the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one’s feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.
In my practice, I have seen more than a few clients who have had the experience of being painfully infatuated with someone who did not return their affection. In this article, therapist Pamela Milam, defines this experience of limerance and compares and contrasts it to the experience of being in love.
In my therapy office, psycho-education was a big part of my job. Clients came in to discuss their feelings, and I taught what I knew about feelings. One of my clients (I’ll call her “Leslie”) felt miserable, reporting that she was in love with her supervisor at work. She saw him every day, dressed in the morning with the goal of impressing him, and imagined that he might be her soulmate. Leslie suffered through fantasies that kept her awake at night—focusing on unrealistic and improbable scenarios in which she would discover that he loved her, too. She had trouble concentrating.
We discussed the fact that a simple crush on her boss had turned into something damaging and unhealthy. She said that she had been in love before, but the prior love had felt healthier somehow—a more positive, mutual experience. The more recent experience had a whole different set of features.
In her book Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love, psychologist Dorothy Tennov describes the typical features of limerence:
Adult Children of Alcoholics: “Upon reaching adulthood, the majority of children of alcoholics continue to experience problems related to trust, dependency, control, identification and expression of feelings.” – Claudia Black It Will Never Happen to Me: Children of Alcoholics As Youngsters-Adolescents-Adults
I just finished re-watching the sixth episode of the first season of the original Star Trek (if you count the pilot.) It does a fair job of illustrating the basics regarding the dangers of non-acceptance and non-integration of the shadow-self with the persona. These are terms Carl Jung used largely to replace Freud’s terms, “conscious” and “subconscious.” (The persona being the self we tend to show the world- often our “best” attributes- while the shadow-self is largely unconscious and comprised of aspects of ourselves that society, culture or family have told us are “bad.”) If explored, accepted and integrated the shadow-self provides us with much of our creative energy and power. In this particular episode, an alter ego of Kirk is sent back with the original Kirk to the SS Enterprise when the transporter malfunctions. Continue reading →
From a recent episode of Fresh Air: “While researching the book Cure, science writer Jo Marchant wanted to understand how distraction could be used to nullify pain, so she participated in a virtual reality experiment.” Continue reading →
Our lives and careers are filled with examples of inauthentic behavior. We feign interest in meetings or laugh at our boss’s bad jokes in order to be positive team members, build relationships, and accomplish shared goals. This is how we get along—and it is how some of us get ahead.
In our culture, the term naricissist is used often, informally and carries a pejorative connotation. Jari Chevalier’s podcast, Living Hero, examines narcissism from all angles and provides a more humanistic perspective on the clinical meaning of the word. Continue reading →
I recently came across this article on boredom written through the lens of the 19th century existentialist philosopher and social critic, Soren Kierkegaard. He argues that the nature of boredom is such that the most common coping strategies often result in a person not realizing they are bored or are boring others. Boredom is really an expression of lack of meaning, he says. Continue reading →
This is one of the best articles on addiction I’ve read in a long time. It echoes what I have seen and experienced around attachment and safety the lengths to which humans will go to find comfort in their absence. Continue reading →