Never underestimate the power of obsessive love

Extinguish my eyes, I’ll go on seeing you.
Seal my ears, I’ll go on hearing you.
And without feet, I can make my way to you,
without a mouth, I can swear your name.

Break off my arms, I’ll take hold of you
with my heart as with a hand.
Stop my heart, and my brain will start to beat.
And if you consume my brain with fire,
I’ll feel you burn in every drop of my blood

Rainer Maria Rilke

Many relationships in the real world suffer early death because of one or both partners displaying obsessive behaviour. The world of drama and film is no different. In fact, many acclaimed masterpieces have used obsession as their basis, or plot.

But how do people become obsessed?

I believe, if you look at the individual, whether in real life or in a drama, you will likely find some dependency issues dating back to their childhood. Children who don’t get enough nurturing love and attention in their formative years cannot mature emotionally and so, become crippled with dependency on others in their later years. This is a precursor to developing obsessive love disorder traits in some shape or form.

The lack of affection in childhood creates a feeling of emptiness that they then strive to fill, making them emotionally needy and painfully dependent on the people around them. The behaviours that drive them can become very intense or reckless and when coupled with social or emotional immaturity these individuals have trouble controlling crises and turmoil, especially in intimate relationships.

To repair their poor self-worth and self-esteem, these individuals often use their intimate relationships as a crutch. Their identity and purpose in life are seamlessly interwoven with their intimate partner, whether that person is a lover, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or even a child. Yes, people can be obsessed with their children.

My own mother was obsessed with religion.

I think as a child I understood that my mother was a parent to me and my brother, not because she was our mother, but because the Bible told her to be a good parent. Nearly all her free time was either spent in the church involved in some activity or the other. She also tried to fill the void in her life with bird-watching and teaching. She was an obsessive ornithologist. She was also an obsessive teacher.

These activities were what drove her and kept her going every day. It wasn’t her love for me and my brother and certainly not my father. She didn’t know how to be loving and affectionate and she was emotionally and socially immature. She’s still like that today. After my father’s death when I was just a teen, I thought she’d eventually find another husband but she never did. I’ve always wondered why but never asked. I love her dearly – she is my mother after all.

The kind of obsessive love that features in so many Asian drama and film, is the kind that displays jealousy and excessive infatuation with a member of the opposite sex to the extreme in some cases.

The characters portrayed often focus on their victim and neglect the rest of their lives, just as an obsessed person does in the real world. Their life becomes unbalanced and if they suffer a loss in the relationship they are devastated, just as in real life.

Can obsession and its behaviours be controlled?

Yes, of course! An obsessed person is controlled by their immature emotions. To control the obsession one needs to learn to distract themselves from the excessive anxiety to help break the cycle. Doing something that is enjoyable and healthy to counteract the anxiety levels helps, particularly a physical activity where you need to exert yourself while simultaneously using your brain. Also, setting small goals of getting things done in life can give you a break from the overdrive of obsession. Breaking larger life goals down into smaller steps, especially if the larger life goal is your life’s mission. People often neglect to include a practice or habit like yoga or meditation, but these really work and bring discipline and control, as well as balance into behaviours and being. Obsessive people often neglect their family and friends when trapped in their compulsion to ‘have’, so making effort to reground relationships and listen to the advice from those around them is essential.

People can and do overcome obsessive love disorder in healthy ways and better their lives when they learn to control their thoughts and emotions.

If you have read this and realize that you or someone you know may have some of the behaviours I’ve described, then talk to them, your doctor, or a professional, and get help to become a better you!

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