Learn and Discover: Limerence

by | Aug 26, 2021 | Learn and Discover, Six Ways to Wellbeing | 0 comments

Limerence: A person addiction and tips for improving mental wellbeing

I’ve always been interested in learning about rare conditions. I find it fascinating learning about the unique experiences some individuals go through. For my blog, I wanted to shed light upon an issue that is not well known to allow my readers to learn and discover something new. It might even be something you relate to as well.

When we think of addictions, our minds usually think of substance abuse or gambling. But did you know you can become addicted to another person too?

I came across the word limerence around last year when I was looking at ideas for my dissertation. I heard about the concept of ‘love addiction’ in one of my lectures. I found the topic interesting and decided to look a bit further into this. It was during my search when I came across limerence.

Limerence refers to a ‘complex phenomenon consisting of a severe, unexpected, obsessive attachment to another person.’ Now you may think, ‘oh well, that sounds like me with my crush’ – google already cleared that misconception for me. Limerence is very different from having a crush. It can actually be really distressing, causing severe distress and mental health problems. Being a psychology student myself, hearing the word mental health really interests me, so I had to learn about this condition.

Limerence involves an emotional state of involuntary patterns of thoughts and behaviours. It involves intrusive/obsessive thoughts and an intense longing for emotional reciprocation from a particular individual. When this reciprocation is received, it releases a rush of dopamine in the individual and basically makes them feel like they’re on cloud 9. However, at times when reciprocation is not given, this can often lead the person to feel devastated, anxious and low. This then further leads the individual to seek out this reciprocation. It’s a constant cycle you can’t escape. The disorder has also been said to be similar to OCD – having the compulsions to alleviate the anxiety you feel that is produced by the obsessions for emotional reciprocation from another individual.

Now I definitely can’t end this blog without saying that there are many success stories where people have overcome limerence. I’ve found a whole range of online forums of people discussing their experiences, and it is fascinating to read. While what actually defines limerence is very unique, the feelings of anxiety and low mood are very similar to other common mental health disorders.

I want to end with some ways that can not only help you if you are suffering from limerence but can also improve your general mental wellbeing 😊

Work on your inner child – are there some unmet needs you feel weren’t fulfilled in your childhood that may explain your behaviours today? Try to practice fulfilling your own unmet needs internally instead of using an external means. This is something I’ve recently come across in one of my lectures that can explain why we go on to develop mental health issues in adulthood! Here is an article that provides exercises and tips for inner child work. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201808/deep-secrets-and-inner-child-healing

Acknowledge and accept your intrusive thoughts instead of trying to resist them. See yourself as separate from your thoughts and feelings. You are not your thoughts and feelings and, thus, you do not need to act upon them. Next time you are feeling low or anxious, recognise these emotions and simply sit with them. Practice seeing yourself as separate from these. Here is an article about how someone was able to separate their mind from themselves. https://bestselfmedia.com/ego-mind/

I hope this has been a topic you’ve found interesting, I definitely have! If you do feel you relate to this blog, I hope it has helped you see you are not alone in this and that your experiences are valid. I’m always interested in hearing about others’ unique experiences, drop me a message if you’re interested in discussing this fascinating topic!

Anam Bhutta – Instagram account: @anam_bxx