How to redirect a person obsession into a topic obsession?

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MathGirl
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18 May 2012, 4:05 pm

How do I get someone who is obsessed with a person who wants nothing to do with him to obsess about something else that is not people-related instead?

**BACKSTORY**
One guy I am acquainted with is obsessed with a girl whom I highly admire. He has been diagnosed with Asperger's, depression, and apparently Tourette's. He additionally has very poor impulse control, which people with AS often have, but he has it to such an extreme where he has stolen cars and other possessions in the past. He also tends to lie a lot to get people to like him. This guy's special interest is marijuana (and some other drugs) and he's had a history of very intense fixations with girls who like weed. This girl is no exception. Obsessions with people are frustrating to deal with as these people who are the object of the obsession may be very firm about their decision not to interact with the individual and there is nothing I can do about it. He keeps calling her and when I tell him that she does not want to talk to him, he seems not to listen as he keeps asking the same question every single day despite me trying my best to explain why she doesn't want to talk to him. She has just recently changed her number so that she wouldn't get his calls, and now he is inundating me with requests to give him her number.

At this point, it is important to note that these two people haven't ever met, although I have met both of them in person. We all live within the same Canadian province, so meeting up for all three of us wouldn't be difficult in theory. There is one thing that seems to have really strengthened his obsession with her - she once arranged to meet with him, but apparently she did not end up showing up. Apparently, he brought a lot of weed with him, hoping to smoke it with her, but ended up smoking it all by himself. He seems very upset over this as he keeps recounting this incident to me. However, as I said, she wants nothing to do with him, so I have to figure out a way to work with him to get him to get rid of this obsession somehow. While I remember having my own obsessions with people, I was not nearly as invasive in my attempts to contact them. And while it often took me years to get over them, I was usually able to find an all-absorbing activity to occupy myself with for weeks, which, over time, greatly helped me get over my obsessions. I believe that his obsessions are stronger than mine because a large part of this obsession seems to be sexual. My obsessions mainly stemmed from having an expectation/dream of being friends with certain people and feeling like a failure when I wasn't able to achieve this goal.

He talks frequently of stealing a car and going over to her place. He has recently gotten a job, and while I'm happy for him, I think that his ability to perform at this job would be greatly hindered if he doesn't stop thinking about the girl. I send him things to read, but the only things he seems to be able to concentrate on are things involving her. I want him to stop talking about her, but I don't know how.

Just as an aside, both of the people I am talking about here are members of WP and will likely read this thread.


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Nascaireacht
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18 May 2012, 6:50 pm

At one stage, I could get rather obsessed with people, but now, I just get obsessed with characters from film tv or books. I don't really focus like that on real people - or at least not often or for too long. I don't really know why the emphasis changed, though. It could be because I married and it was a loyalty thing, or it could be an age thing (I'm twice your age!). Your hormones DO eventually calm...

I've often tried to deliberately change a special interest, and I've found it hard. But it seems to work best if I try to replace it with something just as interesting. He doesn't sound like a guy who'd have any interest in deliberately try to wean himself off anything or anyone. I think I'm better than him at protecting me from myself. I guess he might lose interest if a new girl comes along who's into weed, but that's no help in the short or even the long term as it'd be the same thing again. .

He sounds like he needs more self awareness maybe? And then maybe he could be led away from such a narrow set of special interests. It doesn't sound too easy. Sorry, don't know if this helps at all!



MathGirl
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04 Jun 2012, 10:27 am

Thanks. Yeah, he's the same age as me, actually, so the hormones are likely still at play. I wonder when this would stop, though. I know that it usually goes until young adulthood, but there seems to be no definite point. I hope it does stop soon, as that will allow him to focus on something more meaningful and realize the depth of the hole he has dug for himself.

I'm trying to help him increase his self-awareness, as I also feel that he really needs it. It's tough - he ended up not getting the job because his parents weren't supportive and didn't get him the materials he needed to start the job. Instead, they insist he attend a life skills program at an autism organization. To me, it seems obvious that if someone doesn't want to do something, it will be impossible to get them to do it. The job could have been an excellent life-skill building experience and he WANTED to do it.


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ENT/FJ. Dreamer. Lover. Therapist. Toastmaster. Minimalist.

Leading a double life and loving it (but exhausted).