More from Yallom on Love’s Executioner

Seems like a common part of limerence is that desire to merge with our LO’s. Im re-reading Yalloms beautiful book – Love’s executioner. One of the 10 case studies is clearly suffering from limerence (an 8 year infatuation after the end of an affair with her therapist) – although he does not use the term – pity as he is well placed to increase the penetration of the term limerence.

Anyhow, here is what Yallom writes about fusion:

A common, and vigorous, attempt to solve existential isolation, which occurs in several of these stories, is fusion—the softening of one’s boundaries, the melting into another. The power of fusion has been demonstrated in subliminal perception experiments in which the message “Mommy and I are one,” flashed on a screen so quickly that the subjects cannot consciously see it, results in their reporting that they feel better, stronger, more optimistic—and even in their responding better than other people to treatment (with behavioral modification) for such problems as smoking, obesity, or disturbed adolescent behavior. One of the great paradoxes of life is that self-awareness breeds anxiety. Fusion eradicates anxiety in a radical fashion—by eliminating self-awareness.
The person who has fallen in love, and entered a blissful state of merger, is not self-reflective because the questioning lonely I (and the attendant anxiety of isolation) dissolve into the we. Thus one sheds anxiety but loses oneself. This is precisely why therapists do not like to treat a patient who has fallen in love. Therapy and a state of love-merger are incompatible because therapeutic work requires a questioning self-awareness and an anxiety that will ultimately serve as guide to internal conflicts. Furthermore, it is difficult for me, as for most therapists, to form a relationship with a patient who has fallen in love. In the story “Love’s Executioner,”
Thelma would not, for example, relate to me: her energy was completely consumed in her love obsession. Beware the powerful exclusive attachment to another; it is not, as people sometimes think, evidence of the purity of the love. Such encapsulated, exclusive love—feeding on itself, neither giving to nor caring about others—is destined to cave in on itself. Love is not just a passion spark between two people; there is infinite difference between falling in love and standing in love. Rather, love is a way of being, a “giving to,” not a “falling for”; a mode of relating at large, not an act limited to a single person.

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