Mental Health · Relationships


a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling; also: something that causes such preoccupation


You know, when I was young I really believed that I wanted someone to be obsessed with me. Always have me on their mind; beg me to be with them; constantly talk about me and bring me up randomly in conversation with others; insistently wonder where I am, who I’m with, what I’m thinking; monitor my movements and yearn to always be by my side; contact everyone to learn more about me.

Now that someone actually is, I’ve realized that obsession is not something to romanticize – it really is not appealing at all.

At first, it was terrifying. I would be scared to go to sleep because I was sure that he would turn up in the middle of the night, or that the nightmares I kept having would actually come true. I’d jump whenever I’d hear footsteps outside the door. Once, I had a panic attack when I was home alone and heard someone pacing outside my door. I looked out the peephole and there was a dark figure just standing there, staring at the door; eventually he walked away, but I was a wreck the rest of the night. The threats, the lies to others, the laser focus on where I was, what I was doing, who I was doing it with…

Eventually, the fear turned into 15 minutes of being upset after discovering the latest attempt and then tears of frustration at NOT BEING LEFT ALONE. Why can’t I go somewhere without you texting me, asking me how the event is so that I know you know where I am? Why did you have to create a website massaging reality, just to “get your attention” and “express my emotions”??

The thing is, I should have known this would happen – that he would lash out and become obsessive. The warning signs were there. I just didn’t pay attention (or I didn’t pay the right kind of attention) to them. The need to control me and label me as “his,” his focus on always winning, his constant pursuit to truly hurt others that he felt had “bested” him, his distaste at admitting he was wrong and temper tantrums when someone else pointed out his mistakes, his desire to have a perfect outward appearance.

Society tends to romanticize a lot of things in relationships that, upon second thought, could be really unhealthy. “He worships the ground you walk on!” A controlling partner is just protective, right? If he continues to pursue you after you’ve ended the relationship, he’s just proving himself. “That’s real love!”


Real love accepts the other person and respects their needs. That old adage? “If you love something, let it go.” It’s not the letting go that shows your love – it’s the fact that you accepted that the [something] had reasons to leave and you respected that need. You didn’t do everything in your power to deter the person; you honored their decision because you love them and want them happy. But when you begin to obsess and then take action with that obsession? That can’t be real love.

I read once that obsessing about something small helps a person avoid the bigger issue. I find this most interesting, especially because my ex likes to tout things about my (and Daddy’s) personality, words, and actions when the facts (I have the receipts) reveal that he was actually the perpetrator. It’s as if he throws his actions, words, views onto us, and then rants about how much he hates said thing; a seemingly outward projection of self-hatred. Curious – maybe focusing on others’ and their perceived slights against him distracts him from his own feelings about himself, his actions, his mistakes.

He was never very self-aware; he never could clearly articulate his personal beliefs, ideals, wants, and needs, much less state his emotional state and why he felt that way. As a matter of fact, this is a good representation of a normal conversation between us:

Me: “Did you hear about {insert random thing here}?”
Him: “{insert name here} believes {insert viewpoint here} so it must be {qualifying statement}.”
Me: “Well, what do YOU believe?”
Him: **blank stare** “{insert another name here} also says the same thing. So there!”
Me: “Ok…but what about you? Why do you believe that too? How do you feel about it?”
Him: **wanders off** **returns some time later** “I asked {insert another name here} and they said that I should feel upset.”
Me: “Do you?”
Him: “Of course. That’s how I’m supposed to feel!”
Me: **sigh** “Never mind. What do you want for dinner?”


Reflecting on this of course makes me wonder why. What could be HIS reasons for his actions? Granted, this is something I do with almost everyone: ponder the reasons they could possibly have for doing all manner of things. But since this obsession of his has kept me up at night, terrified, for months, it is something I’ve thought about quite a bit.

These days his obsession is a minor annoyance, sometimes even entertainment (only because I am cautiously optimistic that with the restraining order issued, he’ll continue to rant and rave and flail in place). Oh, are you still trying to track what I’m doing through mutual friends? Are you still not living your life because you’re too focused on where I am? Poor pooh-pooh.

Still, I wonder:

Does he need to irrationally focus on the things he hates about himself and project them onto another person (who was not afraid to point out these things as reasons for leaving) in order to feel better?

Is he truly devastated, convinced he’s lost his last chance at happiness and just loves me too deeply (as his apologists tried to explain to me), and is retaliating because he doesn’t know how to cope with those emotions? Could this be it? If so, how can he justify that retaliation if there’s still love there?

Or is this simply his personality trait of wanting what he can’t have – or better yet his destructive desire of “winning” at everything (coupled with his misogynistic view that I am a prize to be won in the first place)? Is he trying to best me, or trying to ruin me because I dared leave?

Lately though, I’ve been consciously steering my mind elsewhere when the compulsion to think on this topic arises. For the more we’re obsessed with someone else, the more of ourselves we lose.

And I’m still finding her; I never want to lose her, especially not to that man again.

Leave a Reply