I have been lately analyzing or overanalyzing the role of commitment phobia in my life in general. It should come as a no surprise that one of the main issues in both my last two serious relationships has been reluctance to commit. I think this reluctance has described both sides more or less. Today, I am going to present my side of the commitment phobia.
Over the last four years I have been postponing making any decisions about my personal life. I have explained and rationalized it through having a therapy and being in the middle of big changes or not having enough energy to think about yet another layer in my life etc etc. The truth is, that inability to make decisions is one of the major signs of commitment phobia. Inability to make decisions just about everything. I have been struggling to decide where I want to live, with whom I want to live, what kind of work I want to do….the list probably continues.
The other issue that is indicative of my commitment phobia is my reluctance to answer to emails and keep my phone close. I have always felt that it was somehow inconvenient to be available all the time. Even more troublesome was to have to be the one who was relied upon and who provided my friends services of support. I felt like everybody was constantly bothering me with some kind of demands and wishes which required immediate reaction. I just wanted to disappear and not have to deal with all these demands.
I also have not wanted to take a vacation with my boyfriend. I have rationalized it to myself in different ways and partially there is some truth to be found in all of these statements. The truth is however, that taking a vacation together makes me very very nervous. I feel like I will be stuck with this person in the closed space and have no possibility to escape. I also feel like taking a vacation together is indicative of something very serious. It is a serious commitment. Can I handle this?
This is only a beginning of the list of my commitment phobic behaviors. We can see multiple different fears that are responsible for this. One is fear of rejection (my feeling that if I say no to people’s demands, they will surely resent me, hence I will rather avoid facing their demands). Naturally this dates back to my childhood, where saying no was punished sometimes with kicking me out. So I have long lived with the feeling that I have to fulfill other people’s wishes and demands. The other is the fear of being wrong, doing something wrong. I cannot make decision, because I am so afraid of doing something wrong. This is related to my mother using many different strategies such as gaslighting, denying my issues and externalizing guilt.
I find that most of material about commitment phobia is focusing solely on the behaviours and much less on the psychological reasons for commitment phobia. Hence I will in the future also try to analyze further the underlying mechanisms which drive my commitment phobia.