First 30 Days Blog

03 aug

Healthy Review versus Unhealthy Obsession

Breaking up is hard to do. It’s especially hard to do when you feel as if your own brain is your enemy; when the movie that was your life with your ex plays OVER and OVER again.

When we first breakup, we have this horrible experience of thinking and dreaming and constantly mulling about the ex. Though it is crazy-making, it is necessary to process what Freud called “review and relinquishment.” In other words, we have to put up with the horror movie in our head to move on. That is the idea behind the Relationship Inventory. It not only facilitates the review but it makes it less subjective by asking for both good and bad reviews. When your head just picks and chooses what to review, the review can be incomplete and therefore seemingly never ending.

But even if we do the inventory or time has passed, we find the thoughts are still recurrent and intrusive. This ruminating and thinking over and over again about situations that you can’t really do anything about is called obsession. It’s turning things <strong>over and over in your mind searching for answers where there are none. The ruminations are useless and unhelpful. And you really need to acknowledge the obsession and take concrete steps toward addressing it.

Obsession is not the same as reviewing your relationship and different conversations in an effort to be done with it once and for all. We need to go back and learn. We need to review the relationship and see where WE went wrong. We need to review, in a healthy manner, the ex’s part, our part and what we need to take responsibility for and change. We need to write it down and not let the thoughts just pinball around in our heads until we feel crazy. We need to make lists of what we’re thinking about and what we can learn from it.

Are you reviewing in a healthy way to let it go? Or are you obsessing?

Obsession is thinking and re-thinking for no useful purpose. It’s asking questions over and over…often the same questions over and over…where there either are no answers or the answers don’t matter.

What is he/she doing?
Why did he/she move on so quickly?
Does he/she ever think about me?
How could you say A one day and B the next?
What is going on/has gone on?

Getting out of obsession takes discipline and decision. You have to decide that you are going to stop thinking about it. . You need to write about what you need to write about and be done with it. Don’t look at Facebook…not the ex’s Facebook page, not the friends of the ex. No hints to mutual friends to find out what is going on, the random texting. Go No Contact (NC) both actively and passively. If you do not go NC you will find the obsession much harder to combat.

You need to be focused on YOU and if you are not NC this is next to impossible. There is a certain amount of looking at what this other person DID but the important thing is not to see it as what they DID, but what you ALLOWED. This work is about YOU getting well, not what the other person did.

At some point you need to stop dwelling on what was done TO YOU and understand that you need to figure out what it is in you that put you in that position to be treated that way. What is it? Find out and fix it. Stop dwelling on them and what they did.

We need to do the hard, tough work. But we also need to be bringing in the good stuff and building a worthwhile life. If you’re just ruminating over the past and not building something solid in your life, you’re suffering for no good reason.

Stop obsessing about the ex. Stop ruminating. Start working the bad stuff out WHILE working the good stuff in. Get off the dime and into your own life. Think about you and what you want for your future and then go get it!

You have to take a look at the past and see what happened by writing it down, but you also need to get control over your obsessive thoughts and turn your thoughts toward building a new life. Work out the old, work in the new. Healthy review, yes. Unhealthy obsession, no.

You can do this.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Susan J. Elliott on August 3rd, 2010 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

  • Add Comment


  • This was extremely helpul advice to me. I have been going over and over things I cant do anything about any more because it has endend almost two years ago already. and I have been feeling like I have been a victim. I set the relationship wrong from the start by being too eager and by accepting unacceptable behavior and treatment.

    — Added by Omorfi on August 16th, 2010
  • I really relate what has been written. I know many issues I’ve had is not what’s been done to me but what I’ve allowed. Thanks for that clarity. I’m always looking for ways to stop the voices in my head, this helped.

    — Added by cjdebtfree on August 17th, 2010

Share Your Thoughts

You must be logged in to post a comment.