I'm not talking about the easy ones to see, the cure-all highs. Like drinking, drugs, or even shopping.
What are you quietly addicted to? One of these?
Perhaps you feel insecure or unworthy. Or perhaps you were abused or neglected. Someone loving you, wanting you, needing you, soothes the pain.
- Companionship/not being alone.
Perhaps you were isolated or ostracized. Companionship soothes the pain.
Perhaps you were smothered or denied the chance to grow on your own. Fierce independence and solitude soothes the pain.
Sounds fine, right? A minus added to a plus equals healthy and happy.
No, unfortunately it doesn't. Because once you're soothed for a while, something curious happens. You start unconsciously damaging what you've achieved in order to feel the delicious pain again.
Because that's how we get the even more delicious feeling of being soothed.
Without the pain, we won't feel the spectacular high again. That's why addictions are so hard to heal. We don't really want to heal the pain that leads to the addiction. We're drawn back again and again, despite the harms and the dreadful cycle.
So what happens to our addicts?
- The love addict hammers the relationship with insecurity or finds ways to feel neglected. (Or even enters relationships with abusive people.) The relationship sours. Our addict is primed for the next high. (Which doesn't necessary mean leaving. Souring a relationship in order to reconnect and reconcile can be just as powerful.)
- Our companionship addict becomes jealous or overbearing. Friendships become unpleasant or erode. He/she moves on. Our addict is primed for the next high.
- Our solitude/isolation addict? He/she dances closer to people, even needy ones, building the uncomfortable attachments just to feel justified in pushing them away.
Think about the most precious unfilled wish in your life. The one that endures years upon years.
That is where to look for your pain.
You may cling to it. You may even jealously guard it.
Maybe it's good thing, I don't know. Maybe it's powerful motivation to push us to greater things.
But also consider the damage it does.
Are you better for it?
Or is it the walls of a prison you've lost the ability to see?