By its very definition, the word ‘obsession’ has negative connotations. One description from Merriam-Webster calls it ‘a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling’, while many others comment on how obsessions can end up being all-consuming and damaging to other parts of our lives.
When you apply obsession to how you think about another person, it’s quite easy to see how this is unhealthy. More to the point, by acting in this way you don’t just risk hurting yourself, you risk hurting someone else emotionally as well.
If you are worried that you are getting attached to someone too quickly, or if you feel you have a full-blown obsession with someone already, be sure to read on. We’ve got some useful tips you can use to recognise obsession and, if necessary, stop feeding your obsession even more.
Am I obsessed with someone?
Getting obsessed with a person is different to being obsessed with say, a song or binge watching a TV show; it’s an emotion that can run much deeper than that – in many ways it’s almost like an addiction.
A few tell-tale signs that you might be getting obsessed can include:
- Constantly feeling like you must contact or see them.
- Constantly having them on your mind.
- Getting immense feelings of sadness when you don’t see or hear from them.
- Going out of your way to do things for them.
- Hanging on their every word and/or only acting on what they tell you.
- A feeling that your life revolves around them.
- Feeling like you can’t be happy without this person.
- Feeling unhappy because you can only concentrate on them and nothing else.
How to stop obsessing over someone: our tips
While it’s true that some of these thoughts and feelings can also be signs and causes of conditions such as OCD, or even anxiety and depression, like any addiction, the longer you let it go on, the worse it can get.
Consider the following and give them a try to help alleviate the intensity of an obsession:
Confront your obsession
Firstly, you need to acknowledge you are obsessing over someone. Use our list of points above as a means of recognising that there’s a problem and work to accept that your initial attraction has become unhealthy. It’s nothing to be ashamed of and confronting your obsession can set you on the path to emotional and personal recovery.
Remove the pedestal
A big part of being obsessed means you overlook or ignore the other person’s flaws or failings – in other words, your attraction is essentially acting as a pair of rose-tinted glasses.
While you shouldn’t rage an all-out war on their character, if you highlight things you actually find annoying or don’t like about them – no matter how small – it helps you realise this person (like all of us) isn’t perfect.
Distance and distract yourself from them
Once you’ve identified your obsession, distract yourself by putting your time back into things you’ve likely neglected of late. Visit your family or arrange to see your friends. Doing this can allow you to focus your attention elsewhere.
If your obsession has really spiralled out of control, you might want a completely fresh start or to think about a new approach to your daily life. Moving house or getting a new job are big lifestyle changes but could give you the perspective you might need. Or try a change of scene- travelling or a holiday could help you to reset, or just visiting somewhere local that you’ve never been to before might help you see things in a new light.
When you do find a new focus, you may also want to delete their number – that way any temptation will be gone.
Put more time into self-care and growing as a person. Start with working on your mental health and pick up some hobbies that help you clear the mind such as meditation or yoga. Obsession can create a dependence on others, so a fantastic way to liberate yourself is to learn to enjoy your own company and become your most authentic self.
There’s also no harm in looking to meet new and interesting people either. It’s important to do so in a way that will mean you connect with others who are genuine and likeminded. By downloading and using the Fluttr app – which only allows people to use it providing they have given full ID verification – you’ll be able to contact other individuals in a safe and respectful place for anything from casual chat to dating. Also, you can save search criteria for different types of people to match your daily mood.
Professional help is available
If you still find it hard to move on from your obsession, or you still feel your mental health has taken a hit, there are options to start the road to recovery.
Many consider counselling, therapy and even hypnotherapy to source and address the root causes of their obsessive behaviour – and more often than not, this support helps people replace any negativity with positive thoughts and attitudes.
If you like, in the UK, you can find a helpful list of mental health support services via the NHS here.