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David Baxter

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Are You Love Addicted?
By Dr. Margaret Paul

Are you constantly feeling alone and empty inside? Are you often seeking to get love, attention, approval, compassion and connection with others? You might be love-addicted.

Imagine that you have a little child - a son or daughter, but that you are only 15 years old. How are you going to feel about this child? There is a good possibility that you will feel that this child is a burden, limiting your freedom. You will likely feel that the child is too demanding, needing too much from you. You may want to go out and have fun and not be tied down to this child.

Is this how you feel about your own inner child - your own feelings and needs? Does it feel burdensome to take loving care of yourself? Do you feel like your own feelings and needs are just too much to have to take care of? Do you feel like taking care of yourself is just hard? Do you believe it is selfish to take loving care of yourself? Do you wish someone else would come along and meet your emotional needs to feel loved, valued, and worthy?

If this is how you feel, it is because you have not yet done the inner work of developing a loving adult part of you - a part of you that is connected with a spiritual source of love, wisdom, strength, guidance and comfort. It is your adolescent self who is charge, and this part of you not only does not want the job of taking care of you, it is not adequate to handle the job.

This is what creates love addiction.

You have a little child inside you - your feeling self - who need lots of love, attention, comfort, valuing, validating, connection and compassion. When you have no desire to give this to yourself because you feel it is too hard, you feel too inadequate, you think it is selfish, or you believe that it is someone else's job to meet these needs, then you are abandoning yourself. If you believe that your best feelings come from someone else loving you instead of you loving you, then you are abandoning yourself. And when you abandon yourself, that little child in you is left to get the love he or she needs elsewhere.

When you abandon yourself because you have not learned how to take loving care of yourself or because you don't want the responsibility of your own feelings and needs, that is when you become needy of others love and attention. You learn many ways of trying to get the love, attention and compassion you need.

Think for a moment about what you do to get love, connection, attention, approval or compassion from others.

Do you try to be perfect - looking right, saying the right thing, being a high achiever? Do you try to be cute or funny? Do you try to show others how smart you are? Do you strive to have the best - the best house, the best car, the best wife or husband, the best children, the best clothing? Or, do you act helpless, incompetent, in need of rescuing? Do you pull on others with your complaining, your incessant talking, your whining, sulking, silence, or your bragging? Are you overly nice, a people-pleaser? Do you attempt to get the attention you want through intimidation - with anger, threats, blame, or violence?

When you have abandoned yourself and are love-addicted, you will have developed many ways of trying to have control over getting the love you need. That little child in you is desperate to be loved. The emptiness of the self-abandonment and the resulting longing for love leads you to behave in the very ways that end up pushing others away. It is a losing battle. IT WILL NEVER WORK. You will never get the love you need by trying to get others to give to you what only you can give to yourself.
 

David Baxter

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Love Addiction, Approval Addiction
By Dr. Margaret Paul

Are you love or approval addicted? Most people are. The following checklist will help you to determine your level of love or approval addiction.

In my experience as a counselor for 40 years, I have found that love addiction and approval addiction are far more prevalent than any other substance or process addictions. We live in a love-addicted, approval-addicted society.

What does it mean to be love/approval addicted? Below is a checklist for you to see if you are addicted to love and/or approval. Believing any of these may indicate love or approval addiction.

I believe that:

  • My happiness and wellbeing are depended upon getting love from another person.
  • My adequacy, lovability, and feelings of self-worth and self-esteem come from others liking me and approving of me.
  • Others disapproval or rejection mean that I'm not good enough.
  • I can't make myself happy.
  • I can't make myself as happy as someone else can.
  • My best feelings come from outside myself, from how other people or a particular other person sees me and treats me.
  • Others are responsible for my feelings. Therefore, if someone cares about me, he or she will never do anything that hurts or upsets me.
  • I can't be alone. I feel like I'll die if I'm alone.
  • When I'm hurt or upset, it's someone else's fault.
  • It's up to other people to make me feel good about myself by approving of me.
  • I'm not responsible for my feelings. Other people make me feel happy, sad, angry, frustrated, shut down, or depressed. When I'm angry, someone makes me feel that way and is responsible for fixing my feelings.
  • I'm not responsible for my behavior. Other people make me yell, act crazy, get sick, laugh, cry, get violent, leave, or fail.
  • Others are selfish if they do what they want instead of what I want or need.
  • If I'm not connected to someone, I will die.
  • I can't handle my pain, especially the pain of disapproval, rejection, abandonment, the pain of being shut out - the pain of isolation and loneliness.
Living as a love or approval addict is a very hard way to live. You have to constantly make sure you say the right thing, do the right, and look right in order to get the needed love and approval. Your feelings are on a roller coaster - from feeling the wonderful feelings that come from getting your love or approval "fix" to feeling the despair that comes when your "supply" - the source of your love and approval - shuts down, gets angry or judgmental, or goes away.

The Underlying Cause of Love and Approval Addiction
Love and approval addiction is rooted in self-abandonment. Imagine the feeling part of you as a child - your inner child. When you are love or approval addicted, you have handed your inner child away for adoption. Instead of learning to take responsibility for your own happiness by loving and approving of yourself, you have handed your inner child away to others for love and approval - making others responsible for your feelings. This inner self-abandonment will always cause the deep pain of low self-worth, making you dependent upon others for your sense of worth.

The sad thing about all of this is that love is the most abundant thing in the universe. We live in a sea of love - it is always within us and all around us. It is our Source. When you learn to open to Spirit/God/Source, you become filled with love, with peace, with joy. The empty place within that yearns to be filled becomes so filled with love that it overflows to others. You find yourself desiring to give love rather than always trying to get it.

As long as you make others your Source, you will not find the love, peace and joy that you seek.
 

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