I think we are only just starting to appreciate the impact of early life trauma (small T trauma and complex PTSD) and its connection to emotional wellbeing. My views are based on my own experiences, those of the clients i’ve worked with, the thousands of stories i’ve read here and on tribe over the past decade. Ive also read widely on many interrelated subjects. I do accept one size doesn’t fit all and there is always space for other views. That said I do see repeatable patterns in our psychology.
You are basing your experience of love on all your OWN experiences. No else can know what you feel. Is it how others feel love? I used to think the same way. I now know my own experience of that new relationship energy was more about lust and sexual attraction, along with the grasping selfish conditional co-dependent love that’s endemic in the West.
My limerence was of another order. Perhaps middle age, life circumstances and an acceptance i wasn’t going to chase LO ramped up the feelings, but i still feel the origins were hard coded way earlier in life. I believe all extra marital affairs start in early life and likely in the generations before. And i would add limerence to that.
Because so few of us grow up with the unconditional love, safety and security we absolutely need and as written about in Jean Liedloff’s “The Continuum Concept” we are constantly seeking to fill the “hole in our soul” . Biology hasn’t caught up with evolution in this regard. I accept the biological drive to mate and within that the attraction but for me, the psychosis of limerence is way way beyond this. I think the addiction model fits limerence well and i’ve yet to meet an addict that did not have significant early life attachment trauma. I still am left wondering if we have good self-esteem, why would the LO’s ego strokes give rise to the intensity of feelings we grapple with?
I used to get me sense of self through external stuff, i was materialistically wealthy and thus thought (not felt because i was disconnected from my feelings at that time) i was successful. Strip away the external (which limerence helped do along with some other life crises) and i had to take a hard look at what I was left with internally. I was nowhere near as content as i thought. And i’ve came to realise my feelings of success are more about inner calm and peacefulness. Feelings that are incompatible with the tsunami of feelings catalysed by limerence.
Had i read what i’ve just written a few years back, i would have dismissed it. I think we do have to experience many stages and cycles of stuff, (i can’t think of a better word, maybe its grief) before we start individuating, letting go of our control, our addictions and start getting reconnected to our hearts and our feelings.
I accept that selfishness, and ego is probably what started me down the flirting road. But I really don’t see childhood issues and self-esteem as the cause.Re ego development – the second stage:
Impulsive stage (E2)
The second stage is the impulsive stage. While this is the modal stage for toddlers, people can be in this stage for much longer, and in fact a small minority of people remain in this impulsive stage throughout their life. At this stage the ego continues to be focused on bodily feelings, basic impulses, and immediate needs. Not being particularly good at meeting these needs on their own, however, they are dependent and demanding. They are too immersed in the moment and in their own needs to think or care much about others; instead, they experience the world in egocentric terms, in terms of how things are affecting me. If something or someone meets my needs, it is good; if something or someone frustrates my needs, it is bad. Thus, their thinking is very simplistic and dichotomous.
I wonder how many of us limerents are stuck in this phase, the impulsive “i want it and i want it now” that makes it so hard for us to sit with these feelings, hence the acting out through disclosure, consummation etc.