- Idealization. Putting someone on a pedestal. Falling in love with the idea of someone. Never ending fleet of muses. I’m coming to the realization that I’m more in love with the songs I write about someone than the actual person. My songs make me think it’s deeper than what it really is.
- It sucks for extremely sensitive people. As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, every emotional and physical experience is intensified to the highest extreme. Pain, heartbreak, anger, obsession, fear, passion, indifference...all to the highest degrees. So when I fall in love it’s always the end all be all. All of my eggs are thrown into the basket of the person I’m infatuated with at the time. Limerence. I’ve experienced it more times than I’m proud to say.
- Boundaries. I was raised in environments where boundaries were constantly crossed, violated, or did not exist. I had no boundaries with others because I was taught that to love someone was to let them constantly cross my boundaries, cause me pain even...and eventually they would love me correctly.
- It takes your voice. Your power. People pleaser. You don’t stand up for yourself or speak up on anything that will “ruffle feathers”. You’re taught to get your needs met through manipulation tactics. You learn to read people’s minds, so you expect them to do the same. You start resenting the people you love because they can never love you as much as you “love” them.
- It’s a cycle passed down from generation to generation. Matriarchs in my family experienced this kind of “love”. Love that tolerated abuse. Love that was unconditional for everyone but self. As a black woman...as a woman...as someone with a very Christian upbringing, I was taught to love everyone regardless of how I was treated in return.
- Love addiction impacts your life on so many levels. Friendships, business relationships, your work, eating habits, sleeping habits, etc.
- It is a SERIOUS addiction. Like drug addiction. Like food addiction. There are rehabilitation centers for it and programs to help. It is NOT the same as sex addiction, but they both have similar roots. Even my mom has agreed that I should seek rehabilitation. It’s that real. I’ve been suicidal and self-destructive over “love” one too many times. I was at a point where I was so engulfed in a moment of passion that I was willing to throw away my career, self respect, friends, and anything else just to have that person and the high they gave me.
- Love addiction is dopamine addiction. I’m addicted to things that give me that dopamine rush, like chocolate and music. Again, not to be mixed with sex addiction, love addiction is the need to be in love ALL the time, the preoccupation with love, and an endless search of the high you feel while being in love. It’s like we search for a forever honeymoon phase.
- It stems from trauma. As a person who experienced trauma (C-PTSD and borderline) I saw love as an escape. I saw romance as an escape. I was exposed to countless Disney movies and fairy tales as the pinnacle of happiness. Even if it caused pain, even if I was being mistreated and abused, I held on to the belief that “one day my prince” would come. I sang about it, dreamt about it, fantasized about it...
- Reality checks and breakdowns. Of course as I got older and started dating more, I found out swiftly -and the hard way- that men were nothing like the fairytale knights in shining armor I was socialized to need. Most were wolves in sheep’s clothing, or were fighting their own demons and didn’t have the ability to love me. I also found myself in a never ending cycle of narcissistic relationships...
- You’re a narcissist magnet. I didn’t know the dangers of love addiction until I kept falling in unrequited love with emotionally, physically, and mentally unavailable men. Until I constantly found myself in positions where love was one sided and always a struggle.
- Jesus complex. Martyr syndrome. Masochism. Love addiction makes you self-sacrificing in a way that can and will destroy you. Again, it all comes back to boundaries and the lack thereof. You attempt to love yourself through the validation of others, or your “favorite person” (a borderline term) to a point where your needs are ignored or even seen as wrong. This is dangerous in an obvious number of ways. No healthy relationship with self and others of any kind can function under this.
- Backlash. When you break the addiction, a lot of people will be triggered. When I began to truly love myself, (after the 10th major heartbreak and breakdown) a lot of people didn’t know how to take it. Some showed complete indifference, disgust, hurt, and even anger. People who were used to crossing my boundaries, people who were used to exploiting me for their own gain, people who loved the pushover and self-sacrificing Katarra swore up and down that I was the enemy. I had finally become a friend to myself, but was now an enemy to my abusers.
- Self-Actualization. Love addiction either kills you or heals you. There is no alternate route. If you learn how to heal your traumas, and focus on self-love in place of romantic love (in moderation) you can defeat it. You’ll end up falling complete in love with yourself, your essence, your very presence of self. Especially when you realize that so many people were drawn to you, not because of your love addiction, but because you have so much love in your heart and very essence that you automatically feel the need to share it with others. Having a big heart is not weak. It takes A LOT of strength and courage to be extremely vulnerable and open when so many humans have given up or become cold. It brings so much freedom to know that there was never anything wrong with you. You were just a pure being who had their pureness exploited. And now you know better. And now you love better.
Love Addict Realizations