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Old 07-05-2017, 03:56 PM   #1
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Default Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

Hi everyone,

I am new to this website - I just created an account because I am really struggling with these crippling thoughts and feelings and I don't know what else to do. For background, I recently began cognitive therapy, but I was in psychoanalytical therapy for appx 7 years before that. I feel like I need my old type of therapy to help me with what I am going through

I am a 30 year old female. My parents divorced when I was 19 - my father left because my mom was an addict and he couldn't bear to be with her anymore. I was always VERY close to my mother growing up (almost too close - causing me to be a very sheltered kid), but I also idealized her. I thought she was perfect. When I found out she was an addict, my mind wouldn't let me accept it. It was a struggle that's taken years to get past, and I am still struggling with it actually. I have a lot of anger towards both of my parents - my mother for putting me in the position of needing to parent HER, and my father for leaving me to take care of my mom on my own. And I am also angry at both of them for fighting in front of me and my brother when we were kids.

Since I was a child I have suffered from low self-esteem. I seek approval from others and try to get attention from anybody. From years of therapy I realize this is because I was somewhat neglected as a child (even though I thought my childhood was amazing at the time).

For the past 10 years I have found that I seek the attention of strong female women, likely because I long for a RESPONSIBLE, strong mother (my mom is a mess). As an example, there is an executive in my office who is beautiful, powerful, smart and a single mother. I look up to her so much. But it gets to the point where it's unhealthy. I will dress up when I know I am in a meeting with her. I get nervous speaking to her. It's like I wish she would adopt me, or trust me as a close friend. I seek these close relationships with strong female figures. I get obsessed with them.

Anyway, now I will get into the current issue I am facing because it is driving me absolutely nuts- I am really suffering. I am tearing just writing this. I feel like a freak, and it's so frustrating because I know this is a need that will never get met. There is a TV show I have been watching (The 100)- there are 2 strong female characters, each leading a separate "clan". One of these female characters is ruthless (Lexa)- she will kill you if you just look at her the wrong way. The other female character, Clarke, is the opposite. She is a leader who tries to save lives.

Throughout the show, Clarke and Lexa are enemies. But there comes a point where they need to join forces and they begin working together. You begin to see Lexa's soft side, which didn't even exist before. She was hard as a rock. Over time, Lexa went from wanting to murder Clarke, to falling in love with her. There is a scene where they had to say goodbye to each other (permanently) and Lexa is tearing (which is so abnormal for her because she hasn't showed feelings her entire life), and they both kiss. This drove me CRAZY. I wanted to be the one kissing Lexa so badly. Seeing her become vulnerable and soften made me want to take care of her and rescue her. I crave that intimacy, longing, and passion. I now fantasize about being the one who is there to console her and kiss her.

I then became obsessed with Lexa and her character, Alicia Debnam-Carey. I began watching youtube videos of bloopers of the show, interviews with Alicia, and I feel like a freak for doing this. It is painful because I feel that I want that closeness with her so badly but I will never get it.

Now I know there is more to this feeling than simply having a crush on Lexa (I am straight by the way). It must go down to a deeper need of wanting to feel needed, wanting that deep emotional intimacy that causes someone hard as a rock to soften up. Just thinking about Lexa and the kiss really messes with my head. It puts me in a bad mood because I know it's an unfulfilled need that I have. I yearn for closeness with a strong female role model. Then I judge myself for feeling this way and I feel crazy.

I'm not even sure what I am looking for by typing this. I guess maybe just to know I am not alone? I keep trying to find information on this sort of feeling on google but I can't find anything, and that's making me feel like more of a freak.

Please help. I am suffering a lot. Thank you so much if you read this entire thing.
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Old 07-06-2017, 08:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

Please know that you are NOT alone in having feelings like this. My background is too long to write out here right now, but I relate to a lot of what you are saying. I am middle-aged and have been dealing with this since I was a teenager.
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Old 07-07-2017, 09:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

I can relate to this. I have an attachment to strong females as well and not just because I think that a strong woman is sexy either.

I think that those of us who were neglected by our mothers or families feel this way. I had an extremely rough childhood with my mother who was controlling/neglectful so I think that my past influences what type of women I find attractive.

I find myself infatuated with strong females now that seem to have personality traits similar to my mother. I love the strong, independent female fighter who doesn't need anybody and doesn't put up with anyone's ****. I also have an obsession with female fighters, both real and fictional. I love the strong Amazon, the powerful empress, the female martial artist that can go toe to toe with a male fighter, the woman who has had to deal with a painful childhood or traumatic past who is hardened as an adult from it. I also have an obsession with fictional female characters from fantasy shows and games such as female mages/sorceresses, vampires, assassins, and a number of other various types of female characters.

I have fantasies of being with women like this and sometimes I fantasize about having them take me on adventures or even enslaving me to their wills. I think like this, most likely because I crave the love that I never really felt from my mother, to fill some type of void in my life, or some other reason. I'm no therapist so I don't know what to tell you about this problem.

You're certainly not alone though
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Old 07-22-2017, 01:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

It all just sucks!!
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Old 02-18-2018, 07:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

Oh, my goodness, where do I begin?

Please don't feel like there is something wrong with you--there isn't. We feel what we feel. We are wired to have certain emotional needs which, if not met, can become obsessive. We subconsciously seek ways to meet those needs because our brain tells us it's vital for our survival. Very primal stuff...there are buttons that get switched on and there's nothing we can really do about it. It's through no fault of your own; in this case, I believe circumstance takes precedence. Your rocky relationship with your parents left you craving for a strong mother figure. There's nothing weird about that, it's completely natural.

I have the exact same issue that you described above, but mine revolves around strong male figures. I have massive issues with my father and stepfather and many, many unmet emotional needs. At the moment, I am obsessed with my psychologist who, in my head, ticks all the boxes that make a great father figure. I had obsessions with various men all my life...teachers, actors, etc. I too used to dress differently when near any of them and obsessively watched youtube interviews. When I was younger, I'd go to bed at night fantasizing about them adopting me or saving me from one thing or another.

So yes, you are definitely not alone in this. I can relate to pretty much every single point you made.
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Old 02-22-2018, 01:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

I suffer from this as well to the point I can't think of anything else. I find myself only happy when I am with the role model and anxious and sad when I'm not. I feel like I have to be around them 24/7. Have you found anythibg at all that helps in any way? I just want to have this close relationship as mother daughter and be ok when I'm not around her. Like a healthy bond.
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Old 06-29-2018, 05:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

I relate so much. I have Borderline Personality Disorder and this kind of attachment is a common symptom of that (not saying that you have BPD, and I don't know what diagnoses you may have, but for me I attribute this attachment thing to my BPD). Anyway. Ever since I was probably 3 or 4 years old, I formed these intense attachments to women who were older than me. I did not have this kind of attachment with my mom at all. I just didn't. So my brain searched for someone to fill that void. Someone to meet my emotional needs. The first one this happened with was with one of my aunts. I adored her. Admired her. LITERALLY clung to her, as I would sit on her foot and hold onto her leg as she walked. But she lived out of state and I only got to see her a couple times a year, so I didn't have that consistent attachment to really fulfill what was missing for me. Then I found other people: my older sister's friends, my friend's older sister, older girls at my school, and the most major one - one of the older girls at my ballet school. I just thought she was so beautiful (which being physically "beautiful" has been like a "criterion" for those who I attach to, even though the formations of these attachments is not a choice... just happens that way), so talented, so smart, so nice... she was perfect. I idolized her. I fantasized about her, and about her taking care of me. When she left the country for the first time to study abroad, I was DEVASTATED (fear of abandonment... BPD symptom... I've learned to notice when these attachments start to form and try to resist them, but I always fall down the rabbit hole anyway... like I can't resist even though I know it will eventually end in hurt). She had been my everything. Seeing her was the highlight of my week. I would write her sappy notes, telling her how I felt so honored to know her. It must've been a little creepy on her end...

And this has happened with therapists too, because most of my therapists have been females who are a little bit older than I. AND, as a "bonus," therapists (generally, usually) listen to you and validate you and see your pain and can be comforting. I tend to see them as the mom I never had. Someone who would take care of me and not laugh at my pain. I have troubles with boundaries in therapy because of this. It makes it tough because I often use therapy to try to fill that void for me, but of course that's not the true role of a therapist. (And in fact, I feel like this keeps me sick in that I refuse to let go of some of the symptoms of my diagnoses because I want a reason to still be in therapy and to still be cared for, and to me that means having an issue that can be attended to by a therapy. No issue? --> No therapist, no care. At least that's how my mind works).

Sometimes this has happened with TV characters for me as well... even though I don't know them, and the characters aren't even "real" people in real life, I fantasized about them taking care of me if they were pretty and had a certain demeanor and personality.

Anyway. Long story short, you are not alone and I can relate a lot. And it's hard. For me, it's hard in that I know that no matter how much I can get these people to like me and no matter how much I am around them and interact with them, they weren't my mom, they aren't my mom, and they will never be my mom. Sometimes it feels like that emotional void can never be completely filled. Like my blissful but brief interactions with my attachment people will always have a limit, and I can never go back in time and have one of them be the mother that would show me unconditional love and care. And then the other hard part is when they exit my life for whatever reason. And knowing that that has to happen sooner or later as people come and go in life. Right now, my current attachment is to one of the therapists/leaders of the DBT group I'm in. DBT group is the highlight of my week because of her, and I crave special times with her. I crave her checking in with me. I always want her to sit next to me. And now I know she's going to be leaving the group soon and it breaks my heart. She's the main reason I'm still in the DBT group. I can't honestly say I really invest myself in the group; I'm more just there to be with her.

Just know that this is a very real thing. I have several friends whom I've met in mental health treatment centers that experience this as well. Talking with them about it has helped me to not feel so ashamed about it, because I know that this is just my brain's way of trying to meet my needs. I've felt uncomfortable about it in the past. I've questioned before if this meant I was gay because I was so obsessed with these women (but I've since figured out that I'm not gay). But I think I've come to terms with it, at least as far as not feeling ashamed about it. I'm still trying to work on how to cope with this pattern though because it has always ended in hurt when they are no longer in my lives. Or even when I see them with someone else! Seeing them comfort someone else hurts me because I get jealous that that other person is getting their attention and not me. I even get a little sad when I learn that one of my attachment people is married and/or has kids. Again, because I want their attention, and their being married or having kids makes it seem like they won't have enough love left over for me (I guess I learned growing up that love was limited...).

ANYWAY. I meant to end this post like 12 paragraphs ago haha. Sorry for the length. I hope maybe it can help you in some way. Just know that I feel you. I'm 23 and I still fantasize about being adopted by one of these people. It can feel weird to have these thoughts, but it's valid. It's real. The pain that comes with it is valid and real.

(And as far as finding more information about this on the web, I would try Googling "BPD idealization and devaluation." Again, this attachment thing can happen with or without BPD, but researching it in this context and with the words idealization and devaluation I think will help you find more information that you might be interested in learning about).
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Old 09-30-2018, 08:39 AM   #8
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Default Re: Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

omg this sumps up my life I want to talk for long but you just explained my feelings.

With the 'mother-figure' women in my life, I long for cuddles/touches and physical affection- all of which I didn't get from my own mother. It's so insane and intense .... can't even talk to anybody about it.
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Old 10-02-2018, 11:20 AM   #9
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Default Re: Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

What is a ďstrongĒ female figure? It might help to define in your own mind exactly what this means, in your reality. Iím sure they do exist but I donít think they welcome people being obsessed with them. Attachment can be ďokĒ but ďobsessionĒ can be scary. Sorry if this comes across as harsh, itís just my opinion. Sometimes people who may appear strong are actually wolves in sheeps clothing.
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Old 10-12-2018, 02:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Attachment/obsession with strong female figures

Hi, I feel exactly the same as you described in the opening message and Iíve had that exact experience with the TV show The 100, so strange. I never had a dominant mother in my life and my dad hasnít been great either. I feel as though itís a hole I need to fill. Do you think there is anything we can do to move on fr this or help ourselves? It can really take over my life at times.
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