Ending a relationship can be messy, especially if it isn’t mutual. For some, radical changes need to made and agreed upon such as living arrangements, custody of the children and splitting of assets. For others all that is needed is to return trinkets and gifts. No matter what type of break up you have, there is always the potential for things to go badly quickly.
Unfortunately, some people are unable to let go when a relationship has ended. We’ve all have heard stories about or personally had to deal with an ex who was unable to let go of the broken bond you once shared. Stalking, nonstop phone calls or text messages, emails, harassment and threats of violence have been known to happen. Although this is a common occurrence, the person on the receiving end should not take it lightly. Their ex partner may be suffering from obsessive ex syndrome.
Although the origin of the name of the syndrome is unknown, we do know that obsessive ex syndrome has been running rampant. It is not gender specific. Men and women both can be prone to obsessive ex syndrome, but you hear about female victims more than male victims. There appears to be two forms of obsession: revenge obsession and attachment obsession.
Revenge Obsession vs Attachment Obsession
Revenge obsession occurs when the obsessive ex wants his/her partner to punished for causing him/her pain. Although the obsessed ex may not be in love with their partner anymore, they want to make sure he or she is just as miserable as they are.
Attachment obsession occurs when the ex will stop at nothing to get their partner back. Often times, the obsessive ex wants things to be just as they were before the break up. Although they know that things may never be the same, they want to keep the connection they once had in order to feel in control.
Some people with obsessive ex syndrome exhibit both of these characteristics. Although they want their partner back, they want them to suffer just as much as they have for severing the relationship in the first place.
The Six Stages
There are six stages of obsessive ex syndrome. Courtship, relationship, break up, stalking, threats, and violence. Not all stages occur and some may become more apparent in retrospect. Fortunately, not all cases of obsessive ex syndrome end in the final stage.
Stage 1 Courtship: Just like in a normal, healthy relationship, the obsessive male or female courts his/her partner. His or her partner makes him/her feel important and powerful. They do their best to show their future partner how wonderful they are. On subliminal levels, the obsessive male/female will test how much control they can have over their partner. The easier the partner is to manipulate, the more attracted the obsessor becomes.
Stage 2 Relationship: Unlike a healthy relationship, there is a lack of equality in the relationship. The obsessor makes his partner the defining symbol of their self view as center of the universe. Control issues begin to run rampant. He or she beings to try to control their partner’s life and activities. He or she will use anything at this disposal to try to maintain or gain control including money, deceit, intimidation or even violence.
Stage 3 The Break Up: When the obsessor’s partner finally decides that enough is enough and ends the relationship, he or she does not want to accept that they have lost control. They feel it is not their partner’s right to end the relationship. The obsessive ex will go through great lengths to regain control by getting their partner back. He or she may beg for another chance, cry or promise to change. He or she will use anything and everything at their disposal to get their partner back. If their partner resists and does not take them back, the obsessor’s may intensify their efforts or threaten their partner.
Stage 4 Stalking: Although the relationship is over and there is nothing left to discuss, the obsessive ex will try to keep in contact with their partner. He or she may call, text, email or message them on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Often times, the obsessed ex will engage in stalking behaviors such as following, watching, spying or monitoring their social networking activities. They may increase contact with their ex’s friends, families and coworkers to find out what he or she is up to. He or she may even spread rumors about their ex in the hopes of initiating contact or hurting them.
Stage 5 Threats: During this stage, the obsessive ex becomes enraged and beings to try to threaten or intimidate his or her partner in the hopes that they will come back or to get revenge. The type of threats used may vary. If there are children involved, the ex may use them as a way to get to their former partner. He or she may spread false rumors through social networking websites. The obsessive ex may even use slander, black mail or distribute photos. Physical aggression such blocking the victim’s path or advancing upon her while yelling may also occur.
Stage 5 Violence: The obsessive ex now feels that he or she is backed up against the wall and the only way out is to fight back. He or she may hurt or even kill a pet, child, or their former partner in order to feel he or she is back in control. At this point, he or she feels that they have nothing to lose.
If you or someone you know is dealing with an obsessive ex, please seek help before it is too late. Call an abuse help hotline if you need help. Anyone can call the National Domestic Violence Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Male victims may call the Domestic Abuse Hotline for Men at 1-877-643-1120.
If you have a story to share about an obsessive ex, you are welcome to share it in a comment below.
DISCLAIMER: To all those who read this blog post and who are “mutual friends” with me and my ex boyfriend, this is in no shape or form a shot at him, so please no texts, calls, emails or Facebook or twitter messages about how mean and unfair I’m being. Above all, if you are going to tell him about it, don’t twist this. Let him read it WORD for WORD. If you felt guilty reading this disclaimer, than you must have been the one that was feeding information about MY personal life. Stop it. Thank you.