Love. What a tricky, elusive, individual thing. We all know what it should or might be, we never really know if it is what we’ve got. When I was young, I was inspired by the Russian poets – Pushkin, Lermontov, Akhmatova, Mayakovskiy, my favourite, who made love into art. Their lives and art were centred around pursuit of love, and pain, drama and tragedy that ensued.
Not able to be with the love of his life, Mayakovskiy killed himself.
Other than poets being more prone to suffer from depression, as research shows, is it possible that they suffered from love addiction?
Obsession, masquerading as love, with someone who seems to be divine, angelic almost, and definitely the one, but who you barely know and who you know almost for sure will never reciprocate. This is a crush, and you are crushing like Titanic, dragging the remaining bits of sanity and self esteem in the dark depths of madness that is love addiction.
Normal people move on. Love addicts, like Paul Bettany in The Da Vinci Code, are whipping themselves, inflicting pain, punishing themselves for being unlovable, as they believe, not worthy of reciprocal love. They are desperate to fill the void, the lack that they feel by creating imaginary worlds filled with vivid fantasies. Self made martyrs in the name of love.
In the film called ‘Love Addict‘ (2011), love addiction is shown as it is. Degrees of obsession vary – from completely delusional stalkers to someone with low self esteem allowing others to dominate and manipulate them, in the name of ‘love’. There is always a lot of heartbreak, drama and pain – pain is the key word – involved. It’s like you get hooked on pain and pain becomes the pleasure which you need to get again and again. You end up suffering… and getting a total kick out of it.
Why do love addicts inflict suffering on themselves? Just like with any addiction, reasons vary from escapism, low self esteem, personal drama, sense of lack, various fears.
In buddhism, highest happiness is reaching liberation when there is no more suffering. How can one get rid of the obsession?
The best approach imho is outlined in Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now when he talks about the concept of the pain-body.
‘Enlightenment is the end of suffering’. You need to work on developing yourself spiritually, to overcome the lack, to realise that you are complete and that you don’t need anything or anyone else to make you happy. Approach love addiction as you would any addiction. It takes time.
Pain-body is a negative energy field that you build up since childhood, which consists of accumulated pain. Whenever you are unhappy, even mildly (with thoughts like ‘I am not good enough for this’, ‘I don’t deserve this’, ‘My friends are better than me’, etc), the trick is to become aware of this, ‘watch out for any sign of unhappiness in yourself, in whatever form – it may be the awakening pain-body’. Meditation really helps with this.
‘Pain feeds on pain which pain-body will create through you’. Unrequited love is self inflicted suffering, that feeds your pain-body, which then reinstates immortality of your ego. Through loving someone who can’t reciprocate, you prove to yourself that you exist, you exert your immortality, you make love a thing, you make your existence tangible. You suffer that means you exist.
It all comes down to the fear of death, as always.
‘Watch pain-body, become aware of it – consciousness dissolves it’. Journalling and meditation help. Accepting that you have a problem helps. Love Addicts Anonymous? Why not.
‘Make the Now the primary focus of your life’ – live in the now, appreciate people around you who you may be taking for granted, do not let yourself revel in the past or build castles in the future. Love addiction is lived in one’s head, so get out of your head and do get a life. I mean it. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ – going cold turkey – also works.
‘Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it’.
Breakthrough comes when you realise that this pain, suffering is self inflicted. The trick then is in becoming an observer of your feelings, not denying or avoiding them. Again, meditation helps. Study your pain. Marvel at it. Make it conscious and bring it in the Now. It will dissolve, with time. And who knows, you may even choose to never inflict it on yourself again.
I wish I could tell this to Mayakovskiy. He’d probably tell me off, to say the least.