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March 6, 2014 at 8:38 am in reply to: How to overcome emotional effects of childhood abandonment? #52378StefanieParticipant
I am going through this process right now! I was abandoned not once, but twice by my parents. It has taken me a long time to figure out why relationships were not working out for me. I have known something was wrong for awhile now because I am fairly attractive and intelligent, was asked out a lot, yet remained single. For a long time I believed it was because the right person had not come along yet.
Wrong. I eventually figured out that my feelings for men who lost interest in me lasted way past what was good or healthy for me. As long as I allowed my confusion to last over why he lost interest or a relationship did not work out, I was not available for any other man who might have a genuine interest. I have been fortunate enough in life to be surrounded by people who are very healthy emotionally and are in good relationships. That’s when I picked up on what it was that I was doing that was different.
I read somewhere that I am suffering from a rejection attachment. What I do different from my girlfriends who do not struggle with this issue because they grew up in loving, stable families, is that as soon as it is clear that a guy is unavailable in some way, they realize this relationship is not working out anymore and it doesn’t make them feel good. They move on. I don’t. I stay stuck in a cycle of self blame, feeling like it was something I must have done that caused him to lose interest. And a majority of the time, I hadn’t done anything wrong. They just lost interest.
There are the obvious jerk moves such as standing someone up on a date, we can get past that. However, my friends were very discriminating about the other more subtle signs, the numerous ones that exist in the gray area, where many of us who are not completely healthy get stuck. They waited to get involved emotionally until the guy was very clear about his interest in pursuing a relationship and made them feel safe. They did not try to make any old guy that they were attracted to into this man, they waited for the right man to come along. And they did not blame themselves or the other person when things didn’t work out. They just simply moved on.
I hope to get to this place. I am getting better at paying attention to how someone makes me feel, especially in dating. If it is not clear what their intentions are and I am confused, I pay attention to that. I am getting better at letting go of men who I find attractive but leave me confused and wondering what is going on. This is really working for me. Now that I know I have a “rejection attachment,” I can also learn when I am attracted to a man in an unhealthy way. Some guys do play games that activate this and the ones that do generally are unhealthy or emotionally unavailable in some way as well. They aren’t bad people and aren’t generally doing it to hurt someone. It is just that they are not aware yet that these behaviors won’t bring them happiness in the long run, and they use them because they have worked before. Because I want peace in my life and I want to be happy, I stay away from these unhealthy situations.