When you’re obessing or fantasizing over one thing, one object, one act, one man, one whatever, you’re whole world has vanished down to a pinpoint. Obsession can be so destructive it can stunt growth. It takes away time from your life you can never get back. That’s the bad news. The good news is you can change.
What is obsession? Sure, the textbook definition is the state of being obsessed with someone or something. But what is it REALLY. From my experience, obsessing is what we do to avoid getting real with ourselves. It’s what we do to avoid pain. It keeps us lazy, immobile, narrowly focused, imprisoned. We lose control of our lives when we obsess. But, the truth is, we’re scared to death to do anything else. We’re afraid if we let go of our obsessive thoughts, we won’t understand the world. We’ll be derailed. We will..gasp!…have to actually think of other things!
Here’s a game you can play with your brain. It’s a thinking game.
Sit in a quiet room where you won’t be distracted for about an hour.
Turn off all cell phones, computers, iPods, music, TV etc. Complete quiet!
Now, if you have a stop watch, set it for one (1) minute.
What you basically have to do within that minute is think of anything you want. Anything! If your PoA pops into your head, that’s OK too.
Ready, set, go.
OK, how did you do? In your journal, write down any and all of the stuff you thought about. Now do the same game for 5 minutes. And repeat. What did you think about? Career? Hobbies? Work? Television? PoA?
Sadly, when I first did this, I learned a rather disturbing truth: I had nothing else to think about but my PoA. No art, no music, no current events. I knew NOTHING because I wasted so many years obsessing over a man.
And that’s when it hit me…I am the sum of my thoughts. SO, if my thoughts are only about one guy, I am not much else. This was a HUGE wake up call for me. I knew it was time to work as hard as possible to change that. And how did I do it? I got serious about forcing myself to think other thoughts. I picked up the book East of Eden by Steinbeck and read it. I looked online for graduate programs. I started to watch the news. When I talked to others, I moved the conversation toward neutral stuff–NOT relationships–I tried to learn about politics, art, music, etc. I thought of people who are deeply career driven and I tried to imitate them. What do they think about?
The more relevant stuff you put into your brain, the less chance it has to think IDLE thoughts.
The below is a journal entry I wrote while I was in obsessive mode. It clearly shows how willing I was to replace obsessive thoughts for one man with a man I didn’t even know. See if you can relate:
I feel it coming on again. It’s as if my brain cannot ever be at rest. When one man goes, another one comes. Like spirits that possess the body without the self knowing.
I have shut off mentally to both S and G, with the occasional, lingering sad thought for S. But there’s someone else. Not physically, mind you. In fact, we only know of each other in the narrowest sense. He’s a long time friend of a friend. Recently divorced. I saw him for a SPLIT second at a wedding over the summer and though he was married then, his eyes burned a hole in me, he was staring so deeply. At the time I only thought, jerk. But now it all kind of makes sense. he and his wife were on their way to splitsville. I was talking with her at the time and we were laughing about motherhood. She’s stunningly beautiful and I have always really liked her. She reminds me of me, but far more confident. That might be deceiving. But it has been my opinion for years. As for him, I have never had any conversation with him, EVER. He’s known as kind of a boring guy.
So, time goes by and S and I are over and by a huge error in judgment, I cleared my status with S on facebook and “Tracy is no longer in a relationship with S…” came across EVERYONE’S newsfeed. I was humiliated, to say the least. However, it gave D (the new guy) a chance to flirt.
D is a lawyer. A successful one. He’s 38. Plays guitar. Lives on a farm. He likes witty, intelligent, sexy, Italian women who have a tendency to come on strong. This combination in my little fantasy-world is what has kept him in the forefront of my brain these past two weeks. He gives me stuff to think about. I can imagine happiness. Who can’t be happy with a lawyer who plays guitar on a farm? The more I think about this, the more perfect he becomes. And so starts the obsessing.
I am not obsessed with him yet, but it’s like this: If I don’t have thoughts of a MAN in my head (not just any man, but one whom I am interested in and who is showing me some sign of attention), I feel completely empty. Detached. Not a part of the world. It’s horrible.
So the obsessing keeps me connected. It keeps me grounded.
I have said before I am not ready to date. I dread the day I open my inbox only to find “how about a drink sometime after work?” sent from a new guy. I will surely go into a panic. But it is obviously my goal, albeit a subconscious one, to maintain connectivity to a man, any man. That, I believe, is the definition of my love addiction.