~obsession~I've written about this to some extent in "A Soul with No Footprints". People tend to look upon continuous, seemingly circular thinking about the abusive/disordered ex or soon-to-be ex as pathological. Sure we can get stuck in the same old stuff, but I think that that has more to do with the way we think about ourselves and the situation. Instead of realising we are trying to learn something new from it all (after all, a lot of our beliefs have been destroyed or challenged), we castigate ourselves over our thoughts and feelings- that this rumination is bad and that we are losers.
It is better, I think, to focus less on ourselves at this stage, and more on what the situation meant. If we look for the meaning, we are less likely to follow the path of least resistance- getting stuck beating ourselves up and hanging on to what cannot be; that's easy.
After all, I think that we are all artists of our own life- the creators, sculptors, painters, poets. I believe we all have the capacity to, not rise above, as much as to find a new way to relate to the situation and ourselves. Our psyches "obsess" because they are trying to find a way to heal....they have kickstarted healing. Whether we like it or not.
If we don't like it, we will reject it by labelling it pathological. If we can see that it is, indeed, healing whispering in our ears, suffusing our minds and hearts, (and all wounds, at the beginning stages, hurt like hell, and we can't get our minds off the pain), we may not like the pain but we may begin to flow with it a little more.
We have survived, and not only survived, but have not been destroyed and we are being told by our psyche and soul that there is meaning in it all, and the seed of creation in it, and that we are being carried along by a natural and cosmic wisdom within us to a new state of being.
I think we make a choice, whether we know it or not.
I came across the following article:
excerpt from "In Praise of Positive Obsessions" by Eric Maisel -
in Eric Maisel's Creativity Newsletter, #28, October, 2002. ericmaisel.com
The common wisdom of therapy has it that obsessions are always bad things. As a feature of its namesake disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or as a feature of some other disorder, an obsession is a sign of trouble and a problem to be eliminated.
But the main reason therapists find themselves obliged to consider obsessions invariably negative has to do with language: an obsession is invariably negative because clinicians have defined it as negative.
Clinicians define "obsession" in the following way: an obsession is an intrusive thought, it is recurrent, it is unwanted, and it is inappropriate. Defined this way, it is obviously always unwelcome.
But suppose a person is caught up thinking day and night about her current painting or about the direction she wants to take her art? Thoughts about painting "intrude" as she balances her checkbook or prepares her shopping list. She can hardly wait to get to her studio and her rhythms are more like Picasso's on painting jags than like the rhythms of a "normal" person.This artist is obsessed in an everyday sense of the word - and more than happy to be so! ...
For a contemporary intelligent, sensitive person, it may well make more sense to opt for a life of positive obsessions that flow from personal choices about the meanings of life than to attempt to live a more modest and less satisfying normal-looking life that produces dissatisfaction and boredom.
After all, no one can say how normal ought to be defined. In what sense is it normal to work at a job that constricts you and bores you rather than risking everything on a life that challenges you, even as it frustrates you?
Much of what we call normal behavior is simply based on fear. Indeed, the average person might even prefer a negative obsession, despite its horrors, to a positive obsession rooted in excitement, passion, and active meaning-making, so wild and unafraid would he feel if he were obsessed that way.**
**There are ruminations that outlive their usefulness as well. Sometimes, we find outselves getting nowhere, and seem stuck in an endless cycle of bitterness or self-blame or wondering- it is wearing and boring and steeps us in hopelessness. In those cases (and it happens to all of us) I have found that limiting yourself to 15 minutes per day (and you must time it) seems to ameliorate the effects. Some things can never be understood.
Often, life is unfair. Sometimes, you have to take some of the nasty stuff on faith, cause sometimes there are no answers, in order to move on. It does take a bit of self-discipline and determination. And, from what I have seen, those who have loved the disordered show more than average determination!