An addictive relationship is characterized by patterns of thinking and behavior similar to what is found with other addictions including drug and alcohol. The addiction takes on a thinking and behavior dynamic acted out through an intense attachment and focus on the other person in a relationship. Just like any drug, the relationship provides the fulfillment of a deep need, an emptiness or fear so entrenched in a person’s perception that they feel they cannot let go.
A drug provides a coping mechanism and is used to separate oneself from what is really going on, what the person really needs to look at and deal with. The addictive relationship serves to fulfill these needs as well. The other person is used to fix what the ‘addicted’ person believes is wrong with themselves. They have lost their sense of self and they attempt to seek it in another person, needing them to provide relief by returning the same amount of extreme attention and attachment. This will not work any more than using more drugs will be successful to solve our pain.
As with any other addiction, there are many core issues underlying the outward behavior, including self worth, control, emptiness and fear, trauma and a strong loss of a sense of self.
The ending of an addictive relationship is most often followed by another, similar relationship – It is a never-ending cycle until the issues motivating the attachments are understood, faced and worked through.
Transformative counseling will explore the dynamic of the relationship and help in discovering how the “addictive cycle” expresses itself, what the deeper issues are and how to heal them.