on September 18, 1999
I found this book well written and comprehensive, but what was the most moving to me was the way in which it touched the most painful and sad and hidden part of my relationships. Not only does it talk about me and why I do this, but it clearly talks about my partner(s) and what they seek in this valiant but destructive and Quixotic dance we do. I did not need my highlighter, as my tears did the highlighting on each and every page. Strangely, the more I read into the book the more soothed I felt in that I understood, finally, that I am not alone, that I needn't be alone and that there is a way out from this. If you suffer in relationships in the dramatic push-pull way, if the relationships you have are frought with complicated manipulations, if you want a way out...please read this book. Best of luck. Tim
on May 25, 2006
This book was recommended by my therapist. After going thru the whole book and writing all the exercises, I have unlocked and unloaded a ton of childhood pain and trauma. You will shed floods of tears and feel terrible feelings you have buried, but this process is like the purging of toxins so you can begin to heal.
One customer commented that the author didn't offer any recovery tools. I'd like to offer my experience: The most important recovery tool is to develop a relationship with a Higher Power that is not a person or object. For if you do not have a Higher Power, you will turn to a person or object for that love, which will result in addiction.
From time to time, during recovery, painful feelings will surface, triggered by whatever or whomever you're dealing with day to day. When I was in a relationship, it was hard because I couldn't get away easily to process the triggered feelings. The book offers suggestions which are good, but not that easy to do for me. Now that I'm not in that relationship, I've followed my therapist's suggestion to identify the triggering event, the root cause (usually from your childhood), and replace the painful feeling with thoughts, words, and deeds that make me feel better. This 3-step process takes tremendous discipline because many times I just want to stick to my lifelong habit of self-pity, depression, and pessimism.
I also begin my day with one hour of Prayer Walk. I meditate every day to empty my mind, and infuse my being with God's love. Since I've been doing recovery, I have stopped crying over loneliness, stopped longing for that "soulmate", and stopped the frantic search. After all, you are your true soulmate, because if you can't love you, no one can. Everyone accesses their Higher Power differently, but the most important thing is to receive all the love you need from your Higher Power. Without doing so, you will forever rely on a created being or thing for love, and be constantly frustrated because of his/its limitations.
Before reading Pia Mellody's book, I was attracted to men who were challenging, difficult, complex, and provocative, which I found fascinating, but they in fact were unstable, emotionally melodramatic, and abusive. Now when I meet men who are intense, I feel less attraction, perhaps because I have processed my childhood trauma wounds and lowered my degree of intensity, becoming more at peace with myself. Today I see these people as wounded, just unaware of it. I know I can choose peace, not conflict; joy, not suffering; gentleness, not intensity.
The book says "Love addicts are attracted to men who walk away from them." That was very true of me. But to change that, I had to open my wounds, clean them out, identify the pain, and patiently wait for the wounds to heal.
I hope the pain you're feeling will be enough of a wakeup call to begin this journey.
on June 19, 2014
Most books about codependency focus on the classic relationship dichotomy of co-dependent and alcoholic/addict/narcissist. This is the only book I have found that deeply explores the relationship that is created when two co-dependents come together.
For years I have been involved in a relationship that I knew was co-dependent, but none of the books I found on codependency really captured my situation. When I started reading this book my heart started pounding-- It was as if the author knew me, my partner and my relationship inside and out. I am only through part one of this book, but it has already transformed my understanding of my current romantic issues.
To summarize, there are co-dependents who are love-addicted and co-dependents who are love-avoidant:
Love addicts are driven by a primary fear of abandonment spawned from childhood neglect/abandonment. They are characterized by low-self esteem and neediness, and are looking for someone to rescue them and fill the hole in their hearts.
Love avoidants are driven primarily by guilt and a fear of intimacy. During childhood they took an inappropriate "care-taking" role for a parent, which taught them that loving is to care for another, but also that to love is to be drained and controlled by another persons need. They are often characterized by being very capable and very busy, but also controlling (to avoid being controlled) and fickle.
When the two come together they are initially very happy. But, with time, the neediness of the love-addict activates the love-avoidant's fear of intimacy and being controlled. The avoidant then begins to pull away, activating the abandonment fears of the love addict, and driving them to be even more desperate and needy. And thus the downward spiral begins...
The love avoidant feels suffocated and wants to pull away, but often cannot leave because of the crippling guilt they feel at the thought of abandoning the already damaged love-addict. Meanwhile, the love addict will supplicate themselves and engage in dangerously manipulative behavior in order to save the relationship and avoid the feeling of abandonment. The result is an incredibly unhealthy relationship in which neither party has their emotional needs met (in part because neither party can acknowledge their own emotional needs).
This book spoke to me in a way that no other book on the topic of codependency has. It is not only incredibly enlightening, but also well-written and an engaging read. What's more, I really appreciate the tone of the book. Where as most books written about codependency tend to be overly sympathetic and almost coddling to the co-dependent reader (for example, the Melody Beattie series), the author's approach to this kind of codependency is very detached, analytical and clinical. I personally found this a much more approachable and helpful style for my personality type.
All in all, I am incredibly glad I bought this book (on a whim!) and I am really looking forward to finishing this book and working on my issues as a love-avoidant.
on September 3, 1998
I read this book about four or five years ago, and it helped me understand, in a way that nothing had before, why my relationships were not working. I have read several books on building healthy relationships, and many are good, but this is the one that saved my life. Pia's model explains that while I was searching for love, I was really much more afraid to receive it than I had ever thought. Before I read it, I hadn't been able to sustain any relationship for long, and had never been close to marriage. Now I am happily married, and I still turn to this book for tune-ups in my marriage. Thank you Pia, very much!
on July 10, 2005
This is a brilliant and raw book on a toxic problem that both genders face - addiction to romance and "love" that is really a form of excitement. Anyone in recovery would benefit from this and from Pia's clinical workshops. Culture and society trains people to seek love and security and self-worth through a romantic partnership. Within sound and grounded thinking this is a complement to a full life. But all addiction is an ultimate highway to chaos and self-destruction. Tuning out and tuning into ourselves is the greatest gift we can do to heal the wounds and pain that anihilate our self-respect.
Love addiction is emotional cocaine. Stay away!
on July 7, 2000
I just didn't know until I read this book. This book clearly illustrated to me just what I've been doing in relationships that get me into trouble. It doesn't stop there either.
While reading, I could begin to see the shroud of darkness lift from my eyes, and clarity begin to set in. I am a love addict, and have been picking avoidant addicts for years and never knew it. Now I can see the reasons for the pain I was forced to endure. I am now happily on the road to recovery.
If you have any questions at all about your troubled relationships of the present or past, buy this book!
on April 27, 2010
i was one of those people who was addicted, but did't know it...then came this book.It was both a blessing and a curse.A curse because i realized i had a problem bigger than myself and comming to terms with an addiction is not easy(which is why admitting to your problem is the first step). A blessing because it let me know that there was help.It identifyed my every symptom, my every emotion and my every devestation.
Most of the book describes what love addiction is,how it is developed, and the various ways in which it ruins your life with out you even reliazing it.The author gives lots of examples,many including her owm experiences.I give the book 4 stars for beeing such an important eye opener and teaching me so much about this emotional illness.The reason i don't give it 5 stars is because the "work-book" in the end is not enough to help you break the addiction on it's own.If you are really interested in moving past your addiction i would recomend adding to your collection her book + workbook "facing codependence".even in this book she will tell you that at the heart of the addiction is codependence, which you need to overcome.
Love addiction is most of all Painfull and isolating.Your relationships go so wrong so fast that it really takes a toll on your heart...to be honest there were times when i thought that i must have been born wrong,that there was something so inately wrong with me that i was destined to only find heart break.I had decided to not even try anymore because there was no point when they all ended the same:with my heart crushed.
In order to encourage others to get help i will admit that in the past my longest relationship lasted 5 months(most averaging about 3) and only the first month was good because after that a very intense hell would break loose.I felt out of control.But after Pia's help and with my persistence to get better i have now been in a HEALTHY,LOVING, relationship with someone for more than a year :0)and emotionally i am more stable than i have ever been in my 26 years of life.
on August 29, 2011
My therapist was the one who turned me on to the "love addict" concept. Following that, I began to read as much as I could about "love addiction". Susan Forward, Robin Norwood, Howard Halpern, Brenda Shaeffer - did I leave anybody out? - were all fantastic. Yet, I did not fit into the mold of "Love Addict".
It wasn't until I read this book - really read and digested the information -that I saw in my life's actions as a love AVOIDANT. The Love Addict versus Love Avoidant Circle was enlightening and liberating. Ms. Mellody explains each step on the circle for both Addicts and Avoidants. It's hard to see yourself so clearly, yet once I realized my patterns of interaction were those of an Avoidant, things have gotten much better in my relationships.
I found the author's style of writing informative and easy to read. But one caveat - don't make the fortunate mistake (for me at least) I did. DO NOT read this book because you're trying to "figure him/her out". Read this book to figure yourself out. Once you've accomplished the YOU work, life gets easier.
We want to "get it right" but WHY do we keep messing up? HOW can we heal? This book has the insight & the answers. After an 18 month rollercoaster, the ride finally ended in healing self. THAT is the ONLY way to never repeat the toxic patterns that both thrill and agonize a person who loves another, but has deep rooted issues to heal. There is NO mistake about who "avoids" the relationship, and who "demands" more of it. The greatest parts of this book are the genuine sharing of the Authors, and the profound insight to HEAL, which transforms pain into hope; if not for a current or recently ended relationship, than for a future healthy one. Happiness is possible, healing is required. This groundbreaking book shows us how. THANK YOU!!
on November 6, 2013
I read Facing Love Addiction after reading Dr. Andy's excellent book How to Survive Loving a Narcissist (A Book About Narcissism) - Narcissism Book which was such a great resource for understanding how we become love addicted in a forthright and helpful manner.
Facing Love Addiction was an additional tool for understanding this vague concept. I personally had never heard of being addicted to love. The signs, the advice, and the things you learn about yourself while reading this book are truly remarkable. A personal journey where you actually come out a different person not only to yourself but to people around you is life-changing.
The words of the author, Pia Mellody, ring in my head as I encounter the different phases of a relationship - whether it be from an ex or someone I have recently met. She is really an expert and Facing Love Addiction provides a wealth of advice on self-empowerment and becoming the your best self.