It is easy to spot addiction when it is an addiction to a "thing", like marijuana, cocaine, alcohol, or shopping. But what happens when what we are addicted are our feelings about other people?
It is possible to crave the attention, company and or approval of others.
It is possible for a mother to be addicted to pleasing her children.
It is possible for a man to be addicted to feeling like he owns his woman.
It is possible to be addicted to fearing what others think about you.
A dear client of mine and I were training just yesterday. She has every physical "thing" any woman could want to make her happy. She lives in a beautiful home adorned with crown molding, tapestries, and custom woodworking. In her closet, hangs designer bags, shoes and clothes. Her husband actually adores her, and tells her often how much it is he feels as he does. In fact, he loves her more today than the day he married her.
And yet, this beautiful, 170 pound woman, refuses to be happy.
As we spoke, and her heart spilled out with negative emotions, about herself, and her extended family, I felt moved by the spirit of God to ask, "So, darling if you lost 20 pounds, what would you complain about then? If you were thinner, and your family had less to point their critical fingers at, would you then be happy with all there is in your life to be happy about? If your clothes were labeled a size 10 rather than a 14, would that allow you to open your eyes and appreciate all of God's blessings in your life right here, and right now?"
She didn't know what to say.
With love in my heart I told my client that I believed that deep down, she was happy, but because she has been made to feel guilty all her life for the "things" she has, her wounded psyche, will not allow her to embrace the joy that comes from having the kind of life that she has.
If she embraces the joy, then her life really becomes that wonderful, and she might then have to let go of what she fears other people might think of her.
In her mind, if she stays overweight, then people won't be as envious of her and her lifestyle. So rather than be completely hated for having a wonderful husband and outrageous home, she sabotages her happiness because of her addiction to fearing what others think of her.
As long as she stays overweight, and has a battle to fight in her mind, then the anxiety that is showing up because of her fear of happiness, gets to go somewhere...
The problem is, because she never faces the real issue, the is staying stuck inside a huge circle of wrinkled loops of dysfunctional thought processes.
She doesn't stay overweight because she can't lose weight...she stays overweight for the sake of others.
She fears being the woman that has it all...including the house, the great guy, and the killer body...People hate that girl, and my client doesn't want to be her...or deal with the ugliness that comes from insecure others.
What she needs to see is her fear. What she needs to see is how she is losing her life day by day, to the insane need and desire to control what other people think of her...
It is her wanting to control her anxiety about her fear of being happy at the root, that is being manifested through her need to also control how and what others think of her...
The only way out of the circle is through surrender. She must surrender her truth. She must take ownership over her part in the dynamic and be willing to let those insecure negative others go. She must be willing to embrace the wonderful life her exceptional husband is trying desperately to give her. She must be willing to be as wonderful as she really is, in spite of how others might react to her if she were to no longer represent herself as the poor little fat girl, everyone must feel sorry for.
There is nothing sorry about my client. She is articulate, funny, empathetic, compassionate, hard working, successful, diligent, prosperous, kind, thoughtful, generous and attractive. But if she were to own all of her worth, the insecure, jealous, envious others she calls family, might talk about her more than they do now, behind her back. They might avoid her more than they do now, And oh my...they might not even like her at all.
In order to heal her life and live before she dies, she will have to learn to confront her addiction to others. She is addicted to controlling their opinion of her.
And until she is ready to face that head on, she will continue to fight the weight she cannot seem to lose...because if she loses that, she loses her idea of what it is that is preventing her from being completely happy.
It is a shame, that most people are more afraid of the light, than they are the darkness.....