HOW TO BREAK YOUR ADDICTION TO A PERSON by Howard M. Halpern

HOW TO BREAK YOUR ADDICTION TO A PERSON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here psychotherapist Halpern moves away from parent-child relationships (No Strings Attached, Cutting Loose) to relationships among lovers--rather profitably, it turns out. Though no book of this sort will win prizes for penetrating deeply, Halpern does manage to come up with some useful categories and explanations--even an exercise or two without the usual inanities. His #1 recommendation is for people who are unhappy in their present relationship to analyze it in terms of the infant-based ""Attachment Hunger."" Does the partnership represent a compulsion? Do you panic at the thought of ending it? When you try, do you experience withdrawal symptoms? Halpern runs through the self-deceptions (idealization, rationalization, etc.) and the manipulative games whereby we jealously guard an unhealthy relationship--through direct use of power, covert use of guilt, an appearance of weakness or servitude, and so on. The approach becomes more mechanical when we're urged to do a cost/benefit analysis of the relationship (is it worth whatever we're paying for it?) and an analysis of our expectations (are we perhaps unrealistic?). Someone who habitually becomes involved with an already-married partner, Halpern suggests, is avoiding an attachment of his or her own; those who opt for neurotic, unsatisfying relationships are often repeating old, unfinished ""family business."" For improved perspective, Halpern advises keeping a ""Relationship Log"" (you can't possibly miscalculate the number of hurtful incidents, say, if they're down in black-and-white) and utilizing a network of supportive friends. Altogether, this leans less than usual on the one-dimensional answers of behavior modification to end a pattern of self-destructive relationships--and more on that old reliable, self-knowledge.

Pub Date: May 30th, 1982
ISBN: 0553382497
Publisher: McGraw-Hill