An "Obsession" is not love

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 An "Obsession" is not love
The obsessed lover may shower you with gifts, but they want something back...to isolate and own you.

There have been news reports about men and women becoming obsessed with their spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend to the point of harming or killing them when they feel threatened they will leave. A recent report just in the news talks about a woman who sent hundreds of texts within a couple of hour’s time as well as harming her beloved’s property. A husband in California killed his wife and small son because he thought she was in love with someone else. They claim they do this out of an intense love, and liken it to the kind of love that inspired Shakespeare’s sonnets, or the kind of books that readers cannot put down for days. They like to think their own love story is like those that famous producers create to be so touching the entire audience is left crying. These kind of love stories leave the audience talking about these movies, books, or poems for generations, but if you are involved in a real life obsessive love story it is anything but full of love. It is a scary, twisted nightmare for the unfortunate person involved with someone who is obsessed.
We learn how to love from our family of origin. If you had parents that loved in a chaotic, controlling manner, it will be more likely that you would feel comfortable with that style of love. Obsession has a lot to do with being able to control the other person. Their reason for control may be their fear of abandonment. Usually people who are obsessed come on way too strong in the beginning, due to a severe sense of loss in their own life. Counseling can be very effective with this group of people, but left untreated, obsessive love can lead to dangerous consequences as well as murder.
John Moore Ph.D. wrote the book “Confusing Love with Obsession,” which describes four levels of obsession.

The first level is the attraction phase. This is the beginning, so it is most important that you note it. Basically, the person comes on way too strong. They may send flowers, text immediately after the date, and talk about being with you constantly. They are already beginning to fantasize about you, and it is usually with a focus on one aspect of you while ignoring your whole person.
The second phase is what Moore refers to as the anxious phase. This is when they become more controlling as they are worried you will leave them. They may begin to experience intense feelings of mistrust which is why they will text, call or email you numerous times each day. They also may want to isolate you or limit your meeting with others in this stage.
The third phase is the obsessive phase. The obsessed person begins to break the law or make impossible demands on their partner’s time and life. They begin calling their partner’s place of work or their home frequently. They cannot get enough. They become demanding of constant and total attention. If they don’t get it, they may become enraged. Control tactics are used: they may be having you followed, traced, and watched continuously. Most likely, at this point you will have to get the law involved as the obsessed person is out of control with himself or herself. They are busy trying to control you.

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Mary Jo Rapini

Counselor/Therapist

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