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Author Topic:   Love or Obsession?
Peri
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From: Kyiv, Ukraine
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posted March 28, 2009 07:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peri     Edit/Delete Message
The "Obsessive Love Wheel" (OLW) is a hypothetical sphere originally described by John D. Moore in his book, Confusing Love with Obsession. The wheel illustrates the four stages of Obsessive Relational Progression as part of Relational Dependency (RD). Moore suggests that for people who are afflicted with relational dependency (love addiction, codependency, etc) their relationships often follow the pattern of the wheel.


The initial phase of ORP is characterized by an instantaneous and overwhelming attraction to another person. It is at this point the relationally dependent person becomes "hooked" on a romantic interest, usually resulting from the slightest bit of attention from the person they are attracted to.


Phase one: Attraction phase
An instant attraction to romantic interest, usually occurring within the first few minutes of meeting.
An immediate urge to rush into a relationship regardless of compatibility.
Becoming "hooked on the look" of another, focusing on the person's physical characteristics while ignoring personality differences.
Unrealistic fantasies about a relationship with a love interest, assigning "magical" qualities to an object of affection.
The beginnings of obsessive, controlling behaviors begin to manifest.

Phase two: Anxious phase
This phase is considered a relational turning point, which usually occurs after a commitment has been made between both parties. Sometimes however, the relationally dependent person will enter into this phase without the presence of a commitment. The relation can be severed here, resulting in a depressing time for the controlling party. If not severed by this time, psychological help will be required. This happens when the afflicted person creates the illusion of intimacy, regardless of the other person's true feelings. The second phase of ORP behaviors can include. :

Unfounded thoughts of infidelity on the part of a partner and demanding accountability for normal daily activities.
An overwhelming fear of abandonment, including baseless thoughts of a partner walking out on the relationship in favor of another person.
The need to constantly be in contact with a love interest via phone, email or in person.
Strong feelings of mistrust begin to emerge, causing depression, resentment and relational tension.
The continuation and escalation of obsessive, controlling behaviors.
Feeling the other partner doesn't and shouldn't need to contact, meet, bond and/or speak with others.
Violent reactions (verbal and physical) directed to the loved one and/or to oneself if the controlled person starts denying the obsessive demands.

Phase three: Obsessive phase
This particular phase represents the rapid escalation of this unhealthy attachment style. It is at this point that obsessive, controlling behaviors reach critical mass, ultimately overwhelming the RD person's life. It is also at this point that the person being controlled begins to pull back and ultimately, severs the relationship. In short, Phase Three is characterized by a total loss of control on the part of the RD person, resulting from extreme anxiety. Usually, the following characteristics are apparent during the third phase of ORP.

The onset of "tunnel vision," meaning that the relationally dependent person cannot stop thinking about a love interest and required his or her constant attention.
Neurotic, compulsive behaviors, including rapid telephone calls to love interest's place of residence or workplace.
Unfounded accusations of "cheating" due to extreme anxiety.
"Drive-bys" around a love interest's home or place of employment, with the goal of assuring that the person is at where "he or she is supposed to be."
Physical or electronic monitoring activities, following a love interest's whereabouts throughout the course of a day to discover daily activities.
Extreme control tactics, including questioning a love interest's commitment to the relationship (guilt trips) with the goal of manipulating a love interest into providing more attention.

Phase four: Destructive phase
This is the final phase of Obsessive Relational Progression. It represents the destruction of the relationship, due to phase three behaviors, which have caused a love interest to understandably flee. For a variety of reasons, this is considered the most dangerous of the four phases, because the RD person suddenly plummets into a deep depression due to the collapse of the relationship. Here are some of the more common behaviors that are exhibited during phase four of ORP:

Overwhelming feelings of depression (feeling "empty" inside).
A sudden loss of self-esteem, due to the collapse of the relationship.
Extreme feelings of self-blame and at times, self-hatred.
Anger, rage and a desire to seek revenge against a love interest for breaking off the relationship.
Denial that the relationship has ended and attempting to "win a loved one back" by making promises to "change".
The use of drugs, alcohol, food or sex to "medicate" the emotional pain.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessive_love


The word, "obsess" (or "to be obsessed") is defined by Concise Oxford Dictionary as "preoccupy continually or to a troubling extent". Obsession can be for a person or thing or act. It is a psychological condition that in its extreme form needs medical attention. The person affected by an obsession desires the object of his obsession with enormous passion, ferocity and even madness. When the object of obsession is a person of opposite sex, there is a tendency to confuse the obsession with love. However, there is a fundamental difference between love and obsession.

Love is focused and centered on the needs of the beloved. Obsession, in contrast, is self-centered. The obsessed is always focused on his (or her) own desires and the object of obsession is incidental. Love treats the beloved as a human being and in extreme cases lovers treat love and beloved as divine. For the obsessed the centre of his attention is an object with no desires, no life independent of the intense desire that the obsessed has for the object. He (or she) is almost like a child who is mad for a toy and will take the toy with him (or her) to bed, to garden, and even to the toilet. But if one day the toy hurts the child, there is immediate rejection. The child is now looking for a new toy while the old one is thrown mercilessly into the dustbin.

Obsession is, unlike love, not just passionate; it is ferocious and cruel. The pathos of cruelty that an obsessed displays can be seen in an innocent form in the craving that a child has for a favorite toy. Take the favorite toy away and the child will cry for days and may even stop eating food. The child can be cruel to himself in such a situation. The same cruelty may turn outwards to the toy when the toy is no longer the favorite one. An adult, who expresses obsession in terms of erotic love, is even more dangerous. He (or she) may go to any extent to get the object of his (or her) desire and may even turn violent if the object is taken away. Intensity of such passion is destructive in case of any denial; the obsessed one either destroys oneself or destroys the object of obsession. Newspapers are full of stories of some young boy or girl committing suicide after being turned down. One also hears stories of some boy killing or throwing acid on the face of his girl friend after knowing that she is getting married to someone else.

Violence at denial is only one facet of obsession. The other facet of violence manifests when the obsessed gets hold of and becomes the owner of the object of his desire. No, they do not live happily thereafter. The relationship of the obsessed one with the object of obsession is not a relationship of caring. It is a relationship of power, a display of brutishness, a game of ego. The ownership has to be absolute, to the exclusion of everyone else, and the obsessed needs to demonstrate it every moment to get any pleasure from it. One is not concerned if this stifles or even hurts the object of obsession. Too bad, if it does. The case is typical of a child who sees a beautiful singing bird in the garden, gets hold of it and puts it in a glass jar besides his table, without any concern for the life of the bird. By the end of the day the bird is dead and the child is back in the garden looking for a fresh bird.

Surely, it is very difficult to distinguish between love and obsession during the initial stages of a relationship. Confusing obsession with caring selfless love and becoming an object of obsession amounts to stepping unwittingly into the greatest tragedy of one's life.
http://www.samarthbharat.com/obsession.htm
http://www.johndmoore.net/projects3.html

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Scorpionic Web
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posted March 29, 2009 12:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scorpionic Web     Edit/Delete Message
Well, I've never been able to seperate the concepts of being in love and being obsessed.

quote:
Obsession is, unlike love, not just passionate; it is ferocious and cruel.

It is "ferocious and cruel" for me, it's simply hell for me. But if I'm not obsessed, I know I'm not in love.

My unreciprocated love (obsession) has always been like dying a slow death: there is plenty of time to evaluate my situation, so I'm able to manage my outward expression... maybe it's my Capricorn Mars. I can't relate to how people become violently obsessed. However, I have dated physically and verbally violent women who explode from impulsive rage with apparently no obsessive tendencies whatsoever. This apparent lack of forethought seems more of a liability than the eternity of loneliness in which I patiently temper my obsessive desires.

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emma_duncan
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posted March 29, 2009 01:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for emma_duncan     Edit/Delete Message
very good refernce Peri...i like it a lot

i guess people have natural inclination to be obssessive but sometimes environment and ones history can lead to this behavior too.

and many times when unhealthy patterns set in, and one person feels dissatisfied, many factors may blur the line between helathy concern and obssession. This OLW can be a nice checklist for every one to see if bad patterns are setting in

Thanks for the read

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Peri
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posted March 29, 2009 06:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peri     Edit/Delete Message
it is extremely hard to love someone who is obsessing and getting jealous for no reason and hurts you for no reason too ... obsessive people don't let anyone love them, they do everything to push the love they need so much away

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Yin
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posted March 29, 2009 07:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Yin     Edit/Delete Message
Peri, this is a great find!

Now that I have been marries for 4 years I can honestly say that I prefer the calm serenity of love to crazy obsession (some people call it "lust").
It's peaceful, it's happy and it's lasting, no drama, no jealousy, no commotions that have to do with trust or respect...
It took me a long time to get to this point but it was totally worth it.

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Peri
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posted March 29, 2009 07:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peri     Edit/Delete Message
yes, Yin, I have realized it too, drama and all that crazy stuff does not imply someone's love is just as strong and passionate as it looks like, when you start paying attention to things you don't usually want to notice, you see they don't really care about you, they are too busy waging war against their internal demon (that is being projected on you) to notice you are a human being, not a demon, and you have feelings too ...

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Scorpionic Web
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posted March 29, 2009 04:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scorpionic Web     Edit/Delete Message
Obviously, I disagree with most of what is being said here.

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emma_duncan
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posted March 29, 2009 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for emma_duncan     Edit/Delete Message
why?

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Peri
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posted March 29, 2009 05:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peri     Edit/Delete Message
could you please elaborate, SW? I am really curious

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Scorpionic Web
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posted March 29, 2009 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scorpionic Web     Edit/Delete Message
Comments on this thread seem to assume that obsession includes a lack of control over outward expressions.

Obsession is extreme fixation and desire, and never does the waking world need to see it. Although it may take some practice, and perhaps a broken heart, what's felt inside and what is shown on the surface can be kept entirely seperate.

With the exception of one instance, when I was 14 years old, where I made my deepest feelings known (the only time I made myself so foolishly vulnerable), I've always bottled up every miserably obsessive desire.

I've had several long-term relationships where my deepest and most disturbing urges never surfaced. I'm happy to say that I'm still friends with these women, well after the relationship had ended.

Obsession hurts only me. ONLY ME!! It doesn't cause me to "project onto them", "hurt them", or "push them away", as others on this thread have claimed obsession to cause.

If it's a battle inside with personal demons, then inside it shall remain.

I can't imagine how I would be "too busy waging a war against an internal demon" to notice that she is a human being; that I am somehow blinded to the needs of the woman I love. I don't understand this view at all. Obsession (love) makes me even more attentive and eager to please. Like I said, Love and Obsession are identical in my heart. And like the truest love, I would do anything to make her happy with me.

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Peri
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posted March 29, 2009 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peri     Edit/Delete Message
quote:
I can't imagine how I would be "too busy waging a war against an internal demon" to notice that she is a human being

first of all, I was not talking about you (had you taken my posts a bit personal) also, we may be talking about 2 different things here (you say: obsession (love) makes me...so to you obsession=love) if you read my 1st post you will see what exactly I mean by obsession - it is unhealthy jealousy and abusive, controlling behaviour which is often confused with passionate and intense love when it is not!

I was shocked when I first read the description of ORP phases but got answers to my 'why' and 'how' straight away

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emma_duncan
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posted March 29, 2009 06:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for emma_duncan     Edit/Delete Message
SW
i have started another thread on astrology 2.0 about hemispheres.

I think there are two different issues here.

what you are talking about is ones obssession which is never allowed to consciously surface in ones behavior. and the obession that peri is referring to is more manifest, where individual is no able to control his or her behavior and under extreme personal distress and helplessness starts to control the other person.

so i dont think we are talking about the same thing here.

the second issue is your statement that you never let it effect other people. Now the question is a) its your perception that it was under total control b) why it should even hurt you. so we at least agree that obsession hurts at least one party

also though the secret vs manifest obsession are different probably, there internal psychological dynamics are the same. It is partly due to higher relationship need (western hemisphere influennce) and some fears and vulnerabilities that we develop as we live and expreience life.

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Scorpionic Web
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posted March 29, 2009 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scorpionic Web     Edit/Delete Message
Peri:

I know you weren't talking about me personally, I was just using myself as an example of a person whose had very obsessive tendencies and managed to keep them internalized.

The only point I wanted to make was that obsession doesn't need to manifest into controlling, abusive, or generally negative behavior.

I read everything on this thread, but when the core of the issue (and the thread title) is Love OR Obsession, I just wanted to point out that sometimes Love IS Obsession, and there might be very beautiful results generated from very dark urges.

Emma_Duncan:

I am talking about the physical manifestation of obsession, and how it doesn't have to happen the way it's been described: with "controlling and abusive" behavior. Like you said, the psychological dynamics are the same, so I merely wanted to add to the conversation how obsession can exist without making a negative impact. I believe obsession can be a good thing if the energy can be channeled properly, which I've always strived to do.

And yes, obsession hurts me, so one person does feel the pain, but I've never known love without it and I'm happy to accept it as part of the process.

And yes, it is only my perception that I never let my obsessive self affect my relationships because it's never been brought to my attention. I've dated some very vocal women who've never hesitated to address my weaknesses, and my obsessive inner nature has never been among their complaints. With the exception of that one hard lesson as a 14 year-old, all of my relationships have ended over explicitly different problems.

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emma_duncan
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posted March 29, 2009 08:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for emma_duncan     Edit/Delete Message
SW

yep point taken. and i agree with you that many a times line is hard to draw. I am also not willing to accept an obsseisive person as a villian. and its not black and white. sometimes we fall into obssessive pattern cause we feel used and abused and wronged so we desperately try to protect ourselves by obsessive patterns.

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ListensToTrees
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posted April 02, 2009 08:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ListensToTrees     Edit/Delete Message
It is also possible to experience obsession without having any desire to harm the one you are obsessed with if it is not in the person's nature to ever wish others any harm. Instead, the pain turns inward and becomes self-destructive.


What I'd love to know is whether the chemistry of the brain is to blame for an obsessive nature, or if it is simply down to thought patterns a person can learn to change.

------------------
"It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing and there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was like, dancing with me. Like a kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that's the day I realized there's this entire life behind things, and....this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there's no reason to be afraid, ever".

~Quote from American Beauty

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ListensToTrees
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posted April 02, 2009 08:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ListensToTrees     Edit/Delete Message
Is being "in love" with someone synonymous with obsession.....in some ways?

As opposed to pure, universal, unconditional love.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/helen_fisher_studies_the_brain_in_love.html

------------------
"It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing and there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was like, dancing with me. Like a kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that's the day I realized there's this entire life behind things, and....this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there's no reason to be afraid, ever".

~Quote from American Beauty

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MysticMelody
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posted April 02, 2009 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MysticMelody     Edit/Delete Message
Scorpionic Web, I know this is a sensitive subject for you and I am in not trying to be mean but when I read your words it's like you morph into the Plutonic men in my past relationships and I hear them say your words and my mouth drops open. I want to say to them, omg! you actually think you are doing the right thing or protecting me? You actually think that by hurting yourself and keeping everything inside you are NOT hurting me? How can you hurt yourself and NOT hurt the person you are blending with so closely? And is that why you AREN'T close? And you expect THAT not to hurt me?

Ok, you get the picture. I knew a thing or two about obsessive and unhealthy love growing up.

The main point is
if you keep it all in, it just poisons you and the relationship
and
usually it comes out somewhere unexpected when you are weak and not maintaining those nerves of steel and that superior control.

But you said something about you channeling properly up there. I'm more talking to my past. You accidentally pushed a button, I suppose. I'm not going to analyze it. I said what I was compelled to say. Have a great day and I hope my words don't upset you and hopefully they do some good for me or you or someone who is compelled to read this.


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ListensToTrees
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posted April 02, 2009 09:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ListensToTrees     Edit/Delete Message
Enigma song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN-NoIfYFbU

Morrisey song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JHvipj5CoQ

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