gets a little confusing.  I don't know if having an addiction to "a relationship" is the same as a life long pattern of being, "addicted to relationships."

I wonder... .is it possible for these things to be kind of dormant until we enter into a relationship that triggers them and viola... ."up front and center" comes the baggage and become involved in an "addictive" kind of way?

It was kind of scary for me as at no time in my life prior, have I made myself so available for so long with someone so unstable and abusive.  I was pretty glued when at any other time in my life prior to my ex; I would have walked away from someone like her before it even got started.

I'm not afraid I'll repeat a pattern that looks anything like she does.  I was, but I'm not anymore.  I've seen enough of myself to the contrary in my social interactions with folks and as I have one woman friend that stands out in the crowd, we are simply that... .friends that get along very well and neither of us nor me and anyone else I know are calling things anything different than being involved in "friendships," at this time.

As far as the list of signs and characteristics are concerned; some of those things did exist as some dynamic or another in my former marriage and again... .at no other time in my life.

hmmmm... .

Peace, UFH

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« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2009, 09:40:29 AM »

For those people who tend to get caught in addictive relationships, however, one of the reasons that they don't discuss what they need with their partner is that they fear the partner will go away, rage, whatever.  As they are addicted, they can't deal with the prospect of losing that partner. 

The push-pull taught me fear of abandonment. Before that I feared it - who does not - but I was an independent minded person who could deal with an occasional set-back.

The rage then taught me to shut up. Having seen two families where a BPD is present - not a wide sample - I postulate that there could also be a code of silence in such families. And in case of my xBPDgf I was almost explicitly taught that. Before all this mess I was opening up much easier.

They have a strong ability to affect or even change the people around themselves. While it is worth pondering why we were vulnerable we must not forget that they reinforce or even create these vulnerabilities once we got involved - like any good addictive drug the receptors are tuned. And the scary bit is once established we are indeed people who tend to go on. It would be so much easier if this drug came with a proper warning label.

While taking this drug ensure a minimum of arms length distance. Any closer will set up a chain reaction. When accidentally violating minimum distance call the next T to help you to recover from the raging burst and fallout. Emergency antidote to be administered is a good measure of validation and in bad cases a single dose boundary enforcement. Longer exposure may cause long term damage and must be weighted carefully with the benefits in each individual case. Strong withdrawel symptoms may show up and in such cases a fast and painful NC type reduction is strongly advised. Even then addiction symptoms may persist over years.
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