POSSIBLE CAUSES OF OBSESSIVE LOVE
Individuals who fall victim to feelings of obsessive love tend to focus these feelings on a person who is obviously UNAVAILABLE (e.g. has a different sexual orientation or is in a happy and devoted relationship with someone else).
This means the object of obsessive love is likely to be, at best, indifferent to the attention s/he receives from his/her ardent admirer. Indeed, it is thought to be this very lack of response from the object of obsessive love towards the one afflicted by the obsession that is largely responsible for fueling and perpetuating the obsession. But why should this be?
The answer to this seems to be that because the admirer’s deep feelings remain utterly unreciprocated and no relationship develops, the only way the admirer can have a ‘relationship’ with the admired one is IN HIS/HER OWN HEAD (i.e. a FANTASY RELATIONSHIP).
And, of course, a fantasy relationship (i.e. one that exists only in imagination) can be an IDEAL RELATIONSHIP, something that could never happen in reality (because, of course, no relationship between two people can possibly be ideal and perfect; most, in fact, are very far from it).
WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE ARE PRONE TO DEVELOPING FEELINGS OF OBSESSIVE LOVE?
The type of person who develops feelings of obsessive love tends to be, or perceive him/herself to be, an OUTSIDER and one who DOES NOT ‘BELONG.’ Such a person may be on the fringes of society and feel both unfulfilled in life and vulnerable.
A further characteristic of such people is frequently that they have severely weakened ‘ego-boundaries’ which means that they have a very poor concept of their own identity as a unique and separate individual.
It follows, therefore, that falling obsessively in love can be a desperate attempt to ‘belong’; in fact, one way to view it is as an attempt to ‘merge’ with the other person in an unconscious attempt to make them ‘part of us’, so that we can feel what they feel and obtain a vicarious sense of identity – a desire for the self and the object of obsessive love to ‘become one’.
This is an intense, primal need (which can be, one theory suggests, due to a dysfunctional relationship with our primary care-giver during our very early development leading to a lack of healthy bonding) we failed to have fulfilled for us when very young. This is thought to be why it is so intensely painful when the object of obsessive love remains resolutely indifferent to and non-reciprocating of, our ardent yearnings.
Developing feelings of obsessive love can, then, be seen as a type of REGRESSION (i.e. a return to a childlike state).
OTHER POSSIBLE CAUSES OF OBSESSIVE LOVE :
More research needs to be conducted on the causes of obsessive love, but, as well as the possible causes referred to above, other contributory factors are currently thought to include :
– having a distant father when we were a child
– a lack of emotional support in general when we were a child
– absence of a parent when we were a child (e.g. because of divorce)
– death of a parent when we were a child
– role-reversal when we were a child (e.g. as a child, we had to ‘act as a parent’ to our mentally ill mother – a position I myself was in)
– rejection as a child by parent/s
THE REPETITION COMPULSION :
If we were rejected by those who were supposed to care for us when we were children, it has also been theorized that WE UNCONSCIOUSLY SEEK TO REPEAT THE EXPERIENCE OF REJECTION WE SUFFERED DURING OUR CHILDHOOD (in a desperate attempt, again unconsciously, to gain ‘mastery’ over the feelings of utter devastation that it originally engendered in us).
Therefore, those who fall victim to painful feelings of obsessive love often have a profoundly entrenched perception of themselves as unworthy and essentially unlovable; such an abject self-view has been conditioned, frequently, by their unhappy childhood experiences.
THE JUNGIAN INTERPRETATION OF OBSESSIVE LOVE DISORDER: PROJECTION AND NARCISSISM
Jungian psychologists (i.e. psychoanalysts strongly influenced by Carl Jung’s theories) as resulting from the projection of the inner self’ onto another person. The term ‘projection’ in psychology refers to the attributing of one’s own characteristics and personality traits (or, in this case, the characteristics and personality traits of one’s inner self) to another. In this sense, it may be viewed as narcissistic. Another psychoanalytic interpretation of obsessive love disorder also relates the condition to narcissism; specifically, to the narcissistic need to distract oneself from one’s anxieties.
Dealing with obsessive love | Self-hypnosis downloads CLICK HERE.
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).
Holder of MSc and post graduate teaching diploma in psychology. Highly experienced in education. Founder of childhoodtraumarecovery.com. Survivor of severe childhood trauma.