I sat on the couch with my counselor and finally got the courage to confess my truth.
“I don’t think I will ever love anyone like I love him,” I said through my broken hearted tears.
She looked at me and broke the awkward silence in the room, “THANK GOD!”
Why do women go back to abuse? Why, when all warning signs say, “No!”, “Don’t!”, “Stop!” we don’t just walk, but instead run back to the chaos as fast as we can?
Some people speculate that women go back to abuse because we are gluttons for punishment. Others murmur that we go back because we are drama queens and the relationship is our stage. Some people even conclude that we go back out of sheer stupidity.
But gluttony, drama, nor stupidity are not the reasons a woman returns to abuse. The mysterious answer behind the proverbial question is that women who return to abuse have an addiction problem. That’s right – women who are repeat offenders in abusive relationships are addicts: unaware, super-addicted, out-of-control addicts. Only rather than being addicted to a substance, we are, instead, addicted to a person. That is why our addiction is properly coined ‘Love Addiction’.
IS IT REAL?
It is odd (as well as a little creepy) to think that we can become addicted to a person. That is, until you understand addictions.
Addictions are caused when we try to heal a deep pain by indulging in “something” (other than what authentically works) to heal our pain. Some people try to end their pain by indulging in alcohol or drugs; some in food; some in religion; some in work. For a Love Addict the drug of choice is a person. And the pain we are trying to cure is our intense need to be loved, and the only way we can do that is to avoid rejection. We need to avoid rejection because rejection to a Love Addict is like kryptonite to Superman. The very scent of it can weaken us to the knees. Or in this case, make us run back to the pains of abuse.
HOW WE BECAME A PATHETIC PARTNER IN LOVE
At the heart of every Love Addict is a belief that says “I am not lovable”. We were injected with that fatal message (most likely) in our childhood when someone did something, or neglected to do something, that gave us the impression that, “we are not loved”. That, for the record, is one of the reasons the desperate stench of abuse smells good to us. It smells good because we think painful ‘love’ is all we deserve.
HOW LOVE TURNS TO ABUSE
Toxic love, which is what Love Addiction is based in, is not normal love. Our love is over-the-top, obsessive love. It’s “I can’t breathe unless they are approving of me”. Or “I might just die (again) if you leave me” love. That, however, is why we desperately run back. We run back because “love”, which is like Valium to the anxious soul of the Love Addict, rests in our abusers hands. Our life, our survival, the only sense of Self we can see is under their ability to ‘love’ us, or not.
If outsiders think our behavior is insane, trust me, so does the Love Addict. We see the push-and-pull of the relationship. We, too, ask our self, “Why can’t we just walk away?!”
The reason we cannot walk away, though, is because without us realizing it, our abuser has become our human needle; our Drug Lord of Love. The person who owns our self-value and self-worth and who in the name of love, can reject us into deep lows with a single glare, or send us to euphoric highs with one simple smile.
There is a tremendous amount of power had, when crazy behaviors suddenly have a name. For those who confusingly run back to abusive love, the name of our strange behavior is Love Addiction; a condition based in the need for love, yet where healing can only be found in discovering authentic love for self.
The hole in your soul caused by Love Addiction is not found by running back to the hands that harm you. Healing and wholeness can only be found by having the courage to run back into your own life. By learning the lessons about self-love and by finding the tools to answer the painful question, ”Would somebody please love me?” with the sober answer of “Yes. And that someone is Me.”
About Dr. Tracy Kemble
Dr. Tracy Kemble (Ph.D.) is a survivor of domestic abuse and is now a leading expert on the subject and is backed by over 20 years of recovery programs that have helped change thousands of lives around the world. She has a Ph.D. in Psychology, and is a Laws of Attraction specialist. She is also the author of four books, a speaker, columnist, and television / radio personality. Learn more about her W.I.N. Foundation by visiting this link.