Beliefnet
The Celebrity Therapist

pickOne of the most important aspects of our lives is the relationships we have with people. Biologically, we seek out mates and are social creatures.  We crave companionship, be it from family, friends, or a partner.  It is part of who we are as humans.

As love addicts, we obsess and worry about our love relationships constantly.  We seek out other partners immediately after a break-up, and never stay single for long. What’s the longest you’ve ever been single?

Part of recovery is building loving and healthy relationships.  What are your love relationships like?  How have they made you feel?  My relationships haven’t always been positive. I have been emotionally abused and settled for addicts, disregarding boundaries to feel what I used to think was love.  It made me feel worthless to constantly want be with people that were emotionally unavailable. I was always attracted to the addicts.

When we choose people to be in our lives, we often choose people that feel safe and comfortable to us.  We subconsciously pick relationships that mimic what our relationships in our childhoods were like (especially with our parents).  When I first heard this in recovery, I was shocked to find how well it fit my life.  That was when I realized my picker has been off! Does it hold true for yours?  Are there any patterns in your relationships that you’ve noticed?

Since we emulate our parents’ relationships in our own, dysfunction feels normal for people like us.  It’s what feels safe, and we gravitate towards it. Figuring that out can help you stop picking the wrong people!

Figure out what feeling it is that makes you choose a particular person. For example, I always went with people that always made me feel a certain way. Those are the people I try to steer clear of now.  Instead, I don’t go with the initial feeling I get for someone. I try to wait it out and get to know them, letting my interest grow.  Eventually, the feeling will come!  The most important thing to remember when choosing the people you want to be in a love relationship with are keeping your boundaries with yourself.  What sort of boundaries can you set? Tell a friend, your sponsor, or therapist your boundary in order to have someone to be accountable to if you find yourself struggling. Don’t settle for anyone!

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

chinese-girl-sitting-on-steps-making-a-silly-face-pvTo love addicts, being single sounds terrifying. There are tons of reasons that people prefer to be in relationships over being single. For me, a lot of the reason I used to hate being single was tied to feelings of unworthiness, loneliness, and unhappiness. Take a minute to think about why you like relationships versus being single, and write some of them down.

I had other reasons, like missing out on the intimacy of relationships, but for the most part, I was unhappy being single because I felt like nobody liked me, and that there was something wrong with me. Were any of these reasons on your lists? With some self-exploration, you can find that being single is not the worst thing in the world, and you may even learn to enjoy it.

Before i began recovery for love addiction, I did not understand that the reason I wanted to be in relationships constantly was because I couldn’t stand to be on my own. Being with someone provided me a person to focus on rather than myself and my issues. The key to being fine with being single is working on yourself and facing the emotional turmoil inside, so that you don’t need to latch onto someone. It takes a lot of work, but I’ve found that with increased self-esteem and dealing with my emotions, the extreme need to be in a relationship died down.

Working on myself and feeling worthy completely on my own has taught me that I can take care of myself, and that I would like a relationship because I want to share my life with someone else, not because I need someone else to be my life.

Self-identity is also a big struggle that affects our intense needs to be in relationships. For example, I often took on the likes, hobbies, and friends of my partner. When I became single again, I didn’t know who I was or what I liked. Take your time being single to date the most important person in your life: yourself. Try new activities, foods, and hobbies; explore new places you’ve wanted to see and figure out the things that you love. It’s okay to try something and never do it again, as long as we are being true to who we are. Try to think of some things you love, and write them down. Now, start adding to it!

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

Confrontation_IWhen I started my recovery, my life was full of tons of failed relationships. Time after time, an issue would arise, and the friendship would be over.  When an issue arose, I would either run for the hills, or suffer in silence and pretend there was not a problem.  Usually it was a combination of the two – I suffered in silence, playing the victim until I exploded due to resentment.

Has this happened to you?  If so, did you notice a pattern in the way you handled things, and what are the ways you handled them?

As codependents, we are exceptionally good at taking one for the team And being martyrs.  We refuse to see Our part in issues and are the victim of whatever situation we are in.  This leads to resentment because we have never given the other person a chance to correct whatever it is we took issue with.  Eventually, this resentment becomes too much and we explode.

Running away from things was also an easy way out. Rather than sit down and talk with someone, we refuse to take accountability for the relationship. If we run away, we lose out on the chance to make things better and for the relationship to grow stronger.

Sticking around when things get hard is new to me.  It took me a long time to become aware of the times I was running. What are some of the ways you were able to become aware of what you were doing? What did it teach you about what you need to do for yourself?

Once you figure out the signs you need to look for, learning how to set boundaries is great for helping deal with this problem.  A simple formula for setting a boundary with someone is the following:

Using “I” statements, let the other person know how their behavior or action makes you feel

Let them know exactly what action it is that makes you feel this way

Tell them what you intend to do if the situation arises again

For example, if my friend had been yelling at me and I wanted to set a boundary it may look like this:

I feel disrespected as though I’m not really your friend when you yell at me. If you do it again, I will go home.

If you get stuck, this formula is really helpful and easy to follow!

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/

fomoFOMO: Fear of missing out. We’ve all experienced this phenomenon in one way or another.  Maybe you didn’t want to come inside and do chores as a kid because you didn’t want to miss anything. Or maybe the travel photos on all of your friends social medias make you feel ill because you want to be there so badly. Think back to a time that you personally have experienced this.

I believe that FOMO is somewhat like shame: FOMO can cross over into a toxic area where it is not longer healthy for us, and can even begin to harm us.

I believe the people that are most at risk of falling prey to FOMO are codependents and love addicts. We spend so much of our time dwelling on what we would like life to look like. We think about the things that we want to have but don’t in our own lives and in our relationship with others.  We begin to compare ourselves to them, and that’s where the downward spiral begins.

Think back to a time where this has happened to you. Looking back, what happened to your self-esteem when you got to the point of comparing yourself to others?

Lowering our feelings of worth and self-esteem are the main reasons we cannot continue to compare ourselves to others. We are not anybody else, and by comparing ourselves, we are trying to achieve an impossible standard.  As many of us are perfectionists, we cannot let this rest. We get caught up in trying to make sure we are the perfect person, or that our relationship is perfect.  We struggle and continue to fail. We can only be ourselves, and nobody can ever attain perfection.

Another aspect that we need to consider when experiencing FOMO is that a lot of times, we are seeing a curated version of someone’s life, not all of it. It’s like we are seeing the trailer of their movie versus the movie itself. We forget that others are imperfect people as well, and we cannot base our life based on a snapshot of someone else’s…Chances are, their life isn’t perfect.

I would like you to come up with a few ways (1-3) that you can handle FOMO when it appears in your life. Write them down.

My tips for beating the fear of missing out:

-Delete social media that makes you feel this way often

-Set limits for yourself on whatever activity it is that makes you feel as though you’re missing out

-Think of a way to catch yourself mentally when you find yourself dwelling or comparing yourself, and be kind to yourself in the process.

Sherry Gaba, LCSW, Radio Host, Certified Transformation Coach and author of  the award winning book, The Law of Sobriety:Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery and Ecourse www.wakeuprecovery.com. www.sherrygaba.com sherry@sgabatherapy.com.  Find out if you are #codependent. Take my quiz.  http://sherrygaba.com/co-dependency-quiz/ 30 minute strategy session with Sherry http://sherrygaba.com/product/30-minute-strategy-session-sherry-gaba/