As the new relationship shifted back to friendship, I experienced a new sense of spaciousness that came from not having a partner to focus on as I had done for the previous 17 years. In this newly opened space came both immense pleasure, and pain. Debilitating thoughts and intense sensations arose that I labeled fear, and sadness. Using inquiry and embodied rest I journeyed through rotating stories and beliefs, many of them tied to childhood experiences that I had not yet unwound. Feeling utterly alone as a child was one of my biggest sources of trauma, around which I had built a lot of conditioning to protect myself from feeling. There was layer after of layer of feeling unsafe, unloved and simply unable to live without being in relationship for fear of being alone. The various awakenings experienced were no match for the conditioning and trauma that lived in the space of my body.
I was raised believing that I needed a man to take care of me, and on subconscious levels I believed this, even though rationally speaking I would swear it’s absurd. All the studying of feminism, philosophy, and psychology in the world couldn’t have saved me from subconscious belief systems and biological programming which helped form various stories: needing relationship to prove sense of worth, to feel special, to be important, to be loved, to be safe. Being in a relationship distracted me from coming face to face with my various deficiency stories, and the life I created through intimate relationships kept me from fully diving into my ultimate fear of being alone. Nothing could have prepared me for the intense feelings of wanting to be held and touched, that almost seemed to command me to be in relationship or have sex. Over the last six months I’ve learned to hug myself, and love myself, and be with myself in deeper ways than I had ever imagined.
– from The Addictive Nature of Relationship by Lisa Meuser, one of the senior Living Inquiry facilitators
Lisa is describing it so well that I don’t feel I need to add much to it, other than that I recognize this from myself. I too have a relationship addiction, and a love addiction.
And it’s there to compensate for or cover up a sense of lack, loneliness, feeling unlikeable, unlovable, unpopular, an outsider, and more. All of this was there when I was a child, and it’s still with me to some extent.
Relationships makes me feel OK about myself. If she likes me, loves me, wants to have children with me, then I must be OK. Especially if she is attractive and popular.
This is no reason to not be in a relationship.
But it’s good to notice, and it’s something I want to look at.
– relationship addiction, love addiction
– to avoid wounds around loneliness, feeling unlovable, not enough
– deficient selves
– many of us do it, probably
– can heal + be in a relationship (or not), and now without the drama of neediness