Is it love or is it addiction?
Mental health is knowing and practicing how to be a whole person.
That’s right: whole, not broken.
Addiction is not love. You’re not whole when you’re addicted.
Shiela is broken. Not whole. She’s convinced that she’ll suffer or even die without a man in her life.
Over our Zoom session, she admits,
“I got tens of romantic and sexual relationships with different men, doc, in my 30 years of life. Can’t help it, and now I’m again in ‘love” with 2 men simultaneously.”
Careful and deeper examination reveals that Shiela has recollections of many fearful times. They’re all still fresh, recorded in her nervous system.
Her mother’s physical and emotional abuse since her childhood. Her father’s emotional detachment. Her parents’ violent relationship leading to a nasty divorce.
So instead of responding logically or realistically to her emotional trauma, Shiela always hides her pain behind compulsive flirting and sex with different men.
She always gets moved by her wounded inner child within to panic and cling to all the attention she can get from men.
She gets addicted, craving for men, in order to make her feel “whole” and a sense of balance in her life.
Dr. Brenda Schaffer, in her book “Is It Love or Is It Addiction,” explains,
“Love addiction also can spring from an unconscious search to meet unfulfilled childhood needs and to reinforce powerful childhood beliefs. Each of us acts out a drama that seeks to answer the questions ‘Who am I?,’ ‘Who are these others?,’ ‘How do I get what I need in life?’ The drama is not played out in the conscious mind, yet it affects our conscious thoughts, emotions, choices, and behavior.”
All of us have some hint of who we are. But mostly, we’re not actually conscious of what we are.
As in love addiction, what one knows about one’s self is but the tip of the iceberg.
How about you? Check your own present “love” relationship.
Are you in love because you’re ready or because you’re lonely? Are you in love with an authentic person or in love with love?
Is your present “love” relationship truly love or is it a mere addiction?