4 Ways Therapy Helped Me To Overcome My Addiction & Attraction To Toxic Love
Therapy helped me to win back myself and wait for a love that felt real and peaceful.
I have been in a total of 4 serious relationships and a few short-lived romances. The story of all my relationships and romantic involvements has been the same. I would end up with men who were emotionally unavailable and left me feeling small and inferior about myself.
I paid a heavy price for making the same choices over and over again but it was almost automatic and out of my control. In each relationship, I tried to understand the red flags and leave before it gets too toxic but what I could not understand is my need to fall into such relationships in the first place.
I started experiencing serious anxiety and panic attacks. I became more and more socially isolated and paid very little attention to my personal self-care. I would stay hungry for days and then binge on junk food. I was not able to sleep at night and then would sleep the whole day, neglecting all my academic responsibilities.
I would have fallen into serious depression if it was not for seeking therapy on time. Therapy helped me to manage my anxiety in better ways and regain a sense of control over my life.
More than that therapy helped me to understand these repetitive patterns in my relationships and increased my awareness of how I could overcome my addiction and attraction to emotionally unavailable men.
I want to share my journey because therapy helped me from being trapped in the darkness of my past and freed me from something that was harmful to my mental and physical health.
Getting stuck in a toxic love is a common phenomenon and many times it can get incredibly difficult to remove yourself from the unhealthy equation. It was possible for me only because of the amazing support and guidance from my therapist.
This is how therapy helped me to understand the roots of my problem and resolve it.
Therapy helped me to understand WHY I am addicted and attracted to emotionally unavailable men.
To understand how to solve a problem it can be necessary to understand why the problem is even happening in the first place.
It is reasonable and common to be in a relationship that eventually turns stale and unhealthy due to an end number of factors. However, it is incredibly unfortunate to repeatedly attract relationships that have glaring red flags at the beginning itself and still choose to continue to be in that relationship.
My therapist opened a space for me where I could explore my feelings, my past experiences, and my thoughts without feeling judged or awkward. It was like talking to a mirror that would listen to you with patience and understanding.
As I opened up more and more about my life, I realized that my inner child was brutally wounded because of the nature of the relationship I shared with my father. He left us when I was 13 years old and refused to establish any link with me and my mother. I felt rejected, abandoned, and worthless.
In those 13 years that he stayed with us, he would only be frustrated and irritated with my presence. When things would get heated up at home, he would blame me on how I was the reason for his misery and if only my mother had given birth to a son.
I thought that I had become immune to his mental abuse but of course, it scarred me in more ways than I was aware of. Therapy helped me to become aware of these wounds and acknowledge their existence instead of being in rigid denial.
Acceptance is truly the first step toward change. I was projecting the same fear, hurt and rejection I felt because of my father in my romantic relationships. The approval, love, and validation I wanted so badly from my father I was seeking from other men who were very similar to him.
I wanted to change the narrative of my past by being in a relationship with someone like my father and getting him to love and accept me. Of course, that was just a futile attempt and my story of pain only got worse.
Therapy helped me to recognize and accept this deep need that stemmed from my childhood experiences. It was extremely difficult to unearth these truths about yourself but therapy helped me to gradually heal from the past wounds.
And as I started healing my taste in men and my idea of love also began to change. I want a stable love and a man whose heart remains kind to me and who chooses me for who I am.
Therapy Helped Me To Consciously Work On My Self-Esteem
My self-esteem was down in the gutter. I knew that. I was socially awkward and I constantly kept wondering what others were thinking about me.
My dignity suffered, even more, when I was in such toxic relationships. Most times I felt like a doormat.
I would apologize even when I was not at fault just to keep the peace in the relationship. I would neglect my feelings, wants, and desires. It always remained about the other person and I ended up feeling lost and used in my relationships.
Therapy helped me to understand how my dented self-esteem was also the reason why I used to put up with so much bulls*** in my relationships. I was convinced that I don’t deserve a healthy and nourishing relationship because if my own father hated me so much then how could anyone else love me?
Therapy helped me come face to face with this irrational and deeply rooted belief in my mind and heart. I learned how to reframe this belief in a more positive manner and worked consciously on improving my self-esteem using positive self-talk and affirmations.
Therapy Helped Me to Become Honest About MY Needs & Wants In A Relationship
Another amazing way in which therapy has helped me is to prioritize what I want from my partner and whether or not my needs and feelings are acknowledged in the relationship.
I never communicated my feelings and desires because I was scared that my partner would think that I was too demanding or would see me as unnecessary baggage. I pretended to be okay with things even when they bothered me and gulped down all my hurt and disappointment.
I was eventually taken for granted because I never expressed any discomfort and always played according to my partner’s moods and convenience.
Therapy helped me to become aware of how I view a healthy relationship and what kind of relationship would help me grow and nurture in life rather than suck the life out of me.
I had never given a thought to this. I never even entertained the idea of what it is that I need and want in a relationship. The exercise with my therapist really helped me to open my eyes to the idea and possibility of healthy and fulfilling love.
Therapy helped me to be honest about these needs with my partner as well as myself and how to communicate them in positive ways.
Therapy Helped Me to Give Up on the ‘Fixing’ Role
Another toxic trait that was actually my own was the need to fix my partners. I was attracted to emotionally unavailable and distant men because I felt that they also had suffered in their life and only needed extra support and love to change.
The truth was that it was me who needed that extra love and support but since I did not receive it, I would try to give it to others even if they did not need it.
I was attracted to men with a difficult past but those who refused to learn from it. They used their hurtful experiences to hurt others and portray this whole persona of misunderstood and mistreated individuals.
As the relationship progressed, I realized how they only wanted me to boost their egos and keep giving them without getting anything back. It was torturous and draining.
Therapy helped me to accept that I was not accountable and responsible for someone else’s journey of self-growth and healing. It was not my job to ‘fix’ them. I learned how to focus on my own growth and healing and attract something that aligned with my energy and expectations.
It has been an incredible journey of finding and accepting myself. It has not been easy but therapy helped me to gather the courage and strength I needed to overcome my addiction and attraction to emotionally unavailable men.
I no longer feel any sort of infatuation toward men who do not understand the dynamics of equality and maturity in a relationship. I stand for what I believe in and I am not afraid to wait for a love that feels right and amazing.