Love addicts assign too much value, time, and attention to another person, while neglecting to care for or value themselves. Focus on the partner is obsessive, and fear of abandonment drives the obsession. Love addicts can be addicted to anyone: lover, spouse, friend, parent, boss, mentor, or child. It is a painful process that negatively impacts not only the love addict, but also the individuals with whom he or she is in relationship. Whether they are involved in one, looking for the next one, or avoiding one altogether, love addicts tend to focus a tremendous amount of energy on relationships. The causes of love addiction are rooted in neglect and abandonment in childhood causing them to grow into adulthood with a fear of being left.
Easy Prey to Abuse Fantasy Cycle
“Addicts consciously want intimacy but can’t tolerate healthy closeness, so they must unconsciously choose a partner who cannot be intimate in a healthy way.” – Pia Mellody, R.N. and Author
The love avoidant systematically uses relational walls during intimate contact in order to prevent feeling overwhelmed by the other person, associating “love” with duty or work. The love avoidant’s greatest fear is vulnerability. Growing up in a home with too much intensity and enmeshment by the caregiver or parents. They learn that intimacy is dangerous, conditional, absent, or overwhelming. They learn on a deep level that to get too close is to get hurt, and that safety lies in fearing and fleeing from any lasting emotional connection.
Enmeshed Guarded Avoidant
“The emotional connection between parent and child is like an umbilical cord that goes from the parent to the child except when in enmeshment, the energy flow is being extracted from the child to nourish the parent.”- Pia Mellody Author
Can a person be both?
Yes, according to Pia Mellody, a person could come from both enmeshment and neglect/abandonment in the home, causing relational trauma that could lead to both love addiction and love avoidance in a relationship. For example, a person who is love avoidant in a primary relationship can become a love addict outside the relationship. Sex addicts can be avoidant at home, but addicted outside the relationship with another addict and live in a fantasy.
You’re Not Alone
If you find yourself in this relationship or can identify with one of the two, please reach out. Together we will uncover the root of the problem to begin the healing process. I don’t just address the symptoms; I addresses the issues and factors that contributed to the condition in the first place. During the recovery process, authenticity is encouraged and an overdeveloped sense of responsibility is released. Most of all, you will find peace, self-worth, and stability within yourself and relationships.
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