OBSESSIVE LOVE by Susan Forward


When Passion Holds You Prisoner
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 Whether you are an obsessive lover yourself or the target of one, there is insight and help to be found in this latest from mega-selling psychotherapist Forward and her usual co-author Buck (Toxic Parents, 1989, etc.). Obsessive love is really not love at all, Forward asserts, but a ``connection compulsion'' experienced by people who have had rejecting parents or problems with the separation process in their childhoods. Equally prevalent among men and women, obsessive attachments take many forms, from worship from afar to savior-fantasies directed toward an addicted or troubled partner, and refusal to let go of a lover who has broken off a relationship. Many obsessors, Forward says, come from violent or unpredictable homes and so the passion and pain of their attachments satisfy their need to ``high drama.'' Obsessive behavior can manifest itself in relatively benign ways (``drive- bys,'' compulsive phoning, stalking) as well as menacing ones: violence toward the target's property, homicidal or suicidal impulses or actions. Forward wisely urges any readers with violence in mind not to undertake her self-help program but to get to a therapist at once. For the others, she recommends an arduous but sensible course of recovery that includes intellectual understanding through detailed logging of one's emotions, and a two-week ``vacation'' from contact with the target followed by a status check in which the obsessor asks tough questions about whether there is anything in the relationship that is salvageable. If yes, Forward maps out a path toward a more healthy engagement. If no, a mourning process is recommended and ways of healing offered. A compassionate book that casts light into some of the darker recesses of the human heart and mind.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1991
ISBN: 0-553-07385-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1991


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