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Emotional Addiction

We can bring unresolved issues into our awareness so that we can heal.

Do you notice having a fear, such as a fear of abandonment, that repeatedly shows up in many different kinds of relationships?

Our fears show us places were we can gain more knowledge and understanding about ourselves.


What is Emotional Addiction?

Emotional addiction involves becoming attached to certain feeling sensations to cope with or to confirm our fears or insecurities. 

Is emotional addiction like other addictions?

Emotional addiction is like other addictions in that it involves a pattern of behavior used to react or respond to challenges or life's difficulties. Like many addictions, emotional addiction may be a coping strategy or behavior that is triggered by wanting to feel a certain way. Emotional addiction can lose it's adaptive qualities and become an unhealthy strategy for dealing with our lives and our inner and outer worlds.

What is an example of emotional addiction?

As children, we can become wounded when we are not acknowledged, valued, or appreciated for who we authentically are. We are wounded by being neglected, bullied, shamed, or made to feel inferior. We try to protect these wounded parts by carrying negative beliefs about ourselves or the world. As adults, we may perpetuate the pattern of negative beliefs and unhealthy behaviors we adopted as children about the self, even if these negative beliefs about ourselves or the world cause us pain.

Do you have a lack of confidence in yourself that leads you to sabotage your progress or attainment of goals?

Do you subconsciously look for examples in life to confirm limiting or false beliefs about yourself? 

Examples of beliefs we adopted as children to adapt but which are no longer helpful to us as adults include:

"I'm not good enough."

"I'm hard to love."

"Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."

"I'm not going to amount to anything."

We may wish we didn't believe these thoughts but when they become a part of our pattern of thinking they become difficult to refute or eliminate. They are often triggered by events that touch upon painful memories. Each time we turn to these behaviors or thought patterns they become more deeply ingrained in our minds.

 How does emotional addiction appear in our everyday lives? 


When we see that throughout different relationships we have a pattern of behaving or interacting that causes us difficulty, such as jealousy, inferiority, repetitive arguments, or loneliness, we may want to look for our own attachment to certain emotions.

Do you have the same feelings that follow you into different relationships or circumstances?  



Codependency is one form of emotional addiction. When we repeatedly seek validation from others and repeatedly fail to find that validation within ourselves, we can be driven to try to fix others. This leads to experiencing codependency as we resonate with the difficult patterns of the other. 

 Codependency brings us to look at the other person and the problems they have or the behavior they bring, making it harder to recognize the way codependent relationships show us something we need to do to grow or change.

Repeating relationship patterns or staying in unhealthy situations can show up as repeatedly inviting people with the same kinds of characteristics or traits into our lives, even when our experience with these traits has caused us pain in the past.

Once we understand what emotional addiction is, we can look to see where it is showing up in our lives, care for ourselves, and break habitual cycles. When we see that we are contributing to our own unhappiness we become motivated to change.

Changing our patterns becomes easier when we can see the way changing will help our lives. We can come to see that unhealthy relationship patterns don't give us a healthy outlet for our emotions. Instead, we can work to find a way to express our emotions that will help us to feel better rather than worse.

It starts with showing up with a curious mind each day and committing to self-care and healing. We need to honor where we are and not judge the process or our progress.

Committing to mindfulness of our patterns and self-discipline are two of the highest forms of self-love. Practicing self-discipline helps us remember our strength, builds our self-esteem and increases trust in ourselves.  It is really hard to make life-long and positive changes when we don't trust ourselves.

I have helped thousands of individuals turn challenges into transformational opportunities. One of my areas of expertise is helping those contemplating, in the midst of, or building their life back up after divorce. To learn some of my tips and strategies that have helped so many others reconfigure their futures, sign up for my newsletter!


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