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This book has some good information, but much was useless to me - see below:
on April 6, 2011
Although this is a good book on the subject of Obsessive Love (and I have not found many books on this topic), there are a few problems with it. The problems with the book are as follows:
The first big problem is that one third of the book is devoted to targets of obsessive love, and how to get away from people obsessed with you. I think this should have been a separate book, so this book could be devoted solely to obsessors themselves.
Second of all, she only briefly mentions obsessors who do not have a relationship with their target. She calls them 'worshippers from afar' and mentions that they are extreme cases, but then doesn't talk about them at all through the rest of the book. I find this unsatisfactory, as that is the type of obsession I have typically had.
Thirdly, she makes it sound like the condition of being an obsessive lover doesn't start until one reaches adulthood. However, I have had severe obsessions with members of the opposite sex since I was seven years old.
Fourth, she talks about such extreme things as threats of suicide, acts of violence, and even acts of murder. She also says numerous times that anyone with tendencies toward violence, or with suicidal or homicidal impulses should get professional help immediately. If such people should get professional help outside of the book immediately, then why does she talk about them so much? She should have just stuck to stories having to do with less severe problems, that the book is designed to help with.
Fifth, she has readers take an 'emotional vacation' by having no contact with their targets for two weeks. However, I have had severe obsessions with women who I see less often than that.
Sixth, before she presents the exercises in the last section of the book, she mentions that the exercises will help a person overcome obsessive love or at least gain some control. In other words, there is no guarantee that the exercises will help beyond gaining a little control over obsessive thoughts, feelings, and/or behaviors.
More about the exercises:
The exercises she has obsessors do, are in my opinion not very effective. She has you keep an 'obsession log', where you write down each time you become preoccupied with the target of your obsession. This just made me think of the person even more.
When doing the obsession log, she has you keep track of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Then she has you try to stop your compulsive behaviors first without addressing the obsessive thoughts and feelings that lead to the behaviors.
Then she has you try to get your thoughts off of your target by getting rid of anything that reminds you of your target. Again, it might not be possible to avoid the actual person, let alone everything that reminds you of them.
She also says to label the thoughts by saying 'this is obsessive'. I don't see how that can help. Then she says to give your obsessive thoughts free reign every night, and then dismiss them after so many minutes, and to reduce the number of minutes each day. Again, I don't see how that can help. If I could just dismiss my obsessive thoughts, I would've done it by now.
One other thing for the thoughts is to do something that distracts you, like a crossword puzzle. This might work for a few minutes, but what if you keep thinking of the person all day every day? It's not always possible to do something to get your thoughts off of the person you are obsessed with.
She has you write a letter to your parents, expressing whatever anger or bitterness you still harbor as a result of the way they treated you when you were a kid. You don't have to give it to your parents, but supposedly just writing it and expressing your feelings helps. It didn't really help me, and just made me upset about things that happened to me in the past, like re-opening old wounds.
She has you write a 'eulogy' for your relationship with your target, and imagine the relationship being dead and lowered into a grave. I tried this so many times, but it didn't work with the person who I am currently obsessing over, who may not even know I exist. I still feel just as obsessed with her.
One exercise I found helpful, perhaps the only one I found helpful, was coming up with dignity-preserving responses to rejection. Instead of crying, refusing to accept rejection, pleading for another chance, making threats, or whatever in response to rejection, she has you think of what an appropriate response would be, and you try to think that way instead of the way you are accustomed to thinking.
Another helpful suggestion included in the book is having a friend or family member who you are accountable to, who can keep you from acting on obsessive thoughts.
Overall, this book helped me by convincing me that I could never have a relationship with someone I am obsessed with. However, avoiding people who I could potentially become obsessed with is not always possible. So now I have the problem of potentially feeling extremely obsessed with someone who I can't avoid seeing, and at the same time I know that if I ever tried to be with that person, it would not work and they would be driven away by my obsession. So as far as this book's suggestions go, my best bet is to rely on a close friend who can keep me from acting on my feelings that I have toward those who I can't avoid seeing and being around.