I need someone who needs me, that’s all. I need someone to be vital for. A person who devours my spare time, my self, my attention. Somebody who depends on me. A mutual dependence. Like a medicine, which may make you sick and well at the same time.

(Chuck Palahniuk)

I was often asked questions like: “Why do I love him so much and he does not return my love?” Or “Why does he treat me so badly if I do anything he asks me to do?” or “What did I do so wrong? Do you think he has got another woman?” and I could go on with the list, because, when love is not returned, the danger is of dying out looking for the reason why the partner has suddenly changed from one day to another, without any cause. And this is how the obsessive brooding starts, which is the source of anxiety disorder and depression.

Brooding, in fact, means to be worried about the negative things which might happen, but also to ponder continuously about our own mistakes, their causes and consequences, about what we have and do not have, about suffered injustices, about our illness, our bad luck, about what we do not approve of ourselves and others. Brooding isolates us from reality, keeps unpleasant and painful information and prevents us from forgetting. In a few words, it keeps us from going beyond a bad thought or an unpleasant sensation. And the more it locks up the mind, the more we become depressed due to that continuous thought or worry that bounces to one side to the other of our mind. Dwelling on a fact, a person, a situation, a worry, does not do other than makes that thought stronger and real. In fact, we will end up by projecting it outside and the universe will submit it to us in the reality. In this particular case of the not returned love, the above-mentioned questions do not do other than changing the thought into a real narrow fixation or anything.

Before getting into detail, I would like to say a few words to make what love is clear. It is a deep feeling which links two hearts each other. A feeling which, therefore, requires the participation of two souls who meet each other, love each other and decide by mutual agreement to embark on a joint path. However, we sometimes fall in love with somebody without being returned. And so, in such a situation, we pour all our energies on our object of love, but one-sided. Living an unrequited love means to live a love-story where there is nobody who returns and gives sense to our feeling on the other side and this condition brings to gain an experience of rejection and to try, as a consequence, a deep emptiness and a profound distress.

For sure, this might have happened to many of us and this is normal. Nevertheless, it may become the sign of something wrong, when it turns into a real and genuine fixing, when, in spite of reality, we do not accept that our is a one-way feeling, when we cannot go back to invest on us and on our life, when to fall in love without being required is not an isolated incident, but a situation repeating on a loop. When you get to repeat the script in all the stories, it is necessary to wonder what is going on. Indeed, there might be some difficulties to overcome, among which a low self-esteem, which leads us to feel attracted by people who gives us a little or nothing at all, an absence of love in the family of origin, in childhood or in adolescence, that compels us to look for a link at any cost anything not to feel us alone, a tendency to stay more in fantasy than in reality and a difficulty to build a mature and real relationship.

How can we live an un returned love? It is simple, in different ways: for example, falling in love with someone who does not requite our feeling, going on falling in love with engaged people or not available to live the relationship with the same participation as we would like. We usually live such an experience in adolescence or in adulthood and both our maturity and personal stability may have helped us to overcome it somehow. However, when we deal with a low self-esteem, this condition could lead to depression, easily passable by starting from scratch little by little, rebuilding our lives and trying not to close, by leveraging all our individual and relational resources at our disposal. Instead, when unreturned love becomes the subject of a damaging screenplay then it will be necessary to work on our own self-esteem in order to get to realize that we deserve to live a real story, where there is exchange and involvement on both sides.

Sometimes, it will be necessary to build some actual and genuine relations, since it often happens to build most wondrous stories, just making ourselves driven by the emotion of the moment, but having absolutely no idea about who is on the other side. And, most of times, these are people who are not suitable for us. We sometimes live an unrequited love in order to retrieve uncollected claims in the childhood or in the adolescence, but in doing that we strengthen the lack. In fact, we might have the tendency to choose people who do not want us just because we are used to it and we create it again. We do not know what being required and living a real story means and, in such a way, we keep on recreating the same lack. And it is so that, unfortunately, most of the time we come across people looking desperately for love in turn in order to fill their childish gaps, to survive, since they constantly need someone who devotes itself entirely to them, who makes them feel an idol, who makes them feel essential and who puts them at the heart of its own existence and its own being.

We are dealing with narcissistic people, mentally disturbed, who love themselves so much as to wish nothing else than the crushing of those around them, starting from the person who is standing next to them. It goes without saying that the connection with the love addicted, looking for filling her lacking of attention and love, is just perfect. Too bad it will soon bring to the destruction of both of them, since one of them will end up being depressed and the other one will be completely cleaned out of her personality and well-worn either mentally or physically. Indeed, abuse and violence might result from a love addiction relationship.

In this respect, I would like to mention Monica Acquaria, author and star of an autobiography which I’ve recently read and which has been rewarded, by the way, in the competition “Woman Special 2019”not only for the subject treated, but mostly for the way in which it was treated. In fact, the subject concerns just abuse and violence within this kind of “toxic” relationship and the intention of Monica Acquaria is to prevent the phenomenon and to inform about the means to support and protect women who are still, nowadays, victims of violence, in spite of the dynamics of the development of human civilization. Murder is often the latest stage of a path that originates from psychological violence. Lack of respect is not only apparent through physical violence and abuse, but, sometimes, there might be some more devious and silent forms of abuse. And it is necessary to start from here if we want to stop a steadily growing phenomenon.

Monica Acquaria, through her personal experience, has tried to explain what love addiction is, what the signals for recognizing it are, the psychological dynamics which imprison inside a toxic relationship, in terms of emotions, behaviors and thoughts and she also offer suggestions to get immediately away from the wrong partners. Unfortunately, when we speak about abuses and feminicides, we hardly make it clear that, behind these extreme gestures, a love-addiction is hidden. People judge too easily what others have done, when they are bewildered at hearing of these reports and their comment is always the same: “She should have quitted him before” or “She asked for it! She should have ended the relationship before he became violent” or other similar ones. It would be necessary to learn not to judge others because we do not know their background or their situation, since we do not know what is hidden behind it.

When you are a love-addicted, it is hard to make a decision, even if it is obvious to all. In order to avoid it, it would be necessary to teach not to fall in love fallacy, because love has got nothing to do with fear, anxiety, guilt, humiliation, denigration, devaluation, shame, solitude, and, most of all, love does not make you ill, does not destroy you and does not drain you. Love is not violent and, so, nothing can justify these actions, love is respect and freedom of the other, mutual nourishment, it is certainty, it is to feel protected and safe, it is to grow as couple together, inside a healthy relationship, made of respect, trust, hearing and solidarity. On the contrary, in the toxic relationships, dialogue, respect and empathy are lacking and you can realize it only by becoming aware of it.

“And you can become aware like me, if you are not taken in by his love poured on you, directly from a scene of a love-story badly imitated. Be careful to his exaggerated confidence, to his excessive egotism, to his too much confidentiality, his too much respectability and kindness, his unhealthy jealousy, but, most of all, to his sudden shots of impatience and anger, in absolutely normal situation. Do not believe to Prince Charming come to save you, do not fall helpless in his arms at his first blandishment: first of all, study his behavior in the last details, and, if you have a suspicion, just inquire about his family of origin. That is where the troubles start. Walk away before getting on the precipice. Rather do your best to make him get there and help him to fall down. Then, stay there, to watch him crashing in the abyss of his madness” (Monica Acquaria A toxic relationship).