Happy Valentine’s Day: The Dark Attachment

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. John 4:16

All you need is love. The Beatles


Sami* was confused. “We’ve broken up before but always find our way back together, it’s like we’ve got this destructive cosmic glue that brings us back together”. Her boyfriend, Carl, was verbally abusive and failed to make any strong commitments until Sami would pull away, and then he would frantically promise her the world.

“If I could just work out if was really love, then I’d try to make it work, I have strong feelings, but is it love?” Will* had started an affair with a married friend from work.

It’s hard to think of a word with more positive connotations than “love”. From music to politics, we all want to be associated with Brand Love. And of course we do! What’s the alternative? To be associated with Hate?

But it is odd that our commitment to love is so robust. Over the last 300 or so years, since at least the Enlightenment, we’ve been busy killing sacred conceptual cows.

Just take the Seven Cardinal Virtues (the less talked about counterpoints to the seven deadly sins) which over 1,000 years of received Christian wisdom would say are unquestionably good: chastity, temperance (moderation), charity, diligence, kindness, patience and humility. Although most of them are still seen as kind-of-good now, we call all think of examples when they are inappropriate or even harmful.

Every concept gets critiqued. But not love, love remains an undisputed highest good.

Which is a shame, because love, especially romantic love, can have a very dark side indeed.

Many of my clients have found themselves with a love attachment to the wrong person. People like Sami can find it exceedingly difficult to remove themselves from abusive and controlling relationships. Someone like Sami is liable to blame themselves for returning, even after receiving prudent advice from friends and after many many warning signs.

Sami’s self-blame leads to her self-esteem diminishing further which makes her love attachment to Carl seems ever more important. “I deserve this treatment because I’m such as loser”.

In my clinical experience, love is a more common reason than fear for women to find themselves stuck in the quicksand of an abusive relationship.

Love can make people do things that are contrary to their values and morals. Will never imagined he would start an affair with a married person.

When talking to people like Sami and Will, I prefer to use the term “Attachment” rather than “Love”. It can be too confronting to challenge Love, with all its positive connotations. Love feels too pure, too godly. Labelling feelings as an attachment offers freedom to explore whether this feeling is indeed good.

But really, Love/Attachment, I’m talking about the same thing.

Love is an emotion like any other. Like all other emotions, it is neither intrinsically good nor bad. Love should be judged on its consequences. Love, especially romantic love, can make us blind to the negative outcomes of our actions, or our partner’s actions.

And love deceptively covers its tracks too. Long after the relationship or the affair ends, love’s victims are left wondering: how could have I been so stupid? How could have been so cruel?

The answer is love, the dark side of love. The Dark Attachment.

Anyway, Happy Valentines Day for last week 😉!

Speak Your Mind


Suite C5
102-106 Boyce Rd
Maroubra Junction, NSW 2035

(02) 8958 2585

Have Questions?
Send a Message!

By submitting this form via this web portal, you acknowledge and accept the risks of communicating your health information via this unencrypted email and electronic messaging and wish to continue despite those risks. By clicking "Yes, I want to submit this form" you agree to hold Brighter Vision harmless for unauthorized use, disclosure, or access of your protected health information sent via this electronic means.