Obsession is a complex word. You might talk about being obsessed with a new K-drama, but that’s not the same as being obsessed with a crush or a lover.
You probably started reading this because the title seemed familiar to you, which means you are perhaps in the throes of an unhealthy obsession you’d like to tackle, wondering what to do to stop obsessing over someone.
Never fear, we’ve got ways to take your obsessive brain in hand and help you move on from obsession. With some help from counseling psychologist Kavita Panyam, take a look at 11 ways that can help you stop obsessing over someone.
What Causes Obsession With A Person
According to Dr. Panyam, there is a co-relation between obsession and compulsion. She explains, “Obsession is when thoughts repeat themselves in your mind, while compulsion is the action we choose to take to ease the obsession.”
Are you constantly thinking about someone to the extent that everything else in your life stops? Are you unable to give them space and stalking them, while also wondering how to stop obsessing over someone on social media?
There are warning signs of being obsessed with someone, and once your brain has acknowledged this, it’s probably in a constant state of flux, trying to get over the obsession without really understanding it.
So, here are some tools and tips to stop obsessing over someone and hopefully regain your sanity.
1. See them clearly
There are reasons why we obsess over certain people. “Maybe you think this is a great person, that losing them would be acute. Maybe they’re breadcrumbing you – sending out flirtatious but non-committal signals, but because you’re obsessed, you want to connect with them, or constantly ruminate on the connection,” says Dr. Panyam.
See the person for what they really are. They probably have attractive qualities which led to the obsession in the first place, but see them as a whole person with flaws and faults.
“Don’t just think of the good days, look at the whole package – the fights, the disagreements. You need to be able to create new connections with your partner or your crush and put in the work. People evolve, and you have to create a new equation with this new evolved person instead of obsessing over the old one,” adds Dr. Panyam.
This might help you to move on and keep you in a better place. Also, remind yourself of the life you had before them and assert to yourself that you still can get back to that place, if need be.
2. Laugh about it
Humor puts things in perspective. If you find that you cannot hold a conversation without bringing up your obsession, learn to laugh at it, and at yourself. Remember, this is a slow and gradual process, so be patient with yourself.
Laughter and humor will help put a little distance between you and your obsession. Almost as though you’re a third person watching this obsession play out. Then, consciously make a decision to distance yourself from them in order to take care of yourself. This will help you stop obsessing over someone and move on from an obsession.
Related reading: 8 ways we stalk our exes
3. You can be sad and scared
You might be at a stage of life where you feel that if you don’t stick with this one person, you’ll never find anyone else or anyone better. Or everyone around you is getting married or committing to each other and you fear dying and living alone for the rest of the life
Maybe you’re obsessed with someone you’re not even with, and you need to get over someone you never had. And, yes, this is also the cause of your perpetual state of sadness. Even worse, maybe the relationship you’re obsessing over has turned abusive.
You might be thinking, ‘I’ve been obsessed with a guy for years. How do you stop obsessing over someone who hurt you, or get over someone who doesn’t want you?’
“Obsession with people or with relationships often comes as a result of lack of self-alignment,” says Dr. Panyam. “You need to address your past trauma, or whatever it is that led you to this point. Ask yourself why you would stay in an abusive or non-existent relationship. The answer might lead further back than you think,” she adds.
4. Stop it
Are you sitting and wondering, ‘ Why am I obsessed with a guy who rejected me?’ We say ‘stop it!’ Stop obsessing over someone you can’t have, stop obsessing over someone on social media. Focus on yourself instead.
Start a new hobby, or to do something that you have always wanted to do and never got a chance to. It could be taking that solo trip that you wanted to, learning a new language, start driving that bike that you always wanted to try. Start doing all this or else you are allowing your obsession to limit your world. These are great ways to get over someone who doesn’t want you.
5. Get back here
Live in the present! Thinking about your obsession all the time, repeating past events in your head and wondering how the future might turn out to be does not allow you to live in your present.
Look at yourself in the mirror and give a ‘reality check’, but don’t be too hard on yourself – be your own best friend. Remember overthinking ruins relationships so stop obsessing over someone you can’t have.
“Self love is critical,” Dr. Panyam says. “Don’t neglect yourself spiritually and emotionally. Nothing is lonelier than that, so keep your life up and going.”
6. Distract yourself
‘I’ve been obsessed with a guy for years, I’ve been obsessed with a guy who rejected me.’ If these are the thoughts going round and round in your mind, it’s time to distract yourself.
Go out, take a walk, go to a bar and watch other people. Take on new activities, keep a journal if it helps. If you don’t want to be alone with your thoughts, take a friend along. Try and have conversations about things other than your current obsession.
If, you have tried all of this and your mind is still all about them, seek professional help and don’t be shy about it.
7. The pedestal is yours
Your obsession holds an important place in your head, which is the precise reason why you are obsessed with them. It might sound outright selfish, but considering yourself the most important person in your own life and keeping yourself on the pedestal is required and that’s how it should be.
Introspect and learn what has been the cause of this obsession – how past relationships affect us and more.
Says Dr. Panyam, “When a person or situation is not good for you, you realize you need to do something about it. When you put someone on a pedestal, you are giving them unconditional love, and maybe expecting the same in return. Remember, functional people are those who don’t look for unconditional love. They say no, accept no as an answer and let things go gracefully without drama or revenge.”
8. Their opinions don’t define you
Why do we obsess over certain people? Maybe they have a certain charm where everything that they say matters to you way more than it should. Sure, you care about what they think about you, but then living up to their desired expectations is a bit too much.
“Sometimes, your mind is stuck on the love bombing phase of the relationship, and you don’t realize when it tips over into emotional abuse,” warns Dr. Panyam.
At times, if they know that you get affected by their opinions, then they may purposely say things to put you down and see how you would change based on that. Some people derive pleasure out of situations like these. Don’t fall victim to their games. Stop obsessing over someone who hurt you on purpose.
9. Get a support system
You need this group of people as your ‘go-to’ people at the time of crisis and at times of happiness too. But, you need them more, especially while dealing with this phase of obsession and to get a third party’s perspective. You might end up knowing that some of your friends are also obsessing over someone and that is help enough – better two people sail in one boat, rather than you alone.
Related reading: I Feel My Insecurity Could Ruin My Relationship with My Boyfriend
10. Stop overthinking
Thinking is important and plays a crucial role in everyone’s life, but isn’t useful, if it turns into overthinking. Only you can have control over your thoughts and make valid choices on what you can and can’t control. Calmly sit and talk to yourself and make yourself aware about the life that you have outside of your partner. Get back on track and keep on moving as that will help you to keep up with the world.
“Remember, thoughts cannot be controlled, whether they are functional or dysfunctional. But, there is a difference between allowing a thought in and engaging with it. Lessen the intensity of the thought by not engaging with it. Wait for these thoughts to pass. Let it happen, don’t put life on hold,” counsels Dr. Panyam.
11. Follow these mantras
Mantras about yourself can help you focus on yourself and make yourself a priority rather than anyone else. Let your anger flow, but to stop feeding your obsession, use mantras like:
- I am awesome!
- I am happy and fun, even without him/her
- I am enough and sufficient for myself
Chant these and if required bring some small changes in your life – like use a different route to work, take your dog to a different park for a walk, spontaneously go for a haircut/tattoo, etc.
If you’re a creative person, turn this obsession into your muse and get something productive out of it. Paint a beautiful picture, write that poem, record an original song and so on and so forth. It isn’t easy to learn that you are obsessed and after learning that, it’s more difficult to get out of that obsession.
“An obsession is like a child wanting a toy. You know it’s a toxic relationship, not good for you, but you still stubbornly want it. This borders on narcissism. You need therapy, and to be able to help yourself. Obsession and compulsion go together. Don’t engage, but let them fade away. It won’t happen overnight so be patient. Above all, don’t allow yourself to be abused or devalued before you can disengage,” Dr. Panyam concludes.
Try these tactics and let us know if it helped in the comments below. Stop obsessing over someone and start obsessing over yourself.