anyone know anything about obsessive attachment disorder

Postby megan » Thu Dec 23, 2004 4:45 pm

Does anyone know anything or have any links on obsessive attachment disorder? I have heard it mentioned before and the symptoms but cannot find any information on it and whether/how it is treatable.

I think in loose terms it is an obsessive and disproportionate need of another person, but obviously there's much more to it. Would be grateful for any info

Thanks
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#1

Postby yellow » Thu Dec 23, 2004 11:58 pm

Hi Megan,
i tried looking up obsessive attatchment disorder for you but i couldn't find anything for some reason. are you sure you've got the name right? i think the best thing for you to do is to ask a therapist about it, or some kind of consultant... maybe they will help. but hey if you still can't find anything, keep on posting, i'm sure someone will have some info on it. until then, take care =)

-Yellow-
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#2

Postby megan » Fri Dec 24, 2004 9:51 am

Ive probably got the name wrong. I will do some research and come back

Have a happy Christmas
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#3

Postby megan » Fri Dec 24, 2004 9:57 am

basically what I am looking for is I have a problem that whenever someone is kind, supportive and caring towards me, I end up clinging on to that person, cannot stop thinking about them and need them in a disproportionate and obsessive way. I always end up getting very hurt and even hurting the other person by being overly persistent. Its either men or women, but usually women (and isnt remotely sexual just childlike really). I can relate this in some way to not having any close mothering when I was a child, but cant understand it or control it any more than this. It is an obsession

I know its a condition that others suffer with and it has a name, but cant remember the exact name, so I have been unable to look anything up and see if it can be helped

Dont know if this throws any light on it?
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#4

Postby briary » Fri Dec 24, 2004 10:30 am

Hi Meg

Try searching under obsessive love or love addiction.

I've sent you a PM.

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#5

Postby megan » Fri Dec 24, 2004 11:49 am

Thanks Brirary, it usually pops up on me email, but didnt this time. Anyway, just in case you dont get an alert - I have replied

Best wishes
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#6

Postby briary » Sun Dec 26, 2004 11:45 pm

I thought I would add to this thread as I also have problems with forming attachments on people and becoming obsessive. This has been happening since my early teens. I always develop strong feelings for women and after discussing this problem with a couple of different people it seems likely that my poor, or rather non-existant, relationship with my Mum might be behind it. I've always felt that Mum has pushed me away, even as a young child, and I was desperate for her love and attention. I've felt that I have done something really bad that has caused her to be unable to love me. I've had problems with a controlling father too, and was quite shocked when a therapist I was seeing suggested that I had suffered emotional abuse by my parents.

When I was about 12 or 13, I started to have a lot of emotional problems with depression and social phobia. I turned to my form teacher for support. She listened to me and I found myself developing some intense feelings for her. These feelings continued until I left school when I became even more depressed because of being separated from her.

It was after this that I met my tutor at college and developed such intense feelings that lasted from the age of 16 until earlier this year when it all came to an end. During this time I desperately tried to cling on and remain in contact with her. I'm ashamed that it got to the point earlier this year when I was writing numerous letters to her until she finally wrote to a friend asking her if she could get me to stop. She thought I was stalking her and I feel terrible about it and so guilty still. I never intended to hurt her but I know I have.

Following this "relationship" ending I fell into a deep depression and became suicidal. It is really what led me to this forum. I completely fell apart and was unable to cope with the thought of never hearing from her or seeing her again. I just wanted me life to end. I thought I would never get over her, but I have unfortunately by becoming obsessed with someone else.

I should have seen it coming and acted sooner to stop myself getting into this position again. I felt a connection to this person almost immediately and desperately wanted contact with her. I foolishly thought I could handle it this time and believed it wouldn't get out of hand. However, my feelings for her have grown over the past few months and I am now as dependent on her as I was on my tutor. I can't see a life without her and believe she is vital for my survival.

Someone likened this obsession to an addiction. They said that any happiness I do derive from contact with this person can only ever be short-lived, because I need to have a constant contact in order to continue to be happy. And like being addicted to a drug, the buzz wears off quickly, and I decline with withdrawal symptoms, that can only be satisfied by another "fix", or, in my case, another contact. I thought that was a pretty accurate description of the way I feel and I also feel so guilty for being like this and putting so much constant pressure on this person.

Although I am reading up on this kind of problem and learning new ways of trying to free myself of the obsession, I don't think I am having much luck so far. I still am unable to cope unless I have constant contact with her and if more than one day passes without me hearing from her, I feel complete despair and find myself thinking my life is over. I fear being rejected or abandoned constantly, or panic that some terrible event will take her away from me. I also have nightmares about this.

It is extremely difficult to let go of this kind of obsession and need for her love and attention. I feel that without her, I have nothing and no reason to carry on, even though I know deep down that I have to find a way of being able to depend on myself rather than relying on someone else for my happiness. I do think she is filling the void in my life left by my Mum's rejection of me even though it isn't fair to expect such a lot from her.

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#7

Postby megan » Mon Dec 27, 2004 1:26 am

I did post on an earlier thread about this, but just wanted to share my story as it has followed an almost identical scenario to yours.

I have formed these obsessive attachments throughout my life and starting from when I was at school with a teacher (a mild one by comparison to other attachments to people). A psychiatrist, who was very kind and "motherly" towards me later on when I was being treated for depression became another. I became totally besoted and obsessed with this person. I needed her desparately and fantasised continually that I was her child (I was 23 at the time!). She left and went to New Zealand and I was beside myself with despair, I just could not cope with, how I saw it, being abandoned and I wanted to die.

It took me a long time to recover what felt like a terrible bereavement, but I did eventually. Despite this however, I got into this identical situation again with another older woman who was kind, understanding and supportive to me a few years later. I thought about this woman constantly and even dreamed continually that I was dialling her phone number and could never get through and I would wake up in tears. My obsession drove her mad in the end because I just could not stop myself from phoning her. Eventually, her husband told me to stay away (and I dont blame him) just that I had no control over my behaviour and spent each day in total despair. When this ended this time I did take an overdose and was in hospital. I never told the therapist I saw then about my obsession because I thought it was absolutely mad and I hadnt heard of anything like this before. I just said I was depressed. I know my attachments are a desparate need to be nurtured, but I also know that I can never satisfy this need in this way, yet still continue to find myself in this situation

It was only when I chose this "anonymous" platform to explain this a while back that I discovered others have this problem also and it is a relatively common scenario. I was so relieved to find this that I almost breathed a sigh of relief

My situation also is a mother who was constantly depressed and ill, had frequent and prolonged stays in hospital who I was constantly craving affection from as a child but who was so withdrawn that I felt at times that I was invisible to her. My father had issues with violence and had a belt hanging on a wall as a permanent fixture for beating his children. My mother died when I was 12 and I then had a step mother who wanted my father, but not his difficult 13 year old and I was thrown out of their house when I was 15. I feel that despite this, I have worked hard at being a good mother to my children, giving them all the things I felt I have needed and in a strange kind of way, have gone some way to redress the balance for myself, but I still have this same "attachment" problem.

I know that this situation, that I cannot control and that happens to me as an adult comes from this earlier neglect, but still - have no way of controlling it and getting myself into this torturous condition. I do not get so attached with every supportive older woman however, but this has nevertheless happened to me on 4 occasions, and I feel I have the capacity to get into this situation again.

I know I need help with it and am in the process of trying to sort this out. Just wanted to add my story!
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#8

Postby Greensleeves » Mon Dec 27, 2004 1:26 am

:D

Hello Megan & Briary,

I was really touched by your posts. Meaningful relationships can be difficult given the 'competitive' nature of the world anyway ...

Hope you find some good answers ...

When I'm not getting it 'right' I like to tell myself to 'let go and let God' ... and follow the positve 'threads' that do come my way ...

F
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#9

Postby scorpius » Mon Dec 27, 2004 2:09 am

Hi Megan and Briary. It is always difficult to put a label on someone's particular problems because no two people are the same. However, this has not stopped new diagnoses being put forward, and if it helps to have a name to refer to that is fine. I haven't heard of anything specific called "obsessive attachment disorder" but it could be something that an individual psychiatrist or therapist has made up to fit a particular group of patients he has identified.

If it helps, there is one recognized condition that seems to contain the cluster of problems you both describe. This is "Dependent Personality Disorder" (at least in the UK; it may be called something slightly different in the US DSM-IV classification system).

Clinicians are often reluctant to tell a patient they think they have a "personality disorder", because it can have negative connotations and suggests it cannnot be treated. In fact the reverse is the case and few people do not benefit from therapy. The label does however reflect the fact that the sufferer has developed ingrained personality traits due perhaps to adverse events in their early life, making it more than a transient illness that can be treated with pills like an isolated episode of depression. Patients with personality disorders are much more vulnerable to anxiety and depression than the general population though, as they have not developed the effective coping mechanisms that the average person tends to in the course of a normal childhood and adolescence.

Since it is not a good idea to try to give someone a diagnosis over the internet, I will outline the criteria for Dependent PD exactly as listed in the ICD-10 manual and you can decide for yourself whether this fits your experiences and whether it is a useful concept to explain your feelings. Keep in mind that the text is intended for use by healthcare workers and is not meant to be condescending or give a negative impression to patients. Also that not all patients have all the features of one particular PD, and often have a selection of problems from more than one of them. The categories are artificial in some ways and just an attempt to put a label to a group of patients with similar problems, for the purposes of research and effective communication between clinicians.

-----------------------------------------

F60.7 Dependent personality disorder

Personality disorder characterized by pervasive reliance on other people to make one's major and minor life decisions, great fear of abandonment, feelings of helplessness and incompetence, passive compliance with the wishes of elders and others, and a weak response to the demands of daily life. Lack of vigour may show itself in the intellectual or emotional spheres; there is often a tendency to transfer responsibility to others.

At least four of the following must be present:

(1) encouraging or allowing others to make most of one's important life decisions

(2) subordination of one's own needs to those of others on whom one is dependent, and undue compliance with their wishes

(3) unwillingness to make even reasonable demands on the people one depends on

(4) feeling uncomfortable or helpless when alone, because of exaggerated fears of inability to care for oneself

(5) preoccupation with fears of being left to care for oneself

(6) limited capacity to take everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others

---------------------------------------------

Let me know if any of that makes sense or if you want further information.
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#10

Postby briary » Mon Dec 27, 2004 2:54 am

Hi Scorpius

Thanks for your reply. I realise that some therapists think it unhelpful to put labels on people and I can see the reasons for this. From my point of view, I tried to find a diagnosis for the feelings I have so that I could research the problem myself and try to find a way of overcoming it.

I think what you say about not having developed effective coping mechanisms is very true. It was suggested by a therapist I saw that due to the experiences I had growing up because of the way my parents acted towards me, I had not learnt how to cope with adult emotions. This made sense to me because I do have great difficulty with this.

I have actually wondered about dependent personality disorder myself in the past. I found an online test which came up high for both dependent and avoidant personality disorder.

I do have a huge fear of abandonment and rejection. I also find it very difficult to make decisions and I pin all my hopes for happiness on one person. I actually live alone and do cope by myself, but emotionally it is a different matter. I feel unable to cope emotionally without the support of this one person and do seek advice and reassurance all the time.

When I was searching for an answer to my problems, I came up with obsessive love or love addiction. I could identify with a lot of the behaviours and feelings associated with this. Would this be associated with dependent personality disorder? From what I've read this often stems from the physical or emotional abandonment by a parent and this fits with me, as my Mum has been emotionally distant ever since I can remember and my Dad is very controlling and manipulative.

Have you any suggestions on ways to start tackling the problems associated with the dependency or attachment on someone. I've had one attachment after another since my early teens. I was so close to suicide when the last one came to an end, but headed straight into another identical situation. I am very lucky that this time the person involved is very helpful and supportive and has promised to help me through it. I still struggle with my feelings though and get very distressed when I don't have contact with her for even one day. I know I can't carry on like this.

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#11

Postby megan » Mon Dec 27, 2004 8:53 am

Hi scorpios & Briary

Like Briary, I wanted to find some sort of identification for this. I was interested in the description of Dependent Personality Disorder. Whilst I do fit a lot of this description. I am not realy passive or unable to make decision in my ordinary life, and although I do have a problem making friends and am quite shy with people socially, I have formed friendships which are normal, in fact I am often in a supprotive and "decision making" role with the friends I have, I am also a dominat figure in my family where people come to for support and advice. Oddly however I do get into this situation with this attachment, because on an emotional level, I then become a child. My inner needs can be quite immature though and I always want to be held and supported.

I also have a problem with anything I perceive as rejection, even though on an intellectual level, I know I am completely over reacting, even something where I have gone for a job and dont get it, by the law of averages I know on one level that with 30 people going for one job, the chances I wouldnt get it, I literally feel like I have almost been stabbed by this rejection and fold up in despair, however I know my reaction is completely illogical.

I am now no longer interested in identifcation, because I have gained quite a bit of understanding just from this forum and the comments of others, but I would like to know if this could be cured or at least managed.

Thanks so much for everyones input here, it has really helped me gain some insight
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#12

Postby megan » Mon Dec 27, 2004 9:06 am

Hi Greensleeves,

I liked your comment about "let go and let God". I did develop a faith in something higher than myself some time ago and it has helped me cope with unbearable feelings in the past. This obsession however is so totally consuming and overwhelming that it is impossible to let go because it leaves you in complete despair. I really need some way of coping with this desparate need.

I have recently felt the start of this happening to me again whilst I have been off work and a supportive colleague has been emailing me daily. As this is in the early stages I have blocked her emails from coming through to me, but I will eventually have to go back to work and have face to face contact and I am literally terrified of this as well as needing her support. It is very confusing and I am now looking for ways of dealing with this so I can go back to work and manage this.

What felt on the right track was a comment I heard recently along the lines of "know that you are a complete person in your own right" I cannot do that just for the asking, but it felt like if I could do this, I would be a long way ahead in the cure or management I dont know how to live or manage with a craving for contact and affection from someone that I feel I need almost as much as I need air.
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#13

Postby briary » Mon Dec 27, 2004 2:39 pm

Hi Megan

I did develop a faith in something higher than myself some time ago and it has helped me cope with unbearable feelings in the past.

It would be good if it were that easy to get over these overwhelming feelings of dependency wouldn't it? I find this concept isn't concrete enough to be able to hold on to when gripped by the shear terror of losing someone I have such a strong attachment to. The obsession with this person takes over everything to such an extent that I am virtually unable to function in my every day life without contact from her. All I can think about is when the next contact might be and the feeling that I cannot live without her.

I do believe that the key to overcoming this is to learn how to rely on myself and trust that I am alright without leaning on someone else. I am still unable to do that though and can't get over the feelings of need that I have for this person.

I don't know how to live or manage without the craving for contact and affection from someone that I feel I need almost as much as I need air.

This is exactly the way I feel too. It is so difficult to explain these feelings to anyone who hasn't experience this. I truly believe I will die without this person because living would be too unbearable to even contemplate.

I think you are so couragous with the step you have taken to manage your current attachment. Cutting myself off from the woman I need so much is something I could not even contemplate doing.

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#14

Postby megan » Mon Dec 27, 2004 4:15 pm

Hi Briary

I am with everything you say on this. I had only just experienced the beginnings of this attachment and so I could manage to do this (not easy though by any means), however I know full well how it ends up, and its self protection really - not bravery!

I also dont think people can conceive in a million years of how intense this need is. We both have the logic and common sense to know its disproportionate and unbalanced of course, but it doesnt help elleviate the feelings of need. What is needed is finding some way of bringing emotion and logic closer together.

You/me need to find ways and means of coping in the interim. I would like to know if this is possible or what could be done. I actually wish some of therapists on this forum would comment on this.

I know you are having a really bad time of this at the moment. Sent u a PM
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