my story: I fell in love with a beautiful, charming, witty, charismatic woman 3.5 years ago. It's been frustrating, confusing, hurtful and not good for me mentally. I can't seem to let go of her and she can't seem to let go of me. She can't love me back. She says she has a deep love for me. Her words do not match her actions. I tried changing her, that failed. The only person I can change is myself. A super good thing has come out of this frustrating relationship, for the first time in my life I am seriously motivated to really change me, I am investing in my self worth. I am slowly becoming the open, honest, vulnerable, secure, person I've always wanted to be. I started attending adult children of alcoholics again. It is part of Al-Anon which is a very good and basically free self-help group. I have connected on a deep vulnerable level with this small group. I have read many books, I listen to lots of podcasts on self-improvement, healing relationships, improving my health and leaning toward a secure attachment style.
20 years ago I had the worst D. I thought it ruined me. Yes, hard to trust for years. I am not going to ruin my life. 11 years ago I discovered these amazing anonymous groups and in in combination with therapy and these groups I am getting better. I rarely think about her anymore and I thank God everyday I am free of that relationship.
"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change" - Wayne Dyer
Recently, discovered attachment style theory, never heard of until 2 yrs ago. I read a book "Attached", my jaw hit the floor because the nice lady that I am currently seeing and our current dysfunctional relationship was a total replica of the chapter on "Avoidant Attachment Style". I swear they were spying on us when they wrote this chapter. I did a deep dive analysis of all my previous relationships and discovered they were all avoidant attachment styles, some more than others. My current relationship is extremely avoidant in the areas of intimacy, vulnerability, emotions and co-regulating. Especially intimacy. Rarely shows emotion, rarely vulnerable, has a lot of alone time, very independent. The worst thing, which causes my anxiety to spike, is when she disappears for 1, 2 or 3 weeks at a time with no explanation, and very little communication. I swear I won't take her back, then I cave. This time I'm not sure. This is the 12th time she has "disappeared". Of course, my anxious side is sure she's seeing another guy. She might be, I doubt it because she's so avoidant, I don't see how she could maintain a connection with anyone else, but then I think, she has this dysfunctional connection with me.
Bottom line: yep, it's me, I am the one that attracts this avoidant type. They tend to self sabotage, mis-read my
positive words and actions as negative, disappear, complain about minuscule things and unknowingly, unconsciously, break the relationship. She has told me, to my face, several times, she wants to get married, and I think okay maybe, and then says she is searching for the right man. The NEXT relationship will be Mr. Right. This mystery person has to have a a long list of qualities and accomplishments. Searching for a Unicorn, and how many unicorns have you ever seen? At first, so confusing and hurtful, and triggered my anxious side. Then as I learned more about her and others attachment styles, it makes sense, I don't blame her, not nearly as much, its not her fault, it is how she is wired, although still annoying and sad too. She will be the last one standing, alone on the dance floor of life. Maybe that is what she wants?
Lately, in the last 2 months, she admits she is avoidant. A huge step to forming a secure relationship style and I applaud her for that. She says she will go to therapy, but doesn't, says she will really work hard on herself, wants to read self-help books together, but doesn't. Says she will attend group meetings, doesn't. Says she will communicate more, doesn't. Minimal effort into change. I can't really blame her, she has spent decades developing her coping mechanisms, as have I, she to distance herself from relationships, commitment and love, and I, on the other hand, spent my whole life developing an over-the-top nearly smothering connection style. Both practicing these coping dynamics every day for decades and decades. So, yes, hard to change, and yes there is a price, and yes the reward is soooo good.
My focus now is for me to "earn" thru hard work, a secure attachment style. Focusing on myself. My style is anxious pre-occupied, which is so freaking torturous. My mind is always pre-occupied with her. That is my style. I'm working hard on this and getting BETTER. The first step was peeling back protective layers of myself and discovering where my triggers are and what I do in relationship to cause issues like being anxious. Cleaning up my side of the street. So lately when she's avoidant I do my own thing, not think about her not being there for me. In my heart I know I need to move on and let go. I'm going to hint that I'd like to go to therapy. If she goes I'll give her more time. I don't think she knows our relationship is close to falling off a rocky cliff right now.
Another epiphany, just discovered. I have very little self trust. I thought I did. I lie to myself, every day I make promises I easily justify and break. I am not a good friend to myself. I am not accountable to me. I am to others, but not to me. I don't trust me. For instance, I promise myself I'll work out, I don't. If I promise myself I won't eat that cookie. I eat it. So, I set super small easy goals. I told myself I would ride my bike only five minutes a day. I've almost done that every day for a week. I told myself I would exercise 5 minutes a day, that was easy, I did that. I told myself only one bite of a cookie and I have done that. Building trust in myself first, otherwise how can I trust others? Next week no bites of cookies, and exercise 15 minutes a day !! I can do this.