Are you addicted to love?

Love hurts?

Are you addicted to love?  Love hurts?

When we’re in abusive relationships, we become what’s known as co-dependent.   We become addicted to a person who is emotionally unavailable to us.

Quite often they might even have their own addictions to say, alcohol or drugs.

How this addiction starts is we become hooked in by their charisma and this intense high that we get when we’re with them at the start.

Then, gradually their behaviour starts to change and we get the first signs of their darker side.

But we forgive them and think that if we change our behaviour maybe that side of them will go away.

We get hooked into this cycle of abuse, even though the love hurts us.

By the time the highs get fewer and further between and the lows get lower and more abusive behaviour starts to kick in, we become so addicted to chasing that high again. Wanting that nice person back, not the nasty one.

It becomes an addiction, a futile search for that good feeling we got at the beginning and that nice side of this person, who can give us that.

The same person who is hurting us is the only person who can make us feel good about ourselves again.

But this isn’t a healthy relationship.   This is an addiction.  Love shouldn’t hurt.

It’s co-dependency.

An addiction to someone who is no good for us and who hurts us. We confuse this with love. Click To Tweet

We convince ourselves that it’s love.  But, in a way you’re loving too much.  You’re loving someone who is not loving you in return.  That love hurts.

Are you addicted to love?

Addicted to love?   I’d ask yourself these questions.

Were you hooked in at the start?   Did you have that intense high when you first met them?  Were they so charismatic, they swept you off your feet?

Did you feel an intense pull towards them, like you were drawn to them in some way? Did you feel a powerful connection to them, unlike you’ve ever felt before?

Did you only see what you wanted to see?

I had all these warning signs and red flags very early on.  But, I only saw what I wanted to see and I ignored all of them. I excused them away.

Because I loved the feeling I got from my charismatic Ex at the start.   So, that is who I wanted him to be.    Are you doing that?

Are you seeing warning signs or red flags, but ignoring them?  Only seeing what you want to see?  Which is that they are the charismatic person they first presented to you?

Are you addicted to love?

Do you feel the need to be needed?

Are you feeling the need to be needed?

You might like that feeling. I did.

Did they tell you about they’re past being a difficult one?  They had a tough childhood?

Have they talked about being unlucky in love?  That no relationship has ever worked for them, like their exes had affairs?

Have they ever talked about how down and out they’ve been?  Some sob story that makes you feel the need to rescue them?

So, you go into rescue mode and you’re saving this wonderful, charismatic person from their tough past.  Or the unfair circumstances that have befallen them and come their way.

Are you going into that relationship with that need to be needed and the need to save them?

They need you to help them change into the person you know they really are deep down inside and you can help them to be?

Are you shifting your boundaries?

Are you starting to shift your boundaries if you’re seeing any unacceptable behaviour?  For example, if they start to show signs of erupting in anger all the time?

You don’t like it, it makes you feel uncomfortable. But, because they explain it away, are remorseful afterwards and tell you they’re never going to do that again, you then accept it and stay in that relationship.

You don’t walk away.

You might shift your boundaries in other ways.  You stop wearing make-up because they tell you they don’t want you to.

‘You’re beautiful’ they say, ‘you don’t need to wear it’.

You may like to wear make-up, but you stop wearing it because they’ve told you to.

They might say to you:

‘I don’t like those friends’

So, you stop seeing those friends.

Are you shifting your boundaries every time they push them or test them?

I crossed the Rubicon the day I was first shoved by my ex. It was a little sign of physical abuse, the first sign of it, in fact.

It really shocked me, but when he apologised for it and explained it away by saying:

‘That’s not me. I’m never going to do that again’

I accepted it and stayed.

I shifted my boundary. By doing that, I was, inadvertently, giving him permission to do it again.

Are you shifting your boundaries over what you normally would accept?

Are you changing your behaviour?

Are you changing your behaviour, to make them happy and keep the peace?

For example, if they are saying:

‘I got angry because whenever I come home you do X or Y

You think:

‘Oh gosh, I better not do X or Y, because then they’re going to get angry’.

You start to change your behaviour so they don’t get angry.    You start to accept responsibility you are to blame for their anger.

You modify your behaviour to not have that abuse happen again.

Changing your behaviour is a big sign the relationship you’re in is not a healthy one.

In a healthy relationship, you are allowed to be who you are. Loved and accepted just the way you are. Click To Tweet

Not expected to bend yourself in knots, trying to avoid anger, abuse, upset and arguments.

Are you trying to change them?

Are you trying to change them?

Are you modifying your behaviour in the hope that they’ll then change theirs?  They’ll no longer be angry.

Because you really want them to be the lovely person you first met, not this moody one you’re now seeing.  You don’t like that side of them. You like the nice side.

So, you’re trying to change them.   You’ll do everything to try and change them.

They don’t have a job.  So you think:

Well, then I’ll pay for things because then maybe they’ll have a better chance of getting one, as they’ll be able to get to that interview if I give them money for the bus’.

Are you trying to change them by stopping them from drinking, because their behaviour gets worse if they have a drink? Or whatever it is.

Are you trying to change them into the person you hope they’ll become and whom you believe them to be, deep down inside?

Or, are you accepting them unconditionally for who they are right now?

Are you putting their needs first?

Are you caring more about them than yourself?

If they have behaved unacceptably and are then remorseful and upset, saying:

‘Sorry, I’ll never do that again’

Are you feeling sorrier for them?

More than for yourself after the abuse they’ve just dished out to you moments before?

Do you feel guilty about leaving them?   Fearing what will happen to them if you leave?

Are you putting their needs and well-being before yours?

Always thinking:

‘I feel sorry for them because they had a tough past’?

Instead of feeling:

‘I feel sorry for me, because they just hurt me’?

You put them first, you feel sorry for them.  You feel guilty about them.

Do you see them as Dr Jekyll and Mr (or Ms) Hyde?

Are you seeing them as having two sides?  Like Dr Jekyll and Mr (or Ms) Hyde?

Do you think:

‘They’re really that charismatic, nice person I first met.  Not this dark side, this person who is nasty. That’s not the real them’.

And do they reinforce this belief by telling you that’s not the real them as well?

So, you just keep chasing and living for the nice side of them to come back, because you don’t believe that nasty side is really them.

You can’t accept that actually they are the same person and are accountable for both.  The actions and behaviour of both sides to them.

Do you feel drawn to them?

Do you feel a really intense pull towards them?

Even if by now you realise the relationship is no good for you and you’ve found the courage to walk away and leave, do you feel an intense pull back to them?

One that makes you feel:

‘I can’t leave them, I love them’?

You still love them and can’t bear the pain of being without them?   So, you want to go back?

Are they the only thing that can make you feel good about yourself again?

Are you scared of losing them?

Do you know in your head you should leave them because this relationship is no good for you? Love hurts? You deserve better than this?

But, your heart is telling you you love them and you’re terrified of never seeing them again?

Are you addicted to love?

All of these things I’ve described are signs of a very unhealthy relationship.  If they resonate with you, you may be addicted to love, in a very unhealthy, co-dependent way.

You have an unhealthy need for each other.  Yet, you’re no good for each other.

It’s abusive, yet the only person who can make you feel good about yourself is the same person who is hurting you and has abused you.   This is not a healthy form of love.

Healthy love doesn’t have that desperation and intensity.  The need for you to rescue them.

A healthy person doesn’t have two sides where one minute they show you the wonderful, loving side and the next, a nasty one.   Then the nice side, the nasty side, in an abusive cycle.

In a healthy relationship, you don’t change your behaviour the whole time, anticipating the other person’s moods.

In a healthy relationship you accept them unconditionally. You don’t try to change them. Click To Tweet

You’re not there waiting and hoping for them to become the person you hope they might become one day in the future.   When you get that nice person back.

If you’re in a relationship where you feel any of what I’ve described above, there’s a good chance you are addicted to love.

In a relationship in which you are co-dependent and it’s not a healthy one.

I would urge you to get help and support. I’ve listed domestic violence resources and free helplines here.

I know there’s the old-fashioned concept that love should hurt, that it comes with intense highs and lows.  Arguments and make-ups.  That is what love is.  But that is not what love should be. Love shouldn’t hurt.

If love hurts for you.  If you are equating being in love with being in pain, then, as Robin Norwood says in her book (which changed my life) – Women who love too much – you’re loving too much:

You should consider whether you are in fact addicted to love, rather than experiencing a healthy form of love.

Does this resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below.

If you want to break this addiction and co-dependency, my online video courses are designed for you.

Are your relationships – past or present – good enough for you?  Do you deserve better?  Try my FREE QUIZ to find out!

Written by Vivian McGrath

Vivian McGrath is a TV Executive Producer who makes documentaries for major US, UK and Australian broadcasters.  She is also a survivor of domestic violence.  Her book ‘Unbeatable (How I Left a Violent Man)’ – her story of surviving abuse to finding success in love and life – will be published soon.  She hopes this blog will help others to become strong, fearless and successful too.  Find out more about Vivian Here.

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