Roots of Addictive Behaviour


The beginnings of addiction are usually rooted in childhood. Children often grow up in chaotic, hostile, or neglectful homes, or in homes that appear very normal, except the children grow up emotionally starved of love, because of a lack of affection. Real or imagined rejection by a parent or primary care-giver, leads to the child erroneously blaming them self, and concluding that there is something wrong with them. It is common for them to think they are “not good enough” or “pretty enough” or “smart enough”, “too fat”, “too thin” or some other negative evaluation of themselves. When a child does this, they are no longer able to show their real self because they are somehow “not good enough.” The pain of this rejection is not something the child knows how to cope with on their own.

Children at this stage of their emotional development are very much emotionally dependent upon their parents, so if the relationship is damaged (real or imagined), the child can become stuck in their emotional development. For emotional development to take place, the environment needs to be one of unconditional acceptance. In the absence of unconditional acceptance, a child’s emotional development is stunted. A child stuck in this place of emotional dependence, grows up shifting their dependency off the parents on to other people, places, and things, developing a script for life, which is entitled “I’ll be whoever I think you need me to be.” So begins the journey of escape and co-dependency through the addictive cycle.

Usually the earliest form of escape is into fantasy. Children have very fertile imaginations and can create all manner of new realities in their minds, and escape into them. When you do not have words to express how you are feeling, fantasy is a very effective form of mood altering. From here, the pathway into full-blown addiction is many and varied.


Here are but a few:

  • Achievement / Performance

  • Approval / Acceptance / Body Image

  • Illicit & Prescription Drugs

  • Alcohol / Nicotine / Caffeine

  • Lust / Sex / Falling in Love

  • Pornography in all forms

  • Relationships / People

  • Work / Busyness / Collecting / Hoarding

  • Sickness / Sadness / Negativity

  • Computer Games / Internet Chat Rooms

  • TV / Entertainment

  • Adrenaline / Excitement / Extreme Sports

  • Anger / Rage / Power / Control / Self Righteousness

  • Fantasy / Daydreaming / Romantic Fantasy

  • Food / Chocolate / Sugar

  • Knowledge / Music / Reading Books

  • Money / gambling / financial risk taking

  • Religion / Religious Works

  • Health Tablets / Fitness

  • Shopping / Window Shopping