Dear Suzie, I can’t stop obsessing about them being together. Just the thought that she did things with him that she never did with me is making me crazy. I have these images of them together, and I keep replaying them over and over in my head. I know I’m torturing myself, but I can’t seem to get these thoughts out of my head. What should I do?
Sounds to me you’re stuck in the obsession loop. Now you might be wondering, what’s the “obsession loop”? Let me explain. The obsession loop is like watching the perpetual replay of a horror movie, except that the details are taken from your own life. If you were going to advertise this movie, the poster would look something like this:
And the voice-over from the trailer would say… Watch over and over, as our hero becomes the victim of the ultimate betrayal! You’ll cry, you’ll curse, you’ll burn for revenge.
WARNING: Obsession is a highly addictive, totally engrossing, horror-filled, suspense-rich, revenge movie. Once you start watching, you just can’t stop!
What makes obsessing on the images so compulsive?
Two things come to mind:
- Obsessing promises to reveal the meaning.
Lure: You tell yourself that if you keep replaying and dwelling on those painful images, at some point you’ll understand or find meaning or make sense of the madness.
Reality check: The fact is, all of the images you’re obsessing about are made up by you (seeing as you weren’t there). So it’s not the actual truth that captivates you, it’s your own version of the truth.
- Obsessing promises power over the past.
Lure: You tell yourself that by thinking about them or creating images of them, you’ll gain some power over them.
Reality check: Because no thought (or image) leaves the mind of the thinker, obsessing doesn’t give you power over the past; it simply keeps you stuck in it.
Listen up! Obsessing is seductive and addictive… but it’s not productive.
Acknowledge That These Mental Images Of Them Together Aren't Helping You.
It’s time to finally get honest with yourself and admit the truth. Running the same old
movies in your head of them being together isn’t hurting them. In fact, it’s hurting you. (a lot) And obsessing about them is continually draining you of valuable (and much needed) time and energy.
Notice The Payoffs.
One thing to note about human beings is that we never do anything without first believing it does us some good. There must be a part of your mind that believes
that obsessing on these images is beneficial. For example, are you getting some secret pleasure from playing the role of martyr or victim? Once you notice the hidden payoffs, also notice how obsessing is costing much more than it’s giving you.
Mute The Audio Track Or Turn Down The Volume.
When we make mental images (even if we aren’t aware), we often include some type of voice-over or sound track. Whenever you hear that voice describing what they were
doing and thinking, simply imagine the dial on a radio and turn it down, or press the big red button that says mute.
Shrink The Picture And Images.
Mental images are often shown in the mind like they are on a movie screen. When you notice yourself seeing or viewing these images, shrink them. The smaller the images, the less power they have over your emotions.
Interrupt The Experience.
This is a very important step. For some people, this may be all they need to do because obsessing is another way of being self-indulgent. Here’s what I
mean: When you think about it, who is the viewer, the writer, the director, the producer, and the watcher of all of these images? Isn’t it you? Who can create anything in your own mind but you? In other words, obsessing isn’t really about them; it’s really about you.
I suggest you stop the indulgence!
When you really think about it, you realize it just doesn’t do you any favors. It’s not helpful. Whenever you find yourself spinning off into those directions, STOP IT! Picture a stop sign or red light if it helps. Switch your attention and redirect your focus.
When it comes to obsessing, you may have to fight the battle more than once to win it. And yet, it’s a victory well worth the fight.
How long should you keep interrupting the obsession loop?
You keep doing it for as long as it takes. The key here is in knowing that every time you take charge of your mind, you take back some of your personal power. This makes all the effort worthwhile.
Until we speak again…
Remember… Love Wins!