The Underlying Causes of Being Possessive

I am extremely possessive in my relationships and this is hurting my friendships. How can I fix my underlying issues?

Rebecca Duellman
Rebecca Duellman
MA, Applied Psychology, Specializing in Forensic Psychology issues.

Hi there. It's great you are able to realize there are other issues going on with someone who feels possessive. At the root of it is fear. Fear of losing someone, fear of being alone, fear of not being good enough. All those fears can lead to low self-esteem and feeling like you have to control other people so you don't lose them. The thing is, controlling other people only pushes them away. Vicious circle, right? 

What I would suggest is some cognitive therapy to change those underlying ways of thinking. You can start with this assignment. Write down all the things you think about yourself, positive and not-so-positive. Then rewrite those not-so-positive things so they are positive. For example, thinking something like, "I'm too pushy", can be rewritten as, "I'm assertive and I go after what I want." It can be hard to do since we tend to get "stuck" in our negative ways of thinking about ourselves. If you have someone you trust, you can ask for their help as well since most likely they see you differently than you see yourself.

Finding a good cognitive therapist can help you further, but if that's not an option for you right now, there are lots of self-help books and websites that are out there. You've already taken the first step, so keep moving forward.

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