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Are You Addicted to Love?


I am so glad that everyone loved Gabor Mate´s TED talk (in Part One) just as much as I did.

I wonder how many people saw themselves in his description of what an addict is, and how many – like myself in the past – suffer from an overwhelming addiction to love and attention from your partner?

‘The light within’, that Dr. Mate´speaks of, is the only cure for love addiction that I know of, and is so central to our program that I thought it worth another mention today.

Sometimes I am accused of telling people that they are not doing the steps in our program properly instead of accepting that, for some people, (these critics say) our program just doesn’t work.

I am not sure how to answer that criticism except to say that I know that what we teach here can be very hard to grasp. It also may NOT change your partner’s behavior, but in that event if you follow the steps you will certainly improve your own emotional regulation which, in turn, will improve your ability to deal with your situation whether you decide to stay or leave.

Of this fact I am sure.

Like what Gabor Mate´mentions in his Ted talk, ‘the light within’ is the same message that Jesus and Buddha both taught, and so it would be immodest of me to think that I could do better as a teacher, but still these two great teachers still obviously didn’t reach everyone with this truth.

Metaphors abound when it comes to describing what Jesus called ‘the kingdom of heaven’ which he often described in such a way that it could be easier understood as a state of being more than a place.

The book of Thomas says that if we bring forth what is within us it will save us but that if we don’t bring it forth it will destroy us – and to me it seems clear that this must be a reference to this very same light within.

Another description Steve and I often use for this is ‘self soothing’.

There are however some common problems people come up against finding this divine spark within themselves, especially when facing despair and needing it the most.

Because you cannot connect to your ‘light within’ while you are still seeking that ‘external thing’ you habitually crave to fill your inner void.

While the idea we like to use of you having a pair of magic scissors to disconnect from thinking about your partner can really help, it is a challenging leap of faith to let go of the longing that addiction causes and take those magic scissors and really use them.

Another image I have sometimes used in the past is of me being an astronaut climbing on the outside of my rocket deep in space and then letting go and allowing myself to fall backwards into the dark void.

Are you trying so hard to will your partner to call or show some concern for you that you feel exhausted from all that internal effort? It’s like believing that by a force of will your thoughts alone can keep the world turning and all of the airplanes in the sky.

Just ‘letting go’ of trying to control the situation will give you some unexpected and instant relief.

And once you have let go, that divine spark will be so much easier to feel inside yourself (it has always been there!) and if you breath and continue to let your troubled thoughts go and instead focus on something beautiful and positive – that spark will soon grow into a flame.

This will make you much calmer and effective and will also make you more attractive – but there is a big catch with this too.

Because although learning to self soothe and connect to your own inner light will make you infinitely more attractive, you will not find it if that is the only reason why you are seeking it.

That would be like entering a drug rehab center because you think you will find drugs there!

So that is a very sad catch 22 – but it is true. You will not become the lovable person that you really are deep inside until you love yourself enough to no longer need or crave love and attention from outside yourself.

So when you think about magic scissors and self soothing you need to ask yourself what you are seeking? Are you pushing down the hurt and just pretending to be happy in an ongoing attempt to please your partner and win their love? Because if that is your only reason to self soothe it is not going to work.

Have you ever seen someone pretend to be happy and calm when really they are holding a lot of resentment inside?

I bet you can see through that kind of pretence.

This is because our brains are hard wired to pick up on other people’s emotional states and we will naturally shy away from people whose Amygdala (emotional brain) is firing, even if they are trying to hide it.

One very good reason for this is because emotions are contagious and we don’t want to catch anyone else’s mania or bad mood.

Some people are more susceptible to these ’emotional contagions’ than others, but really no matter how cool, calm and collected a person is, there is still a point where they will become rattled by someone else’s negative emotions – even when those emotions are not being displayed openly.

So this is why Steve and I teach people something known as ’emotional regulation’ which is in effect you learning to recognise when your Amygdala has been triggered (and you have lost your connection with your inner calm or ‘light within’) and then to take note of what triggered that response as fast as possible (writing it down if you can) and call a ‘time out’ on yourself for a while until you have found your internal sense of calm again.

Then later if what triggered the upset is something you assess as being an ongoing problem that needs attention, you can think about how you are going to go about dealing with that problem when it comes up again in the future.

But this can’t be done by halves. You need to first use your magic scissors and cut off thinking about where you partner is and what they are doing/thinking about and self soothe until you have truly found your own internal happiness again.

Because this is not about pushing your anger down so that you stay calm and don’t rock the boat, and nor is it about you pretending to be happy while still you are hooked like an addict, constantly craving your partner’s love.

In my case this meant that I didn’t win Steve’s love until I was ready to do the right thing by myself and my kids, even if that meant losing him. Back then I didn’t know that would change his attitude towards us but I am very happy that it did.

Looking back on this change is very hard on me now – because in hindsight I can really see that the problem was not just Steve. My addiction to his love and attention and my obsession with it must have been horrible for him.

Kim is the author of seven books on the topic of relationships and emotional intelligence.

A prolific multi-media content innovator, Kim has created and shared a library of articles and multi-media educational tools including radio shows,
movies and poetry on 'The NC Marriage', and 'The Love Safety Net'.

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. A lot of good thoughts, here, Kim!

    Could you provide a reference for your Book of Thomas “saying”? (Christian readers should know the Book of Thomas is not in the Bible and is considered by some to be heretical). Thanks!

    1. Hi Day by Day –

      Sure, it is verse 70. I know that some people really struggle with the book of Thomas but the truth is that it is one of the earliest and only contemporary accounts of Jesus sayings, written by someone who was an actual disciple of Jesus. It is also the only account of Jesus words rather than a version of his life story.

      I think that the reason people find the book of Thomas so challenging is that it includes a lot of eastern thought and wisdom and so the metaphors are very hard to understand from a western perspective. There is a tradition in India – in many cases with unbroken record keeping systems still in use today – that date back to Jesus time and record his journey through India in his ‘missing years’ in the new testament. I just mention these things in case anyone is interested in looking into them further. I will also add that the idea of something being heretical to me is quite a codependent concept. Most of history was unquestionably written as political propaganda and needs to be studied with a critical eye and understanding of the historical belief systems in place at the time as well as the motives of the writers. To believe anyone who tells us that we should not look into certain books in our study of history is in itself suspicious – and anyone who says they have the final authority on truth is certainly suffering narcissistic delusions. That doesn’t mean that all we read is going to be true – but to buy into the idea that we should keep ourselves in the dark because the people who claim this final authority are powerful and charismatic is decidedly codependent.

      So in short my study of these subjects ranges far and wide – as has my study of social sciences and psychology. Do I have any final truth that I can impose on anyone else? No I certainly don’t. I have found some habits and philosophies which I believe to be built on healthy psychology however and that have been tried and tested now over many years to help bring peace and harmony to families facing dysfunction.

      But as religion is not really the subject of this blog I am going to cut short any further religious argument or speculation in the comments I approve from here on as I do not think that religious debate will be helpful for those looking for answers for their troubled home life.

      Thanks for your understanding 🙂

  2. Wow Kim amazing and so true. It is so very hard for us to be honest with ourselves and look at our behavior and finding the cause of it. I am on a journey right now to heal my old hurts and take an honest hard look at my part of the problem. I do see some addiction to my partner. I do see codependency in me due to my childhood. I therefore decided that coupled with doing an honest assessment, learning to self soothe, learning to be good to myself, I have also decided to do hypnosis treatment to help that little girl in me to heal the wounds of my childhood. I had my first session and it was amazing. I am going back this week to work on releasing more of that hurt and also to try to regain control of my thoughts and addictions.
    Thanks again for all you do. I know without finding Steve’s and your work I would not be on this path today but rather stayed on the path of destruction I was on.

  3. Hi Kim,
    I’m so thankful you are are sharing your advice to help couples make the changes necessary to form healthy families and relationships. You give us hope, where the rest of the online world gives us nothing but divorce. My husband is now in prison and is getting proper help to break his addictive and narcissistic patterns. I am thankful for the break from a narcisstic and mentally ill husband. In prison we found out he has bipolar and adhd. Now, I’m paying off the debts of his gambling and poor financial choices. I’ve got a great job, extended family and church support. I appreciate my husbands efforts in making many changes and I am proud of him. However, I am also angry, resentful and filled with both love and hate for my spouse.
    I’m practicing self soothing and I want to get past the anger and I want to trust him. Forgiving frequent infidelities, criminal behavior and financial ruin is alot and so far I’m not succeeding

    1. Hey Susan – Welcome and you hang in there! It is great that ‘the system’ has worked for you in setting limits with your husband – even if it has to be so severe he has his freedom cut off hopefully this time will be remedial for him. It is also normal that you are angry about having to clean up the messes that he left for you. You need to think long and hard about this and decide how to protect yourself and make this fair in the future. You do not need to hold a grudge – but there also should be some way that he repays you.

  4. I received this article at the perfect time. What a great reminder! I just stumbled upon this old addiction this morning. Sometimes I fall into it without realizing that I am. At least I know niw how to climb my way out of it. Clip clip… and let it aaallll go…

  5. I am so hopeful with you and your husban. I dont have the money to buy your programs, but i sure love reading your tips. I am addicted to a lovely woman who is narcisstic and may have some bi-polar disordes. Yet, reading your material had helped me see who I am. At first I wanted to fix her, help her, but she is just too strong for me in her beliefs. I am a very strong man, but she controls my emotions when ever she wants. I have a 14 yr old who my parnter hates to so much sense we met over 4 yrs ago. She never calls me names, but she uses my daughter to get to me. She is in her 50s and loves to tear my child apart by calling her every name she can think of, it hurts. My ex has moved from the same town to be away from my GF, my daughter never comes to see me. When i go there she seems to only want me to buy her things, but does not communicate with me like i would like her to. My daugher knows dam well, my GF dont like her, but wonders in her little head why i am with her.
    I am addicted to her, I think about her all the time, i hate the idea of her being with another man. I do my best to let go of all the awful things she says to me about my daugher. My daughter is shy and my GF loves to talk and usually asks deep questions that i dont like answering. I keep my daughter away from her fearing she will saying somethng hurtful to her, so my GF gets mad.
    I have tried moving away, but somehow we get back together and it’s the same chaos drama whatever.
    Using the Magic Sicssors to cut off my obsessions sounds great,thinking about it makes me feel like i am going be moving towards letting go. Self soothing is another Key to finding ways to love myself and maybe I will let her go completely.
    Thanks Guys, for sharing what you have gone through!

  6. Hi Kim and Steve.

    I worked with you several years ago around my very challening fiance’. We are no longer in the same relationship, it’s evolved! We are no longer together as a romantic couple, at least not in the last year. But interestingly, we are probably the healthiest we’ve been together, apart. We are friends. And that’s fine, it’s better than fine. Letting go is a good thing, and finding the light within is the whole point! I completed my advanced studies and work now as a psychotherapist in California. I strongly believe in your work and your message. I showed the Gabor Mate video for a Seeking Safety group today, to a class of women who all have serious issues from childhood abuse and trauma leading to addiction and domestic violence in their adult lives. Thanks again for all the work you both do. Best, Sue G.

    1. Hey Sue and great to hear from you! I’m so glad your relationship has ‘evolved’ to someplace healthy. That really is the whole point of this work! If only codependents could see that most of what they presently call caring is really them trying to get their own emotional needs met – and in that very selfish – it would go a long way towards a middle ground understanding that can help take pressure off their partner in ways that are not helpful for healing.

      I also thank you for helping spread our message – we have been here doing this a long time now and with all that practice I think we are getting better at expressing these ideas. Taking the drug of choice away from an addict is never an easy thing to do – but here we at least try not to throw the baby out with the bath water and help people to face their own detrimental patterns without always having to sacrifice the relationship.

      Because really in the end devaluing of our partner and sabotaging the relationship is part of the unhealthy pattern – not a healthy one!

  7. Thanks Kim ,

    Another great one !!! Really enjoyed this one ..It helps alot .. And gives me the steps I need to take . Thanks again.

  8. Hey Kim, this is the very first time I have ever responded to anything online. I don’t even share my thoughts on Facebook. I am almost 44 years old, so this is kind of a really big step for me to take to reveal my feelings at all. I have read lots of articles on narcissism and co-dependency and I see myself and my husband in so many of the descriptions. But as others have said, your articles are some of the only ones that offer hope, and hope of success is and has always been my goal. We have been married 21 years and they have all been horrendously difficult, but neither of us has been willing to give up. This last year has been the most difficult by far and has seen us both pushed past any reasonable limits. This last year has also been the first and only year we have tried counseling of any kind and it has seemed to amplify all of the contention between us. I see more and more how I need to change and how my actions have affected our marriage negatively and he seems to go deeper and deeper into denial and refusal to even look at his actions or even take any responsibility at all. He also seems to care less and less about our marriage in general. Almost as if he might need to admit he is wrong he would rather run away. He is and has always been a wonderful provider and willing to admit at least a little fault but more and more especially the more I admit and the more changes I make the less and less he will make. It seems as though each time I am at my wits end and so hopeless I just want to give up I read one of your articles and I see more of exactly what I have gone through that very day and the message you send always gives me more hope and also shows me more of where I am still at fault and lacking and what I need to focus on doing. So just as your past articles have helped me through past problems, this article tonight is precisely what I needed to read at precisely the right moment to let me know that this is why I am still not done with my part of changing me. Perhaps there is some divine inspiration that lead me to you and that makes your articles so relevant to me and where I am each time you put one out, but I just want to thank you for all the help you have given me.

    1. Hi Jennifer and thankyou so much for opening up and sharing. You may find that you getting stronger is making your husband scared. I often warn people that things often get worse before they get better.

      That said the main thing is that you find your inner light and gain control of your emotional balance and then whether he follows your lead or not I am sure the future will be brighter for you.

      Thanks again for sharing!

  9. Several questions:
    1) “You will not become the lovable person that you really are deep inside until you love yourself enough to no longer need or crave love and attention from outside yourself.” People can have addictions to food, but still food is necessary for life. Would you say our need for love is the same as this? That while some are addicted to it, for most it is simply a normal, basic “need”, in moderation?
    2) “Some people are more susceptible to these ‘emotional contagions’ than others, ” Are people who are prone to codependence also the people who are more susceptible to emotional contagions? It seems so to me. It seems like codependence is a problem of the people who are naturally empathetic… people whose feelings are very affected by the feelings of others. Yes?
    3) “Steve and I teach people something known as ‘emotional regulation’ which is in effect you learning to recognize when your Amygdala has been triggered” So if you grew up in a situation where your amygdala was regularly triggered, or maybe sort of continuously triggered, you never would learn to self-soothe? You’d lose sight of your “calm within” completely, and not even realize that what you were supposed to be doing was keeping track of it? And if your feelings were highly affected by the feelings of those around you, and you were surrounded by unstable people, your amygdala would be getting triggered very frequently/continuously? All you would know was that your feelings depended on what other people did, (ie your feelings were jerked around a lot by what other people did) and so you’d look to other, “good” people to affect your feelings in a positive way? Because you felt powerless over your own feelings and thought that the only way to affect your feelings was to have other people affect them? Is this how codependence develops? Is this a correct understanding of it?


    1. Hi Tanya – I will do my best to answer your great questions …

      1. The way I was taught Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is that we actually need someone to love before we can even worry about being loved ourselves. I am not sure about that but it is something to ponder. Love has been proven to be a basic need sure, and I think that is why babies (and puppies for that matter) are born cute, so that people will hopefully want to take care of them! When we are older however if we are still behaving like a child needing other people to help us resolve our negative emotions for us – people will become less and less likely to accommodate that.

      2. Yes I think that is very true and is also about having weak boundaries. Strangely this also seems to have a physiological correlation as I have noticed people with leaky gut syndrome are much less able to protect themselves from other people’s emotions. I would however be cautious not to take this too far, because while it is a symptom I do not think it defines codependence. For instance even if a person is highly affected by other people’s emotional states they can still strengthen their Vagus nerve response (with practice) and this former problem become more of a gift in that they can then easily ‘read’ other people’s emotional states without letting themselves become unbalanced by them.

      3. Yes and what you describe from how I understand it is PTSD, which is also a precursor for many personality disorders. So the way a person tries to get that other person to help them feel better is usually by them trying too hard to please people – which only leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and disrespect from others. The hardest part however is usually getting this person to understand how important it is that they learn to be calm and tame their Amygdala (and build in habitual secondary responses when it does start firing) because as unfair as it may seem that other people disrespect and exploit them – it can also be very trying dealing with someone whose Amygdala is on high alert and over processing everything that happens and also needing other people too often to reassure them and soothe them.

      Okay so all great questions and it seems you are really getting a grasp of this. I hope I get a chance to do some slide shows before the end of the year to give a few more visual metaphors for this process.

  10. Hi Anthony,

    I am in exact the same position as you with a man.
    I like to cut him off but seem always to get trapped. My kids hate him as well and want nothing to do with him. even my friends do. the worst part is I can see half of his family is like that…all his sisters behave the same way and have real eaten up partners and attack me as I still fight and speak up for my self and do not conform …I tell you Anthony this is a hard one but let go and find yourself it has made me much stronger. I think of him now as my learning model and I use him to learn to master me not being dependent on him or anyone ever again. and it gives me great satisfaction and he even for the first time ever in 7 years bought ME a present!!!

  11. Kim,

    Great posting. A little challenging to understand intellectually, but so much more difficult to implement every day “in the moment.” What you present has always made sense to me, and I respect that.

    To everyone else – I have shared this struggle with Kim for at least 4 years. I do so with many resources and blessings both educationally and materialistically, so it is humbling to imagine trying to work through this with even greater challenges around. At risk of sounding trite, be proud of your efforts.

    1. Hey MFRS – You be proud too, you really have a lot to deal with 🙂 The simpler way I used to describe this concept to my children was to call on their happy mind.

  12. Thanks Kim for your reply. I have often wondered about the fact that it seems the same homes that produce codependents also produce narcissists. It seems to me that the people who are naturally by their in-born personalities more empathetic become the codependents, and the ones who are naturally less empathetic become the narcissists. As you said, what I described about an upsetting home environment is like PTSD, which you said gives rise to many different personality disorders. My older sister went the way of narcissism, and I went the way of codependency, and I see the same tendencies, to some degree, in my oldest two children. Did the narcissists learn in childhood to ward off bad emotional influences by just writing them off and learning to not let others’ emotions affect theirs? Some children can go that way, and others, like me, are always so sensitive to other people’s emotional states that the narcissistic path doesn’t work for them.? Instead I tried to stamp down all of my emotions so I didn’t feel anything, and later depended on others for good emotional states. So for a narcissist to trust a person it means that they trust you to not be embroiled in bad emotional states… that you are not going to be a bad emotional influence? Because their narcissism developed from trying to ward off bad emotional influences? So he probably liked me, in the beginning, because with my stamped down emotions, I appeared calm and reserved… not full of crazy feelings.

    And yes to things getting worse before they get better. I mean it has been two steps forward, 3 steps back in the past few years. I made some good personal moves… finding some things that make me happy and joining a religious group, and he got scared. Now we’re back to moving in a forward direction.

    1. Hey Tanya – I actually wrote an ebook about just that called Choose Happiness, which I will make available again soon.

      As I see it, different children in a family – depending on their dispositions – are groomed for different roles. One child is expected to stay home and keep a parent happy while another is expected to bring honour to the family by going out and earning public acclaim. Both have unrealistic expectations on them and such a contrasting set of values they are expected to live by that it is very difficult for there to be anything but jealousy and antagonism between them.

      As for the narcissist provoking people – another good question – I think they do this to make you a scapegoat. You see once you get annoyed or angry it is easier for them to blame their own anger and wrong doings on you. I used to see this with Steve who would sometimes spend up to 5 days provoking me and then when I finally got angry would then claim he had only behaved the way he did because of how angry I was (?) I used to be completely amazed by how he could completely ignore the fact that for 5 days I had not been angry – he had been. It was incredible to me just how desperate he was to blame his wrong doings on me. My step father – who cheated on his first wife – has told me many times point blank that I should advise women to be nice to their husbands even when they know they are cheating – he says, “I used to HATE it when I got home late and she was nice and I couldn’t blame her for what I was doing.”

      If only it was so simple – but there you have it straight from the horses mouth!

  13. Ok, one more question. Why is it that narcissists seem to like to bother people on purpose? It’s like they get a kick out of disturbing other people’s calm. Would you say that that is true? Can you explain this behavior?


  14. Hi there,

    Great analysis of people’s struggle to cope. I am very impressed and convinced that what Kim and other said is true. I lost my boyfriend to my own behaviour and struggle to connect with myself. For most of my life I have been depressed and slowly but surely my personality and identity is gone. I suffered abuse like most and since have been in a fight or fly automatic mode to survive that I feel I have lost myself.

    Thank you Kim and Steve for your support, once more.

    1. Hey Valerie – If you can remember a time when you felt safe and happy – no matter how long ago – go back to that point in your thoughts and let yourself relax and enjoy the feeling. Then when you feel calm after a while let your own inner happiness start to well up inside you like a flame or I think it sometimes it feels more like a bubbling spring.

      From that state of calm and happiness you will always be in a better state to deal with whatever is in front of you.

      This is not denial because the boundary does need to be set (your bank account secured etc.) but you will find strength, courage, wisdom and self respect if you do that after you have first found your inner calm.

  15. Who did the excellent picture at the top of the page?
    Girl-empty room-empty phone, so evocative of the love addiction experience!

  16. After talking to a learned theoligist who also saw the Gabor Mate talk and reflected from his knowledge The light within is about filling it with the spirit of God. He said God has created this void in all humans in that their life journey is to discover and fill it with his self which is light and love. The true essence of God within. So think about that as it does make good sense. God is waiting for all humans to be fulfilled with him as our creator.And that journey continues for those who fill it into eternity after life. The rules are found in the bible the boof that transfers the knowledge from God.via his prophets and son

  17. Thanks for that Kim, at this stage I am fully understanding where I am. The Gabor Mate video is very thought provoking and real. My Narcissistic loves power and he has his own addictions. At this stage I am taking time out to reflect where I am at and also to find the light within. I am surrounding myself with happy people and positive outlook. He rang me the other night but I was not ready to take his call. Too be honest I am enjoying my own company and learning more about myself. There is a lot of anger and resentment but in time that will heal and he needs to find the path within himself and vice versa.
    Thank you for sharing this article.

  18. Thanks for sharing Kim.

    I loved the spirit of honesty and humility that Gabor Mate spoke from. As a doctor to admit his failing to the woman in labor, this took a lot of courage. In order to be a help to the addicted he is not setting himself up as as an authority but more humbly as a fellow broken traveler in this journey we call life. What a profound bit of of “fresh air” to witness such honest self disclosure. I must admit that I am having some difficulty understanding the concept of “the light within”. If humans were not internally broken and damaged why is this world such a mess? Is there really light within or are we dark and broken in need of love and light? Are we a mixture of both? Can we receive “light” from another as a candle transfers a flame? My conclusion to this is that human kind is desperately broken and needy. Nothing inside of us can possibly change us. Just look around at the mess our planet is in.

    Love addiction is certainly a concern for me. Since I have learned new skills from reading everything Kim and Steve have put out, our marriage is back on track. I have changed and this is bringing about change in him. One surprise to me has been the falling out that has resulted with my family of origin. Apparently my siblings aren’t used to me standing up for myself in matters relating to aging parents. They have taken to shunning, lying, and bullying me in the process. Letting go of my addiction of love, approval, and consideration from my siblings will take some work. The hurt runs deep.

    Thanks a ton Kim and Steve as well as the rest of you for sharing your stories. Understanding family dynamics and the birth of narcissism and codependency in families is amazing. I used to think my husband’s family was messed up. Now i see that mine is as well and that is what attracted us together. It’s so nice to know others who can relate and who care.

    1. Hey Ellen, I sympathize completely with your family problems. Even though you feel hurt if you can keep your balance and stay focused on your own life and goals, hopefully in time they will accept your new stand.

  19. See TED talks Scilla Elworthy:fighting with non-violence …how you deal with a bully without becoming a thug. I wish she shared more, but it is related to this whole discussion.

  20. Self soothing really works. And as you say Kim it takes alot of practice.

    I use it throughout my daily life and the quality of my relationships with people in general has improved markedly.

    God Bless

  21. I do my best to self-sooth — but forget. Out with my partner and his sister. He is very attached to her and I had not seen him for awhile. Her influence on him is kind and benign. And yet his shifting all his attention and respect to her on the days outing made me miserable. They share wit together and many childhood jokes that make me feel a real stranger. We went to a place they both knew well from their childhood and where they shared a common girlfriend who had died and hence who I could not compete with. I felt left out and bereft because I felt it important to be more of a guide and focus to my partner and felt it impossible to rekindle anything — I did snip snip with words to myself that this is his sister and a unique relatiosnhip and I would need to accept it and hope we would reconnect eventually. But not without suppressing a lot of hurt, babyish, I want to be loved feelings before being able to snip. And at one point they lost me altogether and went on to a cafe where they waited and I found them but I felt dismayed and annoyed and — How do you snip and yet not accept being ignored? Or do you accept that is how things are and that they will be better later and not to be jealous or hurt in the meantime –Not sure how to navigate this —

    1. Hi Megan,

      As hard as it may be to accept – if people are so obviously ignoring you I think it may have been better for you to excuse yourself and say something like “Well it looks like I should leave you two to enjoy your walk down memory lane today, I need to ——- so I will talk to you later.” Then give them both a kiss farewell and when you get home work on self soothing. Because as hard as it is you really need to find the love you are craving from inside yourself BEFORE you will find it from anyone else. I don’t know if your partner is your husband or boyfriend but to me it sounds like your relationship may be close to over. What did he first fall in love with about you? If you can remember what that was and conjure those qualities in yourself again it may help. But to answer you question self soothing is not allowing people to be dismissive or rude to you. It is seeing that if the people around you are not respectful of you – maybe it is time to go home and be kind and respectful to yourself.

  22. Hi kym

    Wow this is so true , thanks to all your great reading I am now starting to self sooth. I have always struued with loving my partners or husband so much that I put myself in that terrible position of 1 being abused and 2 forgetting aboutyself and what makes me happy. Now that I have been reading your articles I am getting the hang of self soothing and calming down, where as before I would always worry about my husband being angry and trying to fix it, and of course it always ended up with me hurting and crying and feeling completely hopeless . Since u have been married which is 5 years now, I always did everything I could to keep my husband happy and the whole time being severely hurt. Thank goodness I came across your’s and Stevens web site otherwise I would not have survived. Now I’m tryingy hardest to think about what I want and need and not what’s husband needs. The part about using imaginary scissors to cut away your thoughts of our partners is great, I am going to do this as I struggle with concentrating on having a good te when I’m not with my husband because I’m always worried about where he is and what he is doing. Thank you again Kim I will keep you updated on my progress.

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