Women who “love too much” put their partner first, completely sacrificing themselves in the process, forgetting who they are, and fading into the background, in order to make more room for the other person. When we only ever talk about our partner, and try to solve their problems in any way we can, it is “too much”. When we beg for even the smallest sign of affection that never actually comes, it is “too much”. When we hope that we can change someone just by loving them, it is “too much”.
The list goes on and on, but the main issue here is that loving too much is often confused with true love, and this drags us further into a downward spiral that is impossible to escape from, or at least not without outside help.
Some women find it hard to take the first step and put an end to their suffering, because they only recognise love in this unhealthy form. They do not know what real, affectionate love is, because no one has ever shown it to them. People who did not receive adequate love from their parents, for instance, will unconsciously convince themselves that no one else will ever love them either; this belief creates enormous emotional voids, so they try to find someone who can fill them. In this way, love becomes a kind of drug, and they get addicted to it, while still being scared of being alone, of not being worthy of affection, or of being ignored and abandoned.
Author Robin Norwood, says that she has also loved too much in her life, but that she was able to heal thanks to her experience working with drug addicts and alcoholics, and as a result of her research into her patients’ family lives and marital relationships. She noticed that, in the vast majority of cases, the girlfriends or wives of these addicts came from very problematic families with high levels of suffering and stress. They perpetuated these unhealthy patterns of behaviour, and eventually ended up in a vicious cycle of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty, because for them this was their “normal”. They maintained the pattern by bonding with other people who, like them, were suffering without being able to admit it or to heal.
In this book, the author mainly addresses women, because certain biological and cultural factors make “loving too much” a predominantly female issue. This does not mean that men do not also sometimes love too much, but in the main, men who find themselves in this kind of situation tend to alleviate their pain more easily, by focussing on work, sports, or other hobbies and activities that are based on external goals rather than inner objectives or desires. This allows them to feel better and to avoid falling into a potentially destructive spiral.