Healing Love and Approval AddictionBy Dr. Margaret Paul
February 22, 2010
You CAN heal from love and approval addiction! Discover if you are love and approval addicted and begin to understand how to heal this.
Are you love or approval addicted?
- Do you often feel empty inside if you are not in a relationship?
- Do you often feel empty inside even if you are in a relationship but your partner is not paying attention to you?
- Do you get anxious when a person you are dating does not contact you when you expect them to?
- Do you get anxious when your partner goes out of town?
- Do you tend to ruminate/obsess about what your partner or someone you are dating is thinking or doing?
- Do you get angry when someone is not saying or doing what you believe they would say or do if they cared about you?
People turn to addictions when they are not taking responsibility for filling themselves with the love they need. Love and approval addiction is like any other addiction: you are using something external - in this case another's attention to you - to fill the emptiness that is the result of your own self-abandonment.
Most of us learned to abandon ourselves, with various addictions, as we were growing up because:
- We had no role models of how to take loving care of ourselves.
- We could not handle the big feelings of loneliness and heartbreak that are often a part of childhood.
- We did not receive the nurturing we needed to handle the heartache, heartbreak, and loneliness of childhood.
When your parents or other caregivers were upset or unhappy, what did they do? Did you see them doing an inner process to discover the inner source of their upset and shift their thinking and behavior to make themselves happy? Did you see them comforting themselves with deep caring and compassion when life's challenges were causing them loneliness and heartbreak?
Or, did you see them:
- Ignoring their feelings and numbing out with substances such as food, alcohol or drugs?
- Ignoring their feelings and numbing out with processes such as work, TV, gambling, or sex?
- Getting angry at someone, blaming someone for their feelings?
- Falling apart, becoming very needy?
- Turning to you to fill them up - being emotionally incestuous?
The chances are that your parents or other caregivers did not role model personal responsibility for their own feelings, and they may not have compassionately been there for your feelings, so you may never have learned to do this for yourself. If you don't know how to manage your own feelings of loneliness, heartache, heartbreak, sadness, sorrow, grief, and helplessness over others, then you have learned to turn to various addictions to manage these feelings, including the addiction to others' love, attention, and approval.
Healing Love and Approval Addiction
You CAN heal from love and approval addiction! Following is a brief description of the 6-Step Inner Bonding process that heals love and approval addiction:
The first step is to make a decision that you WANT responsibility for learning how you are causing your own anxiety, depression, anger, guilt and shame with your own thoughts and actions, and that you WANT responsibility for learning how to nurture the painful feelings of life - the loneliness, heartbreak and grief that are so challenging.
The next step is to open to learning with deep compassion toward yourself, connecting with a loving spiritual Source of love and wisdom. If you are not connected with a spiritual Source of love and wisdom, then you need to learn to do this. You cannot take responsibility for your own feelings alone. You need to be supported by a spiritual Source.
Third, you need to explore what you are telling yourself and how you are treating yourself that is causing your anxiety, depression or anger - discovering the false beliefs that you are operating from. You need to be tender and gentle with your deeper feelings of loneliness and heartbreak.
Fourth, you need to open to learning with your Source of Guidance, asking "What is in my highest good?" "What is the loving action toward myself?" Open and listen for the answer.
Fifth, take the loving action in your own behalf.
Sixth, go back inside and see how you are feeling. If you are not feeling better, then go back and do the process again until you feel relief.
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Today, embrace all mistakes as learning experiences, rather than as expressions of your inadequacy. Making it okay to fail opens the door to loving action. Failure becomes just another learning experience when it does not define your worth or adequacy.
By Dr. Margaret Paul