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  • Asperger's Syndrome in Adults
  • Working To Come To Terms with Asperger's
  • Sex and Depression - The Real Story
  • The Loss of Joy: Anhedonia
  • All About Schizophrenia
  • Depression: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Asperger Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (or Pervasive Developmental Disorder) characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors and interests. Those with Asperger Syndrome, or AS, may exhibit a lack of empathy for their peers, clumsiness, and atypical use of language, though none of these symptoms are required for a diagnosis.1

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The pain of coming to terms with having Asperger's is still very real for me right now. There is a tremendous sense of grief. Grief for all that I suffered through to try to be "normal" and grief for how short of "normal" I always have been. There is also great relief to know that I am not crazy and that not everything can be traced back to an abusive past in the sense that some of what I experience is not choice/emotional but neurons/physical. The greatest challenge I face right now is trying to figure out which is which. This is not easy.

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One of the most common side effects of a number of antidepressant medications is loss of sex drive. I could forgive our friends at fine companies such as Eli Lilly, Bristol Meyers Squibb, and Pfizer if dry mouth, irritability, disrupted sleep patterns, loss of appetite, sloth, and social phobia were the sole issues related to the medications I take on a daily basis. However, it is the sex thing I find most challenging.

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Sadness

Anhedonia is the technical term for the inability to experience joy. When people are in the depths of depression, nothing touches them, not the most intensely pleasurable activities, not the most familiar comforts. They are emotionally frozen. In this state, people either have to get professional help or simply wait for weeks or months until the depression lifts by itself; nothing is going to make them feel better.

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Schizophrenia is a mental illness which affects one person in every hundred.

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Depression is perhaps the most common of all mental health problems, currently felt to affect one in every four adults to some degree. Depression is a problem with mood/feeling in which the mood is described as sad, feeling down in the dumps, being blue, or feeling low. While the depressed mood is present, evidence is also present which reflects the neurochemical or "brain chemistry" aspects of depression with the depressed individual experiencing poor concentration/attention, loss of energy, accelerated thought/worry, sleep/appetite disturbance, and other physical manifestations. When this diagnosis is present, the individual will exhibit at least five of the following symptoms during the depressive periods:

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The Obsessive Love Wheel

Phase One: The Attraction Phase

The initial phase of ORP is characterized by an instantaneous and overwhelming attraction to another person. It is at this point the relationally dependent person becomes "hooked" on a romantic interest, usually resulting from the slightest bit of attention from the person they are attracted to. Phase One ORP behaviors can include:

  • An instant attraction to romantic interest, usually occurring within the first few minutes of meeting.
  • An immediate urge to rush into a relationship - regardless of compatibility.
  • Becoming "hooked on the look" of another, focusing on the person's physical characteristics while ignoring personality differences.
  • Unrealistic fantasies about a relationship with a love interest, assigning "magical" qualities to an object of affection.
  • The beginnings of obsessive, controlling behaviors begin to manifest.

Phase Two: The Anxious Phase

This phase in considered a relational turning point, which usually occurs after a commitment has been made between both parties. Sometimes however, the relationally dependent person will enter into this phase without the presence of a commitment. This happens when the afflicted person creates the illusion of intimacy, regardless of the other person's true feelings. The second phase of ORP behaviors can include:

  • Unfounded thoughts of infidelity on the part of a partner and demanding accountability for normal daily activities.
  • An overwhelming fear of abandonment, including baseless thoughts of a partner walking out on the relationship in favor of another person.
  • The need to constantly be in contact with a love interest via phone, email or in person.
  • Strong feelings of mistrust begin to emerge, causing depression, resentment and relational tension.
  • The continuation and escalation of obsessive, controlling behaviors.

Phase Three: The Obsessive Phase

This particular phase represents the rapid escalation of this unhealthy attachment style. It is at this point that obsessive, controlling behaviors reach critical mass, ultimately overwhelming the RD person's life. It is also at this point that the person being controlled begins to pull back and ultimately, severs the relationship. In short, Phase Three is characterized by a total loss of control on the part of the RD person, resulting from extreme anxiety. Usually, the following characteristics are apparent during the third phase of ORP:

  • The onset of "tunnel vision," meaning that the relationally dependent person cannot stop thinking about a love interest and required his or her constant attention.
  • Neurotic, compulsive behaviors, including rapid telephone calls to love interest's place of residence or workplace.
  • Unfounded accusations of "cheating" due to extreme anxiety.
  • "Drive-bys" around a love interest's home or place of employment, with the goal of assuring that the person is at where "he or she is supposed to be."
  • Physical or electronic monitoring activities, following a love interest's whereabouts throughout the course of a day to discover daily activities.
  • Extreme control tactics, including questioning a love interest's commitment to the relationship (guilt trips) with the goal of manipulating a love interest into providing more attention.

Phase Four: The Destructive Phase

This is the final phase of Obsessive Relational Progression. It represents the destruction of the relationship, due to phase three behaviors, which have caused a love interest to understandably flee. For a variety of reasons, this is considered the most dangerous of the four phases, because the RD person suddenly plummets into a deep depression due to the collapse of the relationship. Here are some of the more common behaviors that are exhibited during phase four of ORP:

  • Overwhelming feelings of depression (feeling "empty" inside).
  • A sudden loss of self-esteem, due to the collapse of the relationship.
  • Extreme feelings of self-blame and at times, self-hatred.
  • Anger, rage and a desire to seek revenge against a love interest for breaking off the relationship.
  • Denial that the relationship has ended and attempting to "win a loved one back" by making promises to "change".
  • The use of drugs, alcohol, food or sex to "medicate" the emotional pain.

Summary

Sadly for most people who suffer from RD, the only way they can get off their chaotic wheel is by jumping onto a new one, causing the cycle of control to repeat itself in a new relationship. If what you have read speaks to your situation or the person you are involved with, then it may be time for help. There are specific reasons behind the affliction of RD, which can generally be traced to a person's past. Consider speaking with professional trained in the field of relationships, such as a mental health counselor or family and marriage therapist.

Relational Dependency is treatable but only when there is an acknowledgement that a problem exists. Bear in mind that changing controlling behaviors takes time and progress should not be expected to occur over night. By reaching out for support, the relationally dependent person is really reaching in.

Copyright © By: John D. Moore, MS, CADC

Parent Category: Topics
Category: Relationships

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