The words “I’m addicted to you” are a warning sign that there is something dark in your relationship. Although it sounds romantic… you may be in an addictive relationship.

If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, then you may not recognize what a healthy relationship should look and feel like.

Very often, issues in your adult relationships relate to your childhood because you’re drawn to what’s familiar, not what is good for you.

If you haven’t taken time to heal your childhood wounds, then you are likely to be susceptible to addictive relationships. Especially, if you have experienced any of the following:

  • Alcoholic parent(s)
  • Losing a sibling or parent at a young age
  • Finding out that you are adopted
  • Some kind of abuse
  • Emotionally unavailable parent(s)
  • Some sort of neglect
  • Fear of being abandoned
  • Not receiving validation from your parent(s)

Unhealthy childhood relationship patterns that are unresolved often lead to unbalanced, unfulfilled and addictive relationships.

And addictive relationships become a survival pattern. They happen because you are trying to heal the childhood abandonment wound.

Just like an addiction to alcohol, drugs or other substances, being in an addictive relationship is unhealthy, toxic and powerful. And it brings you pain usually with a love/hate dynamic.

Addictive relationships are colored with conflicts, emotional abuse, and even physical violence.

Although you may be aware of how dysfunctional the relationship is, you stay in it. This is the definition of an addictive relationship.

What to do about addictive relationships

Now if you’ve dated one horrible person, this doesn’t mean you’re addicted to bad relationships. However, if you’re noticing a pattern, then there may be a problem.

Although being in an addictive relationship feels isolating and lonely, you’re not alone. It is more common than you may think.

The good news… it doesn’t mean you will always be in an addictive relationship for life. You are not “broken.”

Just because you come from a dysfunctional family doesn’t mean you can’t create secure attachments and healthy relationships.

It is time to shift. If you are committed to change, then you’re not stuck with this forever. You can have relational freedom.

How to get out of an addictive relationship

The only way to get out of an addictive relationship is to change what you are willing to put up with and to make changes.

Step 1) Firstly, start with recognizing the addiction. Be present and accept what you are feeling, thinking and what you want.

This is the hardest step for most people. It is especially difficult to be present when your present moment is hostile, hurtful, scary and invalidating.

Many people stay locked in an addictive relationship by pretending that this present negative moment isn’t happening.

If you’ve ever said to yourself:

  • “Oh, he/she didn’t mean it”,
  • “He’s/She’s not always so mean”,
  • “He/She can’t help it”,
  • “If I just do this, then he’ll/she’ll be nice again.”

Then you are pretending and you are not in the present moment.

Step 2) Stop judging your feelings, thoughts and wants. Be aware of them and accept them. Once you accept your feelings, thoughts, and desires, then you can decide what to do about them.

Step 3) Remember you are worthy of love. And the most powerful love comes from within you. Don’t depend on your partner for love. Instead, increase your love for yourself. Love your uniqueness, your views, your personality, and your gifts.

Step 4) Identify ways you would like to express the best in yourself and take actions that reflect your best self. You deserve to be treated with respect. Don’t allow yourself to be treated any less than your best self deserves.

Step 5) Be willing to change. Real change starts with healing and repairing yourself. This step includes dealing with feelings, grieving and healing from past wounds. Healing allows you to reconnect to yourself with self-compassion and self-love. This is best done with the help of a professional who specializes in addictive relationships.

Step 6) Make these changes, work on self-love and healing yourself… without trying to change or judge anyone else. This process is about your recovery. You can’t change anyone else except yourself.

Step 7) Once you have started to heal yourself, then you can make choices. You can choose to give up the unhealthy relationship. You can decide that being whole, unique and your true self is worth it. You can determine whether your relationship is working well or if you are just addicted. You have choices.

We recommend that you seek support from professionals and talk about the relationship and the pain that’s inside of you.
Remember you are worthy of happiness and love, and a healthy relationship. You can have relational freedom.

Are you ready to create meaningful connections and overcome addictive relationships? Then contact PIVOT. We’re here to help.

By: Lori Jean Glass

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