Why can’t I stop thinking about someone? (According to psychology)

At some point in our lives, many of us find ourselves thinking about someone we know who we feel an emotional bond with. You might have asked yourself constantly why can’t I stop thinking about someone?

It can be a strong attraction or an intense dislike, but no matter what the feeling is, these thoughts tend to linger in our minds, distracting us from doing other things we need to do and making it hard to get these thoughts out of our heads.

Also read: If you can’t stop thinking about someone are they thinking about you?

If you’re currently feeling as if you can’t stop thinking about someone and are looking for an explanation of why this might be happening, read on to learn about scientific research and psychology theories about this phenomena.

Why can’t I stop thinking about someone?

why you cant stop thinking about someone psychology Why can't I stop thinking about someone? (According to psychology)

There are many psychological reasons behind why you can’t stop thinking about someone, a few of them include:

  1. You might be having a crush on them,
  2. You might have unhealthy emotional attachment to them.
  3. You may be dealing with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety or depression.
  4. You may be missing them a lot due to long distance or separation.
  5. You may have unresolved issues with them,
  6. You may be experiencing some sort of guilt for hurting them in the past, or resenting them for hurting you in the past,
  7. They could be a person who had caused you to question your belief system or value system,
  8. They could be someone who had made an impact on your life in some way such as through dating or having a negative impact on your life by physical/emotional abuse or manipulation,
  9. They could be someone whose image is engraved in your brain because their behaviour towards you was completely unexpected and bizarre that it left an imprint on your mind.
  10. Other reasons include breakup, rejection, attraction etc.

When you can’t stop thinking about someone psychology

when you cant stop thinking about someone psychology Why can't I stop thinking about someone? (According to psychology)

As per psychology there involves different types of unhealthy attachment styles that are characterized by a tendency to worry too much. Attachment Theory has shown that people fall into four categories of attachment in their romantic relationships.

Also read: Psychological facts about thinking about someone?

Those categories are: Securely attached, Anxiously attached, Avoidantly attached, and Disorganized-disoriented. A person’s type of attachment can predict how they will react when a relationship ends or if something happens suddenly.

The most common among them is anxious-preoccupied attachment style, in which an individual is preoccupied with thoughts of their partner’s separation or infidelity or rejection.

The person becomes so invested in their relationship that they lose sight of themselves as an individual, putting their identity into it.

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When partnered with someone who shows little desire for commitment or demonstrates a lack of affection, anxious-preoccupied individuals often become overwhelmed with jealousy and fear.

If you’re finding yourself obsessing over your romantic interests’ actions, how they might feel about you or whether you’ll be able to keep your bond strong – chances are you’ve developed a healthy but possibly overblown amount of attachment.

You may also be acting out feelings of loss, loneliness and anger if your loved one does not return your affections in kind.

This goes back to what we said earlier – clinging on doesn’t make sense from a rational standpoint when those you love don’t seem all that interested in being close.

Also read: How to stop thinking about someone who rejected you?

But from an emotional standpoint (and again, we’re only talking about people with extreme anxiety here), these behaviors do make sense. 

For example, if you have an avoidant style of attachment –you only like people at a safe distance—then it’s likely that you might not experience much distress when a relationship ends.

However, if you are securely attached—meaning you need your partner close and enjoy having them around—it is more likely that you will be distraught after a breakup or divorce.

Think about whether your attachments to others are secure or insecure; for those with insecure attachments (and sometimes even for those with secure attachments), breaking up can cause such intense negative feelings because of fear of being alone or losing what feels good right now.

If you’re dealing with a disorganized-disoriented attachment style, then your reactions after a separation might be even more intense. You might find yourself struggling to deal with your feelings in any healthy way.

Also read: What does it mean when you can’t stop thinking about someone you barely know?

It’s important for people in these situations to seek professional help so they can learn how cope with their emotions (not just related to relationships but also every day).

Breakups also remind us we may be bad at love because they highlight our flaws while also reminding us we had so much hope before things ended.

All these painful emotions make it difficult for people to move on, even if they’re unhappy in their relationship or know a breakup is for a good reason.

It is important for people with insecure attachments (and perhaps those with secure attachments) to understand what types of attachment styles affect how you feel after a breakup.

How to stop obsessing over someone?

There’s really no way to control your thoughts. Sometimes, you just think about stuff. There is a line of thinking that explains why you can’t stop thinking about someone and it has to do with a mixture of attraction and anxiety.

If you are in a relationship, your balanced sense of self and your partner must become new reference points. You will compare each of them with the other and with their replacement in your life.

There can be many causes for the obsessive thinking about someone. If you want to stop obsessing about someone in this way then it is best to consider these issues and to seek professional help if necessary.

Ultimately, though, when you’re in that difficult situation of still thinking about someone who you know is bad for you, it’s important to remember that you deserve to be happy.

If this person is really not the best choice for you, then try to respect your own needs and feelings enough to give yourself some distance from there, and focus on pursuing other goals and relationships.

It may be hard, but try not to let the intense physical connection cloud your judgment.

Developing healthy coping mechanisms while your stress levels increase will likely reduce these thoughts over time to the point where they completely disappear.

If you can remember that feeling of infatuation, you know exactly how you could go about forgetting your feelings for someone.

Remember the feelings and still think it’s a possibility that you can get over them. If you don’t think you will be able to, then it might be best to let that person go in order to be happier with yourself.

The best option is always a decision that will make you happy in the long run. Have confidence in yourself, and know that what makes you happy is worthwhile.

If you find yourself thinking about someone in an obsessive way, it’s a good idea to stop and figure out why this person is on your mind. Perhaps you have a crush on them, or maybe they remind you of something that happened to you in the past.

To find out what’s really going on, however, you might need to talk to a mental health professional. OCD treatment is available and it is highly effective—about 70% effective in fact. The sooner you get help, the sooner you will overcome your obsessions.

Final thoughts:

It is not unusual that you would feel emotionally attached to someone and be having unusual feelings.

These feelings can be associated with strong sexual or romantic feelings, or warm feelings of friendship, fondness, and camaraderie.

It is strongly recommended to do some soul searching on your feelings and if they are unresolved, see your local therapist who specializes in helping patients with love related concerns.

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Naveen Bommakanti

Naveen is Experienced Psychology and philosophy Writer, self-help and relationship Coach and thought influencer. He has 7 years of experience in Personal development industry.

Naveen’s expertise as a self-help and relationship Coach has been highlighted through his articles in thoughtcatalog, themindsjournal, elephantjournal, power of positivity, medium, substack and marc and angel to name a few.

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