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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
-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.
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.
- Item Weight : 10.5 ounces
- Paperback : 240 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062506048
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062506047
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.68 x 9 inches
- Publisher : HarperOne; 1st edition (April 29, 2003)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #9,619 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
Top reviews from other countries
So, the basic premise:
Pia Mellody's model of love addiction illustrates two people: the love addict and the love avoidant. The love addict has a conscious fear of being abandoned and an unconscious fear of intimacy. Conversely, the love avoidant's conscious fear is of intimacy and their unconscious fear of being abandoned. The love addict wants to feel "close and connected" to their partner and initially are drawn inexorably towards the love avoidant. (Note that although the love avoidant's label might make them sound weedy, submissive wimps their fear of intimacy is masked by a "wall of seduction"- in other words they usually seem inticingly strong, sexy and charismatic individuals who positively invite a relationship in the beginning). The love avoidant sees what they believe to be the perfect person to meet their needs for intimacy, self-esteem and connection and jump right in. After a while, however the love avoidant's fear of intimacy (being overwhelmed/controlled/engulfed) kicks in, and to protect themselves they create a distance between themselves and the love addict. This can be achieved through an emotional not-there-ness or through busying themselves with addictions or activities outside the realtionship. As soon as they create distance, the love addict panics: they're not feeling close any more- they're being abandoned! To get close again they'll pretty much do anything; using sex or even changing their entire identity to appeal more to the love avoidant. These desperate attempts just send the love avoidant further away and eventually the love addict shows signs of being unable to cope with it and leaving. At this point, the love avoidant's unconscious fear of being abandoned arises and all of a sudden they start showing the love addict attention again to get them back. The love addict breathes a sigh of relief and then the whole cycle starts again...
The structure of the book is as follows:
Part I explains the connection between codependence and love addiction, the cycles of the love addict and avoidant and their interactions together (what a co-addicted relationship looks like).
Part II outlines the recovery process and addresses questions of bringing relationships to an end or putting them on hold, withdrawal symptoms and re-entering a relationship.
Part III provides illustration of what healthy relationships look like (neither addicts nor avoidants have never truly learned or experienced real intimacy)
Part IV has practical exercises to support the recovery process (a working knowledge of 12 Step Programmes and having a sponsor is *especially* helpful here).
In conclusion, a few notes:
*Knowledge and particularly experience of 12 step Programmes (particularly CoDA, Co Dependents Anonymous) is helpful when reading this book. Fairly early on the author makes reference to such programs of recovery and uses the term 'Higher Power' when describing the way in which the love addict puts the avoidant on a pedestal. Her whole approach to finding recovery is based on the 12 Steps too, and working through her suggestions for journalling or writing a Step 1 would be infinitely more thorough when shared with the experiences of others in the fellowship rather than just a therapist.
* Building upon that point, recovery is going to be more robustly 'completed' when as many resources as possible are accessed. Working through extreme fears of abandonment and going through the withdrawal is all but impossible on your own.
* Finally, two books that I found great (as a love addict) to read alongside this one was "Women Who Love Too Much: when you keep wishing and hoping he'll change" by Robin Norwood and "Getting Past Your Breakup" by Susan J Elliot.
If you have had repeated problems in relationships this book digs deep to the core of the unhealthy dynamics