What Are Obsessions?
The definition of obsession is a compulsive preoccupation with a particular idea or emotion. There are many kinds of obsessions. Some include obsessive fears and phobias, others center around work and success, still others around love.
Fears and Phobias
Sometimes obsession takes the form of an irrational fear, such as a fear of heights, spiders or crowds. Others take the form of obsessive-compulsive behavior, which includes repetitive behavior such as repeating certain phrases or excessive hand-washing.
A person can get obsessed with their work and with the need for success. A little obsession may be a good thing, but if the person begins to live at the office, it may destroy relationships with friends and family and lead to unhappiness.
People sometimes joke that collecting sports memorabilia or autographed novels or Beanie Babies is their obsession. By this they mean that they just love these items and put much of their efforts into obtaining them. This kind of obsession is pretty harmless, unless the collector gets so obsessed they will do anything to purchase a new item for their collection.
Obsessive love occurs when the focus of the irrational thoughts are on another person. The object of this obsession can be a total stranger or someone a person wants to marry who has refused them. The obsessed person feels they need the other person to be complete, and must obtain the object of their desire’s love at any cost. Love obsessions can take dangerous forms when the irrational thoughts or compulsions turn to sexual fantasy or violence. This kind of obsessive behavior is often triggered by rejection, and can lead to stalking, rape, and even murder. Many books, films and songs have been written about obsessive love. Two movies about obsession about another person are Fatal Attraction and Enduring Love.
Not all obsessions are bad. Most artists and writers are a little obsessed, and many great works of art are created as a result of their obsession with painting the perfect picture, creating the perfect melody, or writing the ultimate novel. While artistic obsessions are hard on the sufferer, the result of putting all their creative efforts in one place is responsible for most of the world’s greatest artistic achievements.
The word obsession is often used lightly. When people say they are obsessed with owning a particular book or toy, or with a certain rock star, they are usually just saying they like these things way more than other people. Serious obsession is a different story and involves a dangerous preoccupation with a specific thought, person, or thing.