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Obsession - Are You Driving Yourself and Your Friends Crazy?

Sonya Green
 


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People have addictions which seem incomprehensible to people who don't
have those addictions. Take gambling as an example; non gamblers just don’
t understand how or why someone would spend every available opportunity
to sit in a casino and willingly dispose of all of their money. From an outside
view it looks like unbelievable stupidity. It seems to be a boring, repetitious
and frustrating hobby at best. On a logical level we wonder why those
people haven't worked out that ‘the house always wins’. The gambler loves
to dance around and brag about the times he did win even though we all see
that the final outcome is that he has no home, no money in the bank and a
huge credit debt. Yet, on a small winning streak he can be completely
oblivious to this fact. Without analyzing all the complexities of a gambling
addiction, we can summarize it as this: The gamblers belief in winning the big
one is greater than his belief in the reality of what has happened, what is
happening and what will predictably happen. In short, the dream is more
real than the reality.

The same can be said for drugs, alcohol, food, cigarettes, sex and all
addictions. The reality of an addicts life might be sheer devastation and yet
the belief that one more of whatever will be what the dream expects itself to
be.

It seems to me that a dream can hook into a compartment within the mind
and become completely embedded. It is like a sacred place and it contains
all we want. It could be wealth, happiness, love, security or whatever. We
all have desires and we all have dreams and we all have a place in out minds
in which we live out those possibilities. The gambler might have originally
had a dream of a big win. He probably had a couple of good wins initially
and that reinforced the dream. Somehow though, the gambler became
addicted to the dream. The big win becomes a primary point of reference
and in time all experiences loop back to that point of reference. That is, all
information and every experience gets filtered through the point of reference.
Some refer to this as classic denial. I call it ‘The happy place’.

It seems impossible to talk logic or facts to an addict. They filter out what
you say; they might pretend to listen, or they argue with you or blank you
out completely. Their eyes glaze over, their ears shut you out and you can
almost hear them singing lah, lah lah as you speak. They have gone to the
happy place.

This is probably familiar to anyone who has had a relationship with someone
with one of these major addictions. What is less obvious is that most of us
are operating under a very similar pattern - and that is: Obsession.

Obsessions can be hidden or often seem harmless or perhaps a little quirky.
Someone else's obsession may be boring to us, but we don't pay much
attention as we are rarely affected by them to any real degree. Many of us
don't even know that we are obsessed. Yes, we all have our little happy
places and we all filter facts to suit our delusions. But, for many of us, we
are destroying our lives or at least our potential lives.

I remember when a friend of mine became obsessed with her boss. When
she first started talking about him I thought she sounded like a schoolgirl
with a secret crush. Within a short period of time, I wondered if she was
actually stalking the poor guy. (He was happily married and did not flirt or
encourage my friend in any way. ) For almost two years she talked about
him as if they were lovers. Almost every conversation we had somehow
looped back to him. She would say things like ‘Alan went to Bali last year,
so this year, I am going to Bali and I will stay at the same hotel that he
stayed in. Alan loves blue, so I am going to wear blue every day. I'm
learning to play tennis now, so Alan and I will have more in common. Alan
loves Italian food, so I. . . ’ Then there were the magical signs that Alan was
'the one, ’ ‘We both have an older brother and a younger sister. He has a
cousin called Linda and so do I. Alan's name has four letters in it and so
does mine’. Almost everything she said started with, ‘Did I mention
Alan. . . Alan would love this. . . That reminds me of Alan. . . Alan has one of
those. . . ’ Finally, it came to “I can't make any plans - Alan might call. " and
"When Alan and I are married. . . "

This example might sound a little extreme or even delusional, but really, I
know heaps of women who think and live this way. I couldn't count the
number of women I know, who meet a guy, and by the second date start
talking obsessively and possessively about him. Not in a “I wonder or I
hope someday. . . ’ kind of a way either, but in a ‘This is real and true. . . ’ kind
of way.

Mark is obsessed by horses. He spends hours every weekend searching
antique shops and the Internet to buy anything - that is, everything he can
find that has something to do with horses. He has ornaments, statues,
posters and jewelry stuffed in to three rooms of his home. He doesn't even
know what he owns and much of it has not even been unpacked. In effect,
half of his home is storage - crammed to the ceilings with boxes of stuff filled
with horse paraphernalia. He is not a jockey or an owner, nor is he a
farmer. He has no real relationship with horses at all. But he bores everyone
senseless with his endless conversations about horses.

Religion is another common obsession. I have had to sever friendships over
this one. I have had people break down and weep for my soul and plead
with me to listen. One woman really distressed me when she turned every
news report into a sign of ‘the end of the world’. No matter what I said, she
seemed to answer with something along the lines of Satan talking through
me. Almost everything I said or did resulted in a biblical quote of the
Armageddon variety.

Rob was obsessed with money; he was a wealthy entrepreneur but didn't
seem to enjoy life very much. I remember traveling on a train with him and
commenting on the ocean views. He ignored me completely, and I noticed
that he was looking out the opposite window. “That land will be worth a
fortune one day. If I could subdivide. . . " I also gave him a gift once and he
pulled it apart. I thought that he didn't like it, but it turned out he liked it so
much that he had dismantled it to see how it worked. He wanted to copy
and export them. When we went to restaurants he would compare prices
with other restaurants. Going anywhere with him was like spending a day
with, The Count from Sesame Street!

Julie was obsessed with her looks. Every time we met, she would ask what
I thought of her hair, clothes, shoes or skin. She spent most of her spare
time and money on beauty products, clothes and hair care. When we went
out, she would ask if she was slimmer or younger looking than other women
in the room. She constantly reapplied make up and fiddled with her hair and
clothes. Boring!!!!

Then there are the health conscious and illness obsessions. Sport and work
are often common obsessions. I wonder if all of us might have at least one
thing which we refer to or compare to, in an unconscious, obsessive way.

It's like there is one main point of reference within the mind which we filter
almost all of our thoughts through. What concerns me about obsessions is
that we close off our awareness to infinite possibilities. How do we get to
better ways or different ways, if we keep getting stuck at only one way?
How much of ourselves are we really seeing if we can only define ourselves
as one thing? I also wonder, what this mechanism is that hooks into this one
thing, and why we don't seem to recognize it or question it. When so many
of these obsessions are destructive or at least severely limiting, then why
won't we let go of them.

What's really interesting is that we see it so clearly in others, but probably
have never taken the time to question ourselves. Have a casual look in the
next few days and you might actually find one or more of your own. If it
serves you well then stay with it, but if not, then it might be worth trying to
change it or replace it. Apart from driving your friend's nuts or boring them
to death, you might actually find something a lot more worthwhile to obsess
about.

Sonya Green is webmaster and author of Reinventing Myself. Her writing reflects her passion for finding Joy in everyday life. Love, health and happiness are available to us us.

Copyright Sonya Green 08
http://www.reinventingmyself.com

(1696)

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