4810 Nicollet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN, 55419

651-485-1151

Life Love Healing Wellness Center works with individuals, couples and families in the Minneapolis, MN area including these counseling service areas: couples counseling, love addiction, sex addiction, codependency, Enneagram, healthy relationships, other addictions and more. 

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Filtering by Tag: Love Addiction

Signs of Love Addiction

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Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction (a partial list)

  1. Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
  2. Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.
  3. Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time.
  4. We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or being rescued.
  5. We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone.  Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.
  6. We sexualize stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy.  We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
  7. We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
  8. We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.
  9. We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
  10. We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.
  11. To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery.
  12. We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.
  13.  

Cycle of Love Addiction

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The Love Addicts Attraction to what is familiar:

We are taught how to have intimacy and attachment by our family, specifically our primary caregivers; mom and dad. How our parents relate to us, our siblings, and each other, becomes very familiar to us as children. It creates a template for future relationships and intimacy. As we grow up and look for our own partner we are attracted, unconsciously or consciously to what we know and are familiar with.

Most of us did not get all the things we need when we needed them, many of us had large gaps in intimacy, relatedness, and very little guidance on how to identify our needs and find healthy ways to get them met. As a result of family of origin teachings, we learned to be quiet, alone, needless or wantless. By doing so we were rewarded. We were not told we were not a bother by our parents, and as a result of such conditioning we later unconsciously attract people with similar unconscious patterns of disconnected attachment.

The people we are attracted to usually are involved in one or more addictions. They may appear on the outside to take care of themselves because the are so “busy” and “intense”. In reality we choose the very people who don’t have the time or desire to provide us with healthy connections, those who do not prioritize the relationship over outside addictions such as work, alcohol, busyness, gambling, sex etc.

Abandonment in childhood by early caregivers in many forms fuels the message for love addicts that they are not worth being with. As a result love addicts find people who are walking away from them as very attractive. Attempts to resolve the issue of self-esteem are played out in relationship with the hope that what we could not solve as children-making the abandoning person connect with us - can now be achieved. We can finally balance the ledger and restore our own sense of preciousness, of worthiness by fixing what could not be fixed in our childhood.

The Way Out

Love addiction, like other addictions, does not have a “quick fix” we do not get better before we thoroughly examine our lives, our relationships and our realities. Boundaries are blurred, self-esteem is non-existent and acknowledging our needs and wants becomes almost impossible. We are sick, and powerless to improve our lives without the support and help of others. I have yet to see an addict recover on their own, we heal through experiences with others. The support of a therapist, 12-step groups and personal recovery planning are needed to successfully incorporate healthy love into our lives. Reprogramming our experience of relationships is necessary to have fulfilling, authentic love in our lives. 

Sexual Addiction Screening Test

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  1. Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent?
  2. Have you regularly subscribed to or regularly purchased sexually explicit materials?
  3. Did either of your parents have trouble with sexual behavior (repress or act inappropriate)?
  4. Do you often find yourself being preoccupied with sexual thoughts?
  5. Do you (ever) feel that your sexual behavior is inappropriate?
  6. Does your spouse or significant other ever worry or complain about your sexual behavior?
  7. Do you have trouble stopping your sexual behavior when you know it is inappropriate?
  8. Do you ever feel bad (shameful or guilty) about your sexual behavior (and then rationalize it)?
  9. Has your sexual behavior ever created problems for you or your family (physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, spiritually)?
  10. Have you ever sought help for sexual behavior you did not like or caused problems?
  11. Have you ever worried about people finding out about your sexual activities?
  12. Has anyone (ever) been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior?
  13. Are any of your sexual activities against the law?
  14. Have you made promises to yourself to quit some aspect of your sexual behavior?
  15. Have you made efforts to quit a type of sexual behavior and failed?
  16. Do you hide (or have you ever hidden) some aspects of your sexual behavior from others?
  17. Does your sexual behavior put you at odds with your personal or spiritual values/integrity?
  18. Have you ever felt degraded by your sexual behavior or affair?
  19. Has sex been a way for you to escape your problems (or self medicate)?
  20. When you have sex, (that you question), do you often feel depressed afterward?
  21. Have you felt (or do you now feel) the need to discontinue a certain form of sexual activity?
  22. Has your sexual activity interfered with your family life?
  23. Have you been sexual with minors (or vulnerable adults)?
  24. Do you often feel controlled by your sexual desire?
  25. Do you frequent pornographic web sites or chat rooms
  26. Do you tend to sexualize others
  27. Do you rationalize your sexual behavior?

 

  1. Check yes or no to the above. Affirmative answers to 12 or more questions strongly suggest that sex is being used like a drug of choice and may be an addiction.


    * Based on the SAST by Patrick Carnes, Ph.D. and Brenda Schaeffer's SAST, with permission and includes some adaptations and additions.

Relationship Assessment: Test Yourself

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Is it Love or is it Addiction? How Does Your Relationship Rate?

With a specific love relationship in mind, carefully read first the characteristics of addictive love, then those of healthy love. Score your relationship for each addictive love characteristic based on the following scale: 0 = never; 1 = rarely; 2 = sometimes; 3 = often; 4 = almost always; 5 = always. Then score yourself for healthy love.

Addictive Love
____ Feels all-consuming or energy draining
____ Difficulty defining ego boundaries
____ Has elements of sadomasochism
____ Fears letting go
____ Fears risk, change the unknown
____ Allows little individual growth
____ Lacks deep intimacy or trust
____ Manipulates to get needs met
____ Gives to get something back
____ Attempts to change or control the partner
____ Needs partner to feel complete
____ Seeks solutions outside of self
____ Demands and expects unconditional love
____ Refuses or abuses commitment
____ Looks to partner for affirmation worth
____ Fears abandonment upon routine separation
____ Re-creates familiar negative feelings
____ Desires, yet fears, closeness
____ Attempts to "take care" of partner's feelings
____ Plays power games ("one-upmanship")

Healthy Love
____ Allows for individuality and energizes
____ Experiences both oneness and separateness
____ Brings out the best qualities in both partners
____ Accepts endings
____ Open to change and exploration
____ Invites growth in both partners
____ Experiences deep intimacy/feels safe
____ Freedom to ask honestly for what is wanted
____ Giving and receiving are one and the same
____ Does not attempt to change or control partner
____ Encourages self-sufficiency of partner
____ Accepts limitations of self and partner
____ Is unconditionally loving
____ Can make and honor commitments
____ Has high self-esteem and sense of well-being
____ Trusts memory of beloved; enjoys solitude
____ Expresses feelings spontaneously
____ Welcomes closeness, risks vulnerability
____ Cares, but can remain detached
____ Affirms equal personal power


Now, add the scores for each list and divide by twenty to get a numerical average for each. Does your relationship exhibit more symptoms of trouble than of health? 

Love Addiction Assessment

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Love Addiction Questionnaire

By Brenda Schaeffer  

Write yes or no to the questions below. Any yes answer indicates some degree of unhealthy dependency or addiction. But, please, let go of blame or guilt. Love addiction seems to be a fact of life. Most, if not all, relationships give evidence of some of these signs. And there is both healthy and unhealthy dependency. 

  1. Do you ever feel as though you take care of others even though it hurts you? 
  2. Are you afraid or hesitant to talk about problems in your relationship? 
  3. When you do discuss problems, do you seem to get nowhere? 
  4. Do you feel like you are growing or want to grow and the relationship is not? 
  5. Do you say yes when you want to say no? 
  6. Do you rationalize away the things you don’t like in your relationship? 
  7. Do you ever feel like you both want and don’t want to be in the relationship? 
  8. Have you ever thought of leaving the relationship and been too afraid? 
  9. Do you or the other person every get close and then pull back? 
  10. Do you experience holding out in your relationship? 
  11. Does how the other person in the relationship feel change your mood or self-esteem? 
  12. Does the person’s behavior change your self-esteem or mood? 
  13. Do you enable, persecute or feel like a victim? 
  14. Do you struggle for power or control? 
  15. Do you try to change the other person or the other person try to change you? 
  16. Do you wonder what a healthy relationship is? 
  17. Do you have any negative thoughts about men/women, relationships? 
  18. Do you disregard your values to please someone? 
  19. Do you fear risk, change or the unknown? 
  20. Do you experience repeated negative feelings? 
  21. Do you suffer from separation or disapproval anxiety?
  22. Do you let abusive people remain in your life? 
  23. Do you fear being alone?
  24. Are your boundaries weak or rigid?
  25. Do you expect or demand unconditional love?
  26. Do you or those you are attracted to abuse or refuse commitment?
  27. Do you fail to stop others from violating your boundaries?
  28. Do you adapt to others to keep them around?
  29. Do you look to others to fulfill you?
  30. Do you become intimate before you have established trust?