One of the most classic and tragic characters in literature was undoubtedly that of Anna Karenina. This character was created by Leo Tolstoy and was a 19th-century high society heroine. Nevertheless, far from being a typical character of this time with whom it would be hard to empathize, we’re actually able to identify with her emotional problems. They demonstrate that, in an intense and destructive kind of love, one in which you offer everything for your partner, you end up being ignored, manipulated, and abandoned.
Anna Karenina is the story of a woman who leads a quiet life with her husband and son. However, she suddenly falls in love with Vronsky, a handsome military man for whom she blindly abandons everything, driven solely by her emotions. Their relationship is conducted surrounded by a stale and hypocritical society full of false values. Nevertheless, after Anna puts everything aside for her passion – even her own son – her lover becomes bored. He’s achieved his prize and now his feelings for Anna have gone. Anna’s end is the most classic and tragic reflection of love, the one that no one should ever resort to, that of suicide.
Anna Karenina syndrome today
“Without you I’m nothing”. How many times have you heard or maybe even said this expression yourself? In fact, in the 21st century, we see the story of Anna Karenina constantly repeated. Indeed, there are many people who don’t hesitate for a moment in leaving everything for a new partner. As a matter of fact, it’s often almost a process of personal dismantling, where values and principles decline, and self-esteem and even identity are jeopardized.
These behaviors can’t be vetoed at all. Because love means sharing, offering, and giving. It also means receiving from your partner and being part of them. Reciprocity with balance and maturity is essential. We mention balance because you have to know how to set boundaries. In fact, rather than offering everything for your partner and projecting all your happiness onto them, you must first value yourself and be happy as an individual. However, some people only conceive true happiness as having a partner. Therefore, when they’re single they feel distressed and helpless. This is dangerous.
You must love yourself enough not to fall into an abyss when, for whatever reason, your emotional relationships break down. Of course, any break-up is a dramatic process from which it’s difficult to reemerge. However, if you establish a protective boundary and safeguard your identity, self-esteem, and values, the break-up won’t be so upsetting. Anna Karenina syndrome lies in the process of ’emotional emptying’. In other words, you leave everything you are and everything you have in your partner’s pocket. With the implicit risk that one day, they may well lose interest in you.
Romantic love and ‘real mature love’
There’s nothing more romantic than feeling loved. Experiencing those first phases of great intensity where passion, sexuality, and fantasies involving the other person continuously fill your being and your brain. Nevertheless, as they say, there’s no greater enemy of passion than consummation. Gradually, coexistence, obligations, and routine put aside that earlier effusiveness. Of course, love continues to exist, and there’s undoubtedly still emotion present, but the blind intensity of the beginning loses its shine. At this stage, it should pass from romantic love to more mature love. This is the real litmus test, where the results determine whether you become united in a more complicit and genuine way or not.
The tragedy of Anna Karenina is rooted in the moment when Vronsky, having got what he wanted, finally experiences the boredom of consummation. Anna is left naked, stripped of her former life, her social position, her family, her husband, and even, most tragically, her son. She’s left everything for her blind passion. What can she do? Disowned by society and wounded inside in the most painful way possible, she chooses death as the only way out. Death by throwing herself in front of a train.
Unfortunately, real life is full of anonymous tragedies marked by Anna Karenina syndrome. For this reason, you must be careful and protect yourself. Romantic and passionate love is something that’s extremely intense, something that elevates you, envelops you in magic, and makes you feel more alive than ever. As such, it’s worth experiencing. However, you must experience it with maturity and balance, loving yourself at the same time and not ‘dismantling’ everything you are.
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