Obsessing about my obsessing

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-23-2011
Obsessing about my obsessing
Thu, 09-13-2012 - 4:52pm
“I cannot force myself to stop obsessing. Shaming myself, "should"ing on myself, threatening myself, will not stop me from obsessing.  It is not possible to stop obsessing by obsessing about the obsession”
This is a quote I saw from Robert Burney, an author on co-dependency. He talks about how many people live their life doing the Serenity prayer backwards -  that is, trying to change the external things over which we had no control - other people and life events mostly - and taking no responsibility (except shaming and blaming myself) for our own internal process - over which we can have some degree of control.  Having some control is not a bad thing; trying to control something or somebody over which we have no control is what is dysfunctional.  It was very important for people to start learning how to recognize the boundaries of where we ended and other people began, and to start realizing that we can have some control over our internal process in ways that are not shaming and judgmental - that we can stop being the victim of ourselves.
This speaks to me. It is a vicious cycle for me at times, I obsess about my XAP and then obsess over my obsessing and internally the dialogue begins and goes down the path of why cant I just stop it, its unhealthy, so many other people have done it, you are weak and selfish, etc, etc. I am working with my therapist on co-dependency issues and its role in my unhealthy thinking, my marriage, my affair…..and it keeps going back to the fact that the beginning and end point is always the relationship we have with ones self…….everything else(good and bad) is a result of that.  
It’s a theme I have seen many times over on these boards and yet it’s the greatest barrier for me.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-26-2009
Fri, 09-14-2012 - 4:55am

Your not alone, I think no matter how far along or healed we are, from time to time we all fall into the obsessive thinking track.

I can have really good rational thoughts, and pat myself on the pack for all the progress I am making, then BAM! Something can click in my head and the only thing I can think about is my worthlessness.

The point in my life where I felt most worthless was while I was in my A. So I start obsessing that I must be worthless because he just let me go. Was I that pathetic? Desperate? Ugly? Fat? Stupid? Disgusting?... The things I call myself in my head are so ugly and I convince myself that not only am I all those things, I convince myself he thinks I'm all those things.

Then after a few rat sh*t days - the feelings pass - I start feeling better about myself, and rational thought returns, and so does the fab person I am ;-) Until next time something clicks in my head - and the cycle starts again. But as time goes on - there goes longer between my "clicks" and they don't last as long.

Its a learning process - sometimes I think ending the A was the easiest part of this journey - there were alot more skeletons in the closest I didn't count on meeting...

one day at a time.... One obsessing cycle at a time - it does gets easier to cope.

Every recovery is a kind of rebirth
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-18-2001
Sun, 09-16-2012 - 7:52am

Hello MM,

Thank you for this post. I can relate to the cycle of being unable to move forward when xAP has become a distraction from whatever it is in my life that I cannot handle, right now it's my marriage. I can obsess with xAP, my behavior, his behavior, what we could have done, what we should have done and on and on, thinking, wasting time, trying to figure out and prove the existence of the quantum theory.  It makes no sense. So I have begun to work on staying with the feeling from the beginning, whatever it is that started the whole cycle and holding on to it, embracing it, recognizing that the loneliness, grief, rejection, sadness, whatever it is,  it is there and a part of me. Somehow, and I am not sure how this works, the power it has over me begins to diminish and am able to let go and move on. It's hard because most of my life I have avoided unpleasant thoughts and feelings, but I had to do something different or I would drown in a sea of what if's.

Emerson Lake and Palmer have a song called "From the Beginning". There is a line that says "you were meant to be here, from the beginning". I use that line over and over. This is where I am meant to be, here.