Have you ever met someone and become utterly obsessed with them almost instantaneously? Maybe it’s someone you went on a few dates with or someone you had a few encounters with and you just can’t seem to get them out of your head.
You barely even know them, but you feel this magnetic pull that you’re powerless against. Some might make the mistake of thinking they’ve found “the one,” that this person is their soulmate or twin flame or whatever you want to call it. Haven’t we always been told that when you meet the right one you know “know”?
Well yeah… but the obsessive loop cycle isn’t usually a sign of that, there are often other factors at play.
Let’s look at why we become obsessed with certain people and how to break free from the obsessive cycle.
● Why it happens
1. Blame your subconscious
Our subconscious is essentially the sneaky puppet master behind most of the decisions we make and the feelings we experience. You may not be able to access memories from the past readily, but your subconscious never forgets. The subconscious is primarily motivated to heal past trauma, and as such, we tend to be drawn to people who remind us of painful relationships from the past, be it with a parent or significant other. I
When you meet someone, you are gathering tons of data and this goes far beyond how attractive you find them. You’re scanning their posture, their movement, their gestures, their tone of voice, the way they look at you, and so on. Sometimes we recognize something within another person, again it’s on an unconscious level, and it sparks something within that causes us to latch on.
Your subconscious may pull you toward this person in an attempt to heal from the past… it reasons that if you can get this person to love you, then all the pain of feeling unloved as a child will melt away. Unfortunately, that’s rarely how these things pan out. Instead, you end up repeating the same patterns and reaping the same results.
2. You’re seeking validation
A lot of the time we become obsessed with people because of what they represent to us.
For example, let’s say you were an ugly duckling in middle school and none of the hot guys (or girls) were interested in you and this made you feel like an ugly, unworthy loser. Now as an adult, you may find you become obsessed with any hot person who shows some level of interest in you (or mauve they don’t even show interest!)… and it goes beyond just attraction…. It’s because you feel that if you can get this person to like you, then that will heal the ugly duckling who still resides within you, it will mean you are no longer that person.
Also, some people are just validating! If it’s a guy or girl who could essentially have any partner they want… you may become obsessed with them because if you can get them to choose you… well, then that will mean you’re on that level as well. It will mean you’re worthy, you are someone, you’ve made it, and you will be OK.
3. It’s a distraction
It is much easier to lose yourself in someone else than it is to get yourself together.
We do this all the time, not just in relationships. It’s so much easier to put conditions on your happiness… I’ll be happy as soon as I lose X amount of weight… as soon as I have X amount of money in the bank… as soon as I buy a house… as soon as I land my dream job… and on and on.
In reality, doing this usually signals there’s something off internally, and rather than fixing it, you blame some external force for it.
For example, it’s easier to ask yourself: How does he feel about me? Does he like me? Is this the one I’ve been waiting for? Rather than, Do I like me? Do I like my life? Am I even ready for a serious relationship?
Answering the latter batch of questions takes reflection and inner work and who wants to do that? We would so much rather have our soulmate swoop in and make us all whole and healed with one perfect Hollywood kiss.
4. You’re chasing an illusion
When we become obsessed or infatuated with someone, we build them up in our minds and don’t even realize how far from reality we’ve strayed.
It’s especially easy to do this if someone seems unsure about us, or if they reject us. We assume it’s because they are a rare and valuable gem and it makes us want them even more.
When you obsess over someone, you are chasing a dream, not an actual person. You are chasing the fantasy of what it will be like if you manage to get this exceptional being to like you back.
Also, when you become obsessed with someone you barely know, your mind fills in the gaps and you end up creating this supreme being who may or may not exist.
● Now that we know what causes us to obsess, let’s discuss some tools for overcoming it.
1. Get to the root of it
If you find you get obsessed with certain types of people, then it’s probably the result of unresolved trauma. Get to the root of what’s causing this… what are you still carrying around with you from childhood? What do you think this other person can save you from?
Your past pain and your problems are not going to just resolve themselves one day, you need to challenge your feelings and figure out why you feel the way you do.
2. Re-direct the focus to you.
OK, so you catch yourself daydreaming and thinking about how much you like this other person… stop and ask yourself what qualities does he or she have that I think are so great?
Well, maybe they’re cool, confident, and charismatic. OK, now ask how can YOU be those things. A lot of the time we become obsessed with certain people because we kind of what to be them… and we mistakenly think that being with a certain type of person will raise us up to their level. But that’s not how it works. If there are certain qualities you admire, then work on cultivating them within yourself!
Also, when you catch yourself asking, Does he/she like me? Redirect and ask: Do I like me? Do I think I’m likable? If not, then that’s where you need to be putting your mental energy.
3. Come back down to earth.
You have to recognize when you’re turning a mortal into a diety and get it under control because no one exists on that level.
If you find no flaws in another person, that’s a sign you’re obsessed and infatuated and not seeing them clearly. It’s a sign that you are seeking validation or that person represents something to you, as we discussed earlier, so get to the root of what that is. Ground yourself and return to earth instead of getting swept away in this fantasy.
The best part is that when you’re not caught up in dreamland, you can actually be in the moment and this is how you form a connection. You can’t connect with someone if you’re not present and you can’t be present if you’re just obsessing and getting lost in a fantasy.
4. Fill the void within you
Obsession grows in vacant space. When we feel like we are lacking something, be it purpose or self-esteem or happiness and so on- we can more easily fall into the obsessive trap. It’s really because you’re attaching these things you’re missing to someone else. But you need to take control and ownership of your life and fill yourself up with whatever is missing.
If you don’t feel happy, spend some time thinking about when you were happy- what were you doing? Who were you spending time with? What was your routine like? And try to plug back into sources of genuine happiness for you.
If you’re lacking self-esteem, then look into ways you can increase your feelings of worth. Self-esteem is built on tapping into your essence and challenging yourself to be better and do better, so start there.
When your life takes on more meaning and purpose, you just won’t have the bandwidth to become obsessed with someone else, you’ll be too obsessed with whatever you have going on and this is a good thing!