A love addict was not how I thought I would be defined but once my marriage coach said it something stirred inside. I had this powerful yes float up from my gut to my head. I felt truth.
Our biggest fear as a love addict is being left, abandoned. We crave intimacy and connection and yet in love relationships we do not know how to receive postitive intimacy. We push away while being needy. If we start to see healthy intimacy we want to run. We have expectations of our partners that go beyond healthy. We are starving and feed ourselves only crumbs.
A cupcake is sickening when you are used to eating crumbs. Don't get me started on cake.
For the past few months I have been looking in the mirror and seeking truth.
I have been starving for freedom from this addiction.
Having this knowledge feels like the moment I first heard what a highly sensitive person was. It was like an opening for me to be myself for the first time. It has taken me years to start integrating the past sensitive me with the now sensitive me. It brings me pleasure to know the truth of who I am so that I can show up in light.
My voice has been quiet recently. Quiet in this public space, reaching out to only my closest few for support and intimacy in the healthiest ways I know. But I want to talk about all of it. I am not afraid to be vulnerable but I am afraid of stuffing this truth inside. I am afraid that if I don't start to talk about it my voice will start to fade.
"Eventually, as Love Addicts try harder and harder to manipulate the other person to live up to the mental image they have created-- that is, someone who will care for and love them the way they long to be cared for and loved-- they experience repeated disappointments, because no one can satisfy these insatiable desires." - Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody (this is the book, if you feel called to learn more because I am giving very little description in this post, it is life shifting)
The love addict typically is in partnership with a love avoidant, who is also not born. He becomes as survival. (This is not gender specific, just for myself.) We are all born as pure love but every moment we are shaped.
I remember my first baby, two weeks old, she would cry every day for about a total of 9 hours. By the end of the day I would be a puddle of tears and anger and sadness and shame. Even her tiny two week old body was responding to her world, to her stimulus, to things that I couldn't find a way to fix.
I am afraid of my loneliness. Of being alone after starving for so long. And that is why I am called to be with this, to be with myself and cupcakes. To accept that I can have that fucking frosting without freaking out.
Recently, I had this aha moment that I am not an introvert as I had always thought. I am a highly sensitive extrovert who craves people and laughter and connection but I can so easily become filled up and overstimulated and if I am not truly interested in the conversations or people-- 'pretending' is like kryptonite. I become weak.
I love being with my kids but I am so easily overstimulated by them that sometimes it feels like pain inside. I fear watching my daughter repeat my patterns and as I watch my husband start to change I see her move farther and farther from that repetition. I fear raising boys who will not know how to be present or show up in love and then my four year old touches my hair and sings, "Om Shanti Shanti" in the most loving way possible and my eyes fill with tears.
I fear that this addiction will never allow me to know the joy of being filled by healthy intimacy. With myself first. Without crumbs. I fear not being able to eat cake.
I have been working my ass off the last few years to get to this truth. To be able to look in my own eyes and say, "this is me." This is me.
Now together with my husband we are showing up and doing the work together. He has a shitload to do and so do I. And I feel so gently strong and beautiful as I walk this path. We have no idea where we will end together but we are both willing to show up because joy is what we both desire as personal destination. Joy is our guide.
I have such love for who I am and who I am becoming and who I was. I fall into vulnerability regularly. I sit in silence with myself. I reach out when I crave connection without judgement, simply as my practice of healthy boundaries. I notice when it is out of desperation or truth.
This is where I find myself landing now. Understanding boundaries.
My marriage coach has asked me to no longer take responsibility for others' feelings, because they are not mine. This is my hardest and most beautiful journey in this moment. To allow those who I have extreme intimacy with to have their feelings without it being about me.
I find an inbox filled with words advising me to change the colors of my daily emails and demands that seem to come out of nowhere. And I am learning to breathe and not take them on. They are not my story.
When my kids fight and I want to explode, I am clenching everything I can clench and counting to 3 as slowly as I can. I am praying that one day I won't be clenching, simply counting. For now, I must.
I am learning how to create healthy friendships where I don't get lost but can ask for support-- and this one, receive. Oh, receive. Without having to give as my exchange for receiving. Tough shit my loves, tough, tough shit this boundary work.
My thank you.
This is me. This, is me.
Fully, unapologetically, me.
Let's keep going. I am so ready for all of it.
Thank you for being here, for being a landing place for these words and for my prayer that all that I continue to journey through becomes what I teach and guide.
Thank you for the bravery to look into your own eyes and say...
This is me.
The New Rules of Marraige by Terrance Real
Facing Love Addiction by Pia Mellody
Video with Terrance