Dallas Counseling & Psychotherapy by Dallas psychotherapist Steve. B. Reed.  Steve Reed is a Master of Science, Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Master Social Worker, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist located in the Dallas, Richardson, Plano, DFW Texas area.

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LOVE ADDICTION:

Are You Caught in the Trap of an Addictive Relationship?


By Steve Reed, L.P.C., L.M.F.T.

 

Love addiction effects more people than you might think.  Terri has been in and out of a relationship with Jack for 15 years.  However, Jack always has other women.  Sometimes he has several sexual relationships going at once.  Jack is a sex addict.  Terri, a love addict, is addicted to Jack.
 
Beth is a rageaholic.  For the last 18 months, she and Tim have been breaking up for a week or two but then getting back together until the next blow-up.  Tim's friends cannot understand why he keeps going back for more.  What they don't understand is that Tim is addicted to Beth.
 
Most people do not understand love addiction or know how to identify it, but there are recognizable roles, underlying emotions and a common cycle of behavior that you can learn to spot.  Here is what to look for.
 
The Roles in Addictive Relationships
There are two roles.  The first role is the Love Addict who has an addiction to someone who has another primary addiction.  The second role is the Addict.  Like Jack or Beth in our examples, the Addict has an addiction to something such as alcohol, drugs, sex, work, raging, etc.
 
The Underlying Emotions in Addictive Relationships
The Love Addict has an overwhelming fear of abandonment but underneath there is also a fear of intimacy.
The Addict is terrified of being controlled, smothered or engulfed but has an underlying fear of abandonment.

A Common Cycle of Behavior in Addictive Relationships
Pia Mellody, in her books and tapes on love addiction, identifies the following pattern in the cycle of addictive relationships.  There are several steps in the pattern.  Like a dance, this pattern begins, progresses and ends but then begins again.  This cycle can last for years if not interrupted by treatment.

 

The Love Addict:

The Addict:

Step 1

Is attracted to the adulation and power of the Addict Is attracted to the neediness and vulnerability of the Love Addict and begins to feel safe and wanted

Step 2  

Gets high from their fantasy about the Addict 

Experiences relief from their sense of being alone, incomplete and not mattering 

Creates more fantasy and begins to feel safe, complete and valued

Seduces the Love Addict
 

Gets high from hooking the Love Addict into the relationship
 

Gets high from the adulation of the Love Addict

Step 3

Becomes more needy and worries about the Addicts preoccupation with their addiction 

Denies their early feelings of abandonment 

Sees increasing evidence of abandonment which causes their denial to crumble

Begins to be overwhelmed by the neediness of the Love Addict
 

Begins to engage more in their addiction 

Feels more controlled by the Love Addict and needs to get away

Step 4

Feels hurt, fear, jealousy, anger and/or shame as the Addict withdraws 
 
Abandons the Love Addict by engaging in their own addiction in order to lessen their fear of control and engulfment

Step 5

Begins to obsess about the Addict and plans to get relief from their withdrawal symptoms by 
1) engaging in some other addiction 
2) planning how to get the Addict back, or 
3) planning to get even 
then acts their plan out compulsively
Feels guilt and/or fear about abandoning the Love Addict

Step 6

Gets to start the cycle over if the Addict notices and returns to the relationship with another seduction or waits for a new Addict in order to start a new Step 1 Returns to seduce the Love Addict out of fear of their own abandonment or guilt about addiction or moves on to seduce another Love Addict.  Returns to Step 1

 

Hope for Change in Addictive Relationships
Whether someone has an addiction to a substance, an activity or another person, they are attempting to medicate or distract themselves from the emotional pain of their life.  It is through courageously facing and ultimately resolving their underlying pain that people can finally free themselves from an addictive relationship cycle.  

Often the underlying pain that people seek to avoid or find distraction from is so painful and overwhelming that traditional talk therapy is not helpful.  In such cases, what can help are specific treatments designed to relieve emotional trauma.   

Since 1992, emerging and evolving treatments are making the job of easing intense emotional pain possible.  Treatments that research and clinical experience prove powerful enough to eliminate the pain of traumatic events include Quick REMAP, the REMAP process, CBT and EMDR.  Easing this type of pain allows us to change an underlying and driving dynamic in love addiction.

Although it will require professional help, love addicts can change and they can replace their addictive patterns with a healthier version of love.  They can learn to say good-by to love addiction.

Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT is a psychotherapist that helps people overcome the cycle of love addiction.  His practice is in the Dallas area but he provides phone counseling worldwide.  You can reach Steve at 972-997-9955 or through his website at www.psychotherapy-center.com 

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375 Municipal Drive, Suite 230, Richardson, TX 75080

 

Steve Reed is available for an office appointment for your counseling and psychotherapy needs in the Dallas, Fort Worth, DFW metroplex, including Addison, Allen, Arlington, Bedford, Carrollton, Colleyville, Denton, Euless, Flower Mound, Frisco, Garland, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Highland Park, Hurst, Irving, Keller, Lake Highlands, Lewisville, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Richardson, Rockwall, Rowlett, and University Park. He also offers phone appointments from anywhere in the world. Steve is a creator of self help products, seminars for the public, and professional training classes on new leading-edge therapies such as REMAP, EFT Emotional Freedom Technique, EMDR Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, TFT Thought Field Therapy, and NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming.

 

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