The idea that obsessional love is a bad thing is full of mixed messages.
Obsessive behaviour leading to actions like stalking is seen as bad.
Being Crazy in Love is acceptable.
Songs are written about being obsessed with men and women.
Being in love and being in obsessive love are both on the same spectrum. A blindness or being knocked off-centre is needed for reproductive purposes. If rational judgment was allowed: not enough people would enter into a relationship and have children!
One view is that if there was no obsession in the 21st Century modern western economies wouldn’t work.
To be obsessed with wanting something. A car, jacket, phone, or house is what the market thrives on.
Being obsessed with buying is what makes economies work.
Yet there is a thin line between being obsessed with a person and being crazy in love with a person. In both cases the emphasis is on the other person. The object of desire.
There is more understanding to be gained looking at the obsessed person rather than the obsessive object.
Obsessional Love starts with a need from deep inside that has to be satisfied. An empty space that has to be obsessively filled. It cannot be empty. It is too painful for the space to be empty. Fill it with something.
The object that fills the empty space is usually familiar to us. It is familiar in the sense that the shape of the empty space is familiar to us. The object that fills the space has a familiar shape.
This familiarity might not be familiar to us! It takes an abstract awareness and practice to recognise an emotional landscape of feelings.
This empty space can be created from childhood: predominantly in the lack of interaction between parent and child. Perhaps the parent is having a challenging time and not able to give the child their full attention: or has not had a loving experience themselves so is unable to pass it on to the child.
Obsessional Love tries to make up for this love deficit.
The empty space is highlighted in transition periods. Teenage years, middle age and in crises such as bereavement, illness and trauma.
Being aware and becoming familiar with our inner emotional landscape can help us identify what needs to be done. The filling of an emotional hole with love and care, rather than obsession: making contact with a good friend rather than going to the shops.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2013
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.