How to Break Your Addiction to a Person

How to Break Your Addiction to a Person

Love can cause a drug-like high, producing fantasies, causing sleeplessness and causing you to ignore other things in your life for this single element. An addictive relationship is characterized by the need to continue to engage with the person despite obvious negative consequences. You should diagnose your relationships with other people and then go through psychological and physical steps to remove yourself from the patterns of an obsessive attachment.

Part 1 of 3: Diagnosing an Addictive Relationship

1. Make a list. Write a column for positive things you get out of the relationship, and write another column to list the negative things that you get from the relationship. Dig deep into your life to establish whether connections are socially, mentally, emotionally, professionally healthy.

  • Among the positive things that may be included in this list is the rush that you feel when the person you love pays attention to you or provides you with something. It is the feeling of addiction that you will need to accept and tackle.


2. Review past relationships. Many people who become addicted to people have suffered from inadequate family relationships. Many times these family members were not trustworthy or did not provide basic food, shelter or emotional support.

  • If the person to whom you are addicted reminds you of a past family member or relationship, you may be looking to complete a previous failed relationship through this current relationship. You will need to separate the feelings from the two different relationships to move on.


3. Keep a relationship log. Write regularly about how the relationship makes you feel and what behaviors, hopes and fantasies you harbor. Writing about a relationship daily can help you avoid glossing over the bad moments to protect your relationship.


4. Do a relationship review. Write down the person’s physical and personal characteristics. Then, write down who is the dominant person in the relationship and look for evidence of either person trying to control the other person. Explain the tone of the relationship and the five most common emotions you experience when you are with the person.

  • If many of these characteristics are negative, you can start to view the reasons you are facing addiction rather than a healthy relationship.


5. Accept that a relationship isn’t healthy if you see evidence of obsessive, controlling, abusive manipulation. You must be willing to go through emotional pain in order to separate.



Part 2 of 3: Breaking Attachments

1. Pay attention to what parts of your relationship are fantasy and what are reality. We have a tendency to keep fantasies about what a person is like in the hopes of improving them. We also may create fantasy narratives about the relationship that we tell other people.


2. Decide what physical connections you have to that person, such as finances, housing or work projects. Understand that you will need to give yourself extra time to break those connections. Also ask yourself, if your relationship addiction is based on conveniences that you have combined.

  • For example, change your bank account and start receiving paychecks to the new account.
  • Also, consider looking for new places to rent or live on a temporary basis.
  • If you are married or have kids, consider signing up for couple’s and individual therapy sessions. If you want to try to work through the addiction and get into a healthy relationship, it will take hard work and an unbiased third party who can talk you through obsessive and fantasy behaviors.
  • Remove alcohol, drugs, food, sex or other triggers that may be urging you to stay in an addictive situation.


3. Plan activities with positive people in your life. You may need to replace the negative feedback you have been getting in a bad relationship with positive feedback from another source. Renew connections now.


4. Set personal goals. If you have been ignoring yourself because of a personal addiction, try picking up a hobby, starting to train for a fitness event or going for a promotion at work. You can find other ways to get positive reinforcement than those you find in a relationship.


5. Make a list of your independent desires. Start each bullet point with “I want” or “I would like” so that you can start separating personal desires from relationship desires. Focus on you while you break away from an addiction.


Part 3 of 3: Embracing Independence

1. Decide upon how you will handle the person if they get in touch in the future. You should limit contact if the person reduces your self-esteem and makes you feel small or unloved.

  • For example, if the person wants to talk on the phone, suggest a date and time, and then go to a supportive friends’ house to take the call.


2. Expect withdrawal symptoms. In place of euphoria, excitement and infatuation, you may experience fear, self-doubt, loneliness and panic. These are normal parts of breaking a bond that gave you some positive feelings.


3. Don’t substitute drama for closeness. As a relationship breaks down, you may want to engage in melodrama, just to be attached to the person who used to give you a positive rush. Remove yourself from drama to make the break faster and with less pain over time.


4. Write down your obsessive thoughts about the person. Keep a journal with you, so that you can adequately describe fantasies, compulsive feelings and the pain you feel.


5. Face feelings of loneliness or depression. If you feel chronically depressed, get a counselor or talk to your friends. Feelings of worthlessness cannot be stamped out by relationships; they are just delayed until later.

  • Deal with your own self-esteem issues now, before you start dating again.


6. Join a support group based on sex or love addiction. You may be able to see how others cope with the endorphins and obsessive behavior associated with love.


7. Keep hoping. A study by Northwestern University showed that people overestimate how bad they will feel after a break up. The separation you dread may be easier to get over than you think.


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