Imagine that you have a little child – a son or daughter, but that you are only 15 years old. How are you going to feel about this child? There is a good possibility that you will feel that this child is a burden, limiting your freedom. You will likely feel that the child is too demanding, needing too much from you. You may want to go out and have fun and not be tied down to this child.
Is this how you feel about your own inner child – your own feelings and needs? Does it feel burdensome to take loving care of yourself? Do you feel like your own feelings and needs are just too much to have to take care of? Do you feel like taking care of yourself is just hard? Do you believe it is selfish to take loving care of yourself? Do you wish someone else would come along and meet your emotional needs to feel loved, valued, and worthy?
If this is how you feel, it is because you have not yet done the inner work of developing a loving adult part of you – a part of you that is connected with a spiritual source of love, wisdom, strength, guidance and comfort. It is your adolescent self who is charge, and this part of you not only does not want the job of taking care of you, it is not adequate to handle the job.
This is what creates love addiction.
You have a little child inside you – your feeling self – who need lots of love, attention, comfort, valuing, validating, connection and compassion. When you have no desire to give this to yourself because you feel it is too hard, you feel too inadequate, you think it is selfish, or you believe that it is someone else’s job to meet these needs, then you are abandoning yourself. If you believe that your best feelings come from someone else loving you instead of you loving you, then you are abandoning yourself. And when you abandon yourself, that little child in you is left to get the love he or she needs elsewhere.
When you abandon yourself because you have not learned how to take loving care of yourself or because you don’t want the responsibility of your own feelings and needs, that is when you become needy of others love and attention. You learn many ways of trying to get the love, attention and compassion you need.
Think for a moment about what you do to get love, connection, attention, approval or compassion from others.
Do you try to be perfect – looking right, saying the right thing, being a high achiever? Do you try to be cute or funny? Do you try to show others how smart you are? Do you strive to have the best – the best house, the best car, the best wife or husband, the best children, the best clothing? Or, do you act helpless, incompetent, in need of rescuing? Do you pull on others with your complaining, your incessant talking, your whining, sulking, silence, or your bragging? Are you overly nice, a people-pleaser? Do you attempt to get the attention you want through intimidation – with anger, threats, blame, or violence?
When you have abandoned yourself and are love-addicted, you will have developed many ways of trying to have control over getting the love you need. That little child in you is desperate to be loved. The emptiness of the self-abandonment and the resulting longing for love leads you to behave in the very ways that end up pushing others away. It is a losing battle. IT WILL NEVER WORK. You will never get the love you need by trying to get others to give to you what only you can give to yourself.
By Margaret Paul