Here are 4 signs that can help you detect an unhealthy obsession. This list can be used to detect obsession in others and it can help you guard against forming an obsession yourself.
- If Someone Repeatedly Contacts You Even After You Clearly Asked Them Not to, This Is a Sign of Obsession
Ending a relationship is usually difficult and messy. It can be a struggle to navigate the turbulent waters of feeling hurt, still liking someone, trying to move on, and guarding your heart. For that reason I am not here to give everyone a one-size-fits-all recommendation on the process of breaking up.
Sometimes people agree to have a mutual a clean break right from the start. Other times people might need to have a few conversations over a period of time before they can truly move on from each other.
However, sometimes one of the persons in the relationship feels like they must cut off all contact with their ex so they can fully move on even though the ex feels like they need to keep talking about things. You don’t have to agree with this practice. That’s not the point of why I’m mentioning this.
Rather, the reason I mention this is because when someone clearly asks their ex (or anyone else for that matter) not to contact them anymore, and then this person continues to call, text, or try to get in contact, this is a sign of obsession.
You don’t have to agree or like the fact that someone does not want to speak ever again. But we must respect the personal choices of everyone. Even God himself does not overrule someone’s desire to be left alone. In Revelations 3:20, we see a picture of Jesus standing at the door knocking. He does not barge in. In Luke 15 in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the father lets the son go and does not try to stop him. In 1 Samuel 8, Samuel is upset because Israel is asking for a king even though he knows they should simply follow God. But God tells Samuel to give them what they want even though it will be bad for them.
God respects the choices of people and so must we.
- If Someone Threatens Self-Harm If You Leave Them, This Is a Sign of Obsession
Anytime someone threatens to harm themselves, these threats should be taken seriously. In no way am I telling you to ignore someone’s threats of self-harm. If someone does threaten to do something hurtful to themselves, you should call 911 and report this for that person’s safety.
With that said, you cannot let people control your life through their threats of self-harm. When someone says they will do something bad to themselves if you do not stay with them, this is a dangerous sign of obsession. This is a sign the relationship has gotten totally imbalanced.
- Holding Onto Wildly Unlikely Hopes that a Relationship Will Be Restored Is a Sign of Obsession
Another classic sign of obsession is when someone continues to hold onto wildly unlikely hopes of getting back into a relationship with someone who has clearly moved on with their life.
Sadly, some people get so obsessed with people that no matter how clear all the signs are that this relationship will never be restored, the obsessed person refuses to accept it.
Clear words of rejection, new relationships being formed, and even years and years of total silence from the other person – when obsession is present the person will somehow be able to ignore all of these clear signs and continue to believe the relationship will be restored in the future.
(For more on how to know the will of God through interpreting your circumstances, click here.)
- Having Severe and Ongoing Depression Based Upon this Relationship (or Lack of Relationship If This Person Left) Is a Sign of Obsession
Depression is a large topic that has many layers to it. There is normal depression, clinical depression, and there is even spiritual depression.
Depression that is linked to one person in your past, however, is an indicator of obsession. If someone refuses to embrace life and live for God because they are not in the relationship that they want, this is not healthy. Certainly a healthy time of grieving is good when a relationship you really wanted does not work out. But if the depression lingers on and on and will not pass, this is a sign of an unhealthy obsession.
In closing, how can you overcome obsession? Well each person’s unique circumstance is different, but ultimately it comes down to placing God in his rightful place in your heart and in your life. Obsession with someone else comes when we allow that person to sit on the throne of hearts rather than keeping that place for God alone.
So the only real way to overcome obsession is to love God more than the object of your obsession.