Heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and relationships. Do you feel like one of these is not like the other?
You may be surprised to find out that all four of these “substances,” along with gambling, Internet activity, shopping, eating, and many more behaviors can all be equally detrimental when they have reached the point of addiction.
Are you a relationship addict? Do you have an intimacy disorder, or an attachment disorder? Let’s find out together.
The following questions are drawn from information in the book, Addicted to Love, by Stephen Arterburn.
- Were you abandoned or rejected in some way as a child?
- Have you been the victim of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse?
- Do you feel unloved by the world at large and by everyone around you?
- Are you constantly feeling overwhelmed by the requirements of everyday life?
- Do you worry constantly? Are you fearful of daily events?
- Have you set standards for yourself that are too high to ever attain?
- Do you feel you must be perfect to ever be “good enough” for someone else to truly love you? Are feelings of inadequacy real for you?
- Have you attempted to fix someone you’ve been romantically involved with?
- Are you staying with partners for too long in an effort to save them?
- Do you find yourself attracted to needy people? Does their neediness make you feel like they will not leave you, and you will not get hurt?
- Are you attracted to emotionally abusive or distant people?
- Does an emotionally-stable person make you anxious or uncomfortable? Does it scare you to think of being in a relationship with someone healthy who would be strong enough to live without your love?
- Have you attached to partners quickly? Does attraction lead right to a relationship?
- Do you stay with a partner because it is better to be with them, then to be alone?
- In comparison to those you’ve dated, do you seem like the emotionally-stable person? Does that bring you joy or comfort in any way?
- Do you walk on eggshells, hiding your own opinion about things, to keep the other person calm and happy?
- Can you honestly say that your efforts to help a partner are selfless, or do your actions in some way always serve you and your need to be loved?
- Are you aware of your own needs? Do you need to be needed?
- After periods of keeping your emotions and opinions bottled up, do you lash out with anger? Are outbursts followed by guilt, remorse, and a need to mend the relationship? Why? Fear of abandonment?
- Are you afraid to ask anyone at all for help with relationships?
- Does it cause great internal discomfort to think about someone helping you? Does it make you feel “less than”?
- Do you sometimes think that you will never find a truly loving relationship?
- Does every new and exciting relationship make you think things will be different this time? Are they ever different?
- If anything goes wrong in a relationship, do you blame yourself?
- Do you feel like an outcast?
- Think about your last relationship: did you appear subservient and giving, but really you held all the power and control?
- Do you feel like you’re on a never ending search for happiness?
- Does conflict in a relationship cause you to shut down and become depressed?
- When you are not in a relationship, do you find yourself engaging in compulsive behaviors? (gambling, eating, shopping, etc.)
- Do you doubt every decision you make, even down to the smallest, everyday tasks?
- Are you constantly guessing what your partner wants so that you don’t have to ask? Does it make you feel like a better partner if you guess correctly?
- If you have difficulty expressing your own needs, do you eventually get angry with a partner for not knowing what you need and not fulfilling your needs?
- Could you possibly be trying to compensate for what you did not get as a child, by manipulating others to get what you want?
- Do you act strong to compensate for a weakness?
Whether you answer yes or no to these questions may not matter. It is more important to explore how answering these questions made you feel.
What thoughts, feelings, and reactions surfaced for you?
If you are a relationship addict, or if you have an intimacy or an attachment disorder, you are not alone. If you have come to the end of your own strength, you need help, and that is okay.
The Control Center’s intensive outpatient program helps thousands of people like you who need to heal while continuing to work or attend to other responsibilities. Start recovering today!