Jim Hall, M.A
To start, it is necessary to understand and acknowledge that there are common patterns in love-addicted relationships. Why? Because you cannot change what you won’t acknowledge. So, let’s get started.
Some patterns of love addiction:
- falling in love too quickly in relationships
- ignoring unhealthy behaviors of one’s partner
- trying to control our partner’s behavior so that we feel comfortable
- allowing our partner’s mood to bring us down
- having unrealistic expectations that a romantic relationship will fill ‘all’ your needs and wants
- and trying to ‘fix’ whatever problem arises in our partner’s life instead of allowing them to fix it themselves.
When we succumb to these inappropriate and harmful behaviors and choices, we lose the connection to ourselves by handing our power over to another. In a love-addicted situation, these toxic behavioral patterns become the foundation of a relationship and develop into comfortable, yet unhealthy patterns.
Our emotional maturity dictates our ability to manage and monitor our emotions and to determine the emotional state of others. A high degree of emotional maturity allows us to think before we act, take responsibility for our lives and actions, and respect the independence of others. When emotional maturity is present communication barriers in relationships and unhealthy behavioral patterns can be defeated.
Healthy boundaries allow us to protect and take care of ourselves. We must recognize when we are being disrespected, then communicate clearly that our boundaries are being infringed upon. We have a right to protect and defend ourselves, and are obligated to take responsibility for how we allow others to treat us. With healthy boundaries, we will not allow another’s dysfunctions and insecurities to rule our actions and behaviors. We can learn to recognize where and how we can help in ways that will empower ourselves and those around us.
When we are self-aware, we have the ability to change in positive ways. We can see which things we need to work on, in ourselves and in our relationships. Through this self-identity, we learn how to be interdependent or mutually dependent. There is a balance to the relationship, where each person depends on each other in fair and healthy ways. With interdependence, we consciously become aware and our self-worth is no longer dependent on outside influence and validation.
Willingness to Change
Changing our relationship with ourselves is essential to accomplishing any permanent changes in our relationships with others. Obtaining healthy interdependence allows us to see the truth in ourselves, others, and situations. Most love addicts come from a childhood with similar family dynamics. We need to work on ourselves — healing childhood trauma, past abandonment, and adjusting our ‘carried childhood coping mechanisms,’ so that we don’t continue with the patterns in relationships that are comfortable but destructive.
As we become honest with ourselves and develop healthy self-esteem, we become interdependent, without misguided beliefs that others choices and behaviors determine our self-worth. We can then seek to understand others in our lives, based on this solid internal and spiritual foundation. Through this state of being, healthy relationships are formed — where two whole individuals support each other and share their life together in a way that allows each to truly, and independently, shine.
Jim Hall, M.A., is a highly dedicated Love Addiction Specialist and founder of www.loveaddictionhelp.com, a cutting-edge site for the love-addicted who want to break free from unhealthy-toxic relationship cycels. Jim combines his skills, professional insight, and profound personal transformational experience, to provide a unique advantage to love addicts who want to recover and achieve enhanced changes and resolve in their own lives.