Several people show me some complexities regarding emotional relationships. I have done some research and I have found that there are recent studies that define emotional addiction as one of the new behavioral addictions. This can be compared to internet addiction, gambling pathological, addiction to sports, compulsive shopping, and work. I believe that any period of uncertainty, such as the one we are experiencing, is particularly problematic for many people, and just as with alcohol or other substances, relationships can also become an object of addiction.
I always point out to my clients the differences that exist between the coaching activity and the activity of a psychologist, but, I believe it is important to report some useful information that can provide food for thought also for coaching, without going into the psychological processes that ensue.
A French research group, starting from the similarities found with substance addiction, proposes a diagnostic definition of affective addiction which it renames “love addiction”, based on the duration and frequency of suffering that people experience. They then describe this condition as:
“A problematic way of the love relationship that leads to clinically significant deterioration or distress such as the existence of a withdrawal syndrome due to the absence of the loved one, characterized by significant suffering and a compulsive need for the other; considerable amount of time spent on this relationship (in reality or in thought); reduction of important social, professional or leisure activities; persistent desire or fruitless efforts to reduce or control one’s relationship; search for the relationship, despite the existence of problems created by the same. “I have also noticed that, in English, the term” addiction “refers to a general condition in which psychological dependence leads to the search for the object of interest, without which life would lose value. The differences between love and addiction are clear-cut, with Love Addiction we mean an altered condition characterized by a need and a desire for the other that translate into ways of living problematic relationships, characterized by expenditure of energy and suffering.
Now I think we can all ask ourselves: how to get out of this condition?
As a first moment of growth it is necessary to recognize one’s addiction, exactly as in the initial declaration of the associations of alcoholics, it is necessary to admit that something is wrong.
Subsequently, it is good to understand what the other person represents in his own inner self, how we have allowed that relationship to have so much significance and why.
Each of us has some needs, in this case it is essential to dig to know what inner space is going to fill that relationship. Once these elements have been identified, we need to get going in order to be able to fill those spaces in the most appropriate and healthy way for ourselves.