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Obsessive Love: When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go Paperback – January 2, 2002
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— Dr. Barbara De Angelis, author of What Women Want Men to Know
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When Loving Hurts and You Don’t Know Why
When It Hurts Too Much to Let Go
Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life
From the Publisher
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read this book a number of years ago and re-read it recently. I am teaching a course on Addiction and Obsession and highly recommend it to
clients and students. Dr. Read more
If you just went through a break-up... this is a very helpful read... especially for those that are having a tough time getting over the loss of their significant other.Published 9 months ago by mareyoko
I liked "Toxic Parents" and "Toxic In-Laws" by Susan Forward the best.Published 16 months ago by MIchelle R
This book is an eye opening self-evaluation that, if it's doing its job correctly, will make you feel uncomfortable and defensive. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Josh Einstein
As a therapist, I found this book excellent. Self-help exercises in the end can help clients get to the root of their distractive obsessions.Published 17 months ago by Pennwoman
I am a clinical psychologist who just finished reading "Obsessive Love." Dr. Forward did well in this book by clearly discussing individuals who become obsessive in... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Jennifer May, Ph.D.