Let’s talk about addictions friends. Wait! Before you run away thinking this has nothing to do with you, I challenge you to follow this post to the end. First things first. We need to change our perception about what it means to be addicted. Of course, the first thing that comes to most of our minds is addiction to substances like alcohol and drugs etc., or other addictions may pop into your head like: gambling, pornography and food. I’m sure there are others that would arise should we brainstorm the subject, but this post is not about your traditional addictions.
If I asked you what every single one of the addictions had in common, what would you say? Perhaps you’d say that they have nothing in common because the addiction to alcohol is not at all similar to the addiction to food or gambling. If that is your supposition, I challenge you to open your mind and think a little harder. There is a connection between them. The connection is that they all provide a FEELING. A momentary feeling of euphoria. It’s this feeling that all is right within our own monkey mind that drives us to repeat the behavior. It makes us feel good.
This good feeling is fleeting though. Euphoria does not last for long, and that’s the reason why we keep repeating the same behaviors. Human beings, despite all their best intentions, despite knowing well and good that certain activities, if not moderated, will lead them to eventual destruction are still creatures of habit. Habit sounds like such a harmless word, and it can actually have positive connotations as well. What’s the problem with it you ask? That’s a fabulous question!
Habits like running, cycling, eating healthy 80% of the time and getting the proper amount of sleep are generally good for you obviously, though they can also become habitual and unhealthy. I digress though since this post is not about the obvious habits. Consider our interactions with others for a moment. Would you say that the manner in which we have relationships with others is a habit? We have a comfort zone in this area as well. The way we speak to people, communicate silently via body language and participate in our various relationships whether platonic or romantic are habitual. We stick with what we know and are comfortable with.
There’s the key friends! We stick with what we know and are comfortable with in the majority of our lives. Here’s the kicker though. Sometimes, what we know, are comfortable with and provides us with that euphoric feeling is actually toxic. Yes, I said it. Toxic. Playing a scratch-off ticket every now and again is not a problem, but spending hundreds of dollars you cannot truly afford to spend on lottery tickets would be a huge problem. Exercising to maintain healthy body proportions is healthy, however, exercising three hours a day every single day to become as thin as you possibly can is unhealthy.
We can become addicted to the feeling relationships provide as well believe it or not, even when some of those relationships create issues in our minds about our feeling of self-worth.
This is part of the reason why women (and some men as well) who are emotionally abused by their partners remain within the relationship. The feelings the relationship provide becomes an addiction. Perhaps this doesn’t make sense to you and you wouldn’t be alone in that confusion. I will attempt to clear up the fogginess.
People don’t desire to be in dysfunctional relationships where they are emotionally or physically mistreated. Who in their right mind would WANT to be treated poorly by someone? Generally, in the case of emotional maltreatment especially, the torment is not obvious and tends to get worse over time. This makes it even more dangerous to the psyche of the person living with it because they think that it’s all in their minds.
As with many other aspects of life, the treatment ebbs and flows often seeming like it’s a cycle or a circle. Let me assure you that it’s a vicious cycle like a rogue merry-go-round on repeat and going just fast enough that it doesn’t seem possible to get off the ride. When someone in our life fulfills a given need all humans have, as in the case of affection, but then only gives that affection when it suits their needs without a care to the needs of the other person, it is a toxic relationship.
The problem lies in the fact that we become addicted to the way we feel when they do give us the attention we so desire and need. Then, another emotion prevents us from walking away from this situation and that emotion is fear. There we are, stuck in the melee of emotions, raw with the need to give and receive attention/affection, partially fulfilled and yet so very empty because that euphoric feeling is fleeting. We wonder what is wrong with us and why we can’t just be happy with the little morsels provided that sustain us, even if just barely.
As with any addiction, my dear friends, the first step is identifying that there is a problem at hand. Unfortunately, that’s the easy part though. The steps you take after coming to the realization that a problem exists is where the real work begins. We have to reprogram our brains to BELIEVE that we are worth more than the little scraps provided. It is necessary to tell ourselves that we do not have to accept unhealthy relationships out of fear. There’s no rule, believe it or not, which states that one MUST be in a relationship in order to be worthy as a human being. In fact, aren’t we more worthy to ourselves if we do not settle for mediocre relationships? Do you accept mediocrity in any other aspect of your life? No? Why settle for it here either?
I won’t lie to you and tell you it’s an easy road because it’s not at all. Sometimes it may seem like it’s better to accept the little bits given than to receive none at all, but we have to dig deeper and find the little pieces of self-love that will sustain us until someone enters our life with the ability to love us fully and in our entirety.
Until next time friends…be brave