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Obsessive Love: When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go Paperback – January 2, 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Riveting! Once again, Susan Forward has shone a light on relationships in her uniquely compassionate and dramatic way.”
— Dr. Barbara De Angelis, author of What Women Want Men to Know

Bantam Books by Susan Forward:

Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them:
When Loving Hurts and You Don’t Know Why

Obsessive Love:
When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go

Toxic Parents:
Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life

From the Publisher

In this invaluable self-help guide, Dr. Susan Forward presents vivid case histories as well as the real-life voices of men and women caught in the grip of obsessive passion. Whether you're an obsessive lover or the target of such an obsession, here is a proven, step-by-step program that shows you how to recognize the "connection compulsion," what causes it, and how to break its hold on your life so that you can go on to build healthy, lasting, and pain-free relationships. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (January 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553381423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553381429
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Forward, PhD is the author of the #1 New York Times best sellers "Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them" and "Toxic Parents" as well as numerous other books including "Obsessive Love," "Money Demons," "Emotional Blackmail," "When Your Lover Is a Liar," "Toxic In-Laws" and "Betrayal of Innocence." Her newest book, "Mothers Who Can't Love," launches nationally on October 1, 2013.

In addition to her success as an author her, Susan is one of the nation's leading psychotherapists, a dynamic lecturer and highly sought after talk-show guest including having hosted her own ABC Talk Radio show for six years. In addition to her private practice, she has served as a therapist, instructor and consultant for many Southern California psychiatric and medical facilities.

Through her books, therapy practice, lectures and media appearances, Susan's groundbreaking work has opened up exciting new worlds of confidence, inner strength and emotional independence for countless women and men.

To learn more about Susan, please visit her website at www.SusanForward.com or like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SusanForwardPhD

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wendy Kaplan on February 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
I can't count the times I have pontificated by saying that I would never read or recommend a self-help book. Well I was wrong. "Obsessive Love..." is a gem of the genre, a truly insightful and helpful book for all ages.
In clear, thoughtful, and easy-to-read English, Susan Forward explains the difference between love--and obsession, quite a different animal altogether. Because it is written with a nonjudgmental attitude and the compassion comes through on every page, it allows the reader who may be caught up in such a relationship to take the first painful step: admitting that he/she is indeed caught up in this unhealthy situation.
The book then gives advice on how to break the attachment and to see the relationship for what it is--or is not. It is aimed at giving the obsessor his/her life back, and of course, the object of the obsession gains the same bonus. Those who are caught up in such a relationship often feel hopeless, helpless, and truly terrified at the prospect of ending a relationship that in fact may not even exist (or that exists no longer). Forward understands this, and does not try to explain it away. She simply guides the reader, quietly and firmly, if you will, through a series of steps that she says will help. And they do.
Letting go is never an easy process, and Forward does not pretend that it is. But her advice works, and leaves the obsessor with dignity and a sense of having come through a serious situation, and out to the other side.
I would imagine that this book would not help a truly psychotic stalker. I have recommended it repeatedly to friends who are locked into relationships that are obsessive and unhealthy, or that are over entirely. The advice has worked every time. I recommend this book to anyone who is grieving over a failed love affair, or a preoccupation with a person who does not reciprocate one's affections. If nothing else, this book will provide strong comfort.
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Format: Paperback
I have struggled three times with "obsessive love," and am now struggling a fourth time. When I first saw this book, I was encouraged to know that I'm not alone, and that I have a documented psychological condition with documented remedies. Unfortunately, however, I was expecting too much, and was disappointed. There is no easy one-size-fits-all solution, and I was left with more questions than answers at the end of the book.

Based on the cover, you would imagine that most of this book would be devoted to practical advice for obsessive lovers. Not so. The first section (pages 1-106) is just a symptomatic description of the problem, illustrated with numerous stories from Dr Forward's clients. She starts with an outline of the emotional process in an obsessive lover's mind - the constant fear of rejection, and ultimate denial of rejection, leading to a totally unrealistic view of the relationship. The chapter is padded with more examples than it needs, but it gets the point across: if you're an obsessive lover, you will now be in no doubt about it. In the following chapters, she goes on to talk about progressive levels of obsessive behavior: frequent phone calls, unwanted gifts, stalking, anger, revenge and ultimately murder (!). I lost the thread right at the beginning of this list. Obsessive behavior for me means pacing around my apartment, sleeping all day, bad eating habits, distraction from work, but never any obvious personal harrassment.

I plowed on, skipping through some of the bizarre and irrelevant stories, mildly encouraged that things could be a lot worse. The second section (pages 107-168) deals with obsessive love from the target's point of view: how to free yourself from an obsessive lover.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first picked up this book several years ago when I realized that I had some issues around being addicted to a person. I have found it very helpful because some of the stories themselves parallel my own issues, and also because it has helped me to recognize characteristics of the persons with whom I form such unhealthy attractions.

This very well written book explores the symptoms and results of being addicted to a person. Author Susan Forward's basic premise is that a person who tends to be relationally addicted will be drawn to somebody who, for various reasons, becomes for him or her their One Magic Person. Through this person, the addicted one relives certain negative childhood experiences, hoping to make them come out right this time.

In the majority of cases in the book, the addicted one eventually drives the other one away through their jealousy, possessiveness or what-have-you, and from that point the addict's focus switches to getting the other one back. This can take the form of unwanted visits, phone calls and gifts. In one of the sadder cases, the pursuer is reduced to sitting in a car outside the other one's house hoping for a glimpse of the beloved from time to time. Sometimes, the pursuer takes revenge against either the other one's property or, in a couple of very tragic cases, the other one's person.

The case histories in the book are partly told in the words of the addicted one, with comments by the author. There is a chapter devoted to the ones who are pursued, although even in this chapter, the focus goes back to the pursuers.

If it appears as though the pursuers are the always the bad guys, this is not the case.
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