I already have a thread that turned into a somewhat journal in the DA section but I thought I'd start a different one that'll be specifically for my healing. I'm posting it here because maybe someone else might benefit too. I'm still gonna be posting on the other one so feel free to post on both.
After reading many stories, half a book(I tried continuing the "Attachment" book, but I still find it way too harsh on avoidants) and getting GREAT advice on these boards, my mind was in a mess. I didn't know where to begin, so I thought I'd make a list with what my issues are. Here goes :
Issues • I get anxious that my partner will abandon me • I sometimes get jealous and I hate it, although I'll try not to show it, so much that I might act like we're not together because showing jealousy means clinging on more. So I don't even budge, believing that the opposite behavior is the correct one. I try to imitate what a secure person will do, but I have no idea what they would do. • I get lost in a relationship because I put the other person's needs above mine, even my basic one's. I neglect myself. • I don't voice my needs. • I analyse facial expressions, words, tones of voices and in general behaviors trying to find out if my partner is really interested (exhausting) • I mirror my partner's behavior when it comes to being affectionate as I'm afraid I'll feel, show and/or give more than they are giving, want or are willing to give. • I never tell these fears to my partner because I think it'll make them run away.
I agree with you on "Attached" it is hard to the point where it doe way way more damage than good. My first exposure to attachment theory and I really regret it now! (Although there is a later chapter in "Attached" that deals with strategies for Avoidants in relationships and that has some helpful suggestions.)
I'm a huge fan of Sue Johnson's work. Reading "Attachment theory in practice" and it is pretty helpful in describing the "dance" the reasons for it/how to dance in a different way. A lot of people on this board subscribe to the Attached view of attachment styles, but to be honest that's not really how most psych professionals see them.
Something that I've taken from Sue Johnson's work was the value in focusing on the secure attachments that you do have in your life and thinking of them as a way to bring you into a more secure space.
Not sure if any of that helps. I'll certainly follow this thread over time and see how it develops!
epicgum I will definitely look into her work! Thanks!
It actually does help a bit. I am very secure in friendships and I just don't understand why it's different when it comes to relationships. What makes the love we feel for a romantic partner different from that of a friend?
I'm trying to think about when I met my dearest friends, and if I had experienced any of the behaviors off the list I posted. I realize I might have, but nothing compared to the intensity of them towards a romantic partner. Not even close. So it's not that I'm a completely different person when it comes to either. Besides, many have an insecure attachment and score insecure on friendships too, as far as I've understood. Why am secure in them?
So what's the missing link? Was I also insecure in friendships growing up but something happened down the line and I grew into secure? I think that thought hides many answers.
Do I just have this distorted idea that romantic relationships are different than friendships? They're not really. How did I develop such an idea? Because I really do see them differently. Ive started to realise that they aren't that different only recently.
I had an intrusive thought today triggered by something I saw on FB regarding my ex. I'm still struggling to resist the urge to check further.
I think I might have figured out why I do this. I'm doing exactly what my mother does to me.
My mother needed me to love her. Whenever I drift away, she always calls to make sure I still love her. She says she feels guilty for not being a good mother and basically is asking for confirmation that she is and "guilts" me into saying I love her etc. She can't regulate herself and she's asking me to do it for her.
I think I do the same with partners. I may not express these thoughts, but they are still in my head. I look for confirmation in them, I look for acceptance, I look for love in them, when the answer is within me to all of the above.
Maybe I get so attached to partners and fast because I am looking for validation. Maybe that's the difference between friendships and partners for me.
While dating, I find myself always thinking, for example, "would X like this?". I'm basically obsessing over them 24/7. Just like my mother did with me. They consume my mind so much that I neglect myself, just like she has, but the worse part is that I get attached too soon. When it's over I have a hard time getting over them because I've placed my self worth in their hands. It should be in my hands.
The solution seems to be self confidence. It's soothing me now that I'm thinking about it. Then comes black and white thinking. "I don't need anyone to validate me, therefore I will remain single", but I know that's not what I want. How to find balance? I'll stick to building my self confidence and the answer will probably come along the way.
But even the thought of completely letting go of my ex disturbs me. Is it because I tied so many of myself to him? Most likely. It's also the black and white thinking. "If I let go, nothing was true. If I let go, you'll lose him forever". That definitely keeps me in the cycle.
I wish I could say that I'm in the same mood I was in my previous post on my thread in the DA section, but I got triggered today again and I'm crying on and off for the past two hours. I know I just have to get up and do something to get my mind off things but it seems impossible, although I did try for a bit and it worked.
It's like I don't want to get out of this state, I just want to talk about it. I want to talk about what triggered my thoughts and analyse it because I think it will sooth me, and it will, but for a short time, and it'll come back even worse.
I have resisted all the urges to check on him, add more thoughts to the story and resisted to talk aboout it even to a friend. What's interesting is one of the reasons I don't want to talk about it to my friend is because she'll "see my crazy" even though she has seen parts of it before and is very very VERY understanding. Even so, I think I'll stick to not telling her because in the end, it'll do more damage to me than good.
I'm writing here to basically get my thoughts together.
Everything comes down to self love and self confidence. Every time I think about that though, I push my ex to the side completely. Should be a good thing right? Wrong. I see it as abandonment. And it's not about the specific ex, it could be any ex right now. It's like letting go means I have to realize that I've been abandoned and that hurts.
It's my deepest fear, no wonder this is hitting me so hard.
I don't want to move on, but I do. It's so confusing, but it shouldn't be.
I'm seeing all I've written and I'm thinking "DRAMA!", "You're creating drama!" And that's definitely not a way someone who loves themselves think.
It's like I'm expecting him to text me to say he misses me. I'm expecting for our common friends to tell me that he still has feelings for me. And it's as if that is enough. Any reasonable thought of how damaging this relationship would be, goes out the window. It doesn't matter if everything shows that he's done, I still need him to love me.
I just reread what I wrote and my anxiety went down instantly. The thought of him saying he misses me soothes me. And again, it has nothing to do with this specific ex, I can feel that now, it's my attachment. Well ok, it does have something to do with this one, but it's MOSTLY my attachment style.
I watched a couple of videos earlier, I posted them in this section too, and she said that that's actually one of an AP's activating strategies. We try to find ways to feel that we are close to our love interest because it lowers our anxiety; that's what we did when we were babies trying to comfort ourselves when our caregivers were "shady". We use this strategy in our adult relationships especially when we feel they are distancing themselves. It makes so much sense but I can't seem to overcome it. I know it takes time, but I'm so inpatient right now. At least it means I'm getting closer to my goal. I shouldn't be so harsh on myself.
Is this how I felt as a baby? Wow. I know I'm the one that should comfort me, but I'm so used to looking to others to do that, even if lately I've made progress.
I should give myself more credit on my progress instead of putting my self down so much.
I've managed to get the anxiety down a bit, but I'm afraid I did it with all the wrong techniques. Or maybe I'm just being too hard on myself again. I think I used both, feeling close to my ex with hopes that we will "find a way to each other" at some point down the line and self loving. I didn't do the first thoughts on purpose, they just come to me and I can't resist.
I have indeed made progress, I'm not thinking of immediate reconciliation, but as you see "some day". Still, it's the same strategy. I actually used to use this in every other break up and it seemed to work, because it soothed the pain I was going through and by the time I was over them, I didn't really want reconciliation. I now see why exactly that worked and it probably prolongs the BU process and definitely encourages the attachment style. So the progress doesn't lie in the fact of the timing of the reconciliation, but in the fact that my reasonable self is more active and I know that I really don't want back and I'm trying to love myself more so I can heal the AP. It's a very slow process but I'm sure once I get the hang of it, it'll definitely get easier.
So, I think I can cross off the second item on my list I wanted to work on, jealousy. Not that I've solved it completely yet, but I made a break though today in therapy.
I'm afraid of that emotion because of the environment I grew up in. My dad was cheating on my mom, my mom confronted him, my dad told her she's crazy, my mom still stayed and believed him and continued the cycle.
Unfortunately, my mother thought it was ok to talk about these things to her friends in front of me. It scarred me for life. Making me think that jealousy is a no no emotion. Not that it's a great one, but it happens and now I'm ready to embrace it and learn how to express it whenever I feel like it.
Funny note, I actually confronted my mother about this, she does not remember me being there when she had those talks. But I was.
I'm feeling a lot better now, as my therapist told me my thoughts were normal. I've never actually been in a secure relationship so every time I had these story making thoughts of jealousy, I was pretty much justified to have them, because most of the guys weren't really committed.
I am feeling more confident, I know I still have work to do, but today is a win!
The one thing that I have to solve now is, did I tie my self worth to my ex?
Everytime my therapist has asked me that, I've said no, not with this one. I honestly believed that we could have something good together.
It doesn't collide with my schemas, with my mechanisms. I must've tied something to him.
As I've mentioned in other posts, I did tie my happiness to him, but it's really blur as to if I connected my self worth to him. If I didn't, it's progress. If I did, it's just one of the same. Pondering thought.
I haven't felt that I wasn't enough, that I did something wrong. The only thing wrong I did was accepting him back the first time. Well, I could've been more open and all of the issues I've been talking about, but I don't think it would've affected his decision. Or would it?
The only time I feel "not enough" is when I'm thinking he's moved onto another woman and actually committed. That's when I feel unworthy, but again it doesn't cause me anxiety. I think even a secure would feel a sting of that right? I'm really asking here.
I'm proud of how much I'm controlling my checking. Last night was hard because I had to resist asking a friend who met up with him, how he was. I was looking forward to this moment since the break up so I could know how he's doing, but once it became real, I could not find strength to ask. I didn't want to know the answer.
I was terrified. My mind was trying to make stories. Has he moved on? Is he sad? Is my friend not telling me because he HAS moved on and doesn't want to hurt me?! After my therapy session I realised I'm too hard on myself. People think, that's what we do. So I wasn't blaming myself for having the initial thoughts, instead I tried to not build on them and just sit with them. It was a success!
I am finally starting to wrap my head around the fact that I don't want him back, not only because he doesn't want me, but I don't want to get back into a relationship like that.
I am surprised to how much my "gut instinct" is kicking hard against it. Maybe I shouldn't give my gut instinct too much credit, I mean I've worked hard on myself the past year to get to the point where I can get away from situations like this.
I still haven't found out if I linked my self worth to him. I read my previous entries and I have written that, but I really don't feel it. I haven't blamed myself for the BU. I haven't said I wasn't worthy enough, or pretty enough, or or or. These thoughts did pass my mind, but got put down immediately, as they are not valid.
Clearly we weren't a good match when it comes to communication. We might have everything else in sync, but without communication, what to do? And let's not forget the most important thing, he didn't even want to try. Pulled himself out of there twice. That's 2 times too many.
I can now somewhat understand the reasons he pulled away, with all the studying I have done on attachment styles. It did help me understand that he didn't do this on purpose. Of course, IF he falls into the FA category. Time will tell.
Most important thing I have gotten from all this, is that I'm starting to work even harder on myself, relationship wise or not! I can feel the change, can't wait for it to show too!
PS I can even say I'm thankful he did, before this got too deep. I like reminding myself that I was ready to end it too when I saw him pull away, and I'm confident I would. Progress!
Anger. I was trying to avoid bumping into him today, and I thought of how I'd feel if I did. I'd feel angry. I don't hate him, I'm just angry. Angry at both of us. (And I don't hate me, I'm just angry that I fell for another unavailable man).
anne12 told me how anger helps us understand what we want and what we don't want. So I started thinking about that, and I put my energy into that. I don't want him back. I don't want the push and pull. He lost my trust.
Identifying my anger as a sign that my body and my whole self isn't wanting this, is cathartic. I'm also using the anger towards myself as a force to help me heal my preoccupied mind. I'm fed up and it's great!