What is my addiction trying to tell me?

—Marion Woodman

If you’re not an alcoholic, drug addict, or have an eating disorder, you may think this question doesn’t apply to you.

But do you struggle with any of these?

  • Compulsive scrolling through social media
  • Checking your email inbox multiple times throughout the day
  • Watching hours and hours of cable news
  • Spending hours playing video games

In our hyper-connected device-centered world, most of us struggle to avoid the trap of compulsive or addictive behaviors.

The sad truth is that much of what we consume with our eyes and ears is designed to create compulsive, addictive behavior.

Even if you don’t struggle with an obvious compulsion, you may be addicted to having things just “right” (aka perfect). Perfection perpetually scans for what is wrong, or what needs to be fixed or “improved.”

Many women fall into this trap, and it can easily become addictive and highly toxic to you personally, as well as your relationships.

Some of us are compulsively hyper-vigilant — addicted to finding blame or fault in other people, which often yields results since what you seek you can usually find!

Or maybe you’re addicted to focusing on how someone wronged you or victimized you in the past, or how other people try to “get one over” on you.

There are so many habits — often completely unconscious —  that can become addictive.

If you find compulsion or addiction in yourself, what do you think it’s trying to tell you?

For example, if you’re constantly scanning for what’s wrong or what needs to be fixed, maybe this compulsion is trying to tell you that you are struggling to accept the imperfection or messiness of other people or life itself.

Maybe you are deeply afraid that you are not enough and that others will judge you, disapprove of you, withdraw their love, or share in your negative opinion of yourself.

If you’re compulsively scanning for how others may hurt you, maybe what the scanning is telling you is that you have outsized and unhealthy levels of fear that need your attention.

Maybe what you’re longing for is a sense of protection or peace, and the only way you know how to experience peace and protection is by being on high alert, or attempting to control or change others.

What is your addiction trying to tell you?

Invitations for reflection, exploration, and action:

  • Getting honest with yourself, are there behaviors or activities you engage in that you know are compulsive or addictive?
  • If your answer is yes, what need or want is the behavior or activity filling for you?
  • Think of at least two activities you could engage in instead that would be a healthier, more soul-fulfilling way to get your need met.

© Vicki Tidwell Palmer (2021)

Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul (©1998)
By Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick
(Reprinted with permission)

*This post is from the Coming Home to You Series. Visit this page for the backstory of the CHTY Series.



I want to support you to Return to the authentic truth of who you are, Reclaim what is yours, and Receive everything that is meant for you. So that you can Regenerate your life, your relationships, community, and the world.

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