Relationship Junkie

All people suffer from a sense of inadequacy in some area or time in life. It’s normal and it presents us with the opportunity to grow, evolve and become better people, but when deep feelings of lack, insecurity and unworthiness become pervasive, many people look to romantic relationships to fill their inner void. They turn their lover into their host and use the relationship to feed their insatiable needs. They become Relationship Vampires.

I’ve know lots of relationship junkies. I’ve been one, too. Motivated by a desperate need to feel whole, valuable and worthy they move through the world doing some or all of the following:

–quickly jumping into relationships with almost anyone who shows an interest

–manipulating and controlling to get what they want

–pretending to be the person they think their mate wants

–holding on tightly to people who do not meet their needs and/or are harmful to one or both parties

–spending no time as a single person

–believing and fearing that fulfillment, happiness, security and love come only from others

–feeling lost, panicked or that life holds nothing good in the future, when a relationship ends or is threatened

–neglecting life goals, responsibilities and obligations because they are consumed with a relationship

–obsessing (ex. being consumed by where their mate is or was, what he is thinking, doing or wants to do)

–behaving inappropriately (ex. incessantly calling, checking up on, thinking and talking about his mate)

–remaining in the relationship after betrayal, infidelity, abuse etc.

–being overcome with warranted or unwarranted suspicion and distrust

Invariably, relationship junkies are completely unaware that the savior they seek is within. If they are lucky, something gentle happens to shake them into the realization that they will never cure their emotional ails through a lover (or a child). More often, the awakening is violent, our poor choices harm us. 

Healing the wounds that undermine the ability to create healthy and mutually satisfying relationships is deep work. It may require the help of a counselor, spiritual adviser, friend or support group.

The starting point is learning to take active self-care. You must take your attention from the object of your obsession and place it on yourself. Healing begins there. A good approach is to treat yourself with the same care one would the most loved child in the world. You would not subject that child to the exhaustion and misery of obsessing over someone else. Instead, you’d tend to that child’s need for self-love, approval, comfort and acceptance. You’d lovingly restrain the child from harmful behaviors and you’d allow her to express all of her anguish, anger and sadness. You’d set good health habits for her, and ensure that she’s always engaged in some form of self-investment—learning and growing. You’d forgive her every time she made a mistake, and encourage her to begin again. You would give her the love she so desperately seeks from others. It would take time. It would require faith in her, and the one who created her. It wouldn’t be easy, but there would be moments of hope and light. With a commitment to loving her, those moments would turn to hours, then days and eventually the inner void would fill itself with the love and energy of the person she’ll spend your entire life with, herself.


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