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Letters and opinions from concerned South African women on current affairs and issues affecting us all

About The Ex-Obsession

By Kelly McClure.

I thought I came up with the idea on my own, but perhaps I was influenced by the episodes of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse that I had been watching on Netflix, or my obsession with the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Either way, I found myself in a hypnotist’s office on a Friday afternoon and asked her to help me stop obsessively reading my ex-girlfriend’s blog.

The session was a freebie with a high-priced hypnotist and I began questioning whether my blog obsession was a serious enough problem for this renowned hypnotist. I could have gone in to quit smoking, manage my anger issues or learn who I was in a past life, and that would have been healthy and beneficial. But the truth is, none of those things have been making me into a bitchy, pathetic baby for the past three months.

Certainly, everyone who has suffered a recent breakup grapples with those pangs of curiosity about their ex’s new life. It started out that way for me, just a few innocent strolls around her Facebook page and her Tumblr blog. But then I began to look for clues (who is that blonde girl in the background there?) and find hidden messages (she posted a picture of a can of tuna, she knows I love tuna. Is this about me?) in everything I read.

The Internet history on my MacBook showed how serious my obsession had become. I gave up on reading the other news and entertainment sites that had normally been part of my daily routine and focused, with sweaty-browed intensity, on pasting together the pieces of what her life looked like without me. Each picture of a strange new girl or mention of an outing to a new place that we had never been to together was one more morsel of proof that she was never coming back.

From time to time I would email her and ask her questions about things that I had read on her blog. For the most part, she didn’t reply, but when I opened my inbox one morning to find a message along the lines of, “Please stop contacting me,” I knew I had to get help.

Once in the hypnotist’s office, I was told to lie all the way back in a white leather recliner. I told the hypnotist about my ex, a bit of our background, that I felt haunted by our breakup and couldn’t stop torturing myself by reading her blog every three minutes. She shut off the lights and had me breathe in and out and concentrate on her voice. Then she went from limb to limb, making each feel heavy and warm by repeating the words, “My right arm is warm and heavy, my left arm is warm and heavy, my left leg is warm and heavy,” and so on. I was thinking at this point that it wasn’t working because I was worried about having a coughing fit or possibly wetting my pants, but then she asked me to try to lift my right arm and I couldn’t.

She then asked me to picture my ex-girlfriend and had me envision the last time I checked her blog, and what I had been doing right before I checked it. She had me think of something I could do right at the moment when I felt myself wanting to check it. “Go for a quick walk,” I muttered. Then she said to picture my ex, and do something to her image. Something non-violent, she specified.

“Hose her down,” she suggested.

“With a fire hose?” I asked.

“No, a house hose will do.”

On the way after the session I felt really relaxed and a lot more “aware.” The hypnotist had given me some homework to do in the form of a relaxation CD. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I’m looking forward to the next time I run into my ex-girlfriend somewhere and can honestly say that it doesn’t bother me. I’ll look at her, and feel okay about us parting and the fact that it took her exactly one month to move on. Then I’ll throw this CD at her like a ninja star and blast her with the nearest garden hose.

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