Yandere – A yandere is a person who is addicted to the experience of interacting with another specific person.
Target – A yandere’s target is the person they are currently addicted to.
The Yandere Cycle
Being a yandere isn’t so much a constant attribute of a person as it is a process; a cyclic process of obsessive attachment followed by emotional breakup. I think I can identify five distinct stages: attachment, obsession, disillusionment, hatred, and recovery.
Stage 1: Attachment
To become obsessed with someone, a yandere clearly must know that they exist, and meet them. But that’s not all that’s required in order for a yandere (at least, a yandere like me) to become attached to a person. The yandere must enjoy their interaction with the potential target, and the yandere must also have some means of regularly having access to their potential target. It’s pretty hard to become addicted to a drug if you don’t like it or don’t know how to get more, after all. This is not to say that a yandere’s first meeting with their target must be overwhelmingly positive – several of my targets first met me in a rather confrontational context – but at some point interaction with the target needs to become reliably enjoyable. Assuming it does, the yandere will latch onto their target as an emotional crutch, and move into the next phase.
Stage 2: Obsession
Having established access to their target (whether this be via a home address, phone contact, or simply a known location and time to find them) and a pattern of enjoyable interaction, the yandere will begin to obsess over their target in order to obtain more enjoyment. There are two sides to this obsession: maximisation of contact, and activities between contacts. The first is relatively simple – as many hours as the target has available, the yandere will endeavour to occupy. This may extend to taking up activities that the target engages in, so as to interact with them during that time. The second is a little more complicated – between contact times with their target, the yandere will attempt to engage in activities that remind them of their target or have some perceived benefit towards their future contact with their target. This is where the obvious things like cooking and cleaning come in, but it can get pretty silly too (I ended up writing Madoka Magica fanfic for my target at one point).
Due to both of these practices, the yandere’s psyche and perceptions will begin to twist in two distinct ways. First, they will begin to conceive of their target as a soulmate, because of the massive disparity between their fulfillment when interacting with their target compared to their longing when separated from them. This will probably be exacerbated by the atrophy of the yandere’s other friendships and familial relations thanks to their focus on their target. Second, their own self-conception will increasingly begin to centre around their target thanks to their target serving as a common thread for more and more of their activities.
While I make this warping of self sound unhealthy (and it is), it’s not necessarily *destructive*. If a yandere’s target remains available to them, and willing to give the yandere the increasingly enormous amounts of attention and intimacy that they require, a relatively normal relationship may result. However, in most cases, what instead happens is…
Stage 3: Disillusionment
A yandere’s self-delusion and target-centred worldview are quite robust. Minor and subtle rejections (going somewhere else rather than meeting the yandere, discomfort at attempted increases in intimacy, and so on) will probably go unheeded by the yandere, who will rationalise them as outliers due to necessity and not representative of their target’s true nature. However, if the target remains uncomfortable, then sooner or later they will blatantly reject the yandere’s overenthusiastic advances, in a manner that the yandere cannot brush off.
This clear contradiction between the yandere’s conception of their target as a perfect soulmate and their actual actions of rejection will shatter the yandere’s delusions – at least, their positive ones. If this happens relatively early, before the yandere can seriously warp their self-concept, the cycle may end here; the yandere will accept their failure and move on – at least until they acquire a new target. However, if the yandere has obsessed over their target long enough for their worldview to base itself around their target, they will probably take it badly and enter the next stage.
Stage 4: Hatred
A yandere entering this stage has obsessed over a target for long enough to consider their life inextricably intertwined with their target’s – and then had that conception invalidated by blatant rejection. With a large proportion of their attitudes and interests tainted and twisted by the removal of their common thread – the yandere’s target – the yandere will feel betrayed and angry, thinking that large parts of themselves (and all the wonderful feelings they got from their target) were built on a lie.
There are three main targets for the yandere’s anger, and which ones they end up hating (and to what degree) are largely based on circumstances. Let’s go through them one by one.
a) The yandere herself (or himself).
A yandere may end up blaming themselves for the breakup, thinking that they deluded themselves or (if they are somewhat self-aware) betrayed their “love” by being a “creepy stalker”. This usually leads to deep depression and potential self-harm, or may lead to an attempt to “improve” oneself to better appeal to whatever the yandere’s new conception of their target may be.
b) The target.
A yandere may blame their target, presuming that the target somehow lied to them or misled them. I don’t have a great deal of experience with this, but the usual response to this would seem to be emotional blackmail or other attempts to change their target’s behaviour.
c) A third party.
A yandere may blame somebody else, thinking that said third party either drove a wedge between the yandere and their target or outright stole their target. Unlike in the previous case, a yandere may consider quite drastic and hurtful action to remove the interloper, because they’re not inherently held back by their feelings for their target (I know I’ve caught myself wishing that my target’s boyfriend would miraculously disappear).
Whatever action the yandere takes, there are two main outcomes. Either the relationship is repaired and the yandere’s target again conforms to the yandere’s delusion (unlikely, but possible), or the relationship falls apart and the target abandons the yandere. In the former case, the yandere returns to the “obsession” stage until or unless they are again disillusioned; in the latter case, they are forced to concede defeat and begin recovering.
Stage 5: Recovery
Having lost their target, a yandere is forced to deal with the fact that a large part of themselves is now no longer relevant. This usually leads to feelings of pointlessness and confusion. This time is exceedingly trying for the yandere, because their main previous source of stress relief (their target) is obviously not available to them. Assuming they eventually manage to pull through this self-doubt combined with withdrawal, they will slowly begin rebuilding their self-concept and living semi-normally… until, of course, they attach themselves to a new target.
Stereotypes about yandere
Okay, so over the years there have built up a whole host of stereotypes about what yanderes do and don’t do. I’ll try to explain what I think of these various stereotypes here. Do take this with a grain of salt; I’m mostly going off a sample of one here (myself), and while I have some formal education in psychology I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist. Don’t hesitate to ask me additional questions to put on here; I’ll answer them as best I can.
Are yanderes possessive?
Hell yes. Their target is a finite and valuable resource; they’ll do all they can to secure as much of it as possible.
Will yanderes stalk their targets?
Yes and no. If a yandere is targetting you, you should certainly not be surprised to see them pop up in all sorts of places when you’re there. However, they’ll usually make themselves known immediately and try to interact with you; for a yandere to just watch their target is much like a chocoholic looking through a chocolate shop without eating anything – pure torture.
Will yanderes become paranoid about their targets’ faithfulness?
No, unless they’re already disillusioned and looking for someone to hate for it. The reason why is rather simple; while a yandere’s imaginary eternal bond with their target and a paranoid person’s imagined terrors are both delusions, a yandere’s delusions are optimistic, hope-based delusions: the antithesis of the pessimistic, fear-based delusions of paranoia. To be blunt, a yandere doesn’t see their target for who they are, but for what the yandere wants them to be: who would want their perfect partner to cheat on them?
Do platonic yanderes exist?
Yes and no. On the one hand, platonic friendship can certainly provide the drug-like effects that cause a yandere to latch on. On the other hand, though, a yandere’s deepening obsession with their target will usually cause a platonic friendship to mutate into a romantic crush. Almost all of my targets started as platonic friends, but almost all of them, again, ended up as crushes.
Help! I’m being targetted by a yandere! Does this mean they’re going to break into my house and start raping me?
Probably not. Consider the following situation: a person has some medicine you need to survive. Which would you do: a) call them and arrange to meet them and buy it from them, or b) break into their house and steal it, possibly damaging it in the process? Like most people, a yandere will generally choose a), buying your valuable affections with their own extreme displays of devotion. They’ll only choose b) if they believe a) is no longer viable; that is, if they’ve been disillusioned and decided to blame you for rejecting them. So in this case, assuming they’re otherwise happy with you, they might eventually ask to be included in your home and/or sex life, but they’re probably not going to force you.
Help! I’m being targetted by a yandere! How do I let them down gently?
In short, you don’t. A yandere’s self-delusion is quite strong; nothing less than the most blatant refusal will get through to them. If you really want to help them, try to help them make some close friends before breaking up with them; a large part of why yanderes tend to go nuts is because they’ve neglected the rest of their social life in favour of their target and thus lose everything when they become disillusioned.
Help! I think I’m a yandere! How do I avoid going crazy?
Diversify. As a yandere, you’re tempted to put all your eggs in one basket by being obsessively in love with the person you feel best with. This is rewarding, but it’s also incredibly risky. As hard as it may be, cultivate other close friends who can also give you the feelings you crave, if at a lesser level. This will help you in two ways: it will probably make your primary target less afraid of you, preventing a breakup, and if a breakup does occur, you will still have some degree of access to affection and therefore won’t go into withdrawal on top of having part of yourself torn apart.
This sounds cool! Can I turn my girlfriend into a yandere?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: Yes, kinda; here’s how you do it.
1) See her on a regular basis.
2) Create an association between your presence and pleasure. Drugs help here; if you give her a hot chocolate whenever you see her, the caffeine and theobromine will ensure she’s happy.
3) Give her simple, easy-to-follow advice so that she can get a sense of fulfillment (and associate it with you) even when you’re not around.
4) Systematically destroy every other emotional support she has; alienate her from her family and friends.
5) Manipulate events such that she’s put under stress, and then when she turns to you, make it all go away.
Does this sound like being a brainwashing cult leader, or an abusive psychopath? Good. Because that’s what it is. Turning someone into a yandere is effectively pushing a drug; the difference is that you yourself are the drug. You do this, you’re a monster, and I hope you end up dead by your yandere’s hand for your trouble. To reiterate:
Short answer: NO.
As sourced from https://vndb.org/t4845 ; all credit goes to the original author magic9mushroom.