Originally Posted by serialmonogamist
I'm going to venture out on a limb and say that love-addiction isn't really a problem any more than health-addiction is.
The way I see it, folks labelled as "love addicts" are people with a gaping hole in their heart centers. They feel and behave like "hungry ghosts" because they are deeply wounded by not having been properly loved during some crucial moments in their human development. They do have a problem, alright. They are starved, and don't know how to nourish themselves or be nourished by others.
In his book Thoughts Without a Thinker, Mark Epstein paints a picture connecting these two viewpoints:
The Hungry Ghosts are probably the most vividly drawn metaphors in the Wheel of Life. Phantomlike creatures with withered limbs, grossly bloated bellies, and long thin necks, the Hungry Ghosts in many ways represent a fusion of rage and desire. Tormented by unfulfilled cravings and insatiably demanding of impossible satisfactions, the Hungry Ghosts are searching for gratification for old unfulfilled needs whose time has passed. They are beings who have uncovered a terrible emptiness within themselves, who cannot see the impossibility of correcting something that has already happened. Their ghostlike state represents their attachment to the past.
He goes on to illustrate with a modern example:
A recent patient of mine, for example, an accomplished teacher of French literature named Tara, personified the predicament of a Hungry Ghost. Describing a long succession of relationships with other academics at the top of their fields, Tara repeatedly developed an impassioned relationship with one such man, while involved with another. Invariably, she kept the man she was actually living with at bay. She would quickly and critically uncover all of his faults, lose interest in him sexually, and essentially prevent him from touching her, either physically or emotionally. At the same time, she would begin to fantasize about the next luminary to enter her life...She remembered an unhappy and critical mother who had rarely touched her as a child...was searching insatiably for the kind of nourishment she had once needed, but that was now inappropriate to who she was as an adult woman.
From the Wikipedia article on "Hungry Ghost": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungry_ghost