Archive | November 2013

Identifying types of love addicts

LoveAddiction

In my story you’re the villain. But in my heart, you’re still the reigning King. Coco J. Ginger

When you can stop you don’t want to, and when you want to stop, you can’t… Luke Davies

I am not your victim because you are not a predator any more than a bottle of scotch stalks an alcoholic. Sue William Silverman

One of my most well received posts has been ‘All about toxic relationships and how to let go‘ and this week Happiness Weekly is looking at Love Addiction – one of the fastest growing addictions in the world as people cling to love for their happiness.

It’s important that I note upfront that this blog is not about how to break love addiction. That may come later, but at this stage, I don’t have the answers. All I can recommend is that if you are finding yourself addicted to love, or a person, then to join a support group such as SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) to try to help understand and cope with it.

There are no statistics on love addiction, when I asked one of Sydney’s top psychologists about it, the response was that we are all love addicts to some extent.

However, some take it to a whole new level. Types of love addicts include:

Obsessed love addicts – can’t let go of someone they love, even if that person has moved on, is distant or abusive, or has their own addiction to something unrelated such as drugs or alcohol.

Co-dependant love addicts – have low self-esteem. They are desperately holding onto people they are addicted to through co-dependant behaviour (enabling, rescuing, caretaking, passive-aggressive controlling or accepting neglect or abuse). They will do anything to “take care” of their partners in the hope they will not leave or one day they’ll reciprocate.

Relationship addicts – aren’t in love with their partner but still can’t let go e.g. “I hate you but please don’t leave me!” Sounds twisted, but relationship addicts are so unhappy that their health, spirit and emotional wellbeing are affected. They are afraid of being alone and they don’t like change.

Narcissistic love addicts – use dominance, seduction and withholding to control their partners. They are self-absorbed and won’t put up with anything that interferes with their happiness. These love addicts are only revealed when they are left, often appearing aloof and uncaring, they switch to panic and will use anything to hold onto the relationship – including violence.

Ambivalent love addicts – have a hard time moving forward, although they can let go. They desperately crave love but are terrified of intimacy.

Ambivalent love addicts can come in different forms such as:

* Torch bearers – obsess about someone who is unavailable. Feeds on fantasies and illusions. The ultimate in unrequited love.

* Saboteurs – destroy relationships when they start to get serious. Fear of intimacy.

* Seductive withholders – come onto you when they want sex or companionship but withhold when frightened or feel unsafe. They generally repeat a pattern of being available/unavailable.

* Romance addicts – addicted to multiple partners with multiple bonds, sexual passion and pseudo-intimacy with each. Their goal is to get high off romance and drama and avoid commitment or bonding on a deeper level with any partner.

Some love addicts have a combination of these various types. If you’re thinking “Oh my gosh, I’m all of them!” and are about to lose hope, you’re not alone. The SLAA website brings a comforting tale about the types of love addiction overlapping:

“Robert was a love addict, relationship addict, romance addict and sex addict. He was married but did not want to divorce his wife of twenty years even though he was not in love with her (relationship addiction) His hobby was masturbating to pornography when his wife was not home (sex addiction). He had affairs with several other women simultaneously without his wife finding out. He really cared about each of these women (romance addict). One day he met Jennifer and fell in love with her. It did not take long before he was obsessed with her. She did not want to be with him because he was married, so he began stalking and harassing her (love addict). Robert finally got into recovery, divorced his wife, gave up the pornography and affairs and married the woman he was obsessed with. At first his jealousy was out of control, but after a few years of therapy and 12-Step meetings he began to trust his new wife. Because she was mature, well-grounded and had high self-esteem, the relationship began to normalize. Today, all of Robert’s addictions are in remission.”

It’s nice to see a happy ending is possible in what may feel like a useless situation.

It’s important that we can distinguish between the types of love addicts because the treatment is dependent on the behaviour and addiction – for example co-dependent love addicts need a boost in self-esteem and self-acceptance, narcissistic love addicts need to learn to be selfless towards others, and ambivalent love addicts need to find a healthy relationship and stay engaged in it even when their fears arise.

Stay tuned! Next week Happiness Weekly will tell you how you can break free of your ties to love addiction… In the meantime if you’re looking for any further information about love addiction, please look at anything by Susan Peabody. She is an expert in this field who has helped many, many people. And has recently released a workbook about love addicts and love avoidants that could help you called: Recovering Workbook for Love Addicts and Love Avoidants. Thank you for sharing this with us, Susan.

Moving on! How to move on quickly or help someone move on from something traumatic

MovingOn

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. Charles Swindoll.

Everyone gets stuck from time to time, but remember – it’s not what happens to us but how we recover that matters the most. Following a traumatic event if you could leap past the awful, paralysing emotions and land safely back into positive, happier times – you would do it in a heartbeat, wouldn’t you?

Unfortunately it’s impossible to predict how long it will take someone to overcome grief – your feelings will come and go and you’ll endure frustrations that will make it feel like it’s two steps forward, followed by three steps back. Time is the best healer.

While we can’t speed up time for you, there are things you can do to help you move on from a traumatic event. This week Happiness Weekly looks at how you can move on as quickly as possible.

Recognise what you’re feeling
It’s really important to recognise what you are feeling rather than judging why you are feeling the way you are. Try not to look at what’s happened, tell yourself it has happened – there is nothing that can be done to change it – and take notice of your feelings when you start thinking of the exciting things the future may have in store for you. It may take time to feel excited about anything again, but eventually that spark will return.

Sit with the pain for two minutes
If you can sit with the pain for two minute increments and then try to distract yourself, whether it’s reading or writing or going for a walk, you will soon find the painful moments will be further and further apart. In fact, you may even be able to experience moments of happiness and peace again. Concentrate on the good moments, but also let yourself have time to grieve as well.

Keep as positive as you can
If the voice inside your head says “I’m never going to love again –” add something to make it more positive “in that way”. Positive thinking will prevent you from dwelling for too long. When you eliminate the negative voice, which can appear so conclusive and certain, you will also take away some of your worries. Keep reminding yourself that there will be a tomorrow – and it may even be better than today!

Make acceptance a priority
It’s important to work on accepting what has happened as soon as possible. Don’t sit with denial for too long. Take charge! Decide to accept what’s happened, regardless of how you feel about it. Take a proactive philosophy to the situation – instead of waiting for your feelings to change in order to take action – take action and trust that your feelings will change as a consequence to your efforts. Remember, every action has a reaction. Feeling outraged by life’s injustices won’t change anything beyond your control – try to remind yourself if it what it is and keep stepping forward.

Grow from the experience
Pretend that everyone is enlightened except for you. Look for every lesson that comes your way. Be open to learning. Practise some patience. This mindset can help improve the way you interpret and respond to even the most painful events in your life. Be honest with yourself during this part of the healing process. As you look back on the relationship you will have an opportunity to learn more about yourself, how you relate to others, and the problems you need to work on. If you are able to objectively examine your own choices and behaviour, including the reasons why the situation happened to you, you’ll be able to see where you went wrong to enable you to make better decisions next time around!

Get set for something better
Avoid turning minor upsets into bigger issues in your mind and look at the bright side. It’s just another challenge – focus on how you’re going to resolve it for the most positive outcome! The faster you step forward, the sooner the pain will stop. Also consider the worst case scenario in your situation – is it really the end of the world? More importantly, is it possible – and probable – that the situation could get a lot better? A higher paying job? A more satisfying relationship? Spend some time considering what could go right.

Work with what you have
It’s easy to get comfortable with the way things are and then feel completely disconnected from who you want to be or what you want to do in life when things go wrong, but this hurdle doesn’t need to annihilate your plans! Use your time to find a new way to achieve your goals and start putting effort into getting there again – it’s the fastest way to turn a bad thing good!

Consider what others would do
Think about how someone with integrity handle the situation. If you have an idol, what would they do in your situation? Identify what you have learned from the situation, pick yourself up with grace and maintain your dignity. Move on to the next goal with your head held high. Acting to someone else’s expectations will eliminate the opportunity for disappointment in yourself if you were to lose control over the situation.

Put it on the backburner for a while
Concentrate on something else rather than worrying about your current situation. Exercise to boost your endorphins – you could go for a walk, practise yoga or do something more fun like rollerblading. Start a new diet. Practice being in the present – do one task at a time, mindfully. Remember: if you don’t mind – it don’t matter.

Start creating new memories as soon as you can
Take new photos to look back on. Enjoy some new experiences. Do things you’ve put off for a long time. Get out and enjoy nature. Speak your truth where you can – it’ll help you to feel authentic, heard and improve your confidence. Avoid procrastinating, generally the anxiety about a task is worse than the task itself. Force change by beginning a new routine – it can be small such as adjusting your sleeping pattern or starting to eat breakfast.

Other quick tips for moving on:
- Allow yourself to cry
- Take time out for yourself
- Smile at old memories if you want to
- Write a letter to say goodbye
- Avoid bottling things up
- Keep a diary of your feelings and memories as you grieve
-Talk to someone about how you’re feeling
- Keep healthy
- Recognise it’s ok to have different feelings
- Give yourself permission to feel and function at a less than optimal level for a period of time
- Get help from a counsellor or psychologist if you need it (recognise when you need it!)
- Remember that moving on is the end goal
- Remind yourself that you still have a future
- Spend time with supportive people who energise you
- Make new friends, don’t just hold onto old or mutual friends
- Reach out to others that have been through your situation, they can be particularly helpful!

The trick is to treat yourself like you’re getting over a bad flu for the first couple of weeks. Get plenty of rest, minimise other sources of stress in your life and reduce your workload if you can.

Always remember – whether you have been through a traumatic event or not: you can’t always get what you want – but you can work at being who you want to be no matter what life throws your way!

10 simple ways to make people feel good about themselves

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Give a man to fish and you will feed him for one day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Chinese proverb

The trick to making people feel good about themselves is to understand what people do to you to make you feel good about yourself and the mimic it for your friends. This week Happiness Weekly looks at ten simple ways you can make people feel good about themselves to encourage them to want to hang around you.

1. Ask them to teach you something
Whenever someone says I’m great at something or they really like something that I do and then asks if I will teach them, it not only makes me feel good about myself but it also makes me want to show them how to do it the same way I know how.

2. Go to them for advice
Many of my friends come to me for advice, particularly relationship advice and that makes me feel great. Realising your friends strengths is a very good quality. Take time to see what your friends strengths are and if you see you’re weak in that area, approach them for advice and ask them to assist in strengthening you to become a better person or better at whatever their skill is.

3. Give them a genuine compliment
It’s easy to tell people they look beautiful, and then move on. But it takes time, thought and consideration to give someone a genuine compliment. When someone tells me I have done something well and then gives me a reason, or I look great in what I’m wearing because of whatever reason, it feels a lot more genuine than “You look great!” and therefore makes me feel good.

4. Help people where you can
This is the reverse of the second suggestion – approaching someone for advice. When you see your friends struggling in an area that you are strong, offer them help. Be careful not to come across as conceited or condescending. Let them know that they are on the right path but if they just did this, that and the other it would be perfected. Be very conscious to make your suggestions come across as friendly tips rather than knit-picking pointers.

5. Touch the person
I have a girlfriend who whenever she walks into work in the mornings, she touches me gently on the shoulder when she says good morning. This may sound a little strange, but it always makes me feel warm and fuzzy, and appreciated. Just a gentle touch can really help you connect with someone and make them feel great about themselves.

6. Use the person’s name as you’re leaving
Don’t over use someone’s name as it can come across as aggressive, but if you have met someone for the first time and you’re interested in building a relationship with them – it’s nice to say goodbye or have a great day directly to the person. Using their name as you are leaving will not only help you remember who the person is but will also make them feel as though you’re approachable in the future. If you’re really comfortable with the person, you could even give them a friendly nickname – for example, one of my colleagues was great at his job so I called him “The King” … it wasn’t long before he called me “The Queen”, and of course the rest is history!

7. Listen to the person attentively
If you use active listening when someone is giving you instructions is shows your respect for the person and your diligence in attempting to get the task right. You can also show you’re really listening to someone by following up with them about something they have said (try to remember their spouses name or their interests), or even buy them a small gift that was raised in conversation – this also shows you understand and care about what has been said.

8. Smile at people
This may seem really easy but you would be surprised how many people just don’t smile anymore! A frown won’t get you many friends. You catch a lot more bees with honey! So there’s more to being a sweet, good person that people want to be around – you also have to display it on your exterior. A simple smile makes everyone feel more at ease.

9. Encourage people where ever you can
Whether you like the person or not, encourage them in their pursuits and help them to achieve their goals where you can. Encouraging others not only makes the encouraged person feel good about themselves, but it also shows to other people around you that you are supportive and you care.

10. Show genuine interest
Ask about something that is important to the person you wish to build a relationship with. Comment on a previous discussion you may have had with the person. Volunteer to help if you see they need some assistance in getting a job done. All these simple things make the person feel more valued and appreciated as they see you care for the small details.

How to know who your real friends are

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A true friend is one who overlooks your failures and tolerates your success. Doug Larson

Knowing who your real friends are can be a serious challenge! Sometimes people appear in our lives only when they need something – they seem so nice though. Fleeting friends like these can make it hard for us – are they a real friend or not? Don’t wait until the going gets rough to find out! This week Happiness Weekly identifies some simple ways that you can decipher who is a real friend and who isn’t.

 Listen to what they say
- A true friend will be supportive through the bad times and the good. They won’t be jealous of your successes, they’ll be happy with you.
- A true friend will make you feel needed, confident and happy when you’re around them. They are kind when you need it and offer constant encouragement in all areas of your life.
- A true friend is your cheerleader. They will compliment you and stand by you to cheer you on through all life’s ups and downs. They will always want the best for you.

Note: If they put you down or make you feel miserable or worthless, they’re not a true friend.

Watch how they treat you
- A true friend will listen to you. They will have time for you, and if they don’t, they will make time for you.
- A true friend will let you share your thoughts and offer you feedback. They will actively participate in the conversation and care about the outcome afterwards, generally following up to see how you got on.
- A true friend will react to the things you tell them with genuine care and compassion. They will remember important details you tell them.
- A true friend will actively participate in the conversation. It won’t be one or other doing all the talking or listening. A friendship is best shared in all aspects.
- A true friend will treat you as you treat them. Both people will put the same amount of effort into the friendship and make time to catch up and act with integrity.
- A true friend will keep their promises to you. They will turn up. They are always reliable and available when you need them.
- A true friend won’t have any ulterior motivations for the friendship. They will want to be around you because they value you as a person, not because they want to be popular, they’re bored or it’s convenient to them.

Note: If the person shares their problems and then appears bored or distracted when you share yours, they’re not a true friend.

Share advice and opinions
- A true friend will come to you for advice or your opinion. They will make you feel like an expert where they are weak. They will make you feel good about yourself!
- A true friend will accept your thoughts and feelings about things without knowing the full story, and love you anyway. You should feel comfortable speaking openly to them.
- A true friend will be able to predict your moods and know what you’re thinking and feeling.
- A true friend will be open to hearing feedback and criticism when you disappointed in their behaviour. You should feel free to communicate openly when things are good and when they’re not.

Note: There’s always room for improvement and no friendship is perfect. If your friend makes you feel you can’t approach when you’re upset about something, they’re not a real friend.

Know the difference between chat and gossip
- A true friend won’t be after gossip but genuine conversation and they will never ever gossip about you behind your back.
- A true friend will keep a confidence when you confide in them no matter what consequences arise for them. They will always have your best interests at heart.

Note: If your friend regularly gossips about their other friends, it’s probable they will gossip about you too.

Is it easy to catch up?
- A true friend never needs to check a diary for a catch up, they will either have time or make time for you.
- A true friend will always follow through with scheduling time to catch up and will call regularly just for a chat to catch up on general life.
- A true friend will enjoy your company and look forward to catching up with you. They will try to include you in their life as much as possible.

Note: If your friend is too busy for you but has time for others, or if they’re always too busy to spend time with you, they are not a true friend.

Simple signs your friendship is real
- You face problems together and are there for each other
-You share what you can because you truly care about each other
- You make time for each other
- You offer each other advice and a listening ear
- You forgive quickly
- You protect each other
- You give each other freedom
- You communicate effectively with each other
- You accept each other as you are
- You are genuine towards each other
- You compromise with each other
- You support each other’s growth changes
- You’re there for each other for every challenge as a support, believing in each other
- You want the best for each other
- You have realistic expectations of each other
- You demonstrate your respect for each other in small ways on a regular basis
- You keep promises to each other
- You’re honest with each other all the time (no secrets) and have a solid trusting relationship
- You stick together through thick and thin!

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