I often see “How To Make Any Man Obsessed With You” on my Facebook news feed and on the covers of women’s magazines as though that’s a good thing. It’s not. Trust me. Obsession is NOT love.
Obsession is sick. It’s selfish. It’s cruel. It’s demanding. It has nothing to do with how irresistible a woman is but rather everything to do with how emotionally unstable the man is.
The first time I attended the group meeting at the safe house I thought I absolutely did not want to be like those women….one, two, three years out and still stuck in the mire of recovery. I wanted to be free! I wanted a new life! I didn’t yet understand that they don’t just allow you to walk away in freedom and begin again.
I had a really great day yesterday. Friday night I had given myself permission to fall asleep on the couch at 4:30 in the afternoon. Typically I fight through the fatigue. There is dinner to fix. Laundry to wash. Papers to correct. Animals to feed. Not this time. This time, my body needed rest. So, I slept. Until 9 o’clock! I then stayed up until 1 a.m. doing those things I should have done while I was sleeping. And, then slept another eight hours straight! I woke up late on Saturday and enjoyed my coffee. My body didn’t hurt. My mind felt clear. I felt happy.
In the early afternoon my teenager and I went out to cut and haul up a downed tree. It was easier than most trees we deal with, and we worked quickly, visiting and laughing as we went. Soon, it was time to get ready to take my youngest son to dance practice, and I decided I’d actually put make up on and do something with my hair. I had the energy. It didn’t feel like such a chore to fix up a bit.
As I sat at my make up table after my shower my teenager came running in. Two motorcycles had come up our driveway. One went up the hill above our house. The one that stayed low sounded like a Harley. I told my son to run down and see if the uninvited guests had damaged the gate or stolen anything.
Nothing was damaged or taken. But, they’d left behind an almost new bag of chewing tobacco, dropped right in the open for us to see. Like a calling card.
Yes, you guessed it, the brand my ex chews.
So much for my fantastic day. He had invaded my space. Just because he can. He just wanted to remind me he’s still here and, as he threatened when we were separating, he’s not going away.
On Thursday morning he’d left a masonry glove in my driveway.
He was bitten by a Blue Heeler a few years ago and hated them. That was part of my attraction to getting one! Later, it became obvious he was breaking into my house and giving my new Heeler puppy treats, perhaps trying to make friends with the dog who was supposed to protect me from him. And, guess who just got a new Blue Heeler puppy himself? Because he’s “always wanted one.” He seemed a little deflated when the kids told him we’d rehomed ours and asked multiple times why I’d done that.
I also noticed on the last vistation that he now has an older green Craftsman riding lawnmower. Just like mine. The one that mysteriously had bad gas put in it and no longer runs.
He also bought my favorite truck, though he’s been a lifelong Ford man.
Someone, on Sundays, like clock work, messes with my gate, even taking it off its hinges, and throws garbage in my driveway. Recently, he grinned and told the kids he goes for motorcycle rides on Sundays by our house and up the road that parallels our property.
Am I honored he’s buying things I like? Honored he wants to have the same things I do? Honored that he “appears” to want that connection still? Flattered that he’s still thinking of me and tries to find out what I’m doing? NO! Obsession is not love. It is a means of CONTROL.
He’s even enlisted his girlfriend’s help. I know the drill. He did it to me. His obsessive talking about me has stirred up extreme insecurities in her so that she harasses my daughter’s mother in law at work and has approached a friend of mine at a restaurant while she was out to dinner with friends. What can they tell her about me? What am I like? What was our marriage like?
Some of my friends have dismissed this as just her possibly beginning to see through him. I know that’s not the case. He and his family have done this to EVERY woman he’s ever been involved with. They obsess about the ex to make the current one feel insignificant. That drives her to try harder to please him and be as important as the last one apparently was and still is. In her frantic desire to please him and earn her place in his life, the stage is set for him to use and abuse her. And, I’m left feeling like I’m living in a fishbowl, always being watched and talked about behind my back.
It seems blatantly obvious to me now, but at one point in my life it was all so confusing. I believed the hype. A man’s excessive attention, his obsession with me, must indicate his love for me and my worthiness as a woman. But, true love respects boundaries, privacy, and individualism. It encourages hobbies, interests, and friendships outside the relationship. It enjoys seeing the love between its child and their other parent flourish. It sends the message that it loves you because of the value you already possess as a unique individual.
Love heals. Obsession suffocates. Love seeks to know. Obsession will tell you who it thinks you are. Love desires what is best for you. Obsession desires to control you. Love can walk away and respect your goodbye. Obsession won’t allow that. Love gives life. Obsession kills.