It is easy, when looking at addiction, to think only of drugs and or alcohol.
A broader brush will add smoking, gambling and food and a wide sweep takes in shopping, sugar, Internet addiction etc.
But there is another, more insidious layer that many of us get caught in, even with years of recovery: Emotional Intensity.
I can hear the exasperation in your thoughts: how is this an addiction?
Think it through. Obsessive thoughts about something that you consider unjust that may bring thoughts that are depressing, that engender anger, rage or fury. Remembering last nights’ sexual frisson, over and over, creates rushes of pleasure hormones, over and over again. Some of the above feelings are fabulous and wild, erotic and juicy, others dark, depressing, visceral. All of them stimulating hormone flow with in, either seratonin or oxytocin based, so making you feel “up” and “good”, or adrenalin and cortisol based, the thoughts creating stress, fear and negativity in the body.
It is easy to understand why the positive ones are fun, but less easy to understand why one, we, would want to create negative feelings.
We are complicated beings, those of us with the addictive personality. I no longer believe it to be a genetic trait but to be a way of dealing with feelings, that were originally triggered by trauma, that we cannot cope with.
Because of some or several aspects of our history, we are unbearable to ourselves and so need to change how we feel. The trauma is painful, our history is painful, but that pain is familiar, known, and in a strange way, comfortable. Hence why we look for partners that trigger similar feelings in us once the blissful first few months have passed.
We usually will wander between highs of pleasure and lows of emotional pain to cover up the layer of pain that we do not know how to deal with.
For me, when I understood this, I felt a freedom, a release, permission to go deeper and look for ways to become comfortable with myself. To be able to ‘bear’ myself. This is the most liberating, and for me, empowering part of the journey to wholeness.
Watch your attraction to emotional intensity. It is addiction masking itself in yet another way.
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