I am starting to understand that my addiction towards unavailable men has two main causes. One has been my feelings of unlovability which have now finally been addressed. The other one, however, is feeling that I cannot trust anyone. This is all evasive feelings which is now coming up strongly.
Finally I understand how I in fact do not want to let anyone close enough. I am afraid. I am afraid that they either become mean and put me down or that they will leave me. It is somehow safer to be in distance, because then at least nobody can hurt me. Then they will not endager my safety. I am at least somewhat in control. But somebody coming in, trying to torn down my wall of safety……this is so damn scary.
I am also starting to understand why physical contact has always been problematic for me. Why I needed to get drunk in order to enjoy physical contact. It is again the same feeling – I am unsafe. Someone is coming inside my bubble. They cannot be trusted.
It is very difficult to describe this feeling to someone who has never experienced it before. It is partially the feeling that you are all alone and partially the feeling that someone is trying to torn down the walls that you have built. You do not understand that in fact these walls to assure that you will be all alone. But you want to protect yourself against other people, not to show that you are so alone and defenseless. You assume that if they would know, they would automatically use it. If they knew you are so helpless they would abuse you. So this is how you never even give people a chance to prove the opposite. They will never get close enough for you to be convinced that they in fact are safe.
So who are the people who are willing to be in a relationship with someone like this? Other people with intimacy issues. No sane person would like to hang around someone who is mortally afraid of intimacy.
Perhaps for the first time in my life I am not obsessed by someone needing to prove to me that I am lovable. Constant aching feeling in my soul is finally gone. Done.
Interestingly from this position my obsession about certain males and male attention in general seems weird. It seems kind of funny to think how I assumed that a man would solve all my problems. How someone wanting to marry me would turn my world around. I do not believe this anymore. Funnily I am also getting less and less obsessed about males around me. My view on love is getting more and more practical.
The important shift was me connecting with my feelings undeservingness and unlovability. This shift has happened this spring and almost invisibly. I feel like I am finally getting a sense of what it means to actually live normally…..live without constant feelings of emptiness and pain.
This would be a period for rejoicing if I also did not notice how fucked up the rest of life has become due to me focusing so intensely on my unlovabilty. I have been living so far with limited resources. Due to being on constant survival mode, I never really even imagined that the things other people have are possible for me. Now I know they are possible, but I also feel like I am years behind. I think it a similar feeling than for an alchoholic to finally become sober. You notice that you have spent years in this addiction while other people have been busy living their lives.
I have a habit in my life. I am chasing these guys that need to be convinced about committing to me. Granted this pattern has gone better over the years. I began by chasing a guy who was clearly not interested in me. Somehow I could read meaning into smallest sentences of his and convince myself that in fact he was so into me, he just did not know this. After him came another guy who was clearly into my friend and just wanted me as a friend. Oh well, he was at least friendly towards me, which is more than I can say about the first guy. Right after this came my ex who I never completely figured out. He told me that he was never in love with me, so I guess I need to believe his version of things. The obvious development was that at least this time I could convince the ‘unavailable guy’ to have a relationship with me. After him came my current boyfriend, who, clearly was and is in love with me, but struggles giving away his independence (as in including me in his plans, believing that I should somehow convince him to return home earlier than nine etc etc). In the middle have been some crushes who at least show interest in me, but are unavailable for other reasons.
I guess I can at least say that well, current unavailable guys are into me. This can be seen as a positive development in a sense that I will not develop feelings towards someone who totally disregards or ignores me. One could motivate that it is part of maturing, but in my case I think addressing the problem has had some real consequences. However, the truth is that the pattern is still there, even though not as strong as it used to be.
I am starting to realize however that the problem is in my whole thinking. I have always been obsessed about finding out how to make guys love you. I have read millions of guidebooks as to how to attract guys. The simple idea that you have to however convince someone to be into you, that you have to change and market yourself so that they would first develop and then not loose interest in you, might be behind the whole problem.
I have never considered what those guys did to attract me. I have never assumed that they should somehow market and transform themselves in order to be liked by me. I have never considered myself an award, but rather thought that these guys are an award. I have accepted a behavior towards me which has been questionable to say the least. While accepting this behavior my main concern has been – does he still like me. Did I do everything right? My attention has been totally on what these guys think of me and not what I think of them.
I am not going to say that with this post my whole life will suddenly be transformed. Transformation is long and hard process, this is something five years of therapy have definitely shown me. But what I hope is that there is a positive development happening which will ultimately lead me not being so attracted to guys who need to be convinced to want me. Of course what I also secretly hope is that this will lead me to instead attract guys who are convinced that I am what they want.
I have a fear in connection to my relationships with men. The fear is that no one will ever commit to me for real. Lets face it, no man has so far. Yes, I am living together with my boyfriend, but every time we talk about future, I get a realization that the kind of future I want, with children and marriage, might never happen with him.
I will be honest. This has upset me for quite a while. I have been trying to take it easy, but this has been one of my main concerns ever since I started dating. That maybe, just maybe I will never find anyone. Maybe I will be all alone. Just like my mother. Deep down I am scared as hell.
My fear naturally has made me make some unreasonable relationship choices. I have pretty much jumped to the relationship with any decent guy that showed interest in me. I have refused to breakup even if it was clear that this relationship is not good. Anything just to avoid the pain of being single.
Unfortunately this panic before being alone has created exactly what it has intended to avoid. I am waking up to realization that my panic has pushed me to commit to guys that with their behavior showed me from the beginning that their interest is not equal to mine. In my delusional mindset I tried to convince myself that they actually really loved me and I will just need to help them. Love conquers everything…. Well, years later I have to admit, no it really does not. Instead, it has left me with the feeling of….well desperation to a degree. Feeling that I am trying so hard, but obviously in wrong places. See, it is not enough to try hard and then just keep doing the very same. This is how I have functioned so far. Just hoped that I will somehow convince those commitment resistant guys to commit. Once they will see how great I am, they cannot but to commit. It appears that actually yes they can.
So my somewhat poor choices have been greatly inspired by my desperate fear of being left alone. This is the hurdle which I am facing right now and I have to say that this fear is overwhelming me to a degree that I have serious urges to just quiet it with alcohol every waking moment. This, I find, is just indicative as to how strong this issue is. Whatever it takes, I will have to push myself through somehow.
I have been seeing nightmares lately. They are mostly the same – somebody is pushing themselves on me. I am realizing that it has become time to work on my enmeshment issues.
Many people that have had an abusive childhood suffer from both, abandonment fear and enmeshment. The only problem is that abandonment fear is much easier to notice, because well……it somehow makes more sense. It has taken me a while to understand why I cringe when my boyfriend suddenly touches me. Why I enjoy evenings on my own. It is all a consequence of having lived my whole life the way my mother wanted me to.
My childhood was all about meeting my mother’s needs. I did not have needs. Or well, if I did they were not important. In fact I did not have personality either because I was running all my decisions pass my mother. Any kind of act of not complying to her needs was met with either silent treatment, anger or rage. So I learned pretty fast to no take care of myself, but take care of my mother instead.
Unsurprisingly I have done the same in my relationships. I have tried to mold myself to a person my boyfriend wants me to be. Not to anger him. Interestingly, he has been complaining throughout the relationship that I am not in tune with his needs enough. That I am too ignorant of him.
This is probably true and untrue at the same time. I am escaping when his needs are starting to overwhelm me. On the other hand I have spent years trying to be what he wants me to be. So I have had two main strategies to deal with his needs. Unfortunately I have not had the most important strategy – saying no, instituting borders.
This is what I am currently doing and it is met……well, might I say not with the greatest excitement. I am finally becoming more independent and people in my life cannot hold me hostage anymore.
However, part of becoming independent is also working through my fear of anybody coming close. Right now every person who comes close to me is a potential abuser. I suspect that they want to dominate me and that they want to rob me of my own choices. They want to smother my personality and I would dissolve like I dissolved for 25 years with my mother.
Fearful avoidant attachment pattern was the latest addition to the attachment theory and apparently describes only about 4% of people. I can quite confidently say that I have fearful avoidant attachment pattern. As I go deeper into my psyche, I am discovering more and more distortions from my childhood. My boyfriend often functions as a sounding board for that.
So the latest discovery for me was that I never believe that people can be consistently there for me. According to my boyfriend, my mother shows very little motherly instinct. Growing up with her, I got used to the fact that she can totally forget about my existence for weeks. When other parents go away for trips and miss their small children (we are talking about 4-5 year olds), then my mother does not. No, I am not exaggerating, she really does not or well, she has buried these feelings so deep that it does not even occur to her that she might. She avoided building emotional closeness with me so that she could have this freedom of not being tied to anyone else.
Avoiding this emotional closeness also meant that my mother could throw me out to the street and wait for my apology. She could go away from home and sleep somewhere else just to frighten me. So I got used to the fact that she could disappear any moment now. There was no warrantee. She did not have any strong ties with me which could not have been replaced by someone else. I was replacable as a child.
So, my habit of running after emotionally unavailable guys is completely understandable. They do avoid building this bond. These guys can disappear for months and for me this is all part of normality. This is how I imagine love. I never questioned that these unavailable guys must really love me, because questioning that would have also meant that perhaps my mother did not love me.
SO there it is, my idea of love is completely twisted.
I have noticed that when it comes to others expectations, my mother and my boyfriend are scary similar. Both hate being subject to any kind of demands and react rather aggressively on dependency and other people’s expectations. This is extremely problematic when you are raising a kid as witnessed from my childhood.
Understanding my mother’s problematic relationship with expectations has made me reframe the relationship and cut down any kind of reliance. It is not that she would not do things for me, it is just that this is in no way any kind of reliable source. Furthermore, I never know how and when she will react to me asking favors from her. So I generally do not.
After all the fight me and my boyfriend have had on the topic of expectations, I have taken similar kind of attitude with him. He keeps repeating that his problem is not in my expectations on him, but rather in the fact that I am unwilling to return any kind of favors, but this is just a mere circular logic. My boyfriend likes to keep himself independent and does not easily trust other people with anything. The more autonomous he is, the better. Hence, he does not even ask for anything from me and my attempts to do something for him usually end with me hearing how badly this was done. However, the unbalanced ratio of expectations in the relationship is working as a shield for him.
Avoiding expectations is one of the signs of commitment issues. Commitment phobic people do not want create any dependency in others, because that would make them feel overwhelmed rather easily. They are so afraid of being swallowed by other people and their needs that, they fight rather vigorously for their independence. It is usually subconscious procedure which is rationalized with different explanations such as – your demands are not reasonable; it is about how you express them etc etc.
Long story short, after I noticed the similarity and furthermore my adaptation of non expectations to my boyfriend, I also realized the tragic around the issue. Me adapting non- expectation attitude with my boyfriend has improved the relationship significantly, but I am not sure I want to live without ever discussing the future, without calling him when I need emotional support or without discussing finances or being taken care of when I am sick. However, as usual, we do indeed repeat earlier patterns in our life, because they feel so convenient. I have my own role in it – I am used to chasing people, longing for more commitment and attention. However, when I am not together with someone I can chase, my engulfment fear might kick in.
Last time I wrote about another reason why people might be commitment phobic. After looking a bit to my childhood and the constant insecurity I felt, I am pushed to look at my relationship from that perspective as well. This will be entirely biased picture, because it is written from the perspective of my fear.
I have essentially chosen a partner who I feel I cannot trust. He is someone who gets annoyed very easily and has mood swings. He occasionally takes his moods out on me, blaming me for those. Additionally, as I mentioned, he also sometimes during the fights threatens to leave. He sometimes does not pick up his phone. He sometimes disappears when in another country. He is reluctant about planning the future.
I am just now realizing how much fear I have had throughout all these years. How little trust I have had. How insecure I have constantly felt.
This did not strike me as weird, because apparently I am very used to this. Furthermore, it felt like a huge development, because my boyfriend has something my mother never had – warmth and caring nature. I felt like finally, if I behave, I am in for a rare treat – his unconditional love.
It is funny really, because all the drama and fluctuations were I guess something I expected. I somehow thought they were a sign as to how much we both loved eachother. That our relationship was something very special where we could connect on a deeper level. I rationalized for myself, that I did not need firm commitment. It was development relationship. We were there to push eachothers buttons and we will see what comes out of it……
Yes, indeed, it has been a deep relationship. It still is a deep relationship. However, I am also starting to understand that drama and emotional fluctuations are not necessary for a deep relationship. All the drama happens when do relatively emotionally unhealthy and fearful people get together. When neither one trusts the other.
So we both have commitment issues. Obviously. We both have trust issues for various reasons. But I am starting to understand that I am scared. I am so terrified of this insecurity. I would like to have a safe place in this world. A safe place I never had. I am also understanding, what happens in our relationship contributes to my fears. I am also starting to realize how his behavior has continuously pushed my buttons and how some of it is far from healthy.
Me and my boyfriend started our relationship with a very strong push and pull dance. It was so extreme that we went from being together every day to not communicating for three months. My boyfriend likes to present this as due to my intimacy issues, but the more I develop in my therapy, the more I understand that he has very deep issues of his own.
I been wondering for some time why I feel as if we are not really a real couple. There is an ambivalence to the relationship. No direct future plans. No strong commitment such as engagement or buying real estate together. Furthermore, he makes his plans alone- announcing me sometimes in the last minute when he is going for his work trip or that he has planned one week of his vacation without me.
For a long time I was OK with such a pattern, because as my BF so helpfully pointed out, I had my intimacy issues. However, I am getting increasingly frustrated about this situation these days. The most problematic thing seems to be that my BF cannot understand what the problem is. In his mind, since he is sometimes very giving it compensates for him taking his ‘own time’ (disappearing for a week when he is in a work trip).
I have been driving myself mad by focusing on trust issues. It is true, I have trust issues, but I am also understanding that there are some reservations to trusting someone who does not pick up his phone. Or someone who vacillates between being super loving, to being passive-aggressive and distant. I am just left confused. Not understanding what he wants. He is consistently inconsistent. This makes it very difficult for me to believe any of his future plans, especially regarding family. Am I to trust him or am I to decide that his inconsistency is the end of our relationship?
For the few last weeks I have been chocked, because I am starting to notice how damn scared I am about someone coming too close to me. This has actually been one of the red threads in my partner choices as well. There is much to write about it, but I will start by describing how I used to choose my partners.
I always prided myself for knowing my partners better than they did me. There was something very safe about it…..Not that it would have been wrong. With my ex I could pretty much guess what he was going to say next. He was uncomplicated or at least he did not want to go to any depths of his identity. It felt nice and cozy staying on the surface. Now this was my stereotypical choice for partner- safe, uncomplicated guy who was as afraid to be vulnerable and drive the relationship to any kind of depth as was I. So there we were…. in the relationship which was mainly based on superficial values…..
On the other hand, I always had good male friends. Plenty of good male friends with whom I could talk about deep subjects. These were the guys to whom I went with all my questions about life and men and we would have very interesting discussions. I never developed a relationship with any of these guys….In my mind they just felt, well…….not attractive. Not that these guys would have not looked at me that way, but I was uninterested.
There was some nice safety in the knowledge that my boyfriends have absolutely no idea what I am thinking about. I regularly imagined how chocked they would be if they actually found out what I thought about them or life. I was a good pretender….. They were either not interested in what was actually going on or were totally convinced by my act. My real persona once in a while leaked out and disturbed these guys though…..all my emotions felt scary for them.
My current relationships is the first exception to this rule. He was my friend and he was someone who I have trusted with pretty dirty secrets. It actually felt good, but also scary. However, I know and I can see how I have also built numerous walls in this relationship. I am too afraid of someone controlling me. My boyfriend is somewhat controlling and dominating……..
This is only the beginning of my story with intimacy. Next time I will go more into why I have been running away from it.