July 1, 2021

Unpacking “Love Deficiency”—& Why it’s the Core of our Unhealthy Attachments.


Are you longing for love? Is finding “the one” constantly on your mind?

Do you often feel this deep void within yourself that makes you believe it can only be satiated through a nurturing relationship? Has finding a good relationship been a lifelong pursuit?

Some might call this “love addiction.” Have you heard the term before?

While searching online, one definition I came across was:

“Love addiction is often a pattern of intense infatuations and obsessive relationships, as well as a tendency to be desperate and insecure in relationships. A person suffering from a love addiction often seeks the excitement and sexual ‘rush’ of a new relationship but cannot maintain a lasting feeling of attachment.”

I want to take a moment now and highlight how toxic the label “love addiction” is, as well as the corresponding definition, as it perpetuates the cycle of shame. The only reason we are “love addicts” and have an insecure attachment style is that we did not get the love, support, and healthy mirroring we needed growing up.

So instead of love addiction, I’m going to introduce the word “love deficiency.”

When I first went to a psychologist, I was talking about an unhealthy relationship I had a part of at the time, which now I see was most definitely a trauma bond. I expressed how much I was just craving his love and affection, and she told me, “Well, maybe you have to learn how to give this love to yourself first.”

I got so triggered. Actually, when you are running on empty—when your reserves are full of limiting beliefs like, “I’m not good enough,” or “love has to be earned,” how on earth are you going to “give this love” to yourself? When hearing the psychologist’s remark, I immediately felt shame encompass my being. Not only did I feel I was being too needy, but I also felt incapable of giving myself all this love. I felt broken and helpless. This also perpetuates the state of victimhood, which is at the core of abusive relationship dynamics.

So, for all of us out there: the people-pleasers, the empaths, and the ones who find themselves stuck in a cycle of toxic relationships, remember that when we are starving, we will settle for bread crumbs while starving for love and attention, and longing to be seen and heard.

That is exactly why, when the narcissist comes along with their powerful presence and love bombing techniques, we are blown away because someone has finally seen us. All their attention is focused on us, and we feel this sense of elation and relief. We mistake emotional manipulation and intensity with intimacy and true love because we most probably did not have a healthy example of love growing up.

And that is why we put up with all of this, just as a cocaine addict will do what he can to get his fix. He will spend all his money and invest in a drug that he knows is detrimental to his health because he believes that without it, he cannot cope.

And actually, the root cause of any addiction is, in fact, a lack of connection.

So, when you are craving love and feeling needy, and when you find it hard to end a relationship that you know is bad for you, I want to remind you that there is nothing wrong with you. You are merely replaying old childhood dynamics and trying to soothe your hurt inner child with the love and affection they never got.

But instead of trying to generate that love from within, especially when it feels like you are running on empty, you can use some alternative.

Here are some exercises that will help you fill the void and start healing your love deficiency by using the abundance of love that is all around us:

1. Love is all around. 

Every day for at least two weeks, write down how love manifests in your reality, from a stranger holding the door open for you, your body supporting you, a friend checking in on you, to the sun shining on your skin and giving you warm energy daily. Aim to list two to three things every day. Acknowledge their presence and magic and show deep appreciation.

2. Shadow work.

This is the part of you that craves love and attention but has been rejected by others and by yourself. Part of doing shadow work is reintegrating the rejected aspects of the Self. Think of this fragment as another personality. What is his/her/their name? What does he/she/they look like? Acknowledge his/her/their presence and ask them what they need.

Anything that we don’t want to see because it’s too painful resides in the shadow. By befriending and starting to give love and attention to this fragmented aspect of the Self, we can start to reintegrate it and feel a sense of wholeness and completion.

3. Love visualization.

Sit comfortably in a meditation position. Take a few moments to relax by focusing on your breath and close your eyes. Then, I would like you to visualize a hole inside your chest. This is the void you feel, the yearning for love, and the craving for a loving relationship. As you visualize this void in your mind’s eye, start picturing a beautiful white light that is coming from the heavens and is filling that void. This is the energy of pure unconditional love.

Something I have found to be true is that love is all around us but, sometimes, we tend to forget.

I would like to say, however, that these practices are not meant to substitute a loving relationship. We are hard-wired for connection and we are here to love and be loved. But they may help to satiate the intense cravings for love, and, by doing so, allow you to attract a healthy and nurturing relationship from a place of abundance instead of lack.

Let me know in the comments if this resonates with you. I would love to hear your thoughts.


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