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on 22 February 2012
"Facing Love Addiction" expresses what is essentially a fairly straightforward idea and does so in similarly uncomplicated language that is easy to grasp. You will not get lost in the psychology and there are plenty of recapitulations and helpful re-phrasings to avoid confusion. Saying this, the implications of the basic psychological model being proposed are huge. Reading this book can offer explanation for the intensity of fear and pain you experience in relationships, make the fear and pain conscious rather than unconscious so that recovery can begin, and also present a new, healthier way of relating to people that you can begin to implement. It's a journey of extreme self-discovery that takes a lot of work and you WILL need a lot of extra therapeutic support. But working through the recovery process and breaking the destructive patterns with those with whom you are in relationship (especially yourself!) provides a feeling of self-sufficiency and worth that helps allay fears in *all* areas of your life.

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.
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on 24 August 2010
I've read about 5 self help books in my life that have had a real impact and changed my life for the better. This is one of them.
Aged 40 and struggling with long term relationships a friend of mine put me onto this book. Actually, after a rather honest conversation one day about my recent long term relationship, she dragged me off to the book shop, bought it for me and insisted I read it. (She is truly a good friend)

In summary if you're the type of person that:
* Scares prospective partners off or
* Can't commit to a relationship and looks for reasons to be out of it or
* Finds yourself getting into the wrong relationships

then read this book.

The concepts in it will enlighten you and chances are change your life (very likely for the better)

To be honest even if your over 30 and are still not in a healthy relationship. I would still suggest you give this book a read. If the first 40 pages don't touch a nerve then don't finish it, but do yourself a favor and don't take another 10 years (like me) to realise the reason you have problems in relationships actual in is in a big part "YOU".

Good luck and remember "learning about yourself can only make you a better person".
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on 8 June 2013
Thought this sounded helpful so gave it a go and wow its a great book. Gets straight to the point and is the most helpful and life changing book ive ever read. Highly recommended.
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on 1 December 1999
It took me a second reading to recognise the depth of insight which Pia mellody has to the problems of 'love addicts' and the avoidant partners who they suck in and are sucked towards. The book is by no means light and easy reading but it is structured in a way which will help anyone who truly wants to to benefit from it.
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on 29 May 2013
The model "love addict - love avoidant" is explained very well with simple words. Pia shows how each of the partners provokes the other one to be even more exessive in his/her behavior.
The characteristics of love avoidant are very clearly defined, as well as the reasons stemming from childhood and enmeshment by the the mother. Now I can see this clearly in 2 close people around me, as with one of them we discussed the chapter and he was quite surprised to see it written down. Quite an insight!
Well, the part I found a bit exaggerated was the reference to a kind of "sickness" of this condition but probably it is for better illustration of the dynamics rather than anything else. But it really scared me the first days I thought about this until I realised that even discfunctional, these dynamics are very common.
Love avoidants can benefit a lot from this book but I guess they are rather "busy" to read this type of books.
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on 27 December 2013
I felt that this book gave a good overview Of love addiction and avoidance but it was as comprehensive as I would have liked. I read Mr Unavailable and The Fallback Girl by Natalue Lue and got 100% more help from that reading.
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on 30 November 2012
OK so my therapist advised me to get this book and read it, she did this about 5-6 weeks ago and she asked me about it the other day and I lied and said that I had ordered it but it was taking a while to arrive, I feel like a bit of poo for doing that now!!!! Not only am I glad she recommended it but I am glad I actually took that big step to purchase this book. It is not often that I find myself saying that this was worth the money (as I am always searching for a bargain) but this was defiantely worth the money and TOTALLY WANT YOU TO INVEST IN IT TOO!!

Ok so about the read itself...I am writing this review early because I have never read a book (apart from The Easy Way to Stop Smoking) that took immediate effect and EVERYTHING in it and I mean EVERYTHING in it resonated so profoundly with me in one full blow.....I received the book yesterday (which was 29th November) and ordered on the 23rd November with no intention of really paying it any proper mind but I opened the book up at work which is where I had it delivered to and started reading chapter one and I am now on chapter 13 - Healthy Relationships...Bear in mind the book arrived at lets say 12noon and I went home at 5:30pm and cooked dinner for my son and I, and other household chores and still managed to get to Chapter 13. I am amazed at how engrossed I have become with reading this book and almost feel like there is a brainwashing being undone as I am reading the book and I feel empowered by it.

WHAT A BRILLIANT INVESTMENT - I will be buying this book for all my sisters (I have 3)...I HOPE THEY READ IT, FOR THEIR SAKE, NOT MINE!
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on 23 June 2010
I really found this book helpful in my recovery from codependency and love addiction. I liked the way the author focussed on the Love Addict and the Love avoidant. I have read it 7 times and each time I read it I gain new insights and awareness. I would recommend to anyone who is in a co addicted relationship, love avoidant or love addict.
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on 14 April 2015
This book is amazing, it has literally changed my life. If you tend stay with people who treat you like crap, or if you avoid getting intimate with someone, or are codependent, then read this book. Easy to understand and with a clear path to recovery.
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on 5 June 2015
This is a very good book. iI helps you to understand powerful feelings that appear to be also helps understand other peoples's behaviour, and the reasons for it. it also gives practical advice for healing oneself. xxxxx
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