Addictive links, a behavioral addiction

What does it mean to be in an addictive relationship? Why do we stick to a relationship that destroys us?

It is clear that there are as many relationships between couples as there are people, and that the word “love” has a different connotation for each of us, depending on our childhood attachment, our upbringing and experiences we have had since we were children. . But in general, el hecho de maintain a bond that hurts usstaying attached to unrequited love, staying attached to ex-partners with whom you live in horrible relationships, are what are currently called behavioral addictions.

In them, just like in a substance addiction, we cannot stop doing it, even though we are aware that it will bring us suffering, it also gives us a certain joy when we repeat these behaviors over and over again. .

Characteristics of addictive links

In an addiction, whatever its class, what we cling to is that first experience of pleasure, even if we’ll never find it again. In the particular case of relationship-related behavioral addictions, we seek to relive the joy of the first encounter.

With advances in science, we now know that the same areas of the brain are activated in the different types of addiction. Behavioral addictions differ from other addictions, such as cocaine addiction, in that they do not involve problematic substance use, but it has to do with habit addiction. Habits that are beyond the control of the person, leading to very harmful results.

This means that these habits may not be harmful in themselves, but they are harmful to the person, because of the type of relationship they establish with them.

The tendency to obsession

Similarly, another hallmark of behavioral addictions is obsession. This appears as an intrusive thought, which settles in our minds without letting us think of anything else and without being able to be avoided. The relationship and the other become the total and complete center of interest for the person. The need and the fear of losing the other is so, but so intense, that all our energy is concentrated there.


Similarly, in addictions associated with substances, we find the phenomenon of tolerance, that is to say that more and more of the substance is needed to obtain the desired effect. In behavioral addictions, tolerance involves he begins to accept things that at first seemed unacceptable to him; each time we approach the limit of what is allowed, even going beyond our own values. This causes us tremendous pain.

Discomfort before abstinence

Another of the characteristics shared by the different types of addictions is abstinence. In the case of behavioral addictions, abstinence is linked to the absence of this person (either because of a real breakup or just the thought of it). This makes the person panic, generating a lot of anxiety. This is evident in those moments when the person realizes that this relationship is hurting them and tries to end it, but the anguish is so great that the person gives up and keeps coming back to this relationship, enduring things they don’t. never would have had. imagined, even losing its dignity.


The last characteristic common to the various dependencies is control. The person is trying to control both the relationship and the other person. But… what are you trying to control? What we try to control is that the other does not leave us. The person feels permanent anguish and anxiety, because he perceives all the time that the relationship is threatened.

What can we do?

Well… what makes someone go through a behavioral addiction? This, of course, has nothing to do with the other, but with his own story; it has to do with helplessness, fears, insecure attachments, different ideas of love, insecurities and primary abandonment.

But since it has to do with your own story, it can be worked on, modified and redefined. It’s worth it because we all deserve good love, the kind that makes us happy most of the time, which of course has conflicts, but which brings out the best in us.

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