Childhood Trauma and Obsessive Love Disorder

childhood trauma and obsessive love disorder

Obsessions are a symptom of an underlying anxiety disorder and materialize as a result of great stress such as severe emotional injury during childhood. In order to escape a world of intolerable psychological pain, the person suffering from obsessive love disorder escapes into a world of fantasy and obsession.

obsessive love disorder

obsessive love disorder

The disorder can come about as a result of having experienced a childhood in which the sufferer had chronically emotionally unresponsive parents, and, thus, did not have his/her emotional needs fulfilled when young. In essence, then, the sufferer has, in childhood, frequently been starved of emotional nurturance, love and acceptance.

However, the object of the ‘obsessive love’ is idealized and misperceived as someone who can supply the emotional nurturance that the sufferer was denied as a child.

obsessive love disorder

A typical dysfunctional childhood the sufferer of the condition may have experienced is to have been rejected early on in life by his/her mother, causing intense psychological pain, and, very often too,to have had a father who was critical and disapproving. As a result of this, the neglected child grows up feeling worthless and inadequate. Indeed, so great is the experience of childhood trauma that psychological and emotional development has frequently become arrested at an early stage (so that, as an adult, the individual still has the emotional needs s/he did at the time his/her development became arrested).

Therefore, as an adult, the emotionally damaged individual is very likely to experience constant failure when trying to form close relationships. Due to the instability of his/her realtionship with his/her parents when a child, s/he will tend to be anxious and fearful in relation to  attempts to form intimate bonds with others.

A preoccupation with ‘ideal love’ may then develop and the sufferer of the condition can then become fixated on unavailable and emotionally inaccessible objects of this idealized love.


– sufferer experienced lack of nurturing and attention when young

– sufferer feels profound inner emotional pain

– sufferer is frequently isolated and detached from the rest of his/her family

– sufferer mistakes ‘intensity’ for ‘intimacy’ in connection to relationships

– sufferer compartmentalizes relationship, thus keeping it separated from, and unitergrated with, other aspects of his/her life

– sufferer has driven, desperate and intense personality and is prone to being ‘dramatic’

– the sufferer has a need of others to relieve his/her psychological pain

– the sufferer is prone to severe depression

– the sufferer has an insatiable need for close emotional attachment as s/he was denied this when young and is likely to be developmentally emotionally arrested at a stage in childhood when close, dependable emotional attachment was desperately needed (so the need remains unfulfilled)

– sufferer feels an inner rage over the lack of emotional nurturing s/he received as a child

– sufferer very likely to have other addictions/obsessions

– sufferer has a deep inner sense of worthlessness


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

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About David Hosier MSc

Holder of MSc and post graduate teaching diploma in psychology. Highly experienced in education. Founder of Survivor of severe childhood trauma.

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