How do we know when we are actually in love, or are we in fact in the throes of an addictive cycle? Passion is wonderful and in the initial stages of dating it is very natural. Those passionate moments can be so intense, that we can be swept away, caught up and seduced by the illusion of love. The initial attraction we feel towards another person can leave us feeling unhinged, pre-occupied, obsessed with lustful thoughts and virtually unable to concentrate on our everyday lives. We lose ourselves. We create a fantasy world, totally absorbed in the euphoric ‘high’ from the feelings evoked by the other person’s validation and interest in us.
We wait for their text or email, attributing the words with such profundity and weight that our mood is instantly affected positively or negatively as we decipher every word, reading between the lines into the hidden meanings. Sometimes those obvious displays of affection and validation are so flattering that they warrant no interpretation at all, we are transported into raptures of exuberant bliss. It is the most captivating, wonderful experience and it is extremely addictive.
We are feeling loved-up as a plethora of wonderful feelings flow through our bodies and we are transcended into a fantasy world of lust, excitement and anticipation. We think about that person constantly and feel immense relief when they reveal the same sentiment. This must be the ‘one.’ We are sure, convinced that our search for true love is over, especially since the sex was so amazing. It is so easy to mistake intense intimacy for ‘falling in love.’ Actually getting to really know someone was a secondary concern, it was sex first, friendship later.
Addictive sex and Love
With addictive sex and love we are happy to ignore and reason away the ‘red flags’ of all those things that would scream incompatibility to anyone with a healthy level of self esteem and a safe measure of self control. Setting boundaries and keeping ourselves emotionally safe in the beginning is a sign of emotional maturity. But nonetheless these immensely satisfying feelings have to be maintained at any cost and God help our friends who would dare to discredit our special union. No-one is allowed to point out the glaringly obvious differences, noting maybe that your lover drinks excessively but you are tee-total, or they eat meat on a daily basis and you are a veggie. Minor differences, we reason, that can be swept away with the wave of a hand as we silently lie to ourselves choosing to remain in denial. Anything to maintain the illusion.
“No more I love you, the language is leaving me”Annie Lennox
Then suddenly, as quickly as it started our lover has departed. There may be initial warning signs as you feel them energetically withdraw. The messages become less frequent, the sex is less intense. There is a cold indifference, no more eye contact, in the words of Annie Lennox, “No more I love you, the language is leaving me.” The addictive dance had inevitably reached its peak. Those intimate and overtly intense moments were nothing but part of the addicts addictive cycle and just like the withdrawal from drugs, the comedown is just as devastating, if not more.
With drugs we are versed in what we’re dealing with as we all know there are, wait for it, actual places called drug rehabs that deal specifically with those particular addictions and they are taken very seriously indeed. But Sex and Love addiction is not widely known and understood. We are not dealing with a chemical release from the body, what we are dealing with is the withdrawal from someone that made every aspect of our world more liveable. Where boredom had suddenly morphed into Disney World.
Plummeting into despair
When the object of our sex and love addiction has departed we are left plummeting into despair, into the dark night of the soul and no one can help us. These feelings hit us like a freight train and all we can do is sit and wait until that train stops at a station somewhere along the line and lets us off.
In the meantime we are frantically trying to understand what has happened, our conscious mind continually churning, trying to find an answer that will offer some relief from this nightmare. The disappointment is immense, the pain intolerable and the rejection excruciating. We have been love bombed. This is one aspect of sex and love addiction, and it is toxic, shaming and takes no prisoners.
Female sex addiction
When we talk about sex addiction, it is usually assumed that it is a male addiction. It is not. As women we turn to sex for validation, for heightened emotions, to escape, to seek connection through using our body. Using sex for connection becomes our default setting, albeit a painful one, using and being used has as much authentic connection as oil and water. We can mindlessly pursue our love addicts agenda believing that this is actually love. It is a sham and a lie.
We may wonder why love eludes us. It is only when we are able to become conscious of our addicts compulsive and destructive needs, then we are in a position to gain some control. At least start to recognize the game for what it is. A game with no winners, only losers, that is until we wake up, pull the emergency ‘stop’ brace ourselves and disembark the train.
We all want to be heard, seen and acknowledged, but when that authentication comes on the wings of over-the-top adoring and obsessive attention, then it will feed our ego, elevate our mood, offer escapism albeit momentary, but never feed our hearts. Because the adoration is not really about us, who we really are, we are being side-lined by our addict, and the addict is being sold a cheap vacuous version of love, by another addict who is mirroring that part of us that needs to be bought out of hiding, for the sole purpose of healing.
Unfortunately this dance will continue until we are literally brought to our knees, until we wake up, and see it for what it is. If not we will continue our lives confused and disillusioned that love constantly seems to elude us. Our sanity and well-being will be dependent on outside validation, placing our power squarely in the hands of another.
Obsessive highs are not real
Yes, have no doubt, eventually the love will be taken away and the shutters will descend, because adoration from an addict cannot be sustained. No obsessive high can be sustained because it is not real and eventually it has to crumble. Anything that is unlike authentic love will eventually come up for healing, purely because it is too painful to live a lie. We all deserve authentic love.
If we are attracting addicts and repeating the same pattern over and over, then we must at some point admit we are powerless; it is a good place to start. We might not know how to move forward, but we do know that we want to be out of pain, to feel a sense of control and peace. This is where the healing commences.
Put yourself first
Addiction only invites addicts to the party; everything else is ‘boring.’ Drama, chaos, empty sex, fantasy, shame and worthlessness are all invited. Self-love and self esteem are not on the guest list. Gate crash anyway. Essentially, what it gets down to in the end is self love, putting ourselves first.
We gradually become a real expert in self care, knowing that from those strong foundations we can build a life that feels safe, knowing that nothing can unhinge us again, once we have healed and made strong and affirming decisions not to succumb to the behaviour of the past. We penetrate the fake veneer with a ruthless laser vision into the truth and that ‘awakening’ brings relief and some peace.
Once peace descends, it offers such relief, that we are a devout follower of the truth and nothing but the truth. The healing journey has begun, we do not know the final destination, but what we do know is that we can never return to the darkness, it is a case of do or die. To see new horizons, it really is necessary to lose sight of the shore.
Hypnotherapy can help
Hypnotherapy for Self Esteem and Inner Child therapy is a powerful way to heal the addicted part of ourselves, so we are no longer held captive by our past. We have a choice, to stay stuck and allow our addict to run riot, or to become the master of our lives, gain control and create a haven of safety. Once those foundations have been established and self-care has become a way of life, we are ready to create an authentic relationship with someone who truly loves us as much as we do.
We have become intimate with ourselves, we know who we are, and would not entertain a love interest that does not offer qualities that are synonymous with a healthy level of self-awareness. We will naturally start to attract a different type of partner. However, in the meantime, we are happy with the most important relationship of our lives, the one we have with ourselves.
This is your life, live it to the fullest.