Limerence: Romantic Obsession or Demonic Possession?
Today we're looking at a letter from someone with a spiritual disturbance as a result of a twisted sexual relationship. The abridged letter:
It's been a few months and I'm still at the bottom of a depression. Everything feels meaningless. I don't cry all the time anymore, but I don't feel anything now. I don't know what I want from life anymore. My old dreams and goals seem stupid and pointless to me now.
I feel like my memory is running on a dying battery, and I grasp desperately to the details I remember of him and our time together, but they're not part of bigger pieces, I just have these small soundbites and images. I try to engrave them into my brain to keep them, but they deteriorate.
How do I get over this depression? I'm just calling it depression, but it's more than just depression. I am going to work, unlike the first time I tried going no contact with him. The first time I couldn't even get out of bed and called in sick to work for a whole week, which I can't even afford to do from a money standpoint but also a job security perspective. So at least now I'm operating like a human, but how do I get over this grayness, where I can't get the least bit of pleasure from anything? Everything bores me, nothing satisfies or interests me and my whole life is in a rut I feel I will never escape. All I can do is sit on the couch and stare at the wall!
Is there even a cure for this? I am seriously concerned this is the rest of my life, a numb rut day in and day out. I have no spike in feelings - I'm just a flat line, like I'm wrapped in emotional bubble wrap and nothing can touch me, bad or good.
I’ve realized I can’t continue like this. What is crazy is at first I wasn't even physically attracted to him! There was a moment before it all started where I actually had a conversation with myself like, "Okay, are we going to do this? Because right now you feel nothing, but that can change." How insane am I?
He treats me horribly most of the time, telling me about women he's attracted to and flirting right in front of me. Besides being separated (not even legally divorced!) he has so many other women on rotation, I only know about a fraction of them. And still that won't turn me off! This is the opposite of how I normally am. Normally if someone isn't SINGLE and totally into me I can't even be interested! When we have sex, it doesn't satisfy me as far as finishing, but at the same time it's the sexiest sex I've ever had, if that makes any sense? I do things with him I never would or ever wanted to with anyone else. I started masturbating a lot more because of him. I realize it's all in my mind.
I feel like he is perfect and perfect for me, and I'll never be the version of myself that I am with him, with anyone else. I have lost so much weight because I literally cannot eat from being so happy or the opposite, depending on what he's done. But I look better than I ever have and have become extremely vain -- I work hard to always look absolutely perfect for him. I know without him I'll come down and gain the weight back. Like Cinderella or something! When things are "good" I am the full color version of myself. Right now I'm the gray version. I'll never be the color version without him.
How did I go from zero to 100 so fast? To completely rational about him and not even impressed before this started, to all the way at the other end of the spectrum? I feel like I'm addicted to a drug and right now I'm having a brief window of clarity to reach out for help. I'm sure I can wake up ten years from now and be in the same situation but worse off for all the time I wasted.
I honestly feel like I do not have free will. I can't let go of my obsession, even though it's exhausting and painful to think about him. The only "relief" I get is finding new angles to think about him from. I'll listen to bands I know he likes and read his favorite books and try to imagine what he thinks about them. How crazy am I?
My friends have already given up on me even though I've never admitted to them anything close to what I'm telling you here, an anonymous stranger on the internet. I've had to stop talking to my mother because she would really know how sick I am and probably try to commit me. Besides the fact I'm mortified and ashamed of myself. But not enough to really stop. Only ashamed as far as anyone else knowing. So I have become more and more isolated and drawn into myself.
In the 1970's a psychologist came up with a name for the condition of this letter writer: Limerence. Sometimes it can be a relief to a person to discover their confounding issue actually has a name.
But the names are given by man, and based on man's natural understanding; psychology is nothing but man's logic applied to God's laws. So why don't we look at what God has to say about this person's condition?
First, this is clearly a case of demonic oppression, if not possession. The LW doesn't say whether she is a believer, but I'm inclined to think she isn't based on the fruit. At the very least, she's in a backslided state and separated from God. Never a safe place to be.
As discussed in the previous letter posted on Dear God Advice -- but which bears repeating -- we do not wrestle against persons with bodies in our interpersonal struggles here on earth. Our fight is never with the person in front of us, but rather the invisible persons or people operating through them. This is just a fact we must accept in order to understand and fix dilemmas like this one.
Corollary to that is we let these evil persons into our lives and bodies by opening doors to them. The way we open the doors is by leaving the protection of God's territory and venturing into the enemy's territory by touching his belongings, becoming sexually involved with his people, and breaking God's law in general. When I say people who belong to the enemy, I'm referring to those who do not live according to God's commandments or for God. The fact is, if you're not with God, you're against Him.
One of the names in the bible for satan is The Accuser of the Brethren. A vivid scene in Job depicts satan coming before God with all the other angels and like a heavenly prosecutor, asserting that if God removed his hedge of protection around Job, he would curse God to his face. This was a case God was willing to try, and so He did. And Job was found to be innocent of satan's charges.
But that doesn't stop him and his cohorts from constantly bringing cases in front of the heavenly courts. You're not under the impression satan is confined to hell, are you? As Jesus said, satan is the prince and god of this world, and he prowls around his estate like a roaring lion seeking who he may devour. You will be his lunch if you're not hidden in God and protected by Him, much the same way the letter writer has fallen victim to an unclean spirit/demon who has checked in to her body and mind.
The door was opened through fornication and adultery:
"Besides being separated (not even legally divorced!) he has so many other women on rotation, I only know about a fraction of them..."
Adultery because the man is still married. And even if he was legally divorced according to man's law, according to God's law, a person isn't free to be remarried until the former spouse has died. In fact, the LW's partner is not only practicing adultery himself, but every one of the women he's sleeping with are practicing adultery as well, even if they're not married. This is a different charge from fornication, which is sex outside of marriage, which is also on the list of charges here.
And isn't it interesting that her unwelcome guest announced himself upon arrival?
"There was a moment before it all started where I actually had a conversation with myself like, "Okay, are we going to do this? Because right now you feel nothing, but that can change."
Another name for satan and his crew are Tempters. They hold out some bait for you with a hook inside that you don't see until it's too late. Sometimes the tempters have to work a little harder than this one did, but here we clearly see the moment the bait was offered and accepted. And like a snare, she was caught and turned upside down suddenly:
"How did I go from zero to 100 so fast? To completely rational about him and not even impressed before this started, to all the way at the other end of the spectrum?"
Once the enemy has gotten us in his grip, their agenda is clear: Steal, Kill and Destroy. Their method is to take over a person's mind, will and emotions (their soul) through Intimidation, Domination and Manipulation.
Mind: "I feel like my memory is running on a dying battery...I try to engrave them into my brain to keep them, but they deteriorate."
Will: "I honestly feel like I do not have free will."
Emotions: "Everything feels meaningless; although I don't cry all the time anymore, I don't feel anything."
Steal: "I couldn't even get out of bed and called in sick to work for a whole week, which I can't even afford to do from a money standpoint but also a job security perspective.
Kill: "I have lost so much weight because I literally cannot eat from being so happy or the opposite, depending on what he's done."
Destroy: "My old dreams and goals seem stupid and pointless to me now."
Who are we talking about when we refer to a tempter or tempters in this case? The bible tells us clearly in more than one place that demons and unclean spirits travel in packs. They typically have a name that reflects their purpose. Let's hear in the LW's own words who is afflicting her, starting with the captain of the demonic squad.
"I'm just calling it depression, but it's more than just depression..."
There is a major feature or component of Depression that psychologists call Anhedonia, basically the inability to take pleasure or interest in anything.
"...how do I get over this grayness, where I can't get the least bit of pleasure from anything?"
"All I can do is sit on the couch and stare at the wall!"
"I'm wrapped in emotional bubble wrap and nothing can touch me, bad or good."
Also revealing is how the clinical diagnosis of Anhedonia describes the only relief reported comes from sleeping "as sleep seems the only escape, resembling death." That fits right into the agenda of stealing, killing and destroying.
The co-captain of this team would be Lust. Lust is never satisfied:
"When we have sex, it doesn't satisfy me as far as finishing, but at the same time it's the sexiest sex I've ever had, if that makes any sense? I do things with him I never would or ever wanted to with anyone else."
It's important to understand these spirits are disembodied and want to use your body to satisfy their urges. Lust is never satisfied, and along with Lust, you can expect to see another spirit that will seek to sap all sexual pleasure it can from its host:
"I started masturbating a lot more because of him."
Lust's ride or die is Vanity. After all, we lust with our flesh and our eyes.
"But I look better than I ever have and have become extremely vain -- I work hard to always look absolutely perfect for him."
The letter writer has definitely opened the door to a hellish house party, with guests including Addiction, Shame, Isolation, Despair, and Torment.
"I feel like I'm addicted to a drug."
"I'm mortified and ashamed of myself."
"I have become more and more isolated and drawn into myself."
"When things are "good" I am the full color version of myself. Right now I'm the gray version. I'll never be the color version without him."
"When I first went no contact I felt ACTUAL PHYSICAL PAIN in my belly so much that I curled up into a ball and could barely move."
The bible speaks of a man ridding himself of an unclean spirit, and that spirit going out into dry places, looking for a new home. Not finding one, the spirit decides to return to "his home," the body he left. And this time he brings seven spirits even worse than himself. He finds the "house" of the body clean and in order, and empty. So he moves back in with his colleagues.
It is possible for someone who doesn't believe in God to be rid of an unclean spirit through the help of someone wielding the name of Jesus in good faith. The unwelcome tenant can be evicted. But if the homeowner doesn't move in a new tenant, specifically the The Holy Spirit through being saved and baptized in the water and spirit, the old tenant will return with a gang of roommates. And the bible says the person will be in even worse condition than before.
Our letter writer is in dire straits and she has my deepest empathy. Empathy because years ago I was in the same sad condition. It culminated in a tragic end, because I knew in my moment of clarity (much like the one LW referenced above) that unless I made it impossible to return to the person I was involved with, it would be a matter of time before I did. And I would be trapped forever, it seemed. So I took extreme measures to ensure we would never speak to each other again.
At the time I wasn't a saved believer. And I undertook the method of separation under the clear influence of a demon. As soon as I was finished with my plan of permanent separation I felt this demon leave me. And I was distraught. Because I had torched my professional reputation in the process of separating myself from the person I was obsessed with. And almost two decades later, it is something my conscience, reputation and career never totally recovered from.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory in Jesus Christ. God took everything that happened and used it for my good once I gave my life to Jesus. My old life and who I was has been erased and now all things are new. He has given me another chance, because He is a God of second, third, fourth chances and beyond.
LW, and any one reading who identifies with what was written here: turn from your ways, repent and come to God. He will bring you out of the mire and set your feet on a rock. He will break the bonds of your addiction, affliction, and everything that is trapping your soul. We are not meant to be slaves to the enemy. We all were created by God with a purpose He wants us to fulfill. You can break away from the sad state you're in now and become made new. With a peace you won't even understand, but that remains no matter what life throws at you.
Turn away from your sins and come to Jesus while you still can.
Here is one of the best bible teachers out there, David Pawson, explaining what being saved is all about. I urge you to go deeper into exploring the peace, freedom and joy to be found in Jesus Christ. Because not only does this life depend on you doing that, but your eternal life as well.