Reclaiming Your Power: 8 Strategies for Withdrawal from Love Addiction
Are you experiencing love addiction emotional withdrawal and need guidance on how to overcome the symptoms?
One of the most disturbing and defining features of almost any addiction is withdrawal. Experiencing symptoms of love withdrawal is the ultimate confirmation of love addiction when a relationship ends.
People can experience withdrawal from a person-- and it hurts, badly.
This is especially true for love addicts who lose their drug of choice-- their romantic partner.
Withdrawing from a relationship partner is very painful. The pain feels unrelenting. You may feel paralyzed in your grief, locked into the past, totally obsessed, and unable to move forward.
How to deal with emotional love withdrawal caused by a breakup?
First- know there is hope and know you are not alone.
The following are important steps to help you start breaking free from breakup pain and obsession and finding the strength to move forward on a healthy path.
Steps to Help You Deal with Love and Relationship Withdrawal
1. Breaking out of Denial
One of the hardest things for love addicts experiencing a breakup is breaking denial of an ex-partner and the relationship they were in. Denial is the PRIMARY psychological symptom of addiction. Denial is the one sure thing that will halt recovering. You cannot overcome a problem unless you come to fully accept that it exists. Denial comes in the form of:
- Ignoring how unhealthy the relationship actually was
- Believing getting back the relationship will solve all the problems.
- Convincing the self, it will "be different" next time.
- Not accepting the relationship is over.
- Believing the avoidant partner can be someone different than he or she is.
- Holding on to the fantasy you created from the beginning of the relationship.
Come to accept your powerlessness over your love addiction and the chaos and unmanageability it has brought into your life. Get help in doing so.
2. Feel your Feelings
You're already feeling your feelings- yet, you may feel the emotions are too much to handle. When you feel overwhelmed and in a panic because of a break up you try to do things to repress, ignore, and abandon your feelings. However, this is the wrong thing to do and is part of the problem.
Feeling and acknowledging your emotions (good or bad) is an essential part of the healing process.
Love addicts really struggle with feeling uncomfortable feelings. Anger (a feeling) may help to temporarily keep painful feelings at bay, but to heal, we must allow ourselves to grieve the loss (unhealthy loss or not). I'd encourage you to share your feelings in a support group; with a professional counselor; with close loved ones who are trustworthy; and express your emotions on paper through Journaling.
Write about your anger, sadness, fears, etc.
Don't shame yourself for ANY feelings you have.
If you're feeling depressed, guilt, shame, hurt, inadequacy or loneliness--- accept and acknowledge these feelings. Accepting your feeling does not necessarily mean you accept them as truth (feelings aren't always facts- to believe this is a distortion). You accept them as neither good nor bad- feelings just exist and are part of being human. Nevertheless, don't allow yourself sabotage your inner-self because you are experiencing emotions. Your inner-critic has done enough of shaming yourself. You don't deserve it.
3. Stop Giving Up Your Personal Power
One of the underlying core characteristics I write about in The LOVE ADDICT in Love Addiction is how love addicts give their power up to their partner. It's one reason why the feeling of "I lost myself" is so common when a breakup occurs.
Taking responsibility is a way to take back your power. Take full responsibility for whatever decisions you've made and those in which you make. Blaming, Persecuting, Offending, or taking the Victim position is evidence of giving up your power. No one has power over you.
By owning the decisions you make (right or wrong), you will win back your personal power. When you do this, it will help you see reality and the truth much more clearly and this will pay off in a big way down the road.
4. Rid Your Environment of Possible Triggers
If you spend your time feeding into the obsession about the loss of your partner - guess what? You'll feel miserable. That is why, once you've dealt with the real signals that the emotions give you, you must do as much as you can to focus your mind on things that please you.
Take the practical steps necessary to remove any reminders of your ex from your environment. They will only act as triggers to obsess about him or her more so. Instead, when you see a reminder, use it as a trigger to get rid of that reminder - IMMEDIATELY! Delete the telephone number, remove the pictures, and store the gifts. I'm not asking you to destroy them, just put them where you won't see them on a day to day basis. However, if you feel a need- do destroy them or toss them in the trash.
5. Engage in Self Care
Part of the healing process for love addicts is learning to better care for the 'self'. If ever there is a right time, this is the time for you to start taking care of you. Take care of your eating habits; exercise; doing fun leisure activities; exercising-- these are things that will help you to start engaging in self-care.
Generate a healthy eating plan. Plan out a weekly schedule to exercise 3 to 5 times a week (walking 30 minutes is a good start if you are new into exercising). Exercise is a great way to boost your mood, even if t this temporary during this period. Write a list of leisure activities you like or love to do. Leisure activities may be hiking, taking a drive, going to a concert, taking a fun class, skiing, biking, etc. Make sure to write these things down on paper. So- when you're obsessing or focusing on things that are painful or making you feel sad, you can run for the self-care list, pick something off it and go do it. It's a good way to enhance the process of healing.
6. View the Breakup as a New Opportunity- IT IS!
Ever hear the saying, "pain is one of the best teachers in life"? I believe there is a whole lot of truth and wisdom behind this quote.
Ask yourself-- Do you want to continue the same relationship path over and over? Do you want painful relationships in your future? Do you want to experience this kind of pain again in your life? Of course, you don't.
This is why you need to see this as an opportunity for a real breakthrough that was meant to happen. I know it' easier said than done now, nevertheless, this is a time for becoming stronger and healthier in the midst of your suffering. If you choose otherwise; or give up; the unhealthy relational patterns; your addiction will continue- it will happen again (I've seen it too many times).
You'll carry the same unresolved baggage into the next relationship. you'll continue to attract unhealthy partners causing you pain and suffering. guaranteed. Love addicts who overcome their patterns of addictive loving are profoundly different in terms of their thinking and behaviors prior to recovery. All love addicts who do recover have eventually taken the right steps to do so.
7. Understand the Meaning of Healthy Relationships
Examples of healthy relationship traits:
Each partner accepts who the other person is (strengths and weaknesses.
Each partner values his/her self and does not hide who they are (their reality) from their partner.
Each partner supports one another's goals and aspirations in life.
Each partner is honest and communicates congruently, which engenders safety and trust for each other.
Each partner is open to the others point of view and does not shame or ridicule when opinions differ.
Each is open and willing to discuss, negotiate, or compromise when conflicts arise.
If we didn't have a healthy relationship model growing up then it is crucial we develop a keen understanding of what a healthy love relationship looks like. See Healthy Love Relationships for more example traits.
8. Positive Affirmations
What fuels love addiction? One contributor to love addiction is the love addicts false belief of unworthiness, un-lovability, or inadequacy. Positive affirmations will you help to start changing this nonsense. Doing the work of daily affirmations is vital to start changing the internal unhealthy critic and the way you feel.
Affirming ourselves, (an act of self-care) is a way to help us change attitudes and beliefs that tell us we are unworthy, cannot make changes, not lovable enough, etc.
Positive affirmation is a powerful tool to apply in recovery to help begin rewiring the mind from dishonest messages which you unknowingly took on and carried from the past. It is a way of deleting the inner critic like deleting files from our computers and replacing them with new files. By applying affirmations, you begin to form a new relationship with yourself in a healthy and nurturing manner.
The following is a list of positive affirmations. Use the list as a tool.
Apply this recovery tool by repeating these affirmations 10-20 times a day quietly or out loud (saying them aloud can be much more effective). You can also record the affirmations and listen to them as often as possible. The more you read them to yourself and hear them, the better. You can also add or replace new affirmations to your list.
- I'm a lovable and valuable person
- I accept and love myself fully
- I am a valuable, amazing, and worthy human being
- I am enough
- I'm worthy of love and abundance and peace
- I allow myself to experience joy and peace in my life
- I can think for myself
- I trust my intuitions and myself
- I am deserving of a good life
- I deserve healthy love relationships
- Taking these eight steps is a powerful move in the right direction to healing.
These are eight steps that you can start right now to begin helping you break your addiction to your ex. Nevertheless, surviving an addictive relationship breakup should not end here.
If you're dealing with the painful symptoms of breakup withdrawal, consider getting help and guidance from a therapist; work with me; and consider utilizing the powerful tools and exercises in my best selling recovery workbook, SURVIVING WITHDRAWAL: The Break-Up Workbook for Love Addicts
About Author: Jim Hall MS, is a Love Addiction Specialist, Online Recovery Coach, and Author of 3 Books on Love Addiction and Recovering. As a leading expert, through his writings and online recovery practice, Jim offers much hope for those struggling with love addiction- to discover a healthy and solid path to break free from obsessive love patterns as well as support and guidance to overcome the acute discomfort of breakup love withdrawal.