how to stop obsessing over your byfriend and act possesively?
August 10, 2012 9:16 PM   Subscribe

how to cure from codependency? i am in a relatiosnhip with a guy for 8 months. we had some problems because i made him my life, i hink about him 24/7, i stress out about texts, phone calls and i panick if i do not get any. i am afraid i smother him. he asked me he would like to be again the independent girl i used to be when he met me. now, i feel posesive nd jelous if he goes out with his family or visits his mom. i feel i am ridiculous but i can't control myself. i feel i am obsessed with him
posted by barexamfreak to Human Relations (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Dialectical behavioral therapy. It is time-intensive, but if you are serious about nit being able to control emotions that you know are harmful to yourself/others, it could be very helpful.
posted by julthumbscrew at 9:21 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Here's your manual. Do the writing exercises.
posted by Miko at 9:29 PM on August 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you were independent before, what happened that made you anxious? I don't really believe in codependency, but I do think he's probably acted in some way to make you anxious. It doesn't just come out of nowhere. And women are used to blaming themselves when things don't go right or feel right in the relationship. It's entirely possible that the way he's acting is making you anxious.
posted by discopolo at 10:21 PM on August 10, 2012 [6 favorites]

julthumbscrew, I was wondering if you could elaborate on this. I am actually in DBT right now for handling mood swings and such, but I can't really see how the skills we learn as part of the program could be applied to this sort of dependency.
posted by sarahh at 11:32 PM on August 10, 2012

discopolo- that might be true. i just moved to a new town and because i had ni friends i clinged on t him which he does not really like. he wants us to still have friends and from o tine to time to go out on our own. when i hear that i act posessively as if i own him....i do not want him with other people. i hate myself fr being so jealous for every single person in his life
posted by barexamfreak at 4:31 AM on August 11, 2012

I hear you about feeling angry at yourself and aware that your behavior isn't how you want to be and then you find yourself doing it again! The stock answer is always therapy, because it's extremely helpful to have a professional listen to you describe the situation, and then organize your thoughts a bit and talk to you about them. A cognitive-behavioral therapist (CBT) can help you recognize what specific things that you're doing which are most problematic and leading to the anxiety cycle. Then they can talk you through strategies that will help you stop doing them, along with reducing your fear/anxiety. Rather than another person being your safety net, you can build your internal net up again and feel more confident and secure.

(I started CBT when I was in a similar situation, and I felt less like AHH CRISIS ALL THE TIME within two weeks, and much more stable and more like myself within a couple months.)
posted by BigJen at 6:48 AM on August 11, 2012

I'm sorry you're not getting a lot of answers and I suspect it's really that this does sound like garden variety dependence on someone who have grown attached to. Please read the books - honestly, they're an excellent way to understand what's going on in your mind. Many people think "codependency" is limited to situations where there's substance abuse, but in fact it's a common relationship pattern that happens when two people start looking for more from one another than one human can reasonably provide, and stop working on their own personal growth as they seek all their good feelings and security from the other person. You don't even have to be classically codependent in order to learn from these resources about how to be a happier, stronger, more whole person.

Your partner is very healthy and smart to raise this issue before it destroys your relationship - because it is, in fact, a big relationship killer. It sounds like you especially need to learn some detachment.
posted by Miko at 6:53 AM on August 11, 2012

discopolo: I don't really believe in codependency, but I do think he's probably acted in some way to make you anxious.
I agree with this; my therapist told me codependency is a symptom (of anxiety issues, in my case), not a root cause. I would definitely seek out a therapist to talk to due to your anxiety, but don't internalize being codependent. The desire to control other people will fade once you start getting control of your own life.

Big Jen: (I started CBT when I was in a similar situation, and I felt less like AHH CRISIS ALL THE TIME within two weeks, and much more stable and more like myself within a couple months.)

I am doing ACT, but this is my experience as well. It's amazing how quickly the turnaround happened; I started feeling better after a couple of weeks after nearly a year of dealing with anxiety stemming from a specific event last summer. Being anxious is flat out exhausting, especially if you were never an anxious person to begin with. Moving to a place where you know nobody is incredibly stressful. It will help to have someone to talk to. Good luck.
posted by peacrow at 7:27 AM on August 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Nthing therapy. You need more than encouraging words and support from anonymous strangers. You need solid skills to put in place. Sometimes you need to take a break. Not break up, but just schedule some "you" time, where there is no texting, no communication for a certain period of time. For example, go get a massage or take a trip to the movies with your friends, and make a promise to yourself to NOT call/text and try your best to get involved in what you're doing so you're not thinking about it.

You need to do this for you. Something tells me you want to become less possessive so that HE sees you as an independent woman. Do this because no man, no matter how wonderful he is, is worth 100% of your time.
posted by andariel at 7:38 AM on August 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

I am curious if you moved to be with him or closer to him. Or did you just happen to move and happened to meet him after you moved there?
posted by Michele in California at 7:57 AM on August 11, 2012

sarahh: well, I initially didn't want to be this blunt, but the OP's issue didn't sound exactly like "codependency" to me - it sounded more like one person getting stuck in irrational, destructive thought/action patterns and taking their pain out on their partner (and for "learning how NOT to do that", DBT is awesome). You're right, DBT WOULDN'T be quite right for classic codependency.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:45 AM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I did not move for him.i just got a good job after college.i am a very independent person careerwise but very dependent career wise.i dont seem able to deattach at all.i see that like a.problem.i did this in all my relationship.for some reason i find a relationship as the solution to all my is not his problem.we just came back from a 1 week awesome vacation.the second he dropped me off i started panicking and miss him.i have my family over now,havent seen them in 1 year and i cant concentrate on them.i miss him and count the time til he is time to see him for dinner.i am so afraid that i will lose him cause of my irrational obsession
posted by barexamfreak at 9:12 AM on August 11, 2012

This stuff is EXACTLY what Al-anon is for. Check out a couple meetings. They're free.
posted by small_ruminant at 1:43 PM on August 11, 2012

Up to a point, this is sort of normal for a young woman. Women have a shorter window to reproduce, so they tend to be more oriented towards a serious, committed relationship at a younger age than men. It is partly hormonally driven. Reading up on some of these things might help you feel a little less nutty. Young men tend to make young women even more insecure about such things because they tend to not yet be in the same head space. There are some legitimate biological things behind the general tendency for couples to be a slightly older male and younger female combo.

You might also get checked for allergies and low blood sugar. Both can make you feel anxious. If it is unrecognized and untreated, it is common to get paranoid and kind of blame this type of biologically based stress on something social. Just identifying it as a biological issue can help you behave in a saner fashion (by, say, eating better instead of misinterpretting these biological signals as all about your relationship). You might also get your hormone levels checked. I know this type thing is hormonally influenced, so dietary changes or possibly medication might help with that end of things.

You also might benefit from reading books like "The Cinderella Complex". To some extent, women tend to be socialized to look for a man to rescue them, fix all their problems, etc. A journal or therapy might also help you sort some of this out.

If you are working on resolving this, it might also help to just ask your boyfriend to be a little bit accommodating. I was raped as a child and had health issues and was pretty anxious, insecure and irrational. The guy I married was understanding and to some extent just accommodated my need for reassurances. I think it was easier for him to do so because we were both clear I was not rational and it wasn't somehow his fault. That made it easier when I just wanted him to hold me and not let me go, please don't make me feel abandoned. As I got a handle on my issues, it got better over time.

Best of luck.
posted by Michele in California at 2:42 PM on August 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

The book Be the Person You Want to Find: Relationship and Self-Discovery by Zen teacher Cheri Huber comes at things from a Zen-based (but you don't need to be Zen or a Buddhist) awareness-practice orientation and might give you a different way of looking at it and working with the situation.

Good for you for recognizing that this is causing you difficulty and working to let go of it. In case it's any comfort, you're in what I think may be one of the most uncomfortable stages of this kind of thing. I like this quote from another Zen teacher on the topic:
A little awareness is such a difficult thing. You see what a fool you are being and continue helplessly in the grip of the same foolishness, but the awareness does not go away. What an embarrassment.
— Edward Espe Brown
in Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings: Recipes and Reflections
posted by Lexica at 7:35 PM on August 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

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