Dear Dr. Galardi:
I was involved with a man for 2 years. At the beginning of the relationship he pressured me to commit, declaring that we were partners about a month into seeing him. When I finally did, about 2 months later, 3 months into the relationship, he started to change. I took us to see a therapist as I am a therapist myself and knew something needed to change.
He then started working with her by himself. About 6 months into our relationship, he decided I was not the one for him. We broke up, but he kept calling me and a month later we got back together. I agreed to a relationship with no commitment and that if one of us met someone else, it was game over. We did this for 15 months. A month ago, he announced he was seeing someone and before it got more serious, he wanted to tell me. One week later we had a completion ceremony. However, I am not complete. I told him he had to stop calling me and that in time I would entertain the idea of being his friend but in the meantime we could e-mail.
Well, during my relationship with him I shared everything and I have been unable to stop sharing. I cry every day and miss him terribly so I e-mail him. He just responds that he hears me and shares nothing more. I know I have to stop this so I can truly grieve and get on with my life. I read something about the love-addicted brain. It claimed that withdrawing from a passionate sexual relationship has the same brain pattern as crack withdrawal. I haven’t been able to sleep or eat much. I lost 6 pounds in two weeks and I was already normal weight.
Giving up alcohol was a breeze compared to this. How do I get through this, Dr. Galardi? I need to let him go.
Shrink in Withdrawal
Healing love addiction is not easy. We need love. We don’t need alcohol to survive. Like all recovery, it is one day at a time. AA will not give you what SLAA (Sex Love Addicts Anonymous) will. Find a meeting in your town and go. Also, buy the book if you haven’t read it, Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love.
Love addicts fall in love with people whose bonding style is to be love avoidant. Love avoidants often rush into love, demanding a commitment prematurely and then about 3 to 4 months in, back away. They back away because the love addict is no longer a challenge and who they really are starts to collide with the fantasy projection from the avoidant.
Take a look at your parents. How did they attend to you? Did you feel safe? Did you feel consistent love from them? How have you repeated patterns in your life that are informing what just happened with this guy? Delve deep. Take a break for a while from men and go through this detox. And lastly, call on your higher power to help with the healing. You can change this, I promise.to pay attention to what about yourself you enjoy both psychologically and physically. Healing addiction to perfection requires focusing on the perfection of who you are right now.
Dear Dr. Toni:
I have had this recurring dream that I am at school and I have no clothes on. I run from room to room trying to cover myself up with my hands. I am not in school anymore so I’m not sure what it means. Any ideas?
Naked and Confused
Although dreams can have many different meanings and you don’t give me much to go on, here is what I would offer: Ask yourself what does school symbolize for me? Am I feeling vulnerable in public? Are you in a learning situation that is bringing up vulnerability or shame that makes you feel so transparent? Is there something you think you need to cover up?
Being naked in public—especially at school—represents all the insecurities one had when one was in school as a child. Take a look at where you are feeling insecure in your life and work with the feelings by breathing into the places where these emotions are being felt in your body. Ask the feelings to give you a symbol for what is causing this anxiety. Then place your hand over your heart and breathe love into your hand. Take that same hand and place it over the place in your body where the fear is showing itself. Now send love into the feeling and breathe. When you feel calm, ask the feeling again, to show you a symbol to indicate where you are with your feelings now.