Why Olivia Pope Is a Love Addict

05/07/2015 04:12 pm ET | Updated May 07, 2016


Every Thursday we tune in. Her life is all consuming and all-encompassing with enough passion to last a two lifetimes.

Olivia Pope is fierceness personified. She's strong, sharp, smart, sassy, suave and sexy. Women look to her for the latest style and to see how she handles her business like a boss. She is the embodiment of today's fierce woman. Olivia embraces challenges head on and when needed, she'll fight her battles from the trenches.

She is truly living a Fierce Life with a Fierce fashion sense and rock-star wine glasses.Simultaneously, Miss Pope also loves fiercely. She loves hard and deep and it's obvious that her passion knows no bounds. The depths of her relationships, specifically with President Fitzgerald Grant (Fitz) are filled with longing, lust and soul-driven love.

Scandal is not just a weekly show. It's a glimpse inside an inner world that's not global politics or espionage. Scandal is centered around Miss-Fix-It Olivia Pope, solving everyone else's problems. It makes me wonder if she does this to distract herself from effectively dealing with the scandals (problems) of her life. Most of the show's drama is centered around her life choices.

Her life, a scandal in itself, is filled with all of the classic elements that comes with love addiction.

Love addiction is a term that many of us are not familiar with. Here are some of the signs from people who are love addicts or who have love addiction tendencies:

  • Choosing partners who are emotionally unavailable and/or abusive either verbally, physically or emotionally.
  • Choosing partners who fall into a pattern of being very excited about falling in love and end up wanting to flee once the initial excitement fade away.
  • Doing or saying things you don't really mean just to get validation from your partner, without checking into your own authentic feelings, interests, and values.
  • Giving up on your true feelings just because you rather be with anyone rather than to be alone.
  • Giving up on important interests, beliefs, or friendships to maximize your time in a relationship so you can please your romantic partner.
  • Using sex, seduction, and manipulation (guilt/shame) to "hook" or hold on to a partner.
  • Using sex or romantic intensity to tolerate difficult experiences or emotions.

Love addiction tends to create drama and scandal. It stems from a deep desire to connect but the problem comes in that there is a need to connect at all costs - despite how "wrong something is" and regardless of how dangerous and risky that relationship may be.

This fierce love that Olivia Pope has for the men in her life is not for herself, and that's the root of love addiction. Love addicts crave unhealthy love. They attract love that doesn't take into consideration one's true needs and emotions. Olivia is consistent in this area. She is allowing her wounds to choose for her.

While we cannot fault her for this, we can only hope that she's willing to take responsibility for the choices she makes. It's not easy. One look at her parents and it's clear to see how deep Olivia's issues go. Our parents are our original archetype for the kind of love we want. This relationship is the blueprint upon which we choose from.

Olivia grew up in secrecy with a high powered father and a shady mother. This dynamic can lead to adults who don't feel seen, listened to and loved. This emotional void creates a deep well of emptiness and sorrow and it is THAT very wound that ends up making her choices.

She's not acting on her own behalf. Her healthy true self is not making her love life choices. It is her wounded younger self that is still hurt and angry with both her father & mother. As a result she recreates those patterns with her toxic relationships which explains her attraction to unavailable and scandalous men such as Fitz and now Russell.

This emotional chaos is very familiar to her. Despite her "conflict" she's very comfortable in this role. It's safe for her and the irony of that statement is not lost on her.

Olivia's story is not that unfamiliar to the every woman, which probably explains why Scandal continues to dominate Thursday nights. As women we want to own who we are and live a fierce life. We want to do our thing, run the world and be unapologetic.

We want to exude this confident and competent woman on the outside when in reality there's still this wounded inner child who's hurt. So we allow her to play out what we think will soothe her when in reality, it does the opposite. Love addiction is real and it's a tough habit to break free from. But it's possible.

With awareness, insight, strategies and action the Olivias of the world can begin to heal the wounds that keep them from accepting healthy love in their lives.

It's important to say that this is more common that you think. Perhaps you can totally relate to this story or you might know of a woman in your life who is just like Olivia Pope. As a psychotherapist and as a woman that has been in an abusive relationship and learned to build my sense of self esteem from the ground up, it's important to know that we are not alone.

Olivia is an archetype of a woman, a woman that many of us can relate to. She is fiercely strong on the outside but, many times, falling apart on the inside.

The first step in any recovery process is becoming aware that there is a problem. Awareness kick starts the healing process. The next step is to explore what the love wound is. You have to ask yourself the hard questions:

  • Where is this deep need for love coming from?
  • Was your blueprint for love unhealthy?
  • Did your upbringing lead you to crave for love no matter how or who it came from?

Get to know your love story and your love wounds. Next, decide to take one step towards giving yourself self-love, from the inside out. Our worthiness can't be dependent on anyone or anything outside of ourselves. The first relationship you need to nurture is the relationship you have with yourself. From here, you inform the world how you should be treated.

How can you love yourself more today? Perhaps it's some gentle self-talk. Hiring a therapist to guide you to heal these parts of your psyche is also very helpful. Or maybe you just need some happy hormones to help you.

Go for a run instead of texting that Tinder guy who you know is really not the best match for you. Deep down we know. We've always known. Whether your start simple or start small, the most important thing to remember is that you need to START somewhere.

I want to hear from you!

Can you relate to Olivia or the archetype of the powerful woman at the top of her game in business but not in love?

Share your story and comments below. It's time we break the stigma and silence around love addiction. Here's to starting a fierce self love movement!

Do you think you might be suffering from love addiction? If so check out my free video training series at and unlock how you can break free and start the process of healing your love wounds.