Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love

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Overview

In this revised and updated version of Facing Love Addiction, bestselling author of Facing Codependence and internationally recognized dependence and addiction authority Pia Mellody unravels the intricate dynamics of unhealthy love relationships and shows us how to let go of toxic love. Through twelve-step work, exercises, and journal-keeping, Facing Love Addiction compassionately and realistically outlines the recovery process for Love Addicts, and Mellody’s fresh perspective and clear methods work to comfort ...

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Overview

In this revised and updated version of Facing Love Addiction, bestselling author of Facing Codependence and internationally recognized dependence and addiction authority Pia Mellody unravels the intricate dynamics of unhealthy love relationships and shows us how to let go of toxic love. Through twelve-step work, exercises, and journal-keeping, Facing Love Addiction compassionately and realistically outlines the recovery process for Love Addicts, and Mellody’s fresh perspective and clear methods work to comfort and motivate all those looking to establish and maintain healthy, happy relationships. 

Offering clear, comforting advice on the best ways to develop healthy love relationships, Mellody describes the dynamics of a coaddicted relationship, and the stages of addiction--from attraction and fantasy to denial and obsession. A practical recovery process based on Twelve-Step work, exercises, and journaling.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Mellody has written a lucid and informative book on a subject little understood: love addiction. Speaking both from per sonal experience and a clinical standpoint, she very carefully defines her terms, in cluding ``love addict,'' ``avoidance addict,'' and, of course, codependence. The last term she carefully distinguishes from love addiction. She also includes information on the recovery process, the marks of a healthy relationship, and the process of en tering into a healthy relationship. The book concludes with a set of journal exer cises designed to help someone in recov ery. Worthwhile reading that is recom mended for libraries serving both the professional and general reader.--Barbara L. Flynn, Chicago P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062506047
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1992
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 69,791
  • Product dimensions: 10.28 (w) x 10.88 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Pia Mellody is an internationally renowned lecturer on the childhood origins of emotional dysfunc-tion. Her recovery work-shops have benefited people all over the world and her bestselling books have been translated into many languages. She is a member of the faculty at The Meadows Treatment Center, a residential center for victims of trauma, emotional abuse, and addictions, in Wickenburg, Arizona.

J. Keith Miller, the author of A Hunger for Healing, is a popular speaker and conference leader, and author. Among his best-selling books are The Taste of New Wine and Hope in the Fast Lane. He is also the coauthor of Facing Codependence.

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Read an Excerpt

Facing Love Addiction
Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love

CHAPTER ONE

Separating Codependence from Love Addiction

A Love Addict is someone who is dependent on, enmeshed with, and compulsively focused on taking care of another person. While this is often described as codependence, I feel that codependence is a much broader and more fundamental problem area. Although being a codependent can lead some people into love addiction, not all codependents are Love Addicts, as we shall see.

THE DISEASE PROCESS OF CODEPENDENCE

Codependence is a disease of immaturity caused by childhood trauma. Codependents are immature or childish to such a degree that the condition hampers their life. A disease process, according to Diland′s Medical Dictionary, is "a definite morbid process having a characteristic chain of symptoms. It may affect the whole body or any of the parts, and its etiology (or cause), pathology, and prognosis may be known or unknown." I call the chain of symptoms that characterizes codependence the core or primary symptoms, and they describe how codependents are unable to be in a healthy relationship with themselves. These are the primary, or core, symptoms of codependence:

1.Difficulty experiencing appropriate levels of self-esteem,that is to say, difficulty loving the self

2.Difficulty setting functional boundaries with other people,that is to say, difficulty protecting oneself.

3.Difficulty owning one′s own reality appropriately, that is to say, difficulty identifying who one is and knowing how to share that appropriately with others.

4.Difficulty addressing interdependently one′s adult needsand wants, that is to say, difficulty with self-care.

5.Difficulty experiencing and expressing one′s reality in moderation, that is to say, difficulty being appropriate for one′s age and various circumstances.∗

In addition to these, there are also five secondary symptoms that reflect how codependents think other people′s behavior is the reason they are unable to be in healthy relationships. The inaccurate thinking represented by these secondary symptoms creates problems in a codependent′s relationships with others, but these symptoms stem from the core problem, which is the bruised relationship with the self. These five symptoms are (1) negative control, (2) resentment, (3) impaired spirituality, (4) addictions, or mental or physical illness, and (5) difficulty with intimacy.

1. NEGATIVE CONTROL

Codependents either (1) try to control others by telling them who they ought to be so the codependents can be comfortable; or (2) allow others to control the codependents by dictating who they should be to keep others comfortable. Either form of negative control sets up negative responses in the person being controlled, and these negative responses cause the codependents to blame others for their own inability to be internally comfortable with themselves.

∗See Pia Mellody, with Andrea Wells Miller and J. Keith Miller, Facing Codependence (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989), especially chapter 2, for a complete explanation of these symptoms.

2. RESENTMENT

Codependents use resentment as a futile way to try to protect themselves and regain self-esteem. When people are victimized, they experience two things rather intensely: a drop in self-esteem, preciousness, or value, and a profound need to find some way to stop the victimization.

Anger gives people a sense of power and energy. In healthy amounts anger provides the strength to do what is needed to protect oneself But when we recycle the anger and combine it with an obsession about punishing the offender or getting revenge, we enter into resentment. Whether or not we actually carry out any real punishment or revenge, resentment includes the desire for it. Resentment debilitates the codependent because of the process of replaying the victimization in our minds, which brings on painful emotions such as shame, unexpressed or poorly expressed anger, and depressive frustration. Resentment plays a key part in the way codependents′ lives are hampered by blaming others for their own inability to protect themselves with healthy boundaries.

3. IMPAIRED SPIRITUALITY

Codependents either make someone else their Higher Power through hate, fear, or worship, or attempt to be another′s Higher Power. Whether or not the codependent is aware that this is happening, this secondary symptom can be quite painful or damaging to the health and functional development of the codependent.

4. ADDICTIONS, OR MENTAL OR PHYSICAL ILLNESS

Our ability to face reality is directly related to our ability to have a healthy relationship with ourself, which means loving the self, protecting the self, identifying the self, caring for the self, and moderating the self. Living out of such a healthy, centered relationship with the self allows us to face the reality of who we are, who others are, who the Higher Power in our lives is, and

the reality of our current situation. Developing these abilities and perceptions is the core of recovery from codependence. But when we do not acquire a functional internal relationship and sense of adequacy, the pain that results inside of us and in our relationships with others and with our Higher Power often leads us into an addictive process to alleviate the pain quickly.

I suggest, therefore, that a person with an addiction is probably also a codependent; and conversely, a codependent most likely has one or more addictive or obsessive/compulsive processes. This secondary symptom, then, is the primary link between codependence and any other addiction -particularly love addiction. While experiencing the often unrecognized internal pain of the failure of the relationship with the self, and blaming others for this failure, the Love Addict turns to a certain kind of close relationship, believing the other person can and should soothe the Love Addict′s internal pain through giving unconditional love and attention and taking care of the Love Addict.

5. DIFFICULTY WITH INTIMACY

Intimacy involves sharing our own reality and receiving the reality of others without either party judging that reality or trying to change it. Codependents with the core symptom of difficulty identifying who they are (their reality) and sharing appropriately cannot be intimate in a healthy way, since intimacy means sharing their reality.

Facing Love Addiction
Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love
. Copyright © by Pia Mellody. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2005

    The Best Book Yet On Love Addictions

    When I discovered my husband had an affair, I was devastated. I read every book on affairs and I could not find any reference or case study that matched our experience. His was not a mid life crisis and he had not fallen in love with another woman nor was it a meaningless one night stand or exit affair. After I discovered my husband's second affair, I read one of Patrick Carnes' books on sex addiction. Suddenly much of our experience made sense. After I finished my therapy for now and joined a COSA group, I discovered this book. Pia's book on the relationship dynamics of love addictions has given me more insight into how my husband and I get drawn into our own fears and how negatively this impacts our marriage. I liked the chapter where Pia said even if one partner recovers, it breaks the addiction tango cycle. That is the point I am at now--trying to stop being controled by my own fears and trying to live my own life. If I could only have read two books on this topic, Pia's book would be one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2009

    FINALLY! SOMEONE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!

    I have read numerous self-help books in an effort to comprehend and recover from an intoxicating -- and toxic -- relationship that practically debilitated me with depression when it ended. A few of the books seemed to tell part of my story, but Pia said it all in a succinct, direct way. She articulated both the enigmatic situation and inexplicable feelings I experienced so vividly, but had been unable to comprehend (even with the help of other books and my own therapist) until now. I feel that after years of baby steps in the right direction, I might finally be able to break free from this destructive addiction to a person -- or actually just the fantasy of a person -- who does not deserve my attention, let alone my love.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2003

    An excellent book!

    I think this book provides us with some very nice explanations of how and why we develop certain types of interpersonal tendencies. It clearly explains how we become love addicts or avoidance addicts and how these we develop codependent relationships. It is very insightful and inspiring since most of us have a love addict and avoidance addict in us to varying extents. Although this is true in most psychotherapy literature, I believe that codependence should be conceptualized more broadly because it occurrs in various levels and it manifests itself in a much wider variety of ways (not just between love and avoidance addicts). An excellent book that gives us a more comprehensive explanation of this is 'The Ever-Transcending Spirit' by Toru Sato. It is a fabulous book on relationships and personal development that I can't say enough about.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2008

    A reviewer

    I have collected many self help books over the years. This is a winner, easy to read and understand. You feel as if the author understands through education and experience. Not since john bradshaw has there been such helpful information on codependence and addiction. I believe that love addiction may be the most powerful of all. Thank you pia!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2004

    Finally a Book that Explains Me to Me

    Why is love so hard? How could love be so cruel? The more intense it was-the crazier it was. Pia explained it. This is the book that started the second stage of my recovery.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    I bought this book while I was learning about codependency and i

    I bought this book while I was learning about codependency and it really shot me between the eyes.  I think love addiction and codependency go hand in hand.  If you NEED someone and you put up with all sorts of crap because you are afraid to be alone, then you're probably addicted to chaos and to others.  This book is sometimes painful to read because it sheds so much light on our own dysfunction.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2003

    Love is a drug

    Yes, love is a drug and you can be addicted to it in a very bad way. But the love we can be addicted to is not real love. The author explains this very well and why one of them leads to serious problems. This is a very good book for those seeking for help in their relationships. Another great book for those seekign help in their relationships is Rhythm Relationships and Transcendence by Toru Sato. It is an excellent book and very easy to read!

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    Posted October 11, 2009

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