Are you constantly thinking about someone? Do you obsess over them as if you’ll never be able to stop thinking about them? If so, this article is here to help on how to stop being obsessed with someone.
All of us daydream or fantasize about people in our lives. That’s normal and not usually a cause for concern.
Sometimes, those thoughts become obsessive and distract us from other important areas of our life, and that’s when they become a problem.
Obsessive thoughts about someone can distract us from work, make us lose sleep, or even make us neglect our friends, family, and ourselves in favor of giving our mental energy away to this particular person.
This article will explore why we become obsessed with people and how to stop. Remember that specific mental health issues, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or borderline personality disorder (BPD), lead to obsessive thoughts. These are very real conditions and are not treated by reading articles alone.
If, throughout this article, you realize that you may be struggling with OCD or BPD, please seek professional support.
A mental health professional can help you identify your underlying issues and offer support and guidance to help you better manage your condition.
How to stop being obsessed with someone
Below we’ve included some tips and advice to help you overcome an unhealthy obsession.
Obsessive thoughts use up an awful lot of your mental battery power and make you a less effective, present, and grounded person in other areas of your life. So, when you have obsessive feelings and thoughts about a person, what can you do to stop them?
How to stop obsessive thoughts about a person
There are ways to take control of your thoughts if you are serious about making a change in your life.
1. Remember that nobody is perfect
Nobody is perfect. Nobody is better than you, and you’re not better than anyone else.
One of the biggest causes of obsession over a particular person is the belief that they are somehow flawless.
For some reason, perhaps their looks, their mannerisms, their talents, or the way they validate us, we put this person on a pedestal. They become the epitome of what we want in a friend or partner.
However, nobody can stay on such a high pedestal for long. Sooner or later, this person will speak or act in a way that challenges your ideal image of them.
Since you placed them so high up, their fall will be great, and you may feel unreasonably disappointed in them. This is a common experience for those who struggle with a borderline personality disorder.
People with BPD often have a ‘favorite person’ – someone who seems flawless and earns their constant attention.
By remembering that nobody is perfect, despite how utterly flawless they seem at first, you save yourself a lot of time and energy.
Even when you feel like they’re perfect, remember that creating such an image of a person not only sets you up for disappointment but also places immense pressure on that person not to make mistakes.
2. Learn to validate yourself
A huge reason why we obsess over people is that they validate us.
If you struggle with low self-esteem and self-worth, you’ll want to keep around the person who validates your emotions and experiences. They’ll feel like the answer to your low self-esteem, so you’ll do all you can to keep them close.
Sometimes that looks like giving them rent-free accommodation in your mind.
Instead of outsourcing love and validation, cultivate it within so you can offer it to yourself. The more you can stand in the arms of your loving kindness, the less you need to rely on others to provide it to you.
The result is less obsessive thoughts about this magical person who will fix your problems and a greater sense of self-respect and autonomy.
3. Connect with friends and family
Close friends and trusted family members may be able to help you stop obsessing over someone.
Often when we become obsessed, we see the object of our obsession through tunnel vision. Areas of our life that don’t involve the person can start to feel boring, so we neglect them and instead focus all our time and energy on the person.
Again, nobody is perfect. That means that sooner or later, the rose-tinted glasses will come off, and you’ll see that person for who they are, a naturally flawed human being.
When that happens, you don’t want to look around and realize that there’s nobody there for you anymore because you neglected them in favor of your ‘favorite person.’
To prevent isolation and loneliness, two significant health risks, maintain your social connections outside your relationship with the object of your obsession.
Friends and family members who love you will notice changes in your behavior regarding your obsession and may point them out to you. They will also be able to more clearly see that person’s negative traits, those traits to which you are blind due to obsession.
If you’re deeply obsessed and busy exercising your right to live your own life, you may not listen to those who advise you. However, it’s wise to consider their words and concerns.
In the throes of obsession, it’s all too easy to get lost, so having loyal friends and loved ones around to keep us in check can help.
4. Create distance
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Still, distance brings clarity.
Sometimes we become obsessed with a person because we spend so much time with them.
This is especially true when you’ve just met someone new and you get along well. There seems to be no reason not to hang out since you two enjoy it so much.
The problem is that when this person takes up all your time, it will be tough to stop thinking about them.
Give yourself a break from the person if you want to stop thinking about them. Remember that you had a life before this person entered it, so check in with yourself and your personal space.
Are there any areas of your life you’ve neglected recently? Work? A passion project? Existing relationships?
Take some distance from the object of your obsession and be present in other areas of your life.
5. Reclaim your sense of self
As mentioned earlier, sometimes, the reason behind obsession is an underlying low sense of self-esteem. Perhaps this person lights our world and makes us feel worthy and interesting.
If you feel bad about yourself and your worth without that person, you’ll tie your self-esteem to this person’s opinion of you. It feels incredible to feel worthy and validated, so this person’s attention can feel like something to hold on to.
Instead of basing your self-worth on another person’s opinion of you, ultimately becoming obsessed with them, cultivate a strong sense of self from within. This is easier said than done, but it’s entirely possible.
Reach out to friends and loved ones to remind you of your inherent worth, focus on your goals, health, and well-being, and understand that nobody can offer you higher quality validation than you can present yourself.
Why am I so obsessed?
Some of us experience obsessive love disorder or OLD. OLD is not an officially recognized condition, so that you won’t find it in the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-V).
However, it’s still familiar and can harm your mental and emotional health and well-being.
OLD often co-occurs with other obsessive conditions, such as OCD and BPD.
You may be experiencing OLD if you have the following symptoms:
- Thinking about the person all day, unable to focus on other things
- Feeling extremely protective of the person
- Demonstrating obsessive behaviors, such as possessiveness, constantly checking in, or talking about them all the time
- Extreme attraction
- Feelings of jealousy when that person talks to others
- Regularly checking their social media
As mentioned above, OLD often stems from another condition such as OCD or BPD. Attachment issues from early childhood experiences may also cause it.
Attachment issues vary among people.
Some people who did not get their attachment needs met effectively in childhood become avoidant romantic partners in adulthood; others become obsessive.
A potential lover or the idea of one shows up, and those with insecure attachment feel compelled to hold onto this person dearly.
How to stop obsessing over a lost friendship
A lost friendship can break your heart. A close friendship is one of the beautiful aspects of being human, so recovering from that loss can be challenging when a friendship fades or crashes.
If you find yourself obsessing over the friend that got away, consider the following advice:
1. Allow yourself to heal
Just like a romantic relationship, a lost friendship requires healing time.
Don’t focus on the what-ifs and the what-could-have-been. Try to accept that the friendship is over and give yourself the time and space you need to heal.
2. Remember the lessons
What did you gain from this friendship? Even though it ended, what was the experience like? Did you learn something about yourself?
Did you have unforgettable experiences, memories that will last forever? Did you gain a new perspective on life that you may not have earned had you not known this person?
These are all positives to take away from the friendship.
3. Appreciate your other friends
Sure, this close friend may not be in your life anymore, but other people in your life still want to spend time with you.
Moreover, there are many places to go and people to see on this planet, so there are potential friends everywhere. Don’t believe that this friend was the only person who will ever ‘get’ you or that you won’t have fun with anyone else.
Stay open, appreciate your existing friends, and be yourself authentically so that new friends can easily find you.
If this is not the first time you’ve been obsessed with someone, look at your past relationships and see how they worked out. Obsessive behavior is detrimental to any relationship, so you may notice a pattern when you look at your past experiences.
Moving forward, is there something you can do differently next time you meet someone you like?
Can you hold off on building that pedestal for them? Can you step back from that sense of urgency and desire and allow the person to exist?
It’s important to learn detachment when it comes to relationships. People come and go in our lives regardless, but one surefire way to send them running is to obsess over them.
In your relationships and all aspects of your life, learn to practice mindfulness of your feelings and emotions, and don’t believe the hype when you meet someone who appears to be a superhero.
On a final note, understand that if you want to have a healthy relationship with someone, you must cultivate a healthy self-relationship first.
That means identifying and addressing your attachment issues and low self-esteem, practicing mindful self-awareness, and maintaining the connection you have with other people in your life.