Saturday, July 5, 2014

You Are So Obsessed!

Jack has become very involved with a Disney World Minecraft server.  It's been a wonderful experience for him. I'm incredibly proud of him, and I'm very impressed with what I've seen from this Disney Minecraft server.

The thing is, this new hobby, and the friends he's made, have quite overshadowed his old interests and relationships. So there's been a question. Should we worry? Should we be upset? Should we intervene?

This weekend my dad helped me realize that I'm like Jack. I become very obsessed. For the past seven years or so, Australia has been my thing. At this point, my life is pretty balanced. Australia is big in my life, but the obsession is not as intense as it was in the beginning.

For example, in the beginning of my obsession, I wanted to read only Australia-related books. Now I read some Australian books and a lot of books that are not Australian.  I'm more open to other things.

Well, anyway. I've decided to write a post about this to kind of help organize my thoughts and feelings. And I'm thinking maybe it might be helpful to other people who get obsessed or who are dealing with a friend/family member who is obsessed.

Here's some things I've been thinking.

1. For me, it didn't help when people tried to help broaden my horizons—push me into being interested in other things. It just made me feel more resistant.

2. I naturally returned to my old and/or non-Australian interests because eventually I started missing stuff that wasn't Australian.

3. It is okay to insist an obsessed person do something not related to their obsession if it's for YOU or other people.  Let's say Tim wanted to see a movie and it was not Australian. Pushing me to see it because he wants to see it is fair and reasonable. I think that's very different from pushing me to see it because he thinks it will cure me of my obsession.

4. I think it's okay to be speak up critically if all conversation is centered around the person's obsession. If there's a conversation between two or more people, one person's passion shouldn't dominate things. However, I think it's fine if when it's one person's turn to talk about their life and interest, they always talk about their obsession.  If all I want to talk about is Australia when it's my turn to talk about myself, I think this is completely fair...as long as I let the other person talk about what interests them.

That's not to say an obsessed person might bore people. And they might lose friends. But with those in which we have unconditional love relationships, I think you put up with it.

5. It's really nice if you can go beyond simply tolerating an obsession and actually be supportive and encouraging. For me, that would be things like reading this blog, emailing me articles about Australia, giving me Australia-related birthday gifts, helping me travel to Australia, etc.

6. Know that not all obsessions are okay and some shouldn't be encouraged. For example, you might want to NOT tolerate your loved one joining a cult. You might not want to tolerate a loved one's obsession with heroin or gambling. And it's probably not a good idea to encourage someone's obsession with becoming super thin.

Edited to Add: 7. Family members have the right to be very frustrated if obsessed person's obsession prevents them from fulfilling responsibilities. For example, if one is obsessed with a video game, they should stop playing around dinner time. And it's really awful if they're playing through dinner time and their spouse can't even get their attention to remind them it's dinnertime, because though she stands there waiting for his attention, he's too much into his game to notice.