*TRIGGER WARNING* – descriptions of obsessive/hypomanic feelings
[The quotes at the beginning of each Part of this post, are from ‘The Buddha and the Borderline’ by Kiera Van Gelder.]
Part I – What
“Of the three poisons that obstruct the mind’s clarity…..attachment is the most difficult of the afflictions. You have to be constantly vigilant, or it will take over your mind.”
Sometimes I wonder what love feels like. What it feels like for other people, and how they would describe it. Some people say that ‘love is not a feeling’, by which they mean that love is a matter of the head as well as the heart, and that feelings must be backed up by actions, or at least be consistent with one’s actions, otherwise love is just an empty four-letter word.
So often, love feels like an empty four-letter feeling. When I try and cast my heart-eye inward, to try and pinpoint what it feels like, it’s as if I’m searching in the dark, groping for something utterly elusive. Sometimes that disturbs me. At other times, I convince myself that it’s just a question of a perfectly natural inability to describe the indescribable. That it’s not a question of some deep flaw within me. And yet –
I can tell you with absolute clarity what obsessive love (or attachment) feels like. It’s almost as if the quality of reality itself is dependent upon the intensity of obsession – if a feeling is not completely overwhelming me and taking me over, then it’s as if I’m not feeling it at all. In a way that is very hard to describe, it’s as if I know there is a feeling there, but I’m not quite sensing it. I feel it – but I don’t feel it. Maybe it’s just a matter of terminology – maybe there’s no actual difference between the two.
Or it could be that the difficulty stems from the calibration of my emotions. On my emotional Richter scale, the magnitude ten earthquakes completely overshadow the the magnitude four tremors. It’s as if having been exposed to the thumping bass sounds of music at full volume, my senses have lost the ability to hear a full range of sounds. Intense emotions drown out all other music – I can feel the vibrations, but I cannot hear the melody. The opposite of intensity feels like emptiness – even when there’s something there.
Part II – How
“As soon as I’m touched, all of my power drains away and I’ll become a supplicant again.”
In my own drama of obsessive love, there are two players – The One Who Chases, and The One Who Falls. I think and feel very differently about them. I despise the game playing of the first, and am moved by the vulnerability of the second. I don’t want to accept the former, but I’d like to hold the latter in my arms. I suspect my therapist would tell me that the ‘two’ are just one little girl, looking for something that is missing. That I’m ‘splitting’ her out into all-bad and all-good. In which case, I ultimately have to either disown them both or embrace them both together.
The initial stages of a relationship are heady for many people, and the excitement of the ‘chase’, or the thrill of the flirtation, is intoxicating. I don’t think there is anything unusual in that. But for me, there is an incredibly addictive quality to those feelings. I can’t imagine a more powerful drug, or a more potent high. I wish that I could plug you in to how it feels, when I’m in the grip of that rush. I wish that I hook you up to my IV, so that whatever’s flowing through my veins, could flow through yours too. If I imagine it, it looks like liquid gold. If I sense it with my eyes closed, it feels like bundles of electricity bouncing around inside me, trying to get out. It’s a whirlwind of breathless expectation and thought in action, all swirling around a centre of powerful invincibility. The perfect storm. The perfect calm.
I flit from one thought to another – I am all over the place, but also just in one place. The place of this feeling, here and now, over-riding everything else. I see with perfect clarity. I shut my eyes to feel a little deeper. Rational mind slowly recedes and the focus of my inner mind narrows down to the width of a pin. I shut my eyes, and it feels like I’m standing at the top of a rollercoaster, about to jump on and join the ride. It feels like I’m waiting to fall.
The ‘falling’ happens when I’m not watching. Before I know it I’m caught in the grip of something just as intense, and just as addictive. There is nothing exciting or euphoric about this phase of obsessive love. It is horribly painful, and it is all-consuming. The One Who Chases is under the illusion that she is powerful and in control, although I know that that’s a lie. But the illusion gives her strength, and allows her to revel in the chase. The One Who Falls knows that she is powerless and helpless; that she is in the grip of something, and someone, that she cannot control. She is at the mercy of her intense emotions, and The One Who Chases has abandoned her to them, defenceless and alone.
When I’m in this phase of an obsessive attachment, the other person becomes my entire world. They are my first thought upon waking, and my last thought at night. They are a place (either in reality, or in my head) that I escape to constantly and willingly, losing myself in every conceivable way. As desperately as The One Who Chases wants to take someone else over, the One Who Falls wants to be entirely taken over and engulfed by the object of her attachment. This phase of obsessive love is so painful because although I idealise the centre of my universe, they are always only human, and always just beyond my reach. Connectedness feels only ever partial, and my neediness is like a well that just gets deeper, the more I try and fill it.
Apart from a need for intensity, the One Who Chases and The One Who Falls have one other thing in common. They both long to be touched. The One Who Falls wants to be touched in order to feel loved. The One Who Chases wants to be touched in order to feel alive. And that is her undoing. Her illusion of control unravels, and she has to leave the stage. A single touch can floor her, but it’s The One Who Falls who ends up in a heap, horrified at the spotlight thrown upon her need.
Part III – Why
“Why does this always happen? …..it’s a reflection of some sort of deep trouble – a desire that eclipses reason and takes me over…”
It’s very easy to judge ourselves for our obsessive attachments, and to hate ourselves for them, particularly as they can lead us to behave in ways that we may consider to be ‘out of character’ or even ‘wrong’. Sometimes, despite the pain, it feels that there is a certain beauty to obsessive love. It feels self-sacrificial in its other-centred-ness. Love is often described in personified terms –‘love is patient’, ‘love is kind’. But although obsessive love can feel self-sacrificial, it’s more like a force, than a person. And as a force, the darker side of it can sometimes be devoid both of reason, and of morality. It’s not that obsessive love chooses ‘wrong’ over ‘right’ – it’s just that in a world taken over entirely by the object at its centre, nothing else seems to matter.
But rather than judging myself for my obsessive attachments, I am trying to figure out what they can teach me. Rather than trying to find the fault within myself, I am trying to find the explanation. Let me be clear – I am not trying to whitewash painful situations or make excuses for hurtful behaviour. But there is a reason (or a multiplicity of reasons), for our obsessive relationships. This is not just ‘the way we are’, where ‘the the way we are’ is an indirect way of saying ‘broken – cannot be mended’. For me, I think obsessive relationships are about two things. They are about what was missing, or what became twisted, in terms of childhood attachments. But they are also a coping strategy.
More than one therapist has suggested to me that my obsessive relationships were a way of coping with life. It seemed an odd idea at first, but looking back, the truth of that explanation is obvious. Those relationships, whether ‘in my head’, or played out in reality, all occurred at particularly difficult or dark times for me. They were an escape, they took me (mentally) out of the situation I was in, and they gave me something else to immerse myself in. They were a distraction of the most powerful kind. I used to wonder why I only started self-harming a couple of years ago, until a therapist once again suggested that it was because I was replacing one coping mechanism with another. Obsessional relationships may have been a ‘readily available’ coping strategy in the past, but given changes in circumstances, such as working, and being a wife and mother, they could no longer operate in the same way.
A friend of mine recently gave me an incredibly helpful way of describing what is going on with me, in situations when I might otherwise be tempted to judge myself. She said that I was ‘processing something’. It seems to me that that is a much kinder way to talk about the patterns of obsessional relationships that we can fall into, while also motivating us to try and discover what is really going on.
‘Processing’ can mean so many things. It can mean becoming obsessed with your best friend; it can mean having an internet flirtation with someone you barely know; it can mean ‘falling in love’ with someone in a position of power. And sometimes, it can mean inappropriately trying to push boundaries with someone that you are just starting to trust. I have been so busy keeping watch on The One Who Falls, and guarding against the possibility of developing feelings of obsessive love in the context of my current therapy, that I didn’t even notice when The One Who Falls opened the door for The One Who Chases to come out and play. On the one hand, I want to lock her away keep her behind closed doors. On the other hand, I know that there could be no safer environment for her to play in. No other place in which she can be herself, without fear of condemnation, or without risk of causing long-term hurt to others or to herself.
So in the name of ‘processing’, as deeply uncomfortable as it may feel – let the games begin.
June 22, 2014 at 1:07 pm
Beautifully written. I can relate and it’s great to read parts of me in your post …. thank you for writing it.
June 22, 2014 at 9:20 pm
Thank you so much 🙂 I’m really glad you liked it, but even more importantly, I’m really glad it was relatable and that you could see yourself in it. I find that “reading about myself through others’ writing” can sometimes feel like more of an insight, than just “looking into myself”. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it’s the doubt that can accompany my thoughts when it’s just me looking in – whereas “reading about myself” through someone else, validates my experience and lets me know that others share it too….Thank you again for reading 🙂
June 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm
This was written so beautifully. It flowed so well and really made me want to read through the whole thing 🙂
June 22, 2014 at 9:26 pm
Thank you 🙂 I really appreciate everyone’s comments. And I’m glad to know it made you want to keep going – I know my posts tend to be somewhat on the long side, and I do worry about that sometimes, as I don’t want that to get in the way of people hopefully connecting with the content and the feelings… So it’s good to know that at least some people persevered and made it through to the end 🙂 This one caused me a bit of bother in terms of narrowing down content and structure, so I’m relieved to hear that it does actually flow – thank you again for reading!
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July 22, 2014 at 12:16 pm
Aaahhh yes, obssessive love — is there any other kind? If I am not obsessing then I begin to doubt my feelings/love … and I have thrown away everything in its pursuit. It truly is the liquid gold of all emotions but what a price we pay.
July 27, 2014 at 8:26 pm
Similarly, if my feelings are not intense, they don’t feel quite a real, and I begin to wonder if they’re there at all….And yes, what a price we pay, so often. I spoke to a non-BPD friend about this, who said that for many people without BPD, her included, the ‘loss of intensity’ is just part of growing up and a recognition, acceptance of and preference for the deep, long-lasting, calming and stable aspects of relationships in which two people grow side by side but remain separate. Whereas certainly still for me, I can’t help but see the loss of intensity as a sacrifice – intense emotions still feel like the ‘realest’ kind, the ‘gold standard’. Thank you for reading!
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August 26, 2014 at 5:47 pm
Wow, how did you learn to write like this? It’s brilliant!
I have spent a long time thinking about my obsessions and trying to make sense of them: It is really good to read that you too have done similarly, as well as very insightful reading your analysis. 🙂 I never thought about them as a coping strategy, but now you mention it it seems obvious! Thank you! 🙂
August 30, 2014 at 8:19 pm
Thank you SO much – you have made my day! And trust me, it needed to be ‘made’…..I’m so glad you found the post helpful and insightful. It _is_ amazing, isn’t it, how something can in retrospect seem so obvious, but we can be so oblivious to it until it is pointed out. I thought it was a ridiculous notion when my first therapist suggested it, but when other therapists said it too, I couldn’t ignore it, and the more I thought about it, and the more I thought back to all of my ‘worst times’ and identified people I was ‘obsessing over’ at those times, the more inescapable the truth of it became…..Thank you again for reading and commenting, and for your immensely kind words about my writing, which I will always carry with me, particularly when I doubt myself! 🙂
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August 31, 2014 at 8:06 pm
Thank you for your reply. It is lovely to hear back from you. What I said about your writing is true–Few people are able to write as well as you do. You have something special. I am touched by many of your posts: They have an uncanny way of describing the way I feel in greater clarity than the understanding I have of myself, and with flair and an often philosophical perspective. I had been meaning to comment on your other post, Escape: I have been away from home (until today) for 5 weeks and was struggling a lot, and reading about your experiences and feelings, and your “therapy break”, seemed to touch very close to home. The article you linked to and talked about was also very useful and I felt it described perfectly my cycles of descent into suicidal thinking. Knowledge is power with these things. What stopped my writing (and it really should have encouraged me more greatly to write!) was your own desire to “escape” and my fear of writing something ill-thought out so as to be insensitive or cause offence. (It would also be bad if I wrote on all of your posts!) But I am very sorry you have been feeling this way.
September 1, 2014 at 8:59 pm
Thank you so much again – for replying, and for your plethora of wonderful comments about my writing! I shall always treasure your words 🙂 I’m humbled and happy that many of my posts touch you, and if they also aid in understanding, that’s fantastic, and something for which I’m very glad. My hope with my blog was always that at least some people might be helped by being able to relate to it and see themselves in it, and that those connections and the possibility of mutual support, would help us with the things we’re living through. I’m so sorry that you have been struggling as well – I’m sending a virtual hug, and hope that it helps you to know that you’re held in the thoughts of someone who understands. Although being away from home can be a relief sometimes, often it can make things even harder, particularly when it involves a break from usual support, such as therapy. Presumably you had a therapy break as well? I’m glad the article was useful, and I agree that knowledge is power, and that being able to ‘catch ourselves’ in the descent must surely be better than not realising it’s happening at all. I also have complete sympathy with your worries about writing on this subject, though having read some of your posts (and working my way through more of them, which I’m really looking forward to!), I very very much doubt you could or would write anything ill-thought out or insensitive, or anything that would cause offence. But it’s something I worry about too, so I know how it feels. I was worried about posting ‘Escape’ and part of me even wondered whether I had a ‘moral obligation’ not to, in case the lack of censure of suicide, as it were, could be taken as encouragement. But then, I have always wanted to portray BPD honestly, and so I tried to write it as honestly but as ‘gently’ (if that is possible on this subject!) as I could. And I know you would do the same. Plus I also read something by another blogger, on trigger warnings, which provided an interesting perspective and got me thinking about not ‘patronising readers’ (as that particular blogger put it) by deciding for them, what may or may not be good for them to read. So in the end I thought it best to post it, despite being worried about reactions….please do take care, and I hope to read at some stage (either through your blog, or in some other way), that you are struggling a bit less. If you ever wanted to get in touch via email (which I’m assuming you can see in my comments on your posts?), please do feel free…
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September 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm
Thank you for your lovely message (and your virtual hug and reassurance…)! It has helped me a lot. Sorry for the slow reply–Everything is on top of me. I am getting up because I am trying to apply for something, but it requires a lot of work and I’m all over the place. (Sorry if this comment is incoherent!) There is more hope here, so, yes, you could say I am doing better. Thank you for your concern. 🙂 Technically, I haven’t actually had a therapist since mid-June. I may be getting therapy again though, in about a month. I was reading your post recently, BPD invalidation – standing accused of fraud. I feel like this a lot: Thank you very much for sharing it! Please don’t worry about reading any of my posts. I appreciate it that you have read some–It is really nice of you!–but I write mainly for me, often so I can sleep, and I don’t think I would read them if they weren’t mine (!). I think you pitched ‘Escape’ perfectly! I find it honest and informative, without encouraging suicide. I hope to make my way through your other posts in time. They help me a lot. Thank you for your email invitation–Likewise, you are always welcome to contact me. I hope things have been improving for you. Sending my best wishes.
September 8, 2014 at 7:51 pm
Thank you 🙂 I’m so glad my posts help, and I really hope that you do manage to get some more therapy, that you connect with your therapist, and that it helps. And I’m REALLY glad you’re doing better 🙂 Take care, and keep in touch!
September 9, 2014 at 4:15 pm
This was truly fascinating to read, I couldn’t have expressed how I feel as aptly as you put it. I’m currently in the stage of being excruciatingly obsessed with a colleague. I worship the ground they walk on, each day they’re slipping further away from me and it feels like all that exists without them is pain. But all the agony within me disappears at the glimpse of them, I just need to see them walk passed and it’s like the sun shine melting away the snow. I think over the next few months I’ll lose contact with them completely as our jobs are taking us in different directions and I really cannot imagine living a life without them. We’re not even friends, but what I feel is so intense, it’s overwhelming. I’d do anything just to make them smile, just to make them happy. Sorry I didn’t mean to write all of that, I just have no one to talk to. I despise BPD and myself for letting me fall into another obsession, I never learn my lesson.
September 16, 2014 at 10:17 pm
Thank you so much for your kind words – I’m glad that what I wrote captures how you feel. Apologies for my delay in responding to your comment….I know exactly what you mean with the feelings you describe, and how things can change instantly the moment you’re in someone’s presence. Everything you describe I have felt, including over people who, as you say, I didn’t even really know and wasn’t friends with. I also know what you mean about feeling that you will never learn, and falling into these obsessions repeatedly. They still catch me surprise, and bowl me over when I’m least expecting it, or in different ways to those I might be trying to prevent. The very confusing complication for me these days is the fact that I had always assumed my obsessions were ‘romantic’ in nature, and so it was incredibly bewildering to be caught in obsessions with friends or therapists, and to not know how to interpret those intense feelings…. I’m so sorry you feel you don’t have anyone to talk to. Does this mean you are not in therapy? Please do feel free to comment and ask questions or just chat, on here or by email. I’m really glad you felt able to write all of that, and many apologies again, for taking a few days to respond. Take care and keep in touch…
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March 10, 2016 at 9:07 am
Hey there. This possibly won’t directly help you. I’m sorry to make that judgement. It’s cos I struggle with feeling better even tho I’m understanding my obsession, and see others experiencing the same pain of living with feelings that are too intense and wildly disproportionate to what real love is.
Your comment really chimed with me, esp the…..”not even friends” bit. I obviously hope you are well, and that your battle is either over or has closed naturally.
March 14, 2016 at 9:41 pm
Thank you so much for your comment – the struggles I wrote about in that post have certainly abated. It has been some time since I have had feelings as intense as those, and these days my feelings for my therapist are deep and strong and moving but I wouldn’t say they were obsessional in the way that they used to be, or in the way that they were for my ex-therapist, or a friend I became very very attached to a few years ago. Thank you again for reading and getting in touch!
January 6, 2015 at 5:37 pm
That is nicely written and you have a good sense of who you are and skills at recognizing that too. Very helpful and valuable to you as a person. I wonder if perhaps you could meet someone who can match your intensity of connection and be a “catcher” for you if you’d feel something was amiss. I guess I’m taking the hopeful approach that someone out there can be that person for you. My guess is you’re quick about making those attachments yourself and the hurt comes from the backside paying for it when another isn’t there so much. I am acutely familiar with this myself. Yet, I won’t dismiss those desires for attachment and fulfillment myself and look for it even now. Maybe you can marshall yourself in a similar way. Crawl before you run kind of thing. I don’t know for sure but the journey itself is really good too. That process of falling under some control and caution. It’s hard to stop yourself, for sure, but proceeding cautiously till the road opens fully is always good for not crashing. I digress a bit, sorry. Nice post though and thanks.
March 14, 2015 at 9:45 pm
Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I didn’t realise I hadn’t replied to your comment until now – I’m SO sorry! Thank you so much for reading and commenting (even though it was so long ago now)!. My self-awareness is certainly growing, although I’m not sure if I yet have a particularly stable sense of who I am, but I’m trying to work on it 🙂 You’re right, I’m incredibly quick at making those attachments, if I open myself up to them. I tend to be one or the other – I either keep people right on the outside, or I let them into everything, and that complete openness ‘cements’ in my mind, the attachment. What I would like to try and do, is have a sense of moderation so that I can tell some people a small amount about my difficulties, without feeling I have to tell everything. You’re right, proceeding cautiously is a good idea. And recognising that with some people, you don’t have to go all the way, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a perfectly good and honest relationship about the stuff that they DO know about. Thank you again for your comment, and many apologies for having taken an age to reply!
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June 26, 2015 at 9:41 am
Thanks for writing this. I have had a succession of obsessions; the latest being someone I have been talking to online for 3 years. It kills me and I think I need to cut them out of my life for my own sanity.
September 23, 2015 at 3:41 am
I think i finally. Understand what my wife is dealing with. She has bpd and a best friend they talk all day and see each other quite frequently she told me it was coping maybe she is telling her truth
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October 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm
Thank you so much for reading and commenting, and I’m glad my post may have helped. Forgive me if I’m speaking out of turn, but have you talked to your wife about this since reading and commenting on the post? Although it’s possible your wife feels as I did in my post, it’s also possible that she does not, and everyone’s experience is different. Sometimes it can help to have someone outside one’s immediate environment, to confide in and talk to, and it can certainly help in terms of coping. Is she in therapy? That may be a factor too – if she cannot take some of her difficulties to therapy, it may be that this is a function she is hoping her friend might fill (which, unfortunately, can sometimes turn out very difficult for all concerned). I’m sorry, I don’t mean to dispense advice! This is such a hard situation to be in as the partner trying to support – I see it in how alienated my husband feels because he knows I talk to others about my difficulties (very close friends, and my therapist), but not really to him. If it’s any help, other than with our therapists, it is those we are closest to that we often find it hardest to be vulnerable with, because the fear of getting hurt is so much greater. It all matters so much more….I wish you all the very best and hope for insight and recovery for your wife. Please do keep in touch – it’s always good to hear from those who love and support people with BPD, as well as from those who have the condition….Take care.
January 28, 2016 at 12:01 pm
You just descibed me.
In fact you just described an attachment episode I am in the middle of ‘recovering’ from.
Every emotion, the way you described the electric feelings inside….my god that is me.
It only happened late last year in November and lasted about five weeks. I am still thinking of him every night as I sleep and each morning.
I am still over-thinking why he stopped seeing me and of course most reasons are my fault!
It is so exhausting…..but deliciously exciting when you’re in the midst of it.
How paradoxical I am!
Thanks for your wise words.
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July 17, 2016 at 3:08 am
February 9, 2016 at 1:14 am
Thank you for this piece, I have searched everywhere for something about obsessive love and BPD! Finally I found it!
Can you tell me what does your therapist say to do about dealing with this sort of thing? Reciprocated love is so painful,
and I find I can’t seem to let go. It really can be hell on earth.
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April 23, 2016 at 9:01 pm
I think the worst part is I sabotage relationships, then become obsessed when they are over. Then you realize if the trend continues, are these feelings even real. They feel real to me.
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June 22, 2016 at 12:18 pm
Thank you. That was pure poetry and it’s like you’re my cosmic soul sister haha. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in this. There are people out there who just know what life is like.
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June 22, 2016 at 3:16 pm
I ended up here by googling ‘BPD and obsessions’, I’ve been diagnosed for 5 years but had this condition since I was a child. My obsessions with people have been tumultuous to say the least. They leave me feeling totaly and utterly ‘in love’ despite not knowing what love feels like at any other given moment. Yet, hating myself for behaving like a lost puppy, and knowing that the person A, isn’t always interested in me, B, is usually out for what they can get, C, doesn’t have a clue who I am. They don’t understand the sudden overwhelming fill they have over you. And you look like a crazy stalker. (Maybe we are?) But every moment of my life becomes consumed with these people, whether I have a partner or not. For me, it’s the hardest part.
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July 2, 2016 at 6:28 am
It is coping strategy ..an escape from a a real problem your scared to face. Ohh my god you are brilliant and you gave me such confidence. If you can help could you please tell me if i should rush for therapy or just wait as my life doesn’t allow me right now. I am just having kind of extra marital affair kind of situation yet i feel i am ok. Well not really but I just want to know should I keep going with my coping mechanism?
I seriously cant afford therapy and i don’t know what to do? BTW this is my first diagnostic but i sure relate to many many symptoms of BPD. Hope you can answer. All the best to you. NA thank you so much for sharing..it means a lot.
July 17, 2016 at 3:11 am
THANK YOU FOR THIS. I am totally doing the same thing. I attach myself to men trying to escape my reality. Problem is, I don’t know how to make it stop. I feel like the more I try to make it stop, the worse it gets. It’s awful. Logic tells me one thing, and then my obsessed thoughts take over and the next thing I know, I’m incapable of of thinking about anything else, good or bad.
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July 22, 2016 at 9:47 pm
Thank you so much for reading, and for your comment…..I know what you mean about the obsession taking over absolutely everything, and completely obliterating any sense of judgment and logic. Do you mind if I ask if you’re in therapy? For me it was the only way of trying to understand these aspects of myself and not just understanding, but developing new experiences and a new perspective on myself and on relationships. Earlier on my therapy (or rather, for the first couple of years!) I felt I was gaining quite a lot of self-awareness and understanding quite a few things about myself, but it really wasn’t until the therapy relationship itself really started to deepen and change me, that some of those other things started to fall into place and become ‘heart knowledge’ as well as ‘head knowledge’. That’s not to say that’s the only way of doing things! But for me it was what I needed, and it continues to be an amazing experience….take care and I really hope that you can have access to some help with this, as it’s so incredibly hard….
October 8, 2016 at 3:38 am
As someone who struggles with BPD, this is one of the only relatable texts I have found from many of books, and turns out to be a blog. Thank you for writing this. I am glad to know that someone else understands what I am going through.
October 14, 2016 at 4:28 pm
WOW! I think you have been living in my head! This was an eye-opening read. I am 52, diagnosed 18 months ago, on therapist #6, she has finally found me in the “swamp” that is my mind. All this time, I thought that this is just the way relationships go, and I have been in search of “The ONE” who would GET me enough, love me enough, want me enough … blah, blah, blah enough. I love your analogy of the one who chases and the one who falls, succinctly written, that is just exactly what it is for me too, verbatim!
I am presently in DBT and therapy weekly, with enormous clarity coming to me now after several months of Hell and torment, disbelief at the realization that it really was me (and NOT everybody else) who had a distorted mental view of the world, and in my world, relationships are paramount … I have NEVER lived alone, segueing from one to the next, and in long term attachments there has almost always been another (at least one) man that gave that RUSH I so needed, it was my live blood, no thought to right or wrong, it was a dire need, that was all.
Married, raised kids, now divorced and finding the same scenario with my current man … but am for the first time, aware of what it is I am doing to damage this further. Trying very hard now to get my own head squared away so that I can actually keep this one, as he has been patient and kind regarding the BPD aspect now … he was not always, but as I reacted to his reaction to me, we continued to spiral downward … maybe we can actually catch it before we hit the ground. This was extremely helpful to maybe bring some further clarity to a situation that has been haunting me all my days, the obsession of it all … oddly enough, Obsession cologne for men was always my favorite scent, it was intoxicating to me, like a drug …
Thank you for sharing your experience with this, it has made a difference in my world! 🙂
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November 16, 2016 at 5:26 pm
Any advice after a breakup? I felt about this person the way that you described above, and I was ghosted one day. Found out that he had met someone else and just dropped me and got engaged quickly. Or maybe he was already seeing someone else before he disappeared. Absolutely devastated bc in my 40 years I had never felt so alive before. Now I’m just existing and can’t put it out of my mind. I reread old conversations to see what clues I missed…I’m working on fighting off that urge. Best friend and lover all in one. Talked off and on all day for months and months then just gone suddenly without a goodbye. We never had an argument, never saw it coming. It has sent me to therapy bc I’m so obsessed with it, missing the attention and conversation from the past and the unanswered questions that drive me crazy. I hope to get help and maybe a diagnosis or something soon.
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November 26, 2016 at 11:06 pm
I’m glad you have found some support in therapy, and have a forum for working this through. Look after yourself – I don’t think it’s unusual to dwell on something like this, particularly if you don’t understand why it happened and what contributed or led to it. I really hope therapy will be helpful for you – and is helpful for lots of people in different circumstances, irrespective of whether there is formally a ‘mental health difficulty’ or not. Unfortunately, I am very short on advice in this area! Perhaps because of issues related to underlying difficulties causing my BPD, I never waited long enough to be ‘left’, and tended to do the leaving myself, by moving on to another partner. I never saw it that way at the time – it was always a case of falling completely and utterly for someone more ‘ideal’ or someone who fulfilled a more ‘ideal’ picture of what love was meant to be like. I had no idea at the time that my intense need for something was not necessarily a need caused by them or one they could fulfill. I really really hope you heal from this with the help of your therapist, and that therapy will provide a vehicle to explore this situation but also any other aspect of your life you want to delve into. My therapist keeps talking about ‘living better’ – take care and I hope that this is what therapy can facilitate for you too…
January 4, 2017 at 11:15 pm
This makes so much sense and as a lot of comments here said very relatable. Thank you for writing this
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January 6, 2017 at 2:31 pm
Awesome post! For years I have tried to put in words the fractures of my “love” life and obsessive attatchments in a way that was comprehensive. It can feel impossible at times. I often feel like a puzzle trying to put itself together.You did a great job translating the emotional and psychological deviances.Bravo!
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February 19, 2017 at 9:02 am
As I carefully read this page, I was blissfully taken away from the torment in my mind revolving my current obsessive attachment with my case manager. I was taken away by how identically our minds work, to the point of how I too have often wanted an iv capable of showing others how I feel, and even down to the fact that your therapist is in your head as mine is in my head.
I want to say thank you very much for sharing your insight into the mind construction we share, it helped me very much to be reminded of the fact that obsessive attachments are distractions when life is unbearable. Being reminded of this has, for the moment, weakened my attachment to the point that I can have a different thought other than one of her, allowing me to breath. Thank you. 🙂
Also, excellent wording, it made reading this all the more enjoyable. 🙂
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June 7, 2017 at 10:13 am
Never read anything that makes me so sad actually, I mean the reality of it all. For me, in the beginning of meeting someone I may be interested in, seems like they chase me, prodding me along with attention and adoration to get me to care about them and its The One Who Falls that is getting what she needs, being fed the love that fills all her empty spots. I think that is when my obsession starts. Then for whatever reason, when they pull back, pull away…its The One Who Chases that takes over because her fear of rejection and abandonment has triggered every inch of my soul and all hell brakes loose with trying to hang on for dear life. It never works as it just pushes them farther away, and me more obsessed with what I thought would be “it” this time. But it is The One Who Falls that is left to copel with the devastating pain.
You have truly made me look at myself in a new light with a new way of thinking as I try to figure out how to move forward from this paralyzed state. Thank You!
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June 22, 2017 at 8:58 pm
Thank you so much for your comment, I’m so glad it helped!
June 19, 2017 at 8:18 pm
This is absolutely incredible. This post is like reading my mind and I would really like talking to you about it. .
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June 22, 2017 at 8:43 pm
Thank you so much, I’m glad you found it helpful! You can email me through the ‘Contact me’ page, though I need to apologise in advance and warn that my email response rate can be very slow, either because of volume of emails from various places (not just blog related) or because I may be feeling very unwell or therapy is overwhelming. So I will try my best to answer and to be helpful, but please don’t read anything into it if I am slow! 🙂 It is always lovely to hear from others, and I just wish I had more time to respond….
July 8, 2017 at 1:12 am
I love this blog. You are very gifted with writing.
I too, feel understood when reading this blog. I have this unquenchable need to be understood. Even while reading this, and feeling validated, I am fighting the urge to have my husband read it in it’s entirety. I have done that many times in an attempt to explain my behavior or to give him some insight into how I feel some days. It has never worked in that way. Yet, I would email him countless articles. It’s not enough to just understand myself it seems.
Thank you for sharing
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July 21, 2017 at 9:28 am
I literally searched into google “bpd help I’m obsessing about someone” and I’m so glad that your blog came up. It makes me feel guilty, suffocated and ridiculous to talk about this obsessive love to people and as much as some kind friends can offer an ear, they don’t often know what to say. For me it comes in waves and I’m in a wave at the moment. I have a partner of four years and to obsess about him makes the relationship and my perception of it change rapidly and as much as it hurts him he is great at working with me through it. However, if the obsession is with someone else from my past I can’t talk to him about and it feels horrible. He ends up demonised and the other idolised. I know this wave will pass, but I’m really caught in the heightened part of it right now. Reading your blog helped me find relief in that it’s not just me, your words resonate so much. So thank you for writing this!
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August 6, 2017 at 8:10 pm
Thank you so much for reading and commenting, and I’m thinking of you in your struggles – having the ‘distance’ to know that it is like a wave, and will pass, is difficult and important in itself…take care…
October 18, 2017 at 4:31 am
I really loved the personification of these two parts of yourself. I definitely resonated with your description of what obsessive love feels like and how it seems to work as these two go back and forth. I’m really lost at the end though with the idea of processing and the safe arena. What exactly is the safe arena? I really hope you can clarify this for me ❤️
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May 6, 2018 at 1:33 pm
Yes I know it’s been a while. Hope you’re doing ok. I really love this article and put things in perspective for me.
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May 12, 2018 at 8:44 am
Thank you, I’m so glad it helped!
October 8, 2018 at 7:08 pm
Its terrifying to lose yourself completely and your brain be filled with thoughts of whomever “im in love with”. They can cause so much harm and I still cant cut them out. Its terrifying.. I still dont get why I cant be normal and let go after the 1st offense. I never want to feel like this again.
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