The Twelve Characteristics
of Sex and Love Addiction
- Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.
- Fearing abandonment and loneliness, we stay in and return to painful, destructive relationships, concealing our dependency needs from ourselves and others, growing more isolated and alienated from friends and loved ones, ourselves, and God.
- Fearing emotional and/or sexual deprivation, we compulsively pursue and involve ourselves in one relationship after another, sometimes having more than one sexual or emotional liaison at a time.
- We confuse love with neediness, physical and sexual attraction, pity and/or the need to rescue or be rescued.
- We feel empty and incomplete when we are alone. Even though we fear intimacy and commitment, we continually search for relationships and sexual contacts.
- We sexualize stress, guilt, loneliness, anger, shame, fear and envy. We use sex or emotional dependence as substitutes for nurturing, care, and support.
- We use sex and emotional involvement to manipulate and control others.
- We become immobilized or seriously distracted by romantic or sexual obsessions or fantasies.
- We avoid responsibility for ourselves by attaching ourselves to people who are emotionally unavailable.
- We stay enslaved to emotional dependency, romantic intrigue, or compulsive sexual activities.
- To avoid feeling vulnerable, we may retreat from all intimate involvement, mistaking sexual and emotional anorexia for recovery.
- We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.
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