Love Addiction: Your Guide to Ending a Toxic Relationship
Ending a relationship is difficult no matter the circumstance. For love addicts, toxic relationships are common and ending them is almost impossible. Here we discuss steps you can take to end a toxic relationship.
Does your partner ever use threats or manipulation to get you to do something you do not want to do? Does he or she call you names, curse at you or criticise you on a regular basis? These are signs of a toxic relationship – a common occurrence for love addicts.
The difference between people who are addicted to love and those who are not is that love addicts find it impossible to end a bad relationship despite the long list negative impacts that the relationship has on their life. In fact, many people require treatment for love addiction.
Perhaps you are in a toxic relationship or know someone who is. Here are three essential steps to ending a bad relationship.
Can You be Addicted to Relationships?
Love addiction is real, and it affects many people. People addicted to love are in constant fear of being alone or rejected. Often associated with sex addiction, it stems from a dysfunction in the brain’s reward circuitry. Those who struggle with love addiction become hooked on a person or relationship, believing that their counterpart makes them whole. Love addicts will continue their obsession with someone despite the numerous negative consequences that arise.
Some signs and symptoms of love addiction include:
- Always craving and searching for a romantic partner
- Choosing a partner who is non-committal or emotionally unavailable
- Trying to re-create the ‘honeymoon’ phase of a relationship and inability to maintain a relationship once this is phase is over
- Constantly feeling desperate and afraid that a partner will leave
- Choosing a romantic partner over family, friends, work, school, hobbies and interests
- Compromising your values or beliefs in order to keep a significant other
- When single, constantly using sex and fantasies as a means to avoid loneliness
- Choosing partners who are abusive, demanding or require caretaking
And of course, as previously mentioned a tell-tale sign of love addiction is being unable to leave a destructive relationship despite promises to yourself and your loved ones that you will.
Healing Love Addiction with Real Love
Interestingly, love addicts’ major issue is a lack of love. Not a lack of love for others, but love for oneself. The first step to ending a toxic relationship starts with the self. Establishing a daily practice of self-love is key to being able to walk away from a relationship that is harming you. Loving yourself is easier said than done, but the following steps will assist you in creating the framework to view your relationship more objectively and from a place of having your best interests in mind.
1. Avoid Relationship Addiction by Shifting Your Focus
Before taking any action to end the relationship, it is important to fill your mind with messages of self-love. Rather than obsessing about your relationship, begin to shift the focus to yourself. Whether you believe the kind words you tell yourself or not, simply repeating certain mantras every day will have an effect on altering entrenched false beliefs and brain patterns that you hold. Some messages of positive self-regard are:
I am a lovable and valuable person.
I deserve to be happy.
I am capable.
I am enough.
I am worthy of love.
I accept and love myself fully.
2. Combat Co-dependency with Independence
Love addiction is fraught with issues of co-dependency. If you are struggling with shifting your focus to yourself, a great way to achieve this is by finding areas in your life where you can be independent from your partner. Some examples of being independent are: joining a fitness class or interest group, ensuring to have at least one night with your friends a week or picking up a hobby that you had left behind due to the relationship.
As your focus begins to shift, you will gain a sense of independence that will help you to feel less dependent on your partner. Once you are less emotionally dependent on your significant other, you will gain the confidence necessary to exit the relationship.
3. Be Prepared for Relationship Withdrawal
As with any addiction, if you are addicted to a relationship, you will experience withdrawal when you decide to stop it. The physical symptoms of love addiction withdrawal are:
- Anxiety and depression
You can prepare for this by creating the proper supports before exiting the relationship. Supports can come in the form of friends and family or professional help. If you put these supports in place beforehand you will be better prepared for the inevitable withdrawal from the relationship.
Getting Help for Love Addiction
While the above steps can be very helpful in ending a toxic relationship, love addiction can get to the point where it requires professional help. At The Cabin Hong Kong we offer innovative and effective treatment for love addiction.
If you are struggling with love addiction, The Cabin Hong Kong’s outpatient programme is the turning point you have been looking for. The Cabin’s proven Recovery Zones method, which has a 96% completion rate, is specifically designed to treat process addictions for which complete abstinence is not possible. The method incorporates the key concepts of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the 12 Steps and mindfulness.
Certified and highly trained clinical professionals help you get to the root cause of your addiction and create a treatment plan individually tailored to your needs. Through counselling, we provide you with the tools necessary to engage in healthy relationships.
The time for change is now. Contact us today.