Addictive Relationships

Are you Addicted? Listed below are several signs of addiction. Consider whether they apply to you:

  • Even though you know the relationship is bad for you (and perhaps others have told you this), you take no effective steps to end it.
  • You give yourself reasons for staying in the relationship that are not really accurate or that are not strong enough to counter-act the harmful aspects of the relationship
  • When you think about ending the relationship, you feel terrible anxiety and fear which makes you cling to it even more.
  • When you take steps to end the relationship, you suffer painful withdrawal symptoms, including physical discomfort, that is only received by reestablishing contact.

Strategies for overcoming relationship addictions

  • Make your "recovery" the first priority in your life.
  • Become "selfish" i.e. focus on getting your own needs met more effectively.
  • Courageously face your own problems and shortcomings.
  • Cultivate whatever needs to be developed in yourself i.e. fill in gaps that have made you feel undeserving or bad about yourself.
  • Learn to stop managing and controlling others; by being more focused on your own needs, you will no longer need to seek security by trying to make theirs change.
  • Develop your "spiritual" side i.e. find out what brings you peace and serenity and commit some time, at least half an hour daily to that endeavor.
  • Learn not to get "hooked" into the games of relationships: avoid dangerous roles you then to fall into e.g. "rescuer," persecutor," "victim."
  • Find a support group of friends who understand.
  • Share with others what you have experienced.
  • Consider getting professional help.

When to seek professional help

  • When you are very unhappy in a relationship, but are unsure of whether you should accept it as it is, make further efforts to improve it, or get out of it.
  • When you have concluded that you should end a relationship, have tried to make yourself end it , but remain stuck.
  • When you suspect that you are staying in a relationship for the wrong reasons, such as feelings of guilt or fear of being alone, and you have been unable to over come the paralyzing effects of such feelings.
  • When you recognize that you have a pattern of staying in bad relationships and have not been able to change that pattern yourself.