A Short Research Guide to Obsessive Love Disorder
Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert and additional research should be done if you are going to be playing a character such as this. I added resource links at the bottom to help you as well as show you where I found my information.
What is Obsessive Love Disorder?
This is a disorder that causes someone to become obsessed with someone they are attracted to, usually in a relationship with. This person with it will have self-destructive and often dangerous behaviors that damage their partner as well as themselves. They become obsessed with not just the other person but with love itself, which is why obsessive love disorder can also be classified as a type of love addiction.
Those with obsessive love disorder fear rejection, pain, and unfamiliar experiences. They are often trying to relive something that happened in their childhood, such a rejection, abandonment or abuse, and trying to make it right. Those with obsessive love disorder often become stalkers, are extremely dependent of their partners, and can be extremely manipulative.
Although not technically categorized as a true disorder, the existence has been acknowledged with plenty of research and even recovery programs for those who suffer with it.
What causes Obsessive Love?
Obsessive love disorder can most be linked to a lack of love in early childhood and adolescence. It is extremely common among people who have been neglected, abandoned, rejected, or abused in some way by their parents or a close family member. This leaves them with a feeling of being inferior and in need to feel loved.
It is extremely common for those with the disorder to choose people that are no good for them for their targets. Especially those who have a fear of commitment. As I mentioned before, they are trying to reenact what happened in their childhood. Their parent or whoever wouldn’t give them love, so they are now trying to earn this love and do it right, because they believe it is their fault they didn’t receive affection in their early years. Unless this disorder is treated, the person will try again and again to replay this situation and make it better.
Common Behaviors of Obsessive Love Disorder
These will vary from person to person, but here are some common things expected of one with this disorder.
- Tunnel vision, where someone can only think of the other person, especially possessing them in some way. This can effect the thought process and their daily activities
- Border line compulsive behavior, such as multiple telephone calls or texts to the person
- Stalking the other person
- Suspicions and accusations, especially unwarranted, of infidelity
- Driving by the person’s work, home, etc. to make sure they are where they say they are
- Constant monitoring of the other person
- Controlling the other person, or trying to.
- Destrucive behaviors, such as dangerous stalking (threats and such), rape, etc. towards the other person
- Due to the ending of a relationship, asthma, obesity, and other sometimes stress –related problems come up
- Extreme depression
- Feelings of guilt and self-hatred
- Denial of an ended relationship
- Using drugs, alcohol, food, and sex to cure emotional pain
- Anger, rage, and seeking revenge against the other person
The Stages of Obsessive Love Disorder
Like a lot of humans behavior, obsessive love disorder tends to run a course, repeating over and over again with different people until the disorder can be treated. Here is a basic run through.
Part 1: Attraction
They find a person where they feel some attraction. They will instantly feel a need to start a relationship and become attached to them, even if they hardly know them. They start to create unrealistic fantasies about what the relationship is like. At this point, the partner may begin to see the obsession starting to come out, though it will be subtle.
Part 2: Anxious
Often a relationship has been started between the two people, however, the one with the disorder may go through this without that commitment. In this stage, the person will start to show their true feelings and obsession starts to form. They will start having uncontrollable suspicious of infidelity in their partner and have a baseless fear of the person leaving them. They will start to have the need for constant contact of some sort with the person, starting the continuous phone calls and always needing to be in their presence They don’t trust the other person at all, which may cause depression and resentment. They may also start becoming violent, verbally or physically, with the partner out of fear.
Part 3: Obsession
The tunnel vision is formed so that they can think of nothing but the partner. The previous behaviors of constant contact and fears of infidelity become compulsive and neurotic. They start to accuse their partner of wrongdoings in the relationship without reason. They will start monitoring the other person with drive-bys or even by spying on them with electronic devices or other means. Many will become manipulative as well, continuously asking about the persons commitment and making them feel guilty to give them more love and attention.
Part 4: Destruction
The relationship has fallen apart due to the previous behaviors. The one with obsessive love disorder will fall fast. They can start feeling depressed and their self-esteem will fall even lower. They can experience feelings of self-hatred and blame. They can experience anger and want revenge on their partner. Dangerous self-harming behaviors, such as the use of drugs, sex, alcohol, food, or cutting can manifest. Suicidal thoughts are incredibly common.
How to Cure Love Addiction/Obsessive Love?
For someone to be cured of obsessive love disorder, they have to realize that they have it. Which in many cases doesn’t happen. In that case or if the disorder leads to self-harm and other harmful behaviors, professional help must be given. There are programs, not much different from drug or alcohol addiction treatments, to help out obsessive love disorder patients. They will have to take medication and may have to stay in a mental hospital as well until they can recover from the disorder. Obsessive love disorder is not something to take lightly, it can hurt people just as much as any disorder can.
Obsessive Love Disorder
Obsessive Love Disorder: When You Can’t Say Goodbye
Dr. Phil: Obsessive Love (2007)