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How Universal Fear of Abandonment Can Undermine Success in the Workplace.

May 27, 2011 5 comments

You don’t even know it’s happening – it’s that subtle.  Twelve principles for moving forward in your career and healing from the inside out at the same time.

Susan Anderson © May 2011

The raw human nerve of abandonment can tingle during the course of normal work day – even when you’re unaware of it – when you feel ignored, unrecognized, or dismissed, or sense any hint of disapproval, criticism, or rejection.  These feelings are not the problem; they are givens.  It’s how you handle them – how you let your Outer Child (your self-saboteur) act them out in self defeating patterns that can hold you back.

The underlying fear of abandonment is a major trigger for Outer Child’s self-sabotage to spring into action with its knee-jerk defenses. This subliminal fear has many facets, and your ever-active, ever-intrusive Outer Child is always at the ready to react to each of them in defense mechanisms that have become maladaptive. These default defenses interfere in reaching your adult potential:

Fear of disappointment gets you to set your sights too low.

Fear of failure gets you to become passive, unmotivated, stuck in underachievement.

Fear of success gets you to hold back from excelling in order to avoid the competitive backlash….

Fear of rejection – difficulty handling criticism – gets you to avoid standing up for yourself, making you easily passed over for promotion.

When you’re afraid to assert yourself, speak up for your rights, take a position, it’s because you’re afraid of breaking the connection – afraid to ask for “too much,” lest the powers-that-be get annoyed, judge you, or heaven forbid, want to get rid of you – and there you’d have abandonment.

Rejection sensitivity:  Fear of abandonment manifests in difficulty handling criticism and heightened sensitivity to rejection. You make an excellent suggestion at a meeting, for example, but it is passed over in favor of someone else’s suggestion – someone with less substance but better able to gain approval than you.  You feel abandoned and self condemning all at once.

Whether or not you are conscious of underlying abandonment fear, it creates a background tone which keeps you slightly on edge and hyper-vigilant, constantly warning you: “Don’t rock the boat.”  This undercurrent of abandonment fear, though subliminal, inhibits you from properly showcasing your skills, talents, and competence.

Abandonment fear can silently subvert your efforts to manifest self worth.  For instance, your self esteem can say, “I’m valuable in this job” and your self image can say, “Everybody likes me and sees I’m doing a great job.”  But your fear of abandonment, lurking beneath the surface, can trump this by saying “But I don’t want to express my needs because they may like me less.”

Fear of abandonment leads to codependency.  A co-dependent employee can be easily taken for granted by employers and fail to get properly rewarded.  This employee, driven by the fear of losing ground (abandonment), manages to communicate to her employers that she’ll continue doing a great job even if they were to give the promotion to someone else, because she just LOVES doing work for the company.  So the promotion goes to someone less deserving but who, by contrast, has communicated that he is moving onward and upward – with or without the current company – and must to be given incentives to stay.

In fact, to get ahead, it’s almost more important to show self-loyalty – that your own best interests come first – than to demonstrate good skills, talent, and selfless work-ethic.  Self-loyalty is a component of confidence, and as we all know, confidence impresses others more than competence does – at least at first glance.  The ability to exude confidence promotes successful self-marketing, even in the absence of the person’s substantive effectiveness.  Many an incompetent ne’r-do-well has been promoted ahead of many an effective workhorse for this very reason.  Self promotion is able to impress people more than selfless hard work.

People with low self-confidence may feel inwardly angry and resentful when they are overlooked, but are afraid to express it directly.  Instead, in order to leave their friendly connections to their coworkers unblemished by their anger, they blame the unfairness on themselves for being such a wimp.  And so they dig themselves deeper in an ever escalating cycle of self-loathing and co-dependency.

Here are 12 principles to take primal abandonment’s many incarnations by the tail and use them as grist for moving forward in your career.  As we’ve seen, the raw human nerve of sensitivity jangles so easily in the workplace because of unresolved abandonment.  By resolving your workplace issues, you’re actually resolving your primal abandonment wounds – healing from the inside out.

As I’ve emphasized many times before, the principles of healing abandonment and overcoming Outer Child self-sabotage, involve an integrated approach, combining self-nurturance, constructive use of imagination, and action.  They work like physical therapy for the brain – incrementally, over time, with repeated effort.

1)    At the beginning of every workday, tune into yourself emotionally – center in on what’s going on within – so you can be aware of your innermost feelings, needs, and wants as you go about your day, especially the subtle twinges of abandonment fear.  These feelings are sacred, belong to you, and although uncomfortable at times, are what potentially connect you to yourself in a powerful new relationship.  You can’t neutralize abandonment fear by remaining oblivious to it – can’t squelch it, since it is indeed primal.  Only by getting in touch with your human vulnerability, can you tap into its potential healing power to act as a spur.

2)    Prepare to use your imagination, your most powerful, largely untapped human resource.  Imagine that you have a remote control in your hand and that one click changes the channel from the hypersensitivity channel to a new channel where you feel your power.  As if on a screen before your mind, imagine that from your depths, you see yourself step into your power, all of your feelings in tact.  You are still YOU.

3)    Recognize that in adulthood all abandonment is actually self-abandonment – and by ignoring your abandonment wounds, you’ve been abandoning yourself over and over.

4)    Know that the only person who can reverse self-abandonment is You.  It is not up to anyone else – is no one else’s responsibility but yours to assuage your self-doubt and delimit your self-depreciation.

5)    Recognize that if you hand this task over to others – if you continue looking to others for recognition, acceptance, or approval – you keep giving your power away and abandoning yourself in yet another way.

6)    Each time you feel a twinge of vulnerability (feel dismissed or reticent to speak up for yourself), make a commitment to accept yourself unconditionally.  Use any icky self-doubting moment as the basis for practicing radical self-acceptance.

7)    To practice radical self-acceptance, imagine that you have your arm around yourself in a display of self-affection and self-assurance.  Do not squelch your vulnerability or shame yourself for having it, but embrace yourself for it.  Reassure yourself it’s okay. You’re human.  You come first – anxiety and all.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

8)    Know that by giving yourself unconditional love – accepting yourself warts and all (anxiety, fear, reticence, and all) – you are reversing self abandonment.

9)    By looking to yourself for acceptance – by wholeheartedly accepting all of your human feelings, foibles, and talents – you are taking other people out of the loop.  YOU become the best person to give yourself esteem, to approve of you, to accept you.  YOU are responsible for making yourself feel secure and worthwhile, and no one else.

10) Each time you feel a twinge of vulnerability, use it as a spur to plan a positive action, one that is realistic, involves doing, forward working, and career enhancing.  Break the action down into at least three baby steps, the first being so small, that though seminal, will be easy to take immediately.

11)  Imagine yourself taking that action – i.e. a new job initiative, a positive gesture toward a colleague, a phone call to gather information about new employment.

12) At least three times a day, as if on the screen before your mind (your power channel), project an image of yourself as you would like to be – self-possessed, self-reliant, self-assured, and self-deserving.  Imagine yourself to be a person who is willing and able to feel your abandonment nerve jangle during the day without shame or self-censure– and that you no longer look to the outside world for crumbs of approval and recognition. Imagine yourself as taking self-directed actions -directed and moving forward.

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Outer Child and Childhood Abandonment

March 18, 2011 1 comment

Outer Child has a field day acting out the primal fears that seep out of your oldest abandonment wounds.

Our current abandonment fears are cumulative, reaching all the way back into our long lost childhoods. The abandonment wound is universal and consists of all of the little losses, disappointments, uncertainties, disconnections, and fears we experienced from birth onward (mostly forgotten or distorted by memory). Things happening in our current life can easily push our old emotional buttons – especially ones that got installed during our past losses and abandonments – and this can really get our Outer Child going! We may not remember how these buttons got installed, but we can usually locate the button pushers – those nimble fingers belonging to our own hands or someone else’s. The tools of the program (explained in Taming Your Outer Child) are designed to help us de-activate the buttons so we can curtail Outer from acting them out in ways that interfere in our lives.

Emotional Hot Buttons

The Outer Child program deals with feelings bubbling up in the here and now whose trigger buttons got installed during your earlier emotional experiences – especially past abandonment traumas both large and small. I spent many years researching and working with young children who were in the throes of primal abandonment scenarios ranging from the ordinary – Mommy had a new baby – to the extreme – a child was sent to a foster home. What I observed had stunning implications. These children perceived all loss, disconnection, disappointment (no matter how seemingly insignificant), as abandonment. In terms of the impact on children’s development – what mattered was the degree of stress and temperament of the child.

Grasping this insight helped me see how important it was for parents, teachers, therapists, and other adults to understand children’s susceptibility to abandonment trauma, how quickly they develop highly patterned Outer Child behaviors in response to it, and what adults can do to mitigate its traumatic impact.

Children feel diminished by all loss and disconnection whether or not they had any direct involvement in the traumatic event. For example, a little girl whose mommy has died can feel personally diminished – lose self-esteem – by such a loss. Here’s how: She may know (or hope) she did nothing at all to contribute to her mother’s death, but she doubts her self-worth none-the-less. Why would a death cause a child to doubt herself? Well for one thing she sees other children all have mothers. She also knows that there’s often a reason for things and she concludes that she’s simply not special enough to have one. She observes other mothers fusing over their children, laughing at their jokes, beaming over their accomplishments, baking cookies for the class on their birthdays, picking them up from school, haranguing them about their homework, inviting friends over for play dates. But this little girl doesn’t have her mother anymore. Her assumption is that she does not rate having what the other children have – a living, breathing mother of her own – because she has unconsciously concluded she’s not entitled to one.

Molly represents a less drastic example. Her abandonment fears kicked up at school:

“The one abandonment scene that stands out is that I wasn’t good at math. I was great at reading, but not math. The other kids would be busy dividing fractions, but I would get stuck and not know what to do. I felt there was something wrong with me, something missing. For me, at an early age, this math deficit triggered abandonment fear – I was terrified that I would fail at life and somehow be left behind. Of course, on some level, I knew this to be not true because I had supportive parents. But, even into adulthood, any new learning challenge sent me into abandonment fear. I felt inadequate and vulnerable and super-sensitive. New jobs are incredibly stressful. Fearing I’ll fail and be cast out any minute really held me back. I was an underachiever.”

Children feel personally diminished by all types of experiences that cause abandonment fear, but they acquire more rational ways of looking at themselves when their minds develop more fully. Eventually they learn to distinguish things that were beyond their control. They learn to place some of their relative strengths and weakness into better perspective.

“I didn’t make it on the baseball team, but I did well in just about everything else.”
“I wasn’t great at math, but I went on to become an editor at a newspaper.”

So why then, do their old abandonment scenarios still pack such a wallop? Well, that’s where the amygdala with its fear-conditioning and the hippocampus with its memory malfunctions come in (explained in Taming Your Outer Child). They’re why Molly, an intelligent person, kept reacting to a subliminal abandonment fear that she had long since rationalized intellectually. The amygdala doesn’t answer to rational thinking. Its job is to react instantly – before you’ve had time to use your intellect – to protect you from what it perceives as a potential threat to your survival. And your hippocampus which is supposed to provide context information that would otherwise help you realize that abandonment fear is in appropriate to the situation, is down for the count (due to stress hormones and other factors).

Any old trigger will do – meeting a group of people for the first time, being assigned a new work task – anything that arouses feelings of inadequacy that in the past made you feel susceptible to being left behind. Before you’ve had a chance to use that rational mind to make a more realistic assessment of your value, your amygdala has sounded its alarm, prompting your lower brain to go into fight flight or freeze mode – all automatic Outer Child defenses.

“I would be all prepared to make a great impression and then suddenly feel inhibited. I froze.”
“When I sense rejection, I get angry and go into fight mode.”

Molly continues:

“When I’d start a new job, my abandonment fear allowed my Outer Child to gain the upper hand. Outer’s defense was to try to make me look invisible. I guess it was a kind of freezing up. So, I’d avoid eye contact with anyone in authority, which hindered my peripheral vision. I’d routinely crashing into people’s desks, door jams – anything in my path. So much for keeping a low profile. Then Outer Me would try to cover up my accidents with all sorts of diversionary tactics, like laughing at myself when I’d knock someone over, so that people wouldn’t be able to tell how embarrassed I was or that I must surely be an imposter.”

To explore more about your childhood wounds, visit outerchild.net.

Riding High on the Rebound

November 22, 2010 1 comment

Being on the rebound can be healing.

Self help wisdom isn’t inline with this idea. Its consensus is that after having experienced a painful breakup, you should wait until you’re healed to start a new relationship.

It goes on to suggest that if you become an emotional wreck during the early trials of a new relationship – i.e. if you feel insecure and tend to overreact if s/he doesn’t call exactly on time – that your heightened vulnerability is proof that you’re not ready.

Wrong. If you waited 10 years or even 20 to start the next relationship, you might have to struggle with the same feelings. Why? Because time doesn’t heal the fear stored up inside of you from going through abandonment. Instead, according to scientific research, fear incubates over time. It’s the nature of trauma and the post traumatic reaction that most people get when they’ve suffered abandonment.

Fear incubates over time? Does that mean that by waiting to make a new connection, your apprehensiveness can get worse? Yes, that’s what it means.

So the key is to get back up on the horse as soon as you reasonably can. The longer you wait, the more barriers your incubating fears are likely to erect. These barriers can make it awkward to be with a new person. You can become avoidant. Closed-off.

If you’re going to get back out there sooner rather than later, the trick is to keep your wits about you. Yes, go ahead and seek new connections. Depending upon the length and intensity of your previous relationship, this can mean to start looking within 6 months to a year. But don’t clamp on. Don’t become attached to the first person who throws you a life raft.

Don’t clamp on? How do you avoid getting involved when you’re feeling so needy, lonely, and desperate?

Ah, that’s where the healing power is. You meet new people, all the while working on your maintaining your boundaries, adhering to your personal program of emotional self-reliance, performing the work (exquisite self-love) of abandonment recovery.

How else but in a new relationship can you work through all of the changes you’re undergoing as a result of the soul-searching shake-up of having gone through abandonment?

It’s called practicing. And sometimes, as you meet new people and work through your own issues with them, you meet a real one, and you just can ride high on the rebound. If you don’t meet your ultimate partner, at least you’re keeping your emotional wheels oiled.

How to Tend Your Own Wound

The biggest turning point of my life came the day I realized that adults cannot be abandoned, they can only abandon themselves.

The love of my life, my best friend, my marital partner of almost 20 years had just abandoned me to be with another woman (out of the blue and without warning) and I was shattered.

I was in pain, terrified of the future, and drowning in self-doubt. But all of this torment was inflicted by self-abandonment. I was an adult, I realized, and I could not be abandoned because I could take care of myself.

Even emotionally? Yes, I had no other choice.

My task was to find a way to nurture this gaping wound that was tearing me apart. This meant that I had to stop my futile effort to “get rid of the pain,” because in doing so, I would be ignoring the wound rather than embracing it. I didn’t want to ignore the sobbing inner child who beheld all of the hurt, fear, and doubt and cried out for love. There was nobody there but me to love this injured child. “Physician, tend thy own wound.”

I learned that once you make the realization that as an adult, you can only abandon yourself, you embark on a whole new journey which begins with connecting to yourself. You finally take responsibility for your life.

You learn to tune into the primal pain of abandonment, rather than defending against it (which is what causes all of the problems). You commence a journey to the center of the self where you discover your connection to the universal core of what it means to be human. You discover your separate self. You adopt yourself. You commit to taking care of that self. As a whole person, you reach out for connection.

Why are we always abandoning one another? Because we are constantly defending against our own abandonment fears. We develop calluses around our wounds to make us numb. We become callused to our own and other people’s pain.

It is not the pain of abandonment, but the fact that we are constantly defending against it that causes us to be destructive to self and others. We constantly ward off abandonment by clinging to partners who aren’t good for us. Or we avoid relationships all together to avoid getting hurt. Or we pursue all the wrong partners and get abandoned over and over again. Or we over-merge with someone, become co-dependent, and lose ourselves. In our constant defense against abandonment, we deny, suppress, and repress our feelings, and what’s more, we displace it onto others.

This is what allows us to hurt one another and grow callused toward the world. This is how our abandonment wound is able to burrow deep within the self where it works insidiously to drain off our self esteem and erode our capacity for connection.

Abandonment brings us to the human condition. It is a humbling experience. Once we learn to have compassion toward ourselves, we stop shaming ourselves for not being able to snap out of the pain and we open up more compassionately to our loved ones and to the world. It is no longer possible to remain aloof, non-committal, numb to the suffering in the world.

When you tune in to administer to your deepest feelings and needs, know that you are moving in the direction, not of self-involvement, but of love and connection. This extends to love for the world and all of its abandoned people.

Journeying to the center of the self is not an end, but a beginning of an increasing compassion and energy output toward the world. If we can slow down global warming, and yet do not come together to take action to prevent it, then we are abandoning ourselves and each other.

We have public examples. Celebrities (i.e. Oprah, Jolie) who reach out to embrace the world are the ones who have journeyed to the center of the self and back. They have stopped defending against their own wounds, and instead have embraced their humanness with humility and self-compassion, and have journeyed back to embrace the world.

They are not Barbie dolls whose feelings and needs were always protected and tended to by doting parents, or who never suffered deprivation, humiliation, shame, betrayal, isolation – abandonment. On the contrary, they had to learn how to rise from the ashes of their own wounds.

The self, if it is to be healthy and thriving, serves as a bridge connecting outward to the world. That is why this process leads to love and a better world.

I’m Insecure, but It’s About Me

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Someone wrote in that his girlfriend has just pulled away after experiencing an emotional crisis in her family. The day before, they’d been like love-birds, but she’s suddenly stopped showing affection and now wants her space.

He writes, “I have been supportive and try to give her space, but I am fearful and alone and feel rejected. I fear losing her and miss her terribly.”

He asks how he can be supportive while at the same time convincing her to come back to him — without driving her away. He ends with “I feel so lost. ”

There are millions of people out there in these torturous tangles. Once someone pulls away, the balance of a relationship tips, destroying the security and mutuality. The one who feels rejected automatically feels clingy and needy — and this further tips the balance out of control.

Most people who get into this just feel hopeless. It is demoralizing to find yourself groveling for someone’s love. The desperation and neediness make you feel make you feel weak and unworthy. You feel ashamed of having become an emotional beggar.

Just a reminder: We are all capable of feeling these insecure feelings — they are not a sign of weakness, they are a sign of being in a very specific and very challenging situation.

Most importantly, no matter how hopeless it seems, there is a way out of this vicious cycle. The abandonee must recognize what an absolutely fabulous opportunity this is, since the only real solution must come from within. The opportunity is to become emotionally self-assured.

Self-assured. How many people wouldn’t want to become self-assured? Well this is the best opportunity to learn how to do so.

This guy’s only other option is to lose his power to this woman. The minute he lays his emotional needs upon her, he loses ground.

So he must begin by taking full responsibility for creating his own emotional security – from within himself – by standing on his own two feet. He must immediately cease and desist from looking to her to make him feel secure.

Granted, all she’d have to do is call him and tell him how much she loves and needs him, and he’d feel secure again (depending upon many variables). But this is because she has magic power over him — she has the power to make or break his emotional well-being (not that this is her intention).

Well this is what he has to change. He cannot afford to look to her to restore his sense of security.

If she experiences him as a rock — as a self-assured rock — she will be more likely to re-attach. But his motivation must be for his own sake.

He must take 100% responsibility for making himself secure. And boy is it ever a challenge! It’s the hardest work he’ll ever do. But it’s doable. And the rewards are amazing!

Taking responsibility involves reassuring himself (this is why it’s called SELF-assurance) millions of times that he can (and must) stand on his own two feet. He can go out and look for highly nurturing activities that distract him from the anxiety. He can get into the moment by doing things that are highly stimulating and life-sustaining. This doesn’t mean that he will feel very happy doing them; the anxiety might still be running through his stomach, but he will be breaking new ground.

Think of how well this will play when he speaks with his girlfriend as she watches him going on about his independent life, fulfilling himself. He doesn’t have to pretend to be okay. He can even admit that he’s feeling somewhat lost and insecure, but that he’s using the opportunity to discover wonderful new things about himself.

Read more: http://www.thirdage.com/today/dating/im-insecure-but-its-about-me#ixzz10qC5b59q

Rejection Hurts: What to Do?

August 27, 2010 1 comment

When someone rejects you they acquire power in your mind. They acquire power due to their ability to inflict pain. The more they hurt you the harder it is to let go. This is the painful paradox of abandonment.

“Why does it take so long to get over it?” people ask. Those suffering from rejection judge themselves harshly for not being able to feel better sooner. They beat themselves up for feeling so weak and needy. They feel this so called “weakness” is proving their abandoner right for rejecting them.

People going through abandonment lose self-esteem this way. They beat themselves up for losing the person. They conclude that they must be reject able, valueless, unworthy. They shame themselves for pining and yearning and wanting someone who has hurt them so badly.

They turn the rage over being rejected against themselves, beating themselves up, causing themselves to plummet into a painful depression, damaging their self-esteem further. Having disqualified themselves as worthy of love, they are panicked over fearing that they will wind up dieing alone. The anxiety seems unbearable and bottomless.

That’s why abandonment grief feels like a terminal illness. People are afraid they will die of their wounds – that is, die anxious, worthless, and alone. Whew, a painful depression! And it lags on.

What to do:

First and foremost, stop berating yourself for feeling so miserable – and for the length of time it is taking you to get over it. It’s only in the movies that people recover so quickly. It’s only in the movies that people just get mad, burn their ex’s clothes, and walk away triumphant. In real life, people pine away for long periods of time, but they are too ashamed to admit to most people. So when it happens to you, you think you’re taking too long, but this ongoing pain is how men and women alike react to rejection.

Second: Rejection is a painful laceration that takes time and effort to heal. You must replace your ex with a love of your wounded inner child. Treat your hurt feelings not with self-criticism, but as a cherished child that it is your new job to take exquisite care of. Physician, tend thy own wound.

Third: Getting over someone is all about time management. Recognize that this is your full time job. Time management is pain management. Discover what things help you the most and do them more. What parts of the day are the most painful? Plan them differently. Your new priority is time management and it involves creativity and taking initiative.

Fourth: Get into therapy or support groups or both. Abandonment opens you up to the core. It’s like exploratory surgery – but now that your chest cavity has been splayed wide open, why not go in and clean up the wound. Question some of your false assumptions about yourself and your life. Do your emotional spring cleaning.

Fifth: Use your friends. Yes, I know, the heartbreak has dragged on so long, they are sick of listening to you. You can tell because they’re beginning to say things like “You need to let go and move forward,” not taking into account the fact that you are already doing everything in your power to let go and move forward, but you just can’t. You’re miserably stuck, which is the whole POINT they’re missing.

Never mind, just ask them for patience and forbearance. Explain that you need their companionship, you need to talk, you need more support. Explain that you’ll be there for them when they need you. If you’ve been a good friend to them over the years, they owe you one already.

Sixth: Add new things into your life. Enlarge your circle of friends and activities. Explore your alter ego states. Again this involves creativity and taking initiative. You have to join new things, especially activities where you will be around other people.

Seventh: Re-acquaint yourself with old friends and family. This is reunion time. You can tell them all about the breakup and the transitional period this has thrust you into. Tell them you are reconnecting your past with your present and want to meet up with them to reconnect. This has a wonderfully healing impact

Eighth: Go on a self-improvement plan. Some people go to pot. They let themselves go. Do the opposite of that. Become your best self. Join a gym, take up jogging, yoga, philanthropy, journaling, go back to school, move, change jobs, etc.

Ninth: Be determined to turn this painful period into a positive experience. As a result of your efforts you become your higher self.

Tenth: As our higher self emerges, consider making new love connections again. This time, however, look for partners who are more emotionally safe to attach to. And don’t clamp on to anyone at first. Take your time, play the field, lead from your newly acquired wisdom rather than your old patterns.

Hurts So Good?

July 28, 2010 2 comments

So many of you write about the pain you feel when someone you’re attached to turns out to be emotionally unreliable. So why is it so hard to leave these types of relationships?

It seems that negative attractions can be more compelling than positive ones.  Traumatic bonding, a highly prevalent condition of human relationship, has an addictive biochemistry of its own.  Fear and pain are powerful reinforcers — powerful enough, in many cases, to turn even the strongest into Pavlov’s dogs, salivating for someone we know is no good for us.

The animal kingdom offers many examples of this.  For instance, when a researcher steps on the toe of a duckling, it follows him more closely than before.

The hazing ritual involved in joining a fraternity is based on this principle.  Pain and humiliation inflicted upon the pledges increase the loyalty in the fraternal bond.

So what are the signs that you are involved in negative attraction?

  • You lose emotional control over your life as your partner constantly violates the trust of your relationship.
  • You feel desperately needy because your partner has been withholding of love and unreliable.
  • Your partner hasn’t treated you with the respect you know you deserve, and yet you keep going back for more
  • You feel addicted to your partner though you know he or she is only bringing you down.

How to Cope

Each one of us has a bottom, and it’s up to us to realize when we’ve reached that bottom.  Then we have to take action to regain control of our lives.

An addictive relationship is a lot like alcoholism.  You can’t just have a little “sip” of your partner without wanting the whole relationship.  And yet your partner is not willing or able to give you that, so you spend your entire life craving something you can’t have.

If the relationship is really destructive and damaging your life, you will probably have to abstain to regain control.  Yes, that may mean breaking away from your relationship, finding closure, letting go, moving forward.  Friends can help, but if you’re still stuck, get professional counseling.

In a negative attraction, it’s the boundary between reason and emotion that becomes blurred.  Only you can put an end to the addictive pattern and create a healthy boundary.  Sometimes it takes grit. Be tough as nails and act according to your own better judgement.