Obsession versus Love
Dawn Cove Abbey
Klaas Tuinman
Deerfield, Nova Scotia 2009 (Rev: 2010-2020)
    Indicators of Obsession:
    *An instant attraction to romantic interest, usually occurring within the first few minutes of meeting.
    *An immediate urge to rush into a relationship regardless of compatibility.
    *Becoming "hooked on the look" of another, focusing on the person's physical characteristics while
      ignoring personality differences.
    *Unrealistic fantasies about a relationship with a love interest, assigning "magical" qualities to an
      object of affection. The beginnings of obsessive, controlling behaviors begin to manifest.

    Other aspects, after having made an initial commitment include:
    * Unfounded thoughts of infidelity on the part of a partner and demanding accountability for
       normal daily activities.
    * An overwhelming fear of abandonment, including baseless thoughts of a partner walking out
       on the relationship in favor of another person.
    *The need to constantly be in contact with a love interest via phone, email, text-messaging, or
      in person.
    *Strong feelings of mistrust begin to emerge, causing depression, resentment and
      relational tension.

    The continuation and escalation of obsessive, controlling behaviors.

    Eventually, it escalates to the following:
    *The development of "tunnel vision," which is a situation where the relationally dependent person
      cannot stop thinking about a love interest and required his or her constant attention.
    *Neurotic, compulsive behaviors, including rapid telephone calls to love interest's
      place of residence or workplace.
    *Unfounded accusations of "cheating" due to extreme anxiety.
    *"Drive-bys" around a love interest's home or place of employment, with the goal of assuring that
       the person is at where "he or she is supposed to be."
    *Physical or electronic monitoring activities, following a love interest's whereabouts   throughout
      the course of a day to discover their daily activities.
    *Extreme control tactics, including questioning a love interest's commitment to the relationship
      (guilt trips) with the goal of manipulating a love interest into providing  more attention.

    The final “stage”:
    When those have basically resulted in destroying any possibility of keeping a
    relationship going, the following tend to emerge:
    *Overwhelming feelings of depression (feeling "empty" inside).
    *A sudden loss of self-esteem, due to the collapse of the relationship.
    *Extreme feelings of self-blame and at times, self-hatred.
    *Anger, rage and a desire to seek revenge against a love interest for breaking off the relationship.
    *Denial that the relationship has ended and attempting to "win a loved one back" by making
     promises to "change".
    *The use of drugs, alcohol, food or sex to "medicate" the emotional pain.
    Love vs. Obsession - Loving Too Much? - One View
    Many romantic relationships fall into these two formats: an individual is either desperately trying           
    to get someone to love them, or they are desperately trying to keep the love of a partner by
    focusing an inordinate amount of their attention on them. Both are forms of "obsession” - neither
    of these has anything to do with genuine love.

    Obsession is where we obsess over our own emotions. This is characterized by expressing
    ourselves on an extremely selfish level. In doing this, we really are not loving those we have
    feelings for because we want them to be happy, even if it means they choose to live their lives
    without us.

    In obsession, people are focused on things that are designed to make them happy by doing
    everything they possibly can to get the other individuals to share their lives exclusively with them.
    And they will often go to some very extraordinary lengths in order to try to make that happen.
    They romantically chase, sometimes pursue, even physically stalk - those they profess to "love."
    When they engage in relationships with new partners, they tend to be so possessive in their manner
    of "loving" that the ones on the receiving end inevitably tend to run for the door to escape what
    they perceive to be an extremely oppressive and, essentially, unloving atmosphere.
    *When the “objects of desire” leave them, they continue to chase them and may even harass them
      with phone calls and letters.
    *They appear in desperation at their doors at all hours of the day and night.
    *They confront their new partners in jealous rages, intent on venting their emotions
      while making the lives of those they profess to love miserable in the process.
    *They may even attempt to ruin their careers, reputations and the families, as a
      form of retaliation for not being  loved enough in return.

    The "problem" or reason behind obsession.
    People who are obsessed: have major Trust issues, and tend to suffer from major Jealousy issues,
    and have major esteem issues which leave them feeling totally insecure.

    They might go so far as having fantasies of killing the object of their love in order to prevent him
    or her from sharing a life with someone else. That is not “loving”. It is emotional obsession in
    its most dangerous and destructive form. It is so different, and so far removed, from genuine love
    that it can't even be categorized as obsessionbecause it is a form of psychosis.

    "When people genuinely give love to others, they selflessly put the other's happiness ahead
    of their own. They feel their pains, their sorrows. They also respect their own right to freedom,
    should that man or woman choose to exercise that right.
    *They extend themselves beyond their own wants and needs to encourage their partners to enjoy
      rich, full lives for themselves, risking the possibility that they won't be active participants in their
      lives in the future.
    *They want these individuals to be genuinely happy as they live their lives - with or without us
      - because they are capable of truly loving them that much." ~Unknown Source
    Falling in genuine love is totally different: We literally feel the urge to mate and be coupled
    with that individual.
    This magnetism is an initial stage of loving, but it is far from reaching its final and most meaningful
    stage. Falling in love only draws us toward an individual with whom we may develop a relation-
    ship in the future, but the future depth and substance of that relationship won't have a thing to
    do with sexual attraction experienced in the here and now. When we fall in love we feel entranced,
    dazzled, and downright captivated with that individual who attracts us so intensely.
    We feel drawn, consciously or not, to selfishly gratify a deep, inner longing for physical unity with
    another who characterizes an ideal mating partner for us at that particular time.

    There's no denying our basic nature, in part, to be sexual beings, no matter how technologically
    advanced civilization may have become. Human beings are drawn to one another essentially to
    mate, propagate, and, in general, proliferate the species. It's basic human nature, after all.

    Loving, on the other hand, is an entirely unselfish act in emotionally extending ourselves
    beyond our own wants and needs. Through such loving, we recognize that our loved one is a
    wholly separate person who is traveling his or her own individual path in life without our
    needing or requiring them to be there for us at any given moment.

    When we say, "I can't live without this person in my life," we aren't expressing love but instead,
    extreme dependency on another individual. We are obsessed and parasitic in the way we feel about
    that individual. We have focused the essence of our lives on the lives of our partners and are
    basically feeding off them as they pursue their own happiness in life. We virtually have no identity
    for ourselves when we live this way.
    We are so focused on that partner and what he or she does in an attempt to be happy that we
    have no idea what it means to make ourselves happy. We are, plainly speaking, living our lives
    through the lives of others, which is a very unhealthy way to live.
    Genuine love will never grow from such an unhealthy way of life, only greater dependency and
    deeper unhappiness is fostered in the end.

    If you worry that you might be obsessing rather than truly loving your partner, ask yourself these
    questions:
    * Are you afraid to allow the one you love the space and freedom in which to pursue his or her
       own goals and dreams to grow and develop as a wholly separate  individual?
    * Do you respect the privacy of the one you love or do you feel so insecure about the relationship
       you share that you feel driven to be a participant in every facet of their lives?
    * Are you overly suspicious of your partner's relationships with others - family members, coworkers,
       and friends – and scheme to destroy these relationships so he or she will ultimately "belong"
       only to you?
    * Does the thought of your partner leaving you fill you with such fear that you think, "I can't ever
       let that happen"?

    I urge those who are yearning to better understand the difference between genuine love and
    obsession to pick up a copy of "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck, MD. This book
    directly parallels the teachings of Personal Prophesy in terms of what constitutes truly healthy,
    loving relationships. - adapted from: Love vs. Obsession: Are You Loving Too Much?
    ~Deborah Leigh Ketner
    Healthy / Unhealthy Love
    A healthy love is when my heart is filled with happiness, joy, respect,  and just pure love - in
    actions as well as feelings: Unhealthy love is filled with stress, pain, frustration, doubt, and
    heartbreak and lack of trust.
    An unhealthy love is not happy - it's miserable.
    A healthy love is the sharing of two people, two souls, connecting together.
    An unhealthy love is one that has one being a Giver all the time, while the other
    is always the Taker - the relationship is not equal in feeling, actions, etc.
    A healthy one is where two people are connected in healthy ways - supporting
    each other, loving each other in feelings and actions, sharing a life together,
    each giving to the relationship, and bringing out each other's best!
    A healthy love is one where each person grows and matures and yet knows
    they are accepted for who they are. Each is given acceptance and has a SO that
    wants what is best for them, and uplifting each other as well.
    In a unhealthy love there is one who dominates the relationship, condemns
    the other and brings them down, takes power over the other, manipulates,
    abuses, takes advantage, takes for granted, etc.

    To sum this up: a healthy love is positives. An unhealthy love is negatives.

    Really loving another person takes time, it takes perseverance and it can’t be based on physical
    attraction alone. Until you know somebody well you can’t really be in love.
Dawn Cove Abbey
_______________________________
"Roadside Assistance" For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
_____________________________________________
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman M.A © 2007-2020

Established in 1995, in commemoration of Abbey Dawn in Kingston, Ontario.
___________________________________________________
Questions and comments welcomed.
    If all of your time and effort goes in to satisfying the needs of another or in chasing after another         
    person then you are at risk of becoming obsessed. If one person is always trying to please the other
    person, or if the relationship is without consideration and compromise then it could be based on
    obsessive feelings rather than real love.

    Real love is nurturing and helps people grow
    but obsession is debilitating and takes away from the psyche of the person caught up in it.

    If you feel like you have lost yourself, if you are always striving to please your partner without them    
    doing the same for you, and if you find yourself making all your decisions in your life based on the   
    feelings and needs of the other person you are obsessed and not in a real love relationship: and         
    you've become codependent.
                                                           Love can’t be forced at will,
                                                           it must be found,
                                                           and that can only happen for real
                                                           when our hearts and minds are free.
                                                           -Adapted from Jessica Stevenson

    Love versus Obsession    
    Obsessive Love - outline: The early stage of obsessive love is characterized by an instantaneous         
    and overwhelming attraction to another person. It is at this point the relationally dependent person
    becomes "hooked" on a romantic interest, usually resulting from the slightest bit of attention from           
    the person they are attracted to. That should be the first “warning flag”.

                           More detailed descriptions, symptoms and behaviors
                                           of obsession follow below.

    How do you know if it is really love or simply an obsession? “Love” involves many things, with
    trust  being  the most important (a discussion on "love" is provided further below). You may wish           
    to read further on trust and trusting: click HERE.

    Deeply insecure, controlling people try to defend their jealous or even violent actions by claiming
    that they are in love. But the reality is that Love is a beautiful, giving and trusting action between
    two people,  and Obsession is an action of one person towards (against) another.

    Love and Obsession have some similar qualities, but are very different: here are some guidelines
    to distinguish them:
           Obsession results in a constant or frequent fear of infidelity.
           Obsession results in constantly demanding that s/he tell you where s/he has been,
           and what s/he has been doing.
           Obsession wants to control who s/he sees and insists they drop all former friends.

    It is importantly to understand that those who do not trust the other when they do account for
    themselves, are not really in love When there are infidelity issues – it is time to reevaluate your  
    relationship. Where there is no trust, love does not stand a chance of survival.

    Another obsession indicator is having a constant fear that s/he will leave you, and you wonder if
    you can  even begin to survive on your own without her/him. No one wants to begin to think about
    what would  happen if they lost their true love, but constantly obsessing over this fear
    is - - - obsessing.

    Where there is a need to be in constant contact with the one you “love”, it is unhealthy for both.
    Being constantly afraid of losing him/her, feeling depressed  at the thought, and even provoking          
    arguments because of that fear, indicates that this is not really love – but obsession instead.
                                                           Love is a beautiful thing.
                                                           It should bring with it no fear,
                                                           no worries of desertion
                                                         and certainly should produce a
                                                           trust between two people;
                                                                       if it doesn’t,
                                                                       it isn’t love.
    Any relationship that does not have this peace and trust – is at the verge of disaster.

    Obsession has another dimension, too - compulsiveness.
    If you frequently call your special person at home or work just to see if s/he is there or even worse,
    If you drive by their home or workplace just to see their car then you should be concerned. Accusing
    him/her of cheating, Demanding to know every single detail of his life away from you and trying to
    control him/her at all times - points to obsession. Being obsessed with someone will only get you
    hurt – having someone who is obsessed with you will get you  hurt.
If you found this page helpful and know someone
else who could benefit from it, please tell them
The difference between Obsession and real, genuine Love.
    An obsession is a compulsive over-whelming excessive preoccupation, or unreasonable and is often
    accompanied by symptoms of anxiety; sometimes obsession consists of unwanted feeling or emotion,       
    which also produce anxiety.

    This page is about the reality of “obsession”, and provides examples of obsessive behaviour through an
    introduction to this all-too-common reality, with detailed characteristics. Then in comparison, it      
    contrasts Love to obsession by describing and discussing  healthy, genuine, "real" love.

    In Obsession, there are powerful "obsessive" feelings that are often mistaken for love, because people
    rationalize that, “It must be love if I can’t think of anyone else.”
                                           Obsession is misleading and destructive.
                                            Obsession kills genuine love every time.

    The more time and effort invested in an unhealthy obsession based relationship the more intense the  
    obsession can become and the more damage is done. Obsession in too many cases - kills.

    People in an obsessed state have a one-track mind where the other person is concerned to  the point        
    where they often lose touch with who they are as an individual. This loss of individuality creates a      
    vicious circle of behavior where the obsessed person grows more and more dependant on the other   
    person and on the relationship in general (also see  Codependent/Codependency).

    Even so-called unrequited love (love that is not returned) can become an overwhelming
    obsession. When one person believes they are in a relationship that doesn’t truly exist,
    or when one person is investing more in an existing relationship than the other, the
    foundation for an obsession has been laid.