Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy wrote a classic novel in world literature, Anna Karenina, which serves as a reflection of the most passionate, intense and dangerous love that always leads to a tragic ending.
However, when speaking about the Anna Karenina syndrome, we are not referring at all to the very dramatic ending of the novel’s female protagonist. Rather, we’re talking about the obsession, passion and emotional attachment we can experience when in love, which can lead us to go beyond our limits.
Today we will discuss the dangers of that level of passion, which may leave us more hurt than benefited, and explain why obsessive relationships can be very harmful to our health.
1. Anna Karenina Syndrome: passionate love and its dangers
It is said that one who has experienced very passionate love in the past, continues to long for that feeling, despite the pain that has been suffered by losing it. Intense emotions make us feel alive, full of strong feelings where physical attraction, emotional bonding, mutual commitment and an obsession capable of creating an attachment where “you and I” acquire their full meaning, are all intertwined.
However, there are a number of dangers that we must keep in mind:
- Those who suffer from the Anna Karenina syndrome have experienced something more than a crush. They actually suffer from what is known as “affective-obsessive disorder” and it is characterized by a certain lack of personal control, by an absolute dependence in which we fail to see where the limits are. We are able to lose ourselves to our loved one, of giving up that which defines us, of submitting to the control of another person, just to keep them nearby.
- The love that is felt does not offer true happiness, since what is most often experienced is anguish due to not having the loved one by our side at every moment, due to distrust, due to fear of being abandoned or cheated on, due to thinking that the other person is not giving as much to us as we are giving to them.
- Little by little we lose our self-esteem, our integrity, our emotional balance. By centering our life around another person in such an obsessive way, we can end up losing our own life, and there cannot be anything more destructive than that.
2. Passionate love: how to control it
We all know that in the early stages of a love affair, it is normal to feel an intense and indescribable passion. However, there are a number of things you should bear in mind to avoid falling into the dangerous Anna Karenina syndrome.
Reflect on these points:
- Never seek a partner with the idea of “filling gaps” or to be your “other half.” Your only objective in life should not be to merely find your “better half.” What we must do first is to grow internally, to be complete persons, balanced and mature, capable of being happy as an individual and, at the same time, capable of bringing happiness to others. Do not look for others to fill your emptiness, to cover your fears. Try to find a partnership that is mutually enriching.
- Beware of establishing a type of attachment with your partner that does not allow you freedom, that does not allow you to grow or that makes you lose your integrity or that which characterizes you. To love is to win, to grow, not to lose our limit. And obsessions are never good because they put limits on our lives. The moment you put someone else as your top priority, you will be losing things. You will push aside your own hobbies, your friends, you will even replace your own values. And all this is not good. You just need to remember Anna Karenina and her absolute passion for Count Vronsky. There came a time when she even pushed aside her own son.
- Never make the mistake of loving blindly. Love with open eyes, with an open heart, loves in a conscious way knowing everything you do and, at the same time, seeing everything that the other person does for you. Does he respect your needs? Does he listen to you and keep you in mind? Does he let you grow as a person and at the same time, help your relationship to grow? True love is not obsession. It is a daily happiness where both partners know how to resolve problems, where both listen, where both respect their promise, where there is no jealousy or distrust, or intimidation.
Remember, the Anna Karenina syndrome is very common today. So love with intensity, love with passion, but never blindly.