Andrea Harrn Counselling Services

The pain of Codependency and Limerence

Why Limerence brings pain

When you love somebody so much that it hurts it can be one of the most painful experiences that a person can go through.   That person that you see as your soul mate does not respect you, gives you little in terms of loving acts or kindness and constantly disappoints.   Your friends and family tell you to leave him/her and that you deserve better but you don’t listen.  In fact after a while you no longer tell them about what  goes on because you know the reaction.  It doesn’t even make sense to you.  Its not what you thought love would be about and your heart and mind are breaking but you can’t break free.   It feels like an addiction.

You might already be familiar with the terms Codependency or Limerence.  This short article will aim to give you a starting point to explore further these terms and the differences between them.

C0-dependent love involves:

A relationship between two people where either one or both is dependent on the other  to feel secure and valued.  If you are co-dependent your own self-esteem depends more on how you are seen by other than how you see yourself.   You will probably do things to please your partner rather than yourself, always to avoid rejection.   Typical examples might be keeping quiet in arguments, putting up with abusive behaviour, feeling like you are the bad one in an argument, covering up for your partner, finding it hard to ask for help, not feeling good enough, allowing your partner to put you down by not sticking up for yourself.  Other co-dependent behaviours involve spending more time thinking about their needs than your own, doing too much for them at your own expense.   C0-dependency in its worst form is a painful addiction to another person.

Limerent love involves:

A state of being “in love” not necessarily involving sexual attraction, although there will probably be a physical attraction where the person (love object “LO”) might be viewed as a possible sexual partner.   It might feel like you are under a spell where you spend a huge amount of time thinking about your LO.  Initially these thoughts will lift you into pleasurable feelings of elated mood and fantasy.  It will be hard to stop thinking about the LO and how great they are.  If they respond to you initially this feels euphoric.  You will probably play over in your head all the things they say and do and the interactions between you.  You will feel good about yourself, may even change things about yourself to fall  into the new ideal of what you think the LO wants to see in you.  You will do anything to be admired, loved back.  You become preoccupied. Can even involve stalking where even a glimpse of the LO will satisfy some need within you.   At some point the LO will disappoint you by either being disinterested, disengaged or abusive.  The LO may not even have given you any reason to think there is something between you.  Its in your head!  Excuses will be made for the LO, at this point you will be entering a state of uncertainty v. hope.  With every little bit of attention or love your hopes become fantasies of what can be between you.  You are in a state of denial v. reality.   As the relationship progresses it becomes a one way street with you doing all the giving with little back.  It is an obsessive overwhelming need to have your love reciprocated and invariably leads to despair and loss.

The good news is when you can recover and break free.

Love and Be Loved !


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