Anna Karenina Syndrome: Victims of Love

November 30, 2019
In order for a relationship to be healthy, it's important to keep in mind that your partner should complement you. Still, should things end, they shouldn't leave you feeling incomplete. In this article, we'll take a look at Anna Karenina syndrome.

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina isn’t just a classic example of world literature. It also serves as a reflection of the most passionate, intense, and dangerous kind of love, that always leads to a tragic end.

However, when referring to Anna Karenina syndrome, we don’t mean the very dramatic fate of the novel’s female lead character. Rather, we’re talking about that intense passion and emotional attachment, which can, in some cases, lead us to go beyond our limits.

In this article, we’ll discuss the dangers of that level of passion, which may leave you more hurt than helped. We’ll also explain why obsessive relationships can be very harmful to your health.

1. Anna Karenina Syndrome: passionate love and its dangers

They say that one who has experienced very passionate love in the past continues to long for that feeling, despite the pain they suffered when they lost it.

Intense emotions combined with physical attraction, emotional bonding, and mutual commitment make us feel alive. Add in an obsession that makes everything about “you and I” and you’ve got passionate love.

However, there are a number of dangers you should keep in mind. Those who suffer from Anna Karenina syndrome have experienced something more than a mere crush.

Dangers to keep in mind

  • They actually suffer from what is known as “affective-obsessive disorder“. The disorder is characterized by a certain lack of personal control. It also involves an absolute dependence in which we fail to see our limits.
  • We’re able to lose ourselves to our loved one, giving up that which defines us and giving them control, just to keep them close to us.
  • However, this kind of love doesn’t offer true happiness. This is because what those with this disorder feel is anguish, more than anything else. It can be caused by a variety of different reasons, like not having your loved-one close-by. It can also be due to distrust or a fear of being abandoned or cheated on.

Little by little, you lose your self-esteem, integrity, and emotional balance. By centering your life around another person in such an obsessive way, you can end up losing our own life. And there’s nothing that can be more destructive than that.

Read more: Habits that Happy Couples Should Avoid at All Costs

2. Passionate love: how to control it

Anna Karenina syndrome

We all know that in the early stages of a relationship, it’s normal to feel an intense and indescribable passion. However, there are things you should remember if you want to avoid falling into the dangerous Anna Karenina syndrome.

1. Never seek a partner with the idea of “filling a void” or to be your “other half”.

Life isn’t about finding your soulmate. What you must first do is grow internally and become a rounded person, balanced and mature, capable of being happy as an individual.

At the same time, you must also be capable of bringing joy to others. Don’t look to others to fill your emptiness or assuage your fears. Try to find a partnership that’s mutually beneficial.

2. Beware of forging a clingy relationship that doesn’t allow you any freedom

To love is to win and to grow, not to lose or to limit. And obsessions are never good, since they can place limits on your life. The moment you put someone else as your top priority, you’ll start to lose things. You’ll push aside your hobbies, friends, and even your own values. And all this is not good.

You just need to remember Anna Karenina and her absolute passion for Count Vronsky. There came a time when she even pushed aside her own son.

3. Never make the mistake of loving blindly.

Love with open eyes and an open heart. Love in a conscious way, knowing everything you do while seeing what your partner does for you.

Do they respect your needs, listen to you, and take your thoughts into consideration? Do they let you grow as a person and help your relationship to grow? True love isn’t obsession.

Want to know more?: Passionate and Rational Love: Can They Go Together?

It’s a daily happiness where both partners know how to resolve problems. It’s where both listen, respect their commitment to one another, and where there’s no jealousy, distrust, or blackmail.

Remember, Anna Karenina syndrome is very common today. So love with intensity, love with passion, but never blindly.

  • Pazos Gómez, M., Delgado, A. O., & Gómez, Á. H. (2014). Violencia en relaciones de pareja de jóvenes y adolescentes. Revista Latinoamericana de Psicologia.
  • Ruiz, D. (2001). Relaciones de pareja. Revista de Educación.
  • José, M., & Biezma, R. (2007). VIOLENCIA HACIA LA PAREJA: REVISIÓN TEÓRICA. Psicopatología Clínica, Legal y Forense.
  • Martos, J. A. F. (2010). Emociones y sentimientos: la construcción sociocultural del amor (Vol. 115). Univ de Castilla La Mancha.
  • Aragón, R. S. (2007). Significado psicológico del amor pasional: lo claro y lo obscuro. Interamerican Journal of Psychology, 41(3), 391-402.
  • Ellis, A. (1990). El amor y sus problemas. Bernard y Ellis. Aplicaciones clínicas de la terapia racional.
  • Cacioppo, J. T., Hawkley, L. C., Crawford, L. E., Ernst, J. M., Burleson, M. H., Kowalewski, R. B., … Berntson, G. G. (2002). Loneliness and health: Potential mechanisms. Psychosomatic Medicine.