Our youngest (now 3 1/2) discovered "sweets" when she was about a year and a half. C. has a SERIOUS sweet tooth and Tortuga has an incredibly adverse response to sugar so we have tended to keep sweets around in moderation except when they "sneak" into our lives--Halloween, Valentine's Day, etc. Milagro quickly discovered that she loved candy and would literally "beg" for it if she knew it was in the house. So when she was just shy of age 2 we taught her to say "My name is Milagro and I have a problem. I am addicted to sugar. I love it. I want it. I crave it. I need it. Please give me sugar...sugar...sugar!" It has become a sort of "game" around here and she still engages in saying this whenever she wants us to indulge her. I think her body and mind really do "crave" sugar and if it is around she cannot stop thinking about it.
C. claims to be the same about chocolate and other sweets and describes the cravings as intense and overwhelming at times. Does this make them compulsions? As I understand it a compulsion is a powerful and irresistible impulse to act in a certain way no matter how (ir)rational it is. People act compulsively usually to reduce anxiety and/or worry. Sometimes I think Milagro's cravings for sugar are compulsions because they turn an incredibly pleasant, easy-going, and rational child into a tantruming "monster" and she will cry that she "needs" a piece of candy. Then there is dependence which I think of as a "compulsive" state of being in chronic need and/or reliance upon something in order to meet an overwhelming and perceived need. In essence that something is required in order for the person to "function" at whatever level they are used to functioning.
I have often viewed Corazon's need for having chaos around her (internal/emotional and external) as a dependence. She counts on it in order to function. I see Tortuga's need to be miserable in the same way. We often tell Tortuga that he is most comfortable when he is miserable (comfortable does not equal happy). Lately, I have been wondering if Corazon's constant need to be in "chaos" (physical, emotional, etc.) functions more like an addiction. It's not just about clutter and mess it's about chaos. I think her emotional state is so frequently in chaos that when it isn't for awhile it totally freaks her out and she spirals downward. In many ways she "hates" the chaos but she also "needs" the chaos because it is familiar. She knows how it feels, smells, looks, and plays out. When she isn't in chaos the world is a much more confusing place and it is very hard for her to find her place in it. She depends on it and she is driven to create it in order to restore "balance" even if it means she is in a state of chaos. Clearly it doesn't make sense for a happy existence as I see it but I think for her it as necessary as other addictions are for others. I think this state of chaos helps to distract her from some of the more