Codependency is an addiction and underlies all other addictions, including sex addiction, and romance, relationship, and love addiction. Lust and love and love and addiction can overlap. When we heal our codependency, we can see whether love remains. We might even leave an unhealthy relationship and still love our ex.
Meanwhile, some things are knowable:
- It takes time to love someone. Love at first sight may be triggered by many things, but it’s not love.
- Having sex with strangers or frequent multiple partners is a sign of sexual addiction.
- Compulsive activity, whether sexual or romantic, that feels out-of-control, such as compulsive sex, stalking, spying, constant calling or texting is a sign of addiction.
- Ignoring your partner’s boundaries, and abusing, controlling or manipulating him or her (including people-pleasing or rescuing) are signs of addiction.
- Using sex or a relationship to cope with emptiness, depression, anger, shame, or anxiety is a sign of addiction.
- Using sex or romance to substitute for vulnerable, authentic intimacy is a symptom of addiction.
- Staying in a painful relationship out of fear of abandonment or loneliness is a sign of codependency and addiction, not love.
- Inability to commit to a relationship or staying involved with someone who is emotionally unavailable shows a fear of intimacy – a symptom of addiction.
- Trusting too much or too little are signs of addiction.
- Sacrificing your values or standards to be with someone is a sign of addiction.
Healing from codependency and addiction require abstinence and the support of a Twelve Step program and/or psychotherapy. It’s very hard to abstain from compulsive, addictive behavior without support, because the unconscious forces driving us and the pain of abstinence are overwhelming. There is hope and a way out. Recovery includes:
- Learn more about the symptoms of codependency
- Healing the shame and abandonment pain of your childhood
- Building your self-esteem
- Learning to be assertive
- Learning to honor and meet your needs and nurture yourself
- Risking being authentic about your feelings and needs
To learn more and start healing, do the exercises in my books Codependency for Dummies and Conquering Shame and Codependency: 8 Steps to Freeing the True You and ebooks, 10 Steps to Self-Esteem and How to Speak Your Mind: Become Assertive and Set Limits.
©Darlene Lancer 2014
Related Video: 6 Early Red Flags of a Toxic Relationship
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Written by Darlene Lancer JD, MFT
Originally appeared on WhatIsCodependency.com
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