Erotomania - A Crush Gone Too Far

I do not own this image.  It is the cover of a book, "a psychiatrist's journal of  erotomania, stalking, and obsessive love," by Doreen Orion.  Click Amazon ad below to check out the book if you would like.
I do not own this image. It is the cover of a book, "a psychiatrist's journal of erotomania, stalking, and obsessive love," by Doreen Orion. Click Amazon ad below to check out the book if you would like. | Source

 

        In my definition, a crush is the foundation for love.  You can have a crush on someone when you like them, find them attractive, want to get to know them better and think about them frequently.    The person you have a crush on can either have interest in you as well and you can build onto your foundation.  Or if the person doesn’t have any interest in you, the foundation will begin to crumble and you find a new ‘site’ to build your foundation on.  But what happens when you let that crush go too far?  This paper will discuss the psychological disorder of Erotomania and answer the following questions:

1.   What is Erotomania?

2.   What are the signs/symptoms of Erotomania?

3.   Is Erotomania dangerous?

4.   Is there a treatment/cure for Erotomania?

 

What is Erotomania?

Erotomania is a psychological disorder marked by the delusional belief that one is the object of another person's love or sexual desire (Erotomania, 2010).  This disorder typically affects middle-aged women.  It is commonly associated with psychiatric illnesses such as Schizophrenia or Bipolar Affective Disorder (Olojugba, De Silva, Kartsounis, Royan, and Carter, 2007, pg. 193).  However, Erotomania is not limited to just middle-aged women.  It has also been considered an obsessive compulsive disorder.

An Erotomanic – someone who suffers from Erotomania – can also believe that they are in love with someone instead of someone in love with them.  This can happen at any age, sex, sexual preference, or race.  Erotomania is also called de Clerambault’s Syndrome after the French psychiatrist, Gaëtan Gatian de Clerambault, who published a comprehensive review paper on the subject (Les Psychoses Passionelles ) in 1942 (Knowledgerush, 2010).

Erotomania can easily be confused with several other psychiatric illnesses like nymphomania, obsessive love disorder and narcissism.  Nymphomania is hypersexuality or excessive sexual desire.  Erotomania isn’t necessarily about a sexual desire, however a desire for a relationship.  Obsessive love disorder happens when a person has an extreme attachment towards someone.  This usually happens in children and triggered by distress.  It is very similar however the person with obsessive love disorder doesn’t imagine a relationship.  Narcissism is mainly self-love, someone who greatly admires themselves. 

 

What are the signs/symptoms of Erotomania?

The signs and symptoms of Erotomania are just like any romantic relationship – love letters, telephone calls, flowers and chocolates.  Still, it can get obsessive.  Just like a real relationship, the intimacy will grow as the time passes (Erotomania Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour, April 19, 2009).  Erotomaniacs have even been known to stalk.  Although most do not feel as though they are wrong, some can become aware of what they are doing.  These episodes of Erotomania can be brought on by special glances, signals or thoughts of telepathy (Erotomania, March 28, 2010). 

 

Is Erotomania dangerous?

Erotomania can be very dangerous just like most other psychological disorders.  An Erotomanic will go to extremes in order to get what they want.  The following is a true story from a victim named Doreen Orion.  She and her husband were both psychiatrists working at the same hospital.  Her husband had too many patients and asked Doreen to see a few.  One of the patients was a middle-aged woman named Fran.  Fran started with sending Doreen love letters and eventually moved to a house within one mile of Doreen’s home.  Despite restraining orders from Doreen, Fran would not stop.  Eventually Fran started to believe that Doreen was pursuing her.  The police could not do anything else.  Doreen and her husband actually moved 500 miles away in hopes that Fran would stop (Erotomania Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour, April 19, 2009).

A movie called Obsessed aired on Lifetime based on a true story.  The inspiration was actually an article in the 1991 Vanity Fair magazine called Erotomania – The Haunting of Dr. Brennan .  A client of Dr. Brennan had made up and believed that she and Dr. Brennan were having an affair and that he was going to leave his wife.  The client would stalk him, send love letters, call him and tell everyone she knew about the wonderful new man in her life.  Of course, none of it was true and the client actually went to jail because of how things escalated. 

 

Is there a treatment/cure for Erotomania?

The key to treating Erotomania is finding the underlying cause of the issue.  It can be managed with pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment (Kelly, B., June 1, 2005).  Follow-up is essential since Erotomania may not be fully curable.  It can reoccur. 

Though there have been movies  and articles based on true stories about Erotomania, it is a serious problem.  It is very common for patients and clients to sue their doctors on malpractice claims (Langleben, D., Dattillio, F., Guthei, T., September 1, 2006).  Erotomaniacs can be very convincing since they believe what they are saying is real.  Being a victim from Erotomania can be very stressful, especially for someone who is already married or in a committed relationship. It’s only natural to want to feel a sense of love and self-belonging as shown on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  But for some, the initial crush can go too far.

References

Erotomania. (2010). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary . Retrieved April 10, 2010, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/erotomania

 

Erotomania.  (March 28, 2010).  Wikipedia.    Retrieved April 11, 2010 from, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotomania

 

Erotomania Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour. (April 19, 2009).  Erotomania – A Love Obsession, Stranger Than Fiction .  Retrieved, April 10, 2010 from, http://www.mymultiplesclerosis.co.uk/stranger-than-fiction/erotomania.html

 

Kelly, B.  (June 1, 2005).  Erotomania Epidemiology and Management, CNS Drugs 2005 19 8 (657-669).   Retrieved April 9, 2010, from EBSCOhost.

 

Knowledgerush. (2010).  Erotomania.  Retrieved April 10, 2010, from http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Erotomania/

 

Langleben, D, Dattilio, F, and Guthei, T.  (September 1, 2006).  True lies: delusions and lie-detection technology, The Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 34 (351-370).  Retrieved April 2, 2010, from EBSCOhost.

 

Olojugba, C, De Silva, R, Kartsounis, L, Royan, L and Carter, J.  (September 1, 2007).  De Clerambault’s syndrome (erotomania) as presenting feature of fronto-temperal dementia and motor neurone disease (FTD-MND), Behavioural Neurology 18 (193-195).  Retrieved April 1, 2010, from EBSCOhost.

Comments 26 comments

Lost Love81 4 years ago

I suffer from Erotomania. I have had this awful sickness for 10 years now. I rather not say who the object of my affection is. But I would like to say it has not been easy. It's a constint fight with myself. I know it's not true but for some reason my mind begs to differ. I do not feel in love with this person. But if I see them or hear about them my I get really emotional. I pray one day it goes away but for now I got it and I am doing my best to deal with it. I do not bother the person. I don't send love letters call or stoke. I just think about him constantly Day and night for 10 years. From the moment I wake up to the moment I fall asleep. It's crazy. I hate it. I don't know why this happened to me. They say it could be because of Trauma I experienced in my life. This is Sad and True.


Tim 4 years ago

"Erotomania can be very dangerous just like most other psychological disorders."

Good god, what a flaky thing to say! Obviously far from true. Most crimes are committed by people who are not diagnosable with a mental disorder, and most mentally ill people are not dnagerous.

That statement is an indication that the writer (Marshmallow Fluff??) is not an expert on these matters, to say the least!


marshmallow_fluff profile image

marshmallow_fluff 4 years ago from Junction City, KY USA Author

Tim - you are 100% correct, I am not an expert. :) I do not claim to be. This was a paper I wrote for a class on a subject that I found interesting. I do think you may have misunderstood what I wrote though. I did not say erotomania IS very dangerous, I said it can be... as in it could be... as in there is a possiblity of it. Also, you do not have to commit a crime for something to be considered dangerous. :) I did not mean anything offensive by that statement, so I apologize in advance to anyone who finds it offensive. I appreciate you taking the time to read it and leave a comment though.


Lost Love81 4 years ago

I find it to be dangerous. There was a lady named Margaret Mary Ray. She had the disease. Her case was worse than mine. She was delusional about David Letterman. She commited suicide at the end. Also the guy who killed one of the beatles.Really sad story's. At least I am able to somewhat control, my condition. Somedays are harder than others.


lovenausea 4 years ago

i have this disorder

i kept chasing many guys

and finally it ended tragically with one guy


Lost Love81 4 years ago

Lovenausea Do you care to share. What happened that it finally ended tragically. Also sounds like you had multiple love interest.


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 4 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

There are not many articles about this disorder. I have it - big time - and have since early childhood. Actually, being older and wiser does help. Recently, someone I had a crush on since 6th grade got married, and it threw me for a loop. But then I studied his FaceBook page, and discovered I didn't have the qualifications or fortitude to fulfill that role, and so was able to put it in perspective, and even congratulate them.

I read the way to overcome erotomania is to develop the skills in yourself that you admire in the object of your obsession. I believe another way is to actually reach out to people, instead of living in a fantasy world. Oftentimes, you find what you believe about the person, and how the person really is, are two entirely different entities.


france0703 4 years ago

I think i have this kind of disorder. I been inlove for 2years with my dentist and she is a girl. I was inlove with girl especially older woman. Now, i am seeking a psychologist but until now i cannot control my desireto thatgirl i love most.


Rosalie. 4 years ago

I suffered with Erotomania for exactly 4 yrs and 7 months. The pain was unbearable, it was like a death. He was in my head constantly. My head felt so heavy and it always felt like there were things moving in my head. It also felt like there was a blurr over my eyes. I would say to myself, i don't wish this on anyone. I longed to sleep as it was the only time i would not feel the pain. There is no pain worse than emotional pain and there is no pill for it. I used to dig the palm of my hand into my heart to try and release the pain. Your heart does pain with heart-acke. Then one day i was washing the dishes and the pain was very intense. I walked to my bedroom crying and looked into the mirror. I was very emotional. I said (God please take this pain from me. I don't want it anymore. I have suffered enough) And in my right ear i heard a mans voice, it was a very deep voice. He said only three words, he said (It is done). I felt very weak for the rest of the day and cried a lot, yet strangely i felt that something was happening. The next morning when i woke it was different. I noticed the Sun and i could hear the birds singing. I put on music and started to dance and sing. Then i stood and realized that pain, that terrible pain was gone and i was free. I fell on my knees and all i could say was (God is Great and there is no Love like Gods love). I do not resent the person that i so Loved, i look at him now as a Teacher. Someone who came into my life to show me a higher Spiritual understanding through Hurt. I hope this will help someone.


a friend of a sufferer 4 years ago

i think my friend has this, she is obsessed with a powerful man at work. she sweats and panics when he walks past and feels he is so wonderful he is too good for her and even refers to him as God. is there a cure? can you help me to help her, are there tablets she can take or therapy she can get? I am really worried about her; this is taking over her work and home life. What should I do?


4 years ago

An ex friend of mine came to believe my husband had feelings for her. She stalked him and left very nasty messages for me. We broke off all contact with her because she's started to escalate her targets and sent nasty, angry letters to our daughter, blaming her for not passing on messages. The ex friend even turned up outside our door, early one morning. We didn't let her in, and she waited for hours until leaving, having pushed notes through the door. It's an experience I wouldn't want to repeat.


rystean 4 years ago

i hope hindi ako magkaganyan!! ayoko nyan!!


maniac 3 years ago

its dangerous


Gabby 3 years ago

I have erotomania and it has affected my life in many, many, many ways. I lost friends because I was being too selfish, and too obsessive over a red-headed girl . I hate to admit that I bugged her to no ends on earth by texting her, calling her, writing love letters to her, etc. I could not take the rejection she had given me the next day after a goodbye hug that she didn't love me. I had the delusional belief that she did, and just wasn't admitting it to herself or others. I hate to say that I also looked at her fb and pics alot. My friends called me crazy behind my back even going so far as on fb to say the chicks crazy and belongs in a mental insitution. The first obsession lasted an ENTIRE year and a half, which in truth felt more like four or five years. It got so bad I couldn't go five minutes in the end without obsessing over the poor red head. I became her pest that itch you just can't scratch. I wrote love poetry about her, and read love poems that reminded me of her. I couldn't get the idea that she did not and would not ever love me out of my head until I met Tiffany L.

I met Tiff at a shelter for abused women and homeless women, and she had came in the day after me due to her step father 'beating her' and landing her in the hospital and later the shelter. It was all peachy and fun around her at first I loved being around her and literally CLUNG to her. But that all changed the second she left and I called my parents and they said III made her uncomfortable and my crazed mind instantly thought she must not want to be my friend, she must be rejecting me, she MUST hate me. But I still didn't believe that was so as I had it in my delusional mind that Tiff, a bipolar women with Syncopae loved me secretly and that I was her soul mate and not her husband. I even tried to get her husband to believe I wasn't in love with Tiff saying I thought him attractive and not Tiff. And saying that I didn't want a real elationship with Tiff saying I only loved her as a sister; when my delusional mind believed she was in love with me and would soon leave poor Steven- Tiff's husband.

I hate to admit this, but I followed her fp page when she was my friend on it and freaked when she deleted me from fb thinking that maybe she was just keeping me and her love for me a secret from the rest of her family. I also believed that she like Caroline would bring me happiness and an end to all my problems in life. I knew at times I was being delusional knowing she-Tiff had told me she wasn't gay several times, but I still kept thinking she did love me secretly. I ended up hurting her and creeping her out as I accidently sent her a fb request weeks after her calling me nuts, psycopathic, and delusional due to my condition, because I was showing a cousin of mine her page. Thus resulting in not ONLY being called delusional, but obsessive, and a stalker as well. I am in therapy now, but for a totally different reason. Though I know I seriously need help. I will force myself to learn to swallow pills if doing so will prevent someone else like Tiff from dealing with a crazy person like me. She even said she doesn't care about me at all, and neither does caroline and I have lost SEVERAL friends because of this. I just want help and a way out!


marshmallow_fluff profile image

marshmallow_fluff 3 years ago from Junction City, KY USA Author

Wow. I just want to thank everyone for sharing your stories. They really are amazing. It must be hard or difficult to just openly share and relive these experiences so I definitely admire everyone's courage. Also, I'm sure by sharing them that you're helping one another (as well as others who may be too afraid to seek help). As I mentioned before, I am not a psychiatrist, nor do I claim to be one; however I would strongly suggest anyone dealing with this to seek the proper help. :)


Say Yes To Life profile image

Say Yes To Life 3 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

The aforementioned guy - the one I had a crush on in the 6th grade - got married a year ago, almost to this day. It's his second marriage. I still think about him, but realize there must be some reason why he would wait 25 years to remarry. I know he has a son from his first marriage, and he didn't get to raise him. His new wife has a daughter, and he said on his FB page, "Finally I have someone to raise".

After doing online research, I duscovered his mother, a single parent, was a real pillar in the community (I got to meet her once, and remember her seeming to be a formidable leader type with a heart of gold). She was able to accomplish all this after having escaped Nazi Germany. And here I am, barely making it month to month, even though I'm middle-aged, have no children, and have never been in a war.

I think that's why I'm still impressed by him, after all these decades. I with I could be like her, and have had a mother like her.


A212 3 years ago

Just found out that I have this or have a tendency towards this. Earlier I had been obsessed with two online friends (never met them in the flesh, thank God!) but that was milder. Even though I made a fool of myself by sending intense (often angry) online messages and stuff. After some months I disappeared on them.

But recently I met this guy like two months ago at an event. I had been crazy obsessed over him. Never realized that I could be sick. Been sending a lot of bad, angry, insulting messages to him via email. Tried to get him on the phone too. Initially he would reply back but I never read them. Anyway I recently sent an apology email and promised not to contact him any more and asked for forgiveness etc. Just one day ago, I realized that this was erotomania. Possibly. I think this realization has made me deal with it well. I don't think I will annoy him or anyone else anymore. I am cautious.

I'm a guy BTW and I'm not really into guys, but this guy blew me away. Anyway, I have begun to shut him out and move on, keep myself busy and stuff.

I wish I never turn into an erotomaniac again.


tweedledum 3 years ago

Why did they have to give this disorder such a pervy name? Since it affects mostly middle aged women, couldn't they have called it something pretty? Anyway, I think I have this. It's only a problem when it makes me feel weak and sick, which it can do. Luckily I find ways to snap out of it pretty fast and feel OK again. Also, when I want to get in touch with the feelings again, that's pretty easy to do to. All and all, I like feeling this way.

Tell me something honestly fellow sufferers, do you REALLY want this person in your life? I'm betting dollars to donuts, that when it really comes right down to it, you really don't.

There is a reason why we choose someone we can't have. Speaking from my own position, I know that reason is safety.

My love was never safe in any relationship. Yet, we are wired to love. If we don't love, we wither and die, so it's inevitable. For people like us, love gravitates to a safe "object" of affection. I know, object is such a horrible word, but that's what they call it in the biz, so it's OK to use it.

I've made peace with this. I enjoy actually. If my love object wanted to enter my life as a platonic friend and nothing more, or maybe slightly more, I would be over the moon. If he wanted a serious relationship, or to marry me, then I'd be really sick. I'm far too broken for that.

What about you? Do you think you're too broken for the real deal?


suzanne z 2 years ago

I think I have this too. Its very difficult and sickening!! God help us all!!!


Kelly 2 years ago

I definitely have this.


sudhir 2 years ago

I don't know but love the topic.


hufiii 2 years ago

love is necessary for this type of patient.but consistency and love for GOD only helps to cure.


pari 2 years ago

i have this 2.


Michael Starvin profile image

Michael Starvin 2 years ago

Okay im going to actually post my story and share it here. im not entirely sure that i have this sickness but i think i do. here's the story. it goes like this: I have this feeling inside of me in my chest that feels like im "in love" with this girl that i barely knew in pre-highschool. I have never been able to let this go, it's been 13 years or something since then and im still in love with her for no reason. it's only just her and nobody else, i do NOT have multiple love partners, this is a "loyal" IN LOVE with only one person type of love. the one that is insane. I believe that she is my counterpart like my "soul mate" and it is just her and nobody else. i don't think i'll ever get over her, i think about her all the time and listen to music that reminds me of her and it's probably just a sick fantasy in my head. i realize that she is not the same entity that my fantasy molded after her. im just in love with the fantasized version in her image that i created and now i ruined myself, or as i should say, my illness ruined me. i have a documented diagnosis that i have some kind of an obsessive love disorder on her and only her. i don't even know her. i just know her name and what she looks like but that is it... so it makes no sense that i am in love with her. and i promise that it has nothing to do with looks. it's more than a crush and it couldn't be a crush if it's been 13 years long. it's like im lovestruck on this girl and i cant get her out of my head and im fucked. and i have serious issues and i am currently seeing a psychotherapist. it is the root of all my problems mostly. i ended up in the psychiatric unit 3 times because of this. i get violent because of this. i hate the world because of this. and i have become an evil ravager of hate to everything because she's not in my life. i probably DO have the illusion that she is part of me. i cant just let this go. no matter what i do... i am an insanely and madly in love with her beyond comprehension. i created a fantasy world based on her because my life sucks and this is probably how this kind of problem exists at all. i feel miserable because i am not with my "princess" and yeah... im obviously deranged. it's a fact. it might just be an "obsession" and not real love. but my tears every night cant be fake. I just love her and care about how she is wherever she is now. and i am unconditionally in love with her full blown romantically. it hurts like a mother fucker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and i hate to live with this and at the same time i accept it because i cannot help it. what is going on? can anybody tell me what my problem could be and any suggestions what i can do to ease the pain? i have severe anxiety issues from this. by the way im male................. :( oh god please bring her to me so i could be happy... maybe i'll see her when i die... she is my "true love" am i crazy? i think i am. it isn't even a belief, it's more like a feeling in my chest. how am i perceiving romantic feelings for her? isn't it impossible?


mary 16 months ago

ihave had this a couple times i also have bipolar disorder i have it when i am going through mania and anxiety. First time was a crush on an old priest going to mass just to see him he was twenty five years older it lasted 8 to 10 yrs i could not approuch him only by handing notes weird ha? He

Would try to approach. Me and smile i am very attractive. Thank god he figured it was odd i could. And would off been devastasted getting involved no we i realizehow needy and lonely i think it has to do with my dad never paid attention. When i was a child never told me i was beautiful. I heard it from others. But longed to hear it from him.just had another crush on a teacher flirting while i was euphoric thank god he was kind about it he is 71 i am 54 i have to h a ve it he sits. And talks about he wife v during class all the time i think when its dangerous is when the doesn,t realize or are convinced the other person loves them i feel they are attracted to me but it never goes beyond that. Mary


rossy 14 months ago

I came across this article while googling signs of obsession. I think everyone has crushes throughout their lives. Some crushes last longer than others and some are much stronger than others. Everyone at some point in time will get fixated on someone.

I have to say that in my past whenever I felt a strong connection with someone (like a crush) it was mutual. I think i have always had a strong intuition towards this sort of thing. I can remember 3 times that i had this connection and thought about the person profusely and it turned out that I was right about the connection. My husband and I had a connection right across the room. I knew nothing about him, except that we were attracted to each other 30 feet away.

About 5 years ago, i met a woman at my gym. (i know...) i don't know what it was about her but i became very curious about her. She is at least 15 years older than I, but I somehow knew we liked each other without any explanation as to why since she was a stranger to me. Over time we have become good friends because we gravitated to each other so much. I still feel we have a closer connection that can't be explained and that she likes me more than she will admit. I refer to here as my girl crush but i know it is a tad more. I don't know why, but I just think about her all the time. I feel in return that she is having this same feeling for me, but maybe not as intense as mine. this has been going on for about 5 years, with the last year being extreme infatuation. With this being a woman to woman crush, I do not feel comfortable admitting to her the depth of my girl crush. I would never want her to know I'm semi crazy for her. I respect her enough to never make her feel weird. yet at the same time I cannot stop thinking about her.

I worry sometimes that it is just me and i have developed a mental disorder over her, but then sometimes she will do or say something that makes me realize it is her too. Maybe I just her to feel the same way I do and I take regular friendly conversation as flirting. I consider this. which is why I am googling today. My husband knows i have a girl crush and that i admire her but he doesn't know how much I think about her. the weird part is that I love this feeling so much that I would be depressed without it but the pain from withholding my feelings is hard at times. I'm scared if we ever 'talk" about it then I will lose a friend. Eventually we or I will hit a point where it will all come out. I'm sure I wont over tell in fear of sounding like an asshole. I think with her being much older she is more mature and reserved. even if she had this going on, I don't think she would admit it. we are married and normal people with normal lives. why mess that up over a silly crush. what do we gain? verification of our strange feelings? then what? It all makes sense written down, but the heart wont let it go! i think I have a mild for of this erotomania.

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