By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
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. By learning and practicing the Inner Bonding process that we teach, you can learn to fill yourself with love and heal your love and approval addictions.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including “Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?” and “Healing Your Aloneness.” She is the co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process. Learn Inner Bonding now! Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: www.innerbonding.com or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone sessions available.
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