Tag Archives: Dorothy Tennov

of love and limerence

19 Mar

I had never even heard the word Limerence until a few months ago. When I finally stumbled across it I almost wept. There was actually a word for how I felt. Thank you, psychologist Dorothy Tennov. The words that jumped out at me most were ‘obsessive, intrusive thinking’  and that fact that my sense of self was defined in terms of how the man I wanted felt about me. It swung from dizzying height of joy when he wanted me around, to caustic, heart-crushing despair when I was rejected. And the worst thing was – I felt as though I had absolutely zero control as to how I felt and acted and nothing I tried to stop it worked. And this went on for four years.

Why couldn’t I stop it? I wished nothing more than anything to forget about him, to Ctrl-Alt-Delete him from my brain. My feelings towards him paralyzed me on a daily basis. Had I well and truly gone insane?  Every day was a battle not to contact him. So many things reminded me of him and brought an avalanche of memories  and emotions. I would find myself  in tears at the sight of a sports ground of the sport he played; stopped dead in my tracks if I heard a song by his favorite band and was fraught with distress if I found out he had met another ‘somebody new’.

It was so painful and persistent. I wished with all my might that it would go away and I hated myself every minute for feeling so consumed by him. Why didn’t my brain work the way it was supposed to? Why was it so impossible to forget about him? Was I addicted to him, was I obsessed? None of this sounded like me but the writing was on the wall and it left me distraught.

One minute my feelings would be reciprocated and it would give me hope. Not long afterwards, things would become uncertain and the crazy cycle would begin again. I was, as U2 put it, ‘running to stand still’. Every word was analyzed and in most cases this happened involuntarily – my mind took on a life of its own with regards the boy, refusing to listen to me when I tried to stop it going over and over things, again and again.

I felt completely hopeless and at a loss as it what to do. By year three, I actually considered electro-shock therapy to expel him from my thoughts. Things had gotten that bad. I was miserable, trapped in a state of being by which the feelings of another person toward me, defined my sense of self. I was in a constant state of anxiety and melancholy.

When and how would it end?

NMG.C

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