Pathological Passion

As a young Catholic girl, my family would go to mass for The Passion of Christ every Easter Vigil. During this time, the congregation were forced to play along with a sadistic roleplaying game re-enacting the scourge and crucifixion of Christ. It was highly traumatic for me as a young girl, and I have never forgotten how tears would fill my eyes as I said the words, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”

Yes. Quite sadistic indeed.

As far as I know, Catholic masses all over the world still do this very thing every Easter. In fact I have no doubt they do, but I left Catholicism nearly twenty years ago. Never again will I have to say “Crucify Him.”

Regardless, when I was a teenager and had begun to feel sexual and romantic “passion,” I wondered why this tradition was called “The Passion.” After all, there was nothing “passionate” about what happened to Christ (and the scores of others who met the same fate during that time.)

That is, of course, until I truly experienced “passion.” Falling in love, especially when unrequited, but even when it is mutual. As Sam says in Love Actually, there is nothing “worse than the total agony of being in love.”

Well, I guess there is one thing worse. Losing said love.

Passion. The word comes from the Greek “pathos” (ραθοσ) meaning “to suffer.” Yes. Quite literally. The English language gets many words from other languages: Greek, Latin, French, etc…but perhaps there is no other word that is as honest as this one.

Passion is suffering.

Here is another English word comes from ραθοσ: pathological.

When you fall in love with someone who is pathological, your suffering is doubled. This can be a pathological liar, a pathological narcissist, or someone with another form of pathological behavior/personality.

Then you fall into fantasy to try to survive the pathological’s behavior and threatened abandonment, as you likely fell in love before you realized your beloved was, indeed, pathological. This fantasizing ultimately deepens one’s suffering.

Suffering upon suffering upon suffering.

“Emotional suffering is created in the moment we do not accept what is.” ~Eckhart Tolle

Agreed, but what if we don’t know what is? The truth.

Perhaps we may not know what is true, but we likely always know something isn’t right. It’s then about being honest with yourself and protecting yourself against deception. A fine line, most definitely. Here we will find ourselves between being too trusting and being cynical.

We all want to feel special, to feel loved, to feel needed. We want to fall in love, for what a wonderful form of suffering passionate love is.

Yet, to protect ourselves against piling suffering upon suffering, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If your beloved is lying to his spouse, s/he’s probably lying to you
  • Even if they say you are special, a fluke, and that they have never been in this position before, s/he’s probably lying to you. There may, in fact, be many others along with you.
  • If they say they love you, don’t believe it until their actions match their words.
  • Actions always speak louder than words
  • Words are very easy, especially for the pathological liar or pathological narcissist
  • Read up on the symptoms of the Narcissist. Learn to recognize them early for the sake of your sanity and your heart.

A person who loves you will want to talk with you at every free moment and spend hours getting to know you. They will respect you and your boundaries. They will share their life, dreams, and memories with you. They will want to see you, hold you, kiss you, cherish you.

They will not threaten you. They will not hide things from you. They will not avoid you. If they’re doing these things all while telling you they love you, they don’t.

No amount of fantasizing will change what is or what will be. Look at your beloved’s behavior, there is the key. Remember as Dr. Phil says, “the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

If we’re lucky, we are all victims of passion at one time or another, for it is one of the most wonderful things about being human. Falling in love. That first kiss. The nervousness and excitement of a new lover. The feeling that there is no possible way your bodies can ever be close enough, even when you are inside each other.

Yes, we are quite lucky to be victims of passionate love.

But, if we’re careful, we do not have to be victims of pathological love. For there is where the debilitating suffering resides.


Do you think suffering effectively defines falling in love?

What are some other examples of pathological behavior in romantic relationships?


~ by omgrey on March 14, 2011.

5 Responses to “Pathological Passion”

  1. […] New love is intoxicating and often agonizing, but it’s nothing if not exciting and hot and passionate. We all too often equate our sexuality with this new love or new […]

  2. […] Original Blog Post […]

  3. “A person who loves you will want to talk with you at every free moment and spend hours getting to know you.”

    I always see this as a warning sign. It borders on neediness and needing someone is different from loving someone, as love is giving and need is taking.

    • I disagree that it borders on neediness. Certainly if it continues throughout the relationship, that would point to an unhealthy level of neediness. But at the beginning of a relationship, two people come together and are fascinated with each other. They want to get to know each other quickly and deeply because of the attraction, not just physical, but personal and emotional and even spiritual as well. It’s exciting to learn about someone new and to discover what you have in common, to learn new things about life and experience, and to share your life and your thoughts. That’s not neediness, that’s the joy of living and experiencing human connection.

  4. I believe I might be pathological in my love for my wife. I’ve recently gotten clean & sober after years of addiction and the behaviors that go with it. I now have this emptiness to fill and unfortunately I look to my wife to provide that for me. She has set boundaries and calls me needy. I am working on this continually and trying to not set expectations and conditions on our love. I think said expectations and conditions are the basis of my pathological love and I want to remove them. She has become very distant and emotionally detached … I feel completely alone. I see much of myself in this article and want to correct my behavior and am wondering where to start …. help anyone?

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