The Obsessive Mental Merry-Go-Round

merry-go-roundIn the United States, we have an epidemic of endless obsessive thinking, with many calling it “worrying” or a “bad habit.”[1] For some it is; however, for others, this obsessive mental merry-go-round is a symptom of emotional pain that lies deep within.1

Relieving painful worry can be done by identifying the major components that contribute to it.1 Then, each component can be put into a more manageable perspective.1 Having a new perspective requires using judgment to determine what is a major issue and what is a minor issue.1 Doing this can cause the merry-go-round to stop spinning.1

One considerable theme in obsessive thinking is the issue of control.1 We all want to hold onto control of everything—it makes us feel safe. However, sometimes people mistakenly define control as preventing bad things from happening—bad things that cause personal shortcomings, perceived failure, and vulnerability.1 To many, this is absolutely terrifying and raises anxiety along with constant worry and obsessive thinking.1 What raises all three even more is the mounting conviction that they will be unable to prevent the disastrous thing they have predicted to occur from happening.1 Thinking becomes distorted and out of control.1

At this time, obsessive thinkers begin to try and gain more control; however, the harder they try, the more out of control they feel.1 They begin to feel anxious, becoming tense, short of breath, and their heart begins to race.1 The physical manifestations of their underlying feelings of losing control surface.1 They begin to over-control what they are able to.1

In almost every case of obsessive thinking, some form of anger is involved.1 They may be angry with whomever caused the problem or with themselves for their perceived failure or not foreseeing the event in advance.1 Their obsessive thoughts include words like “weak,” “stupid,” “failure,” or “worthless.”1 Anger begins to fuel the merry-go-round so that it goes faster.1 As long as the person stays angry, the ride will not slow down.1 Their self-esteem and self-confidence is at risk.

There is a similar theme that contributes to many people’s excessive dwelling: unfairness.1 A wife may feel it is unfair that her husband caters to his mother’s needs instead of hers, a rejected lover may feel it is unfair that their ex-partner no longer cares for them, and an employee may feel it is unfair that another coworker received the promotion they worked so hard to get.1 This reflects upon the fact that self-esteem is extremely fragile.1 Every unfortunate experience confirm a person’s preexisting feelings of inadequacy, leaving the merry-go-round spinning endlessly.1

[1] Karmin, A. (2013). Anger and Obsessive Thinking. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 13, 2013, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/anger/2013/11/anger-and-obsessive-thinking/

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