Daily InspirationFocus today on kindness and caring for yourself and others. Focus on compassion for your own feelings and for the feelings of others. Caring for others without caring for yourself is self-abandoning and can be manipulative. Caring just about yourself and ignoring the feelings of others is self-centered. Caring about yourself and others is loving. By Dr. Margaret Paul
Recovery From Addictions, Part 3By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006
People turn to addictions to avoid the pain of loneliness and fill the empty place inside that really wants to be filled with love. Learn about the beliefs that keep you from accessing the love that will heal addictive behavior.
In Part 1 of this series of articles, I defined substance and process addictions, and described the four major false beliefs that underlie most addictions:
- I can't handle my pain.
- I am unworthy and unlovable.
- Others are my source of love.
- I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me.
Part 2 was about the first of these beliefs - learning how to handle pain. This article addresses the second and third beliefs - "I am unworthy and unlovable" and "Others are my source of love."
As small children, most of us decided that it was our fault when we didn't get the love we needed. We decided that there must be something basically and intrinsically wrong with us that caused our parents or other caregivers to not love us or to abuse us. Since we were too small to give ourselves the love and attention we needed, we were naturally dependent upon others for our survival. Deciding it was our fault that we were not being loved gave us the feeling of control: we could change ourselves and become the "right" way in order to get the love we needed. We put aside our wonderful essence and developed our ego/wounded self to try to have control over getting love and avoiding pain. We went about trying to get the love we needed from others.
The problem is we became addicted to trying to get love from others and never learned that we can, as adults, access love directly from our Source.
Are you operating from the false belief that you can't do this for yourself - that you can't access the love you need directly from your Source? Do you believe that you are somehow defective and that the Source of love that is God will not come to fill you with love, peace and joy? Do you believe that you were born flawed and are therefore undeserving of receiving love from your Source? If you are operating from any of these false beliefs, then it is likely that you are still looking outside yourself for a dependable source of love.
If you could see love, you would see that we live in a universe of love - that it is all around you as well as within you. Your feeling self - your inner child - needs that love to survive and thrive. It is everywhere, yet your Child may be starving for love.
When you don't know how to access the love that is always available to you, and you believe that it won't be there for you anyway because you don't deserve it, it is likely that you will turn to outside sources. You might use food as a substitute for love, or alcohol or drugs. You might use things - toys, clothes, objects - as substitutes for love. Or, you might think that another person needs to be your dependable source of love - that you need sex or attention or approval to fill the empty place within that needs love. You might sense that love exists within that other person, and you might believe that he or she has more ability to access love and bring it to you than you have. Many of the people I work with tell me that they cannot love themselves as well as someone else can, so they keep trying to get someone else to take responsibility for their feelings and needs. They keep trying to hand over their inner child to someone else, thus creating inner abandonment.
The inner abandonment that comes from using substances, things, activities or people as your source of love is the real source of your pain. As long as you are making something or someone outside yourself your dependable source of love, you will be creating - through your self-abandonment - the very pain you are trying so hard to avoid.
As children, our parents were supposed to bring us love from our Source. As adults, we are supposed to be doing this for ourselves. But when our parents didn't show us how to do it for ourselves because they were not doing it for themselves or for us, we never learned how access our true Source of love. Without this access, you will remain stuck in your addictions, trying to fill the inner emptiness that can only be filled with love from your Source.
In the next section of this series, I will explore the ways you might be attempting to get others to fill you - coming from the false belief, "I can have control over how others feel about me and treat me," and in the final section, I will show you how to access love from your Source.
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