Q. Is possessiveness a disease?

Answered by
Dr. Swarajit Narayan Ghosh
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 28, 2016 and last reviewed on: May 19, 2020

Hi doctor,

I am too much possessive to all the one who I love. Because of that, I stressed a lot. Is possessiveness a disease? Please help me.  Do I need any treatment for this? Thank you.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • The first step in feeling better is to acknowledge that there might be an unaddressed issue in your day-to-day life.
  • You have taken a courageous step in facing up to any perceived deficiencies that you feel you might have. Once acknowledged, any such issue can usually be effectively managed.
  • There would be two things to consider here. Your observation about your possessiveness and the contingent stress.
  • Possessiveness is not a disease, it could be a personality trait and your way of relating to others.
  • There could be several reasons for this tendency, some amongst which include your unique style of attachment with significant others, modulated by your early childhood experiences or perhaps the result of your being insecure about yourself and your interpersonal capabilities.
  • Stress, that results from your self-monitoring is the second factor that is causing you distress.
  • The solution is that the moot point is looking for a suitable solution. Your awareness of your tendency to be possessive could be looked upon as a stressor.
  • If you could view this tendency and the associated situational antecedents in an objective way, without giving into judgement or analysis, and just follow a three step process of: arising, acknowledging and letting go of the feeling of possessiveness, you might find the tendency waning over time.
  • Being mindful of what is arising internally is an important element of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
  • Other elements of this approach include dialectics, which means that nothing in our lives is black and white and written in stone, and that two contradictory evaluations could be accurate reflections of any one causal event. This means that you can be possessive, but if you were to be mindful of it and try and not act on this feeling, you would still be fine.
  • Dealing with emotions or feelings calls for a three step process of,
  1. Acknowledging.
  2. Allowing. 
  3. Understanding.
  • All of these are elements of what is known as self-validation.
  • Acknowledging implies that you simply acknowledge the presence of the emotion. So you could tell yourself I feel possessive and end it there without judging yourself.
  • Allowing simply means telling yourself something like it is fine for me to feel possessive. That does not mean liking the feeling or wanting it to persist, but just affirming that it is fine to feel this way.
  • Understanding, which means that you recognize that there are reasons for you to feel this way, some of which may currently be beyond your control.
  • There is evidence that acting on emotion strengthen the emotions, so the thought-behavior-emotion cycle of possessiveness gets deeply embedded.
  • Try one simple way out of this cycle. When you feel possessive and feel like acting out in the usual way, try to pause for a moment and do just the opposite thing. For example, if you feel like lashing out, do just the opposite like leaving the situation or acting civilly and politely.
  • To put all this in a nutshell, possessiveness is not a disease. And if you attempt to be mindful when the emotion arises and self validate that emotion without judging yourself or others, you might find that over time, your possessiveness lessens.

For further information consult a psychiatrist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/psychiatrist

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