Don’t leave me, I won’t know how to feel

20Sep12

I had an interesting therapy session today. I had come to the realization a few months back that I have a pretty screwed up way of managing relationships. I have a pretty intense fear that I’m going to be abandoned. I’m incredibly insecure and constantly want reinforcement that things are going ok. Any uncertainty just feeds into my tendency toward anxiety and I make myself and the other person a little nuts.

It dawned on me that I have dealt with this by (subconsciously) picking the safe person. There are people that I’ve connected with and I’m attracted to but there is a level of uncertainty there because I might end up liking them more than they like me. Then they have hand, I get anxious, I get left and the cycle gets reinforced. I’m so afraid that it will happen that I can only end up making it happen. So I pick a person that I know likes me more than I like them. When I was d.ating Tom, he made it clear from the start that he was totally crazy about me. Although he wasn’t my type, I liked not having my usual doubts and anxiety. We’d been together for about a month or so when we went to a coworker’s party. My coworker introduced me to her brother and we got along really well, had a lot in common. A couple of days later, my coworker told me that her brother wanted to ask me out. Just in that one night of meeting him, I knew that I had more of a connection with him than I had with Tom. But I also knew that that kind of connection brought out nonsensical levels of fear in me. So, I said no, stuck with safe and tried to convince myself it was the right thing to do. All the while I was trying to convince myself, I was becoming increasingly angry at myself for settling and at him for not being what I really wanted although I don’t know that I ever identified it that way.

I swore that I wouldn’t do that again but I did. Once again, there was Dan and then there was someone that I had an intense connection with. Once again, I got scared of what was possible and of being left, and I chose safety. I chose the same thing and I have the same outcome. I’m left with the same anger about it.

After talking about this, Sherry lent this book about attachment types. The book describes a secure kind of attachment but I didn’t have to wonder if that was me. The other two types were me: anxious and avoidant, although primarily anxious. Really either way it doesn’t sound good. So, I’m reading the book and hoping that I’m going to get some insight. I don’t actually know what I’m going to do with that insight though.

Later Sherry asked me how I was feeling about something and I didn’t know. My initial response wasn’t to identify a feeling but instead to come up with a smart ass reply. Even when I suppressed the smart ass, I was still at a loss to express how I felt. She proposed that I have a hard time connecting with my feelings and she’s right. It is true that I don’t like to feel, especially painful or uncomfortable things. That’s probably a pretty safe generalization for most people but I feel like I take it a little farther. It seems like a lot of my life decisions are based on avoiding any kind of discomfort or pain rather than what would really be best for me. While I certainly don’t want to be some overly emotional mess, I would like to actually be able to identify how I’m feeling and have a little faith in my ability to handle difficult situations.

Since I don’t really know how to feel about this, we’ll just add these things to the therapy list and keep plugging along.

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