For some people, love does not remain a bond of mutual respect and trust, but becomes an obsession – an almost psychological condition. Obsessive love is not only harmful for the person who experiences it, but it can have an equally disastrous effect on the people around him. So what does one do if they are obsessively in love?
“A mighty pain to love it is,
And ’tis a pain that pain to miss;
But of all pains, the greatest pain
It is to love, but love in vain.”
– Abraham Cowley
Love, they say, is a wonderful emotion. For most people, it signifies the coming together of two hearts to beat as one. It is the mutual liking between two people and a promise to keep each other happy. But for others, it’s an obsession. It happens when a simple feeling of liking, becomes a manic desire to possess. When the feelings of love transcend into a need to possess and own, it is commonly referred to as obsessive love disorder. Certain telltale signs of this disorder include a feeling of being obsessed with the person, stalking the person physically or through varied other mediums, resenting their relationships with others, and if in a relationship, being insecure and jealous. Why does this feeling come about and how does one deal with it?
What is Obsessive Love
Like we mentioned earlier, obsessive love means that a person has gone beyond ‘love’ and has become obsessed with that person. One would assume that this form of ‘love’ comes about only when a person knows the other person or is in a relationship with them, but that is not the case. A person can experience obsessive love even when they know nothing about the other person. Do you see that person just a couple of times a day? How often have you actually talked to that person? If the answer to both the questions is ‘rarely’ or ‘maybe once’, then the chances are that your feelings for that person are not love, but an obsession.
It has been seen that people who have a tendency of developing obsessive love disorder usually have a low self-esteem. This can almost always be traced back to certain experiences in their childhood which creates an emotional void in them. They then try to fill it with the love of another person. This condition is dominated by the feeling that if they possess the other person, all their problems will be solved. With this background, even though they might see or meet someone just once in their life, that one meeting (direct or indirect) may have such an impact on them that they just won’t stop thinking about that moment and that person. Maybe when they were down, someone came along and lent them a helping hand. This help, no matter how small, like giving them an eraser or helping them clear up a mess, creates warm feelings towards that person. They end up fantasizing about that person and put him up on a pedestal, believing he could do nothing wrong.
But the truth of the matter is that it is an illusion that they have developed for themselves. If the feelings are not reciprocated, it can turn into an even more serious obsession where they might experience extreme depression and develop suicidal tendencies, which is not only harmful for them but will take a toll on the people around them as well. In more severe cases, people who experience obsessive love have even taken to violence, causing harm to their love interest. While you may not go to the extent of turning violent or inflicting harm on yourself or others, this disorder is extremely crippling and that is why there is a need to correct it.
Dealing with Obsessive Love Disorder
One needs to deal with this disorder, like one would with most psychological disorders. The primary factor that needs to be fulfilled is that the person should want to do away with the disorder himself. Then and only then can the necessary steps be taken to solve this problem.
Learn to Let Go
As easy as it is to say, letting go is no mean feat, especially for an obsessive stalker. But if one realizes the problem, the extent to which it can escalate, and wishes to change, then what is required to be done is to forget that person and move on. Remember the adage – out of sight, out of mind. Stay away from the person so that you are not reminded of them and things related to them, which will ultimately spiral you into obsessive thoughts about them.
There is a need to introspect and understand where you stand. The realization that love is not binding and that the want to possess does not come in when it is love, needs to be understood. When the need to possess comes in, it is a warning sign that it is an obsession which includes obsessive thinking and anxiety and causes harm to self and others around. When you find that you’re thinking about them – stop. When you find that there is a need to trace their activities through varied social media or otherwise – stop. Stop all those thoughts and distract yourself with something else, anything else.
Find a Hobby or Special Interest
Get into a hobby or activity. This will work in two ways. One, it will help you develop a skill that will give you more confidence and therefore help overcome that helpless and dejected feeling, and two, it will channel all your energy spent in obsessing about the other person in excelling at that activity. It is said that when you follow a hobby passionately, you tend to get highly involved in it and lose yourself in it. The person focuses all his energy in the hobby and hence the hobby or special interest tends to take the primary attention of the obsessive lover, than the loved one. This concept is known as ‘flow’.
Since low-self esteem is the cause of developing this disorder, work towards that. It is necessary that you take up activities that help you get out of your mind and work on something. It could be anything, just as far as you feel good about yourself for taking it up. This helps because it frees you from being dependent on another person for your happiness. And when you are confident, it shows in the way that you carry yourself and in everything that you do. Confidence attracts people to you unlike tendencies of obsession.
Help from Friends and Family
If there is one social unit which affects the thinking of a person more than anything else, it is the friends around him. A positive social circle will have a positive impact on the person. His friends need to be there for him in whichever way he needs. They could be his listening ear when he’s down, be tough with him when he’s in a self-victimizing mood or simply help divert his attention by going out for a movie. A support group always helps rather than dealing with it alone.
Many individuals find it difficult to talk to others about their problems or have no one to talk to who can provide them with a solution. In such a case, seeking the help of a professional becomes essential. A psychologist will be able to get to the root of the problem and provide certain exercises that can be carried forth.
All these factors will help you effectively deal with the obsession and take charge of your life. Obsessive love leaves you drained, weak and helpless. It is therefore important to understand that this is no way to live, and that there is nothing more important in the world than your peace of mind. Never let anyone else be the focal point of your life, let your life be about you.
Disclaimer: This LoveBondings article is for informative purposes only and does not intend to replace the diagnosis of, and treatment provided by an expert.