Michelle Zelli, 56, spent years with what she called ‘a broken man-picker’, flitting from one intense, passionate yet heartbreaking relationship to another.
It wasn’t age 45 that she finally found her own path for healing.
Now the London-based life coach is helping other women overcome their emotional blocks.
Michelle is sharing the key signs you could be addicted to love and toxic relationships and follows with advice on how to change.
1. You lose yourself in the other person
You lose your own sense of self by incessantly wondering what your lover is thinking, feeling and doing in a relationship.
You see life through their lens, not in an empathetic way but obsessively and you’re pretty blind to who you’re becoming.
2. You neglect friends and family
Your best friends and family now fit around his schedule and demands. Not in a balanced, mutual compromise but in a desperate bid to see him every moment he’s available.
Something inside you whispers: ‘make the most of this, grab all you can, it probably won’t last, just like the others.’
3. You change yourself to what you think he/she wants
With little thought for who you really are, you change yourself to fit in with their criteria.
Love addicts are often attracted to men who confirm their own perceived inadequacy with constant criticism, blame and shame .
They often attract narcissistic men who are drawn towards a love addict’s neediness, vulnerability and eagerness to please.
4. You feel let down when you see them
You feel slightly deflated each time you meet.
He’s just not as charismatic/attractive/sensitive/attentive as you remember.
This is a sure sign you’re falling in love with a fantasy image, rather than the real person.
5. You doubt yourself
You constantly doubt your own worthiness of love and attention; always feeling a little spaced out, off balance and potentially exhausted. It takes a lot of energy to constantly feel inadequate or not worthy of another person’s love.
6. You tolerate bad behavior – and then more bad behavior
You allow behaviors you wouldn’t tolerate from other people in your life from your love.
For example, he may disappear for days on end or even months and then swan back into your life like nothing happened.
He might speak harshly to you in private or public or disregard your needs. He might blame you for his own shortcomings. He might have an off the scale anger problem.
You tolerate it and go back for more.
You may not even recognize the person you’re becoming.
7. You’re literally ALWAYS worrying about pleasing them
You find yourself spending more time worrying about how to make him happy, whilst feeling increasingly disconnected with yourself and your own needs and wants.
Despite your prize-worthy efforts, he becomes increasingly moody and critical.
He finds imaginative ways to convey his displeasure with you, often using ‘gaslighting’, a term used to describe the act of intentionally confusing and disorientating, with a maze of lies and subterfuge.
8. You ignore red flags – like verbal abuse
Before long you’re dazed by the verbal attacks: ‘You’re crazy, just look at you!’ But they’re so convincing, you may start to believe them yourself.
Your friends have noticed you’re ignoring ‘red flags’.
You dismiss your fiends’ advice, falling deeper and deeper into the spiral of mind f*cks, untruths and boundary breaking behavior that this person is dishing out.
You may even distance yourself from the people around you who have the audacity to voice their worries and concerns for your well being.
9. You make excuses for them
You make excuses for his flakiness, put downs or lies, whilst being ever harder on yourself.
After all, your love will change him, right?
10. Crazy becomes a familiar way of being
You feel out of control, having lost your center of gravity, you just don’t know who you are anymore.
11. It’s drama after drama
You bounce from one drama to another.
Tears and fights become the glue of the relationship and often a precursor for amazing, intense and passionate sex.
It’s so energy draining, you have little left for anything – or anyone – else.