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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Is Intimacy Anorexia an Addiction
Author: Fraser Trevor
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If you are the spouse or partner of an Intimacy Anorexic, you have probably wondered why it is so hard for your partner to change or modif...

If you are the spouse or partner of an Intimacy Anorexic, you have probably wondered why it is so hard for your partner to change or modify their behaviour. The answer is that they are addicted to their withholding. This is often almost impossible to identify as IA is by it's very nature stealthy and hidden. Let me explain:

1/ First off, the (almost) universal response to new information about Intimacy Anorexia is DENIAL. "I'm not sick, my partner is"...this is also the alcoholic or drug addicts reaction to the suggestion that they abuse their substance of choice....DENIAL.

2/ Efforts to Stop. At some point the addict makes an effort to change their behaviour and finds they can't do it. They try again, and still can't change. They may be motivated by an internal dissatisfaction, or an external one such as their spouses pain - they genuinely want to improve things but find it hard to maintain lasting change. Even though the relationship is "on the rocks" or they are being threatened with divorce papers, they continue their withholding behaviour. Usually there is a period of successful change, but it lasts only weeks or maybe months, and then reverts back to the old patterns. This is a sign of addiction.

3/ Broken Promises. Although we expect broken promises from politicians, we don't expect them from our spouse or partner. When they promise to do something, we believe they will follow through. An addict routinely and consistently breaks his or her promises. When they make the promise they may sincerely believe themselves, but they fail to follow through. After a while, their word means nothing to their partner and there is a loss of trust and respect. This is another sign of addiction.

4/ Consequences. Every addition has negative consequences and Intimacy Anorexia is no exception. As Anorexia progresses it gets a tighter grip on the addict, and at the same time the addict loses their grip on reality. They no longer see the world as it really is, they see it as they want it to be. For some Anorexics the consequences themselves are the end game. After years of living with Anorexia, the spouse on the receiving end becomes angry, depressed, critical and distant. Goal achieved! This absolute commitment to distance is the goal of the Anorexic and they have succeeded.

5/ Continuation Despite Negative Consequences. No matter what happens, and addict shows almost supernatural determination to continue in their behaviour no matter what may happen as a result. The more they lose and suffer, the more they hurt those around them, the more they keep going, the harder their resolve becomes. Their kids might hate them, they may have been separated several times, their spouse may be depressed and gain weight, and they still continue. This is classic addiction behaviour.

Still not convinced? Stay tuned next blog for more thoughts on Intimacy Anorexia as an addiction.

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