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Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love Paperback – April 29, 2003
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From Library Journal
Mellody has written a lucid and informa tive 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.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About 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.
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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.