When Carla’s husband decided to leave their marriage, she panicked. She cried, screamed, called him repeatedly. She lost weight and dyed her hair. She threatened him and out of frustration threw a glass at him and then sobbed uncontrollably begging for his forgiveness. Her fear and pain were so strong that her entire focus became “getting him back.” She found creative and increasingly desperate ways to manipulate the object of her desire. As she continued to pursue him and he continued to rebuff her, she realized she was headed for trouble. 

      When does “love” go too far?

      If you have begun to engage in or even consider dire behaviors, then you need to stop for a minute and think about what you are doing. This is no longer about love, but about control, fear, or revenge. When you lie, or manipulate and scheme, you set yourself up for feelings of shame and embarrassment and more rejection. You may even get arrested. This behavior won’t make him come back to you. In fact, it may make him loathe you and, in the process of behaving this way, you will begin to loathe yourself. If you recognize any of these behaviors as your own, then you have gone over the line to obsession. Get help from a trusted spiritual leader or therapist. Contact a support group or an anonymous hotline that can help you deal with this problem. Make no mistake: this IS a problem. Obsession means that your thoughts are dominated by one single idea. There is a major difference between “He’s important in my life” and “He is my life.” Being obsessed is serious and dangerous. Are you mixing love with obsession? Do you:

  •        Change yourself to get him back?
  •       Lose your focus and interest in anything else?
  •       Hear friends or family suggest you are too wrapped up in him?
  •       Feel you would die without him?
  •       Let him be abusive toward you?
  •       Have fantasies of hurting him or someone he loves?
  •       Call his friends/girlfriend?
  •       Plan your life around seeing him?
  •       Secretly take pictures of him?          
  •       Continue to try to force a relationship with him?
  •       Misinterpret his behavior, look for signs of returned affection?
  •       Drive by his home or place of work daily?
  •       Spy on him?
  •       Read his personal e-mails, listen to his voice mail, break into his home?
  •       Call or text him over and over?
  •       Fantasize about getting rid of his girlfriend?
  •       Fake a serious illness just to get his attention?

       Realize that anytime your thoughts are dominated by a single person to the exclusion of anything else, you risk becoming addicted to that person. If left untreated, the problem will escalate. If you think your behavior is even possibly obsessive, ask for help immediately. You are too important to allow your thoughts of another person to dominate and ruin your life.


© 2013 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Farmington, CT since 1986.She is the author of the award winning From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce now available in Kindle format for $9.99 as well as in paperback.


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