And how you can get out…
We are all so different, with a different combination of events that brings us to any certain point. But here we are. And there are a few generalities– a few paths that we probably all walked down at some point in our lives to bring us here. There were false beliefs, too, that we ended up inheriting that pushed us toward this uncomfortable place. Here were the five main ones that made me a love addict and five great steps to take to get out of the love addict rut…
1. No Self-Esteem/No Self Worth: When you place no value on yourself, you tend to view the world and the people in it as better than you. You tend to accept abuse, scraps, neglect and pain as part of life because there is nothing in your mind that can measure your worth and place you above the scraps. This can come from any number of places– childhood, teen years, even early adulthood. Someone could have told us we were “nothing” among all the love we received and yet “nothing” stuck. Why? Who knows. We related to it. We allowed it to stick. But no self-worth is the number one issue that got you into this mess. Solution: Start to believe you are worth more. Easier said than done. But self-esteem books CAN help! Here’s a list of suggested readings.
2. No Set of Personal Values/Boundaries: The idea of having values was a foreign one for me. I never actually figure out what values were until about 3 years ago. But basically, it is a belief that something is so important to you and it is the ability to hold on to that belief and protect it at all costs. When we protect our core beliefs/values, we are engaging in self love. We are saying THIS VALUE is so important to me that I want to make sure everyone in my life shares it also. When you don’t have values, you are like a bad filtration system that lets in a ton of junk and toxic pollutants. For more on values read here. Solution: figure out what you believe in, what you love, what you need in your life (hint: be more specific than “a boyfriend” or “love,” because that’s not a value. A value is more likely to be something like, “I need no drama in my life,” or “I need to feel respected and not abused.”
3. No Model of What Healthy Love Looks Like: If you don’t know what a healthy, loving relationship looks like, how can you be in one? My father was nuts and my mother was co-dependent. That’s what I learned. Here’s more on this topic. And here.
Solution: Find a better model of a healthy relationship. Look around you. Who seems to have a healthy, long term relationship. Copy their behaviors–even if you don’t have a partner. You never learned when you were a child. It’s time to learn now.
4. No Belief in My Ability to Take Care of Myself: I never grew up. At least not until I was about 36. For years, I still relished the idea of living with my mother and having her take care of me. I was scared to death to get a real job, to go to college, to grow up. I was scared because I saw the pain and suffering my mother went through to become a woman and I did not want to experience that. Besides, I wasn’t any good at taking care of myself. I proved that in the jobs I left, and the relationships that failed. Solution: Take baby steps if you must, but begin to give yourself responsibility and do NOT give up on that responsibility. You will not become GOOD at being an adult until you do it for a long time. It will feel awkward at first. But you need to get over that hump. If you deal with a phobia that keeps you unable to work, go to therapy to try to work through this. Stunted growth keeps you addicted to love. It keeps you immature, unable to grow and experience the world.
5. No Experience Dealing with Healthy People/Prone to Fantasy: All my friends were creative artist types, dreamers, and all of them were unstable messes too. We all shared the same belief that Prince Charming was coming to sweep us off our feet. This fantasy-based thinking is and was toxic. For one, it kept me attracted to unrealistic, dramatic, emotional people who also believed in this kind of fantasy, and thus, none of us went any where. And two, it kept me from living a more authentic, hard working, reality-based life. Solution: Start to change your paradigm about using your logical brain. Fantasy is OK for a minute or two a day, but the reality is, unless your fantasies propel you to create a life for yourself, fantasy is simply a defense mechanism. Logical, rational thinking is NOT cold and “emotional thinking” with the heart is not always the route you should take. There needs to be a balance. Surround yourself with people who share this same belief and who are not prone to fantasy or drama. Learn a work ethic from them. And learn how important it is to use both your mind and your heart when it comes to making decisions.