November 25, 2019 at 1:15 pm #324441
You are welcome and please do post anytime. It is a pleasure and it is valuable for me to communicate with you.
I am glad you live separately from family members and that you are doing well as a new therapist- I am excited for you!
“do I keep reaching out for connection?”- I don’t think you can help yourself in this regard. I mean, you crave connection with a woman. In the past you decided to not date, but you found yourself on dating sites anyway. It is a strong need, a craving, emotional and sexual for you.
Do reach out for connection with a woman, but do so sensibly. In other words, turn the light on before you reach out to a woman, and keep the light on so that you can see what is happening. Don’t rush.
Gather information about the woman before you get emotionally/ sexually invested. Get to know her as a friend. Then put all the information together and figure if you want to pursue a romantic/ sexual relationship with her.
Summarized: do reach out but in a different, sensible and cautious way.
*You are welcome to share with me information you do gather about any particular woman, and I will give you my input.
November 26, 2019 at 5:17 am #324553
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by anita.
I really like the suggestion to “turn the light on” before getting involved with someone else. I thought that’s what I did this most recent time but I’m noticing ignoring my gut feeling about people has always backfired on me. This girl was not malicious in any way, but my gut was telling me she didn’t know herself well which I’ve found can also be harmful in relationships when one person is out of touch with themselves.
My attachment issues were triggered by her by the second week of us dating, my roommate noticed it and pointed it out to me yet I chose to ignore it, I’m trying to learn to sit with emotional discomfort and nothing makes me more uncomfortable than trying to form intimate attachments. I don’t think I handled the situation poorly as I have in the past, I was trying my best to maintain composure. I’m just alarmed at how morbid I became after being let down by this girl. I fear the impulsivity in myself when overwhelmed with emotions+Activated negative core beliefs. I’ve all but stopped reaching out for help for some reason, I think Im still trying to prove to myself I don’t need anyone, I don’t think I’ve been humbled enough to truly call on support when needed, the only reason I got help this time around is because I live with a good friend. Normally no one would ever hear me cry or see my pain.
i feel a severe lack of guidance in my life. To my astonishment you have been a great source of guidance for me, my therapist, and that’s about it. Otherwise when I’m in these emotional crisis I don’t feel understood. I need guidance to feeling connection, I’ve been considering maybe I’ve been too focused on connecting with people, and not enough with the rest of the universe. Some of my most peaceful moments have come when alone in the woods with only other animals and plant life, yet I struggle currently to feel deep spiritual connection with the world.
I want to feel motivated and secure in my life, I struggle with frequent burnout and don’t get refilled enough. My fear is that I won’t be able to do my job effectively if I don’t start taking better care of myself outside of workNovember 26, 2019 at 7:13 am #324579
I will read your first sentence or two, quote and comment on those, then read the next sentence or two and do the same. Therefore each comment is not based on the sentences yet to be read. This is an effective way for me to learn and I think it is an opportunity for you to learn as well:
“to ‘turn the light on’ .. I thought that’s what I did this most recent time”- when you agreed to have her go on a date with another person and then come to your place after she told you that she is interested in you and only you, the light was not on.
“I’m noticing ignoring my gut feeling about people has always backfired on me”- in this case you ignored logic, not a gut feeling.
“This girl was not malicious in any way”- it doesn’t take Malicious to hurt another person badly. Neglectful and Impulsive will do the job just fine, that is, hurting another badly.
“she didn’t know herself well which I’ve found can also be harmful in relationships when one person is out of touch with themselves”- too complex, simply: she contradicted herself in a major way: I want only you– I am going for a date with someone else.
Notice you were out of touch with part of you, Logic, so this contradiction didn’t adequately register in your brain.
“nothing makes me more uncomfortable than trying to form intimate attachments”- here you didn’t try to form an intimate attachment, it was already formed within the two weeks of dating her. And the attachment was intense, too intense to allow comfort.
“I was trying my best to maintain composure”- the attachment was intense and overwhelming, you lost your calm and control of yourself (composure). When we are overwhelmed with intense emotion, our logic is immobilized and we are unable to make logical choices that will serve us well. Instead we become impulsive.
“I’m just alarmed at how morbid I became after being let down by this girl”- your attachment was intense, morbid.
“I fear the impulsivity in myself when overwhelmed with emotions”- you said it yourself right here.
“Normally no one would ever hear me cry or see my pain”- reminds me of the riddle: if a tree falls down in a forest and no one is there to witness it, does it make a sound? As the social animals that we are, when we cry or express pain otherwise, we need to be seen and heard by another human. If we cry alone again and again, and there is no one there to see us or here us, are we really in pain…?
“I need guidance to feeling connected”- cry in front of someone empathetic, your therapist perhaps. You may have done so already, but do it again in a different kind of way, with more awareness of the other person being there for you.
“Some of my most peaceful moments have come when alone in the woods”- next time you are dating a woman, bring those moments in the woods back to mind. In other words, using a professional term, apply emotional regulation skills, so to keep calm enough, and not be overwhelmed with emotion.
“I struggle with frequent burnout”- can be the burn of overwhelm. If you learn to calm that overwhelm, you will maintain motivation and energy at work and outside of work.
anitaNovember 26, 2019 at 9:22 am #324609
Thank you again for your reply and suggestions, it is always helpful.
Can you elaborate on “too intense to allow comfort”? “here you didn’t try to form an intimate attachment, it was already formed within the two weeks of dating her. And the attachment was intense, too intense to allow comfort.” Are you suggesting basically i was moving too fast? I’ve never had a close comfortable attachment to anyone so i’m not sure how to feel attached and comfortable.
It is difficult for me to accept how irrational i started to become this time around. This has become a pattern for me, i’m so desperate to feel loved that i will accept almost anything someone promises me, no matter how foolish. I think this is the part where self-hatred flares up for me. I’m disappointed in myself for being ignorant. I’m also disappointed that I still want to reach out to her after her telling me not to contact me, even after reading all this, having gone through all that pain, I still want her to love me. It tears me apart, i feel weak.
When i reached out to her initially i was feeling confident and worthy the more i feel like i need people the more my confidence plunges. Now i feel hopeless, it’s painful to think ill never have a healthy relationship with a woman, i don’t want to believe it, but that’s what the pain keeps saying to me.November 26, 2019 at 9:44 am #324619
You are welcome.
“Can you elaborate on ‘too intense to allow comfort?.. Are you suggesting basically I was moving too fast? I’ve never had a close, comfortable attachment to anyone”-
– these are two different things: your emotional experience and your behavior. Moving too fast is the second thing, the behavior. And I did suggest to you in the past, repeatedly, to move slower, get to know the woman as a friend before getting emotionally and sexually involved. The first thing is something else (connected to the second, but different), and that is your very emotional experience, what you feel.
There is an element of panic involved, a rushing that takes you with it like a strong windstorm, overwhelming you and you collapse, logic incapacitated, depressed, hopeless.
The key to your healing is in slowing down that rush, dispersing that panic.
This dynamic, the panic and rushing, that has nothing to do with thinking and understanding. It is an automatic habit of the brain, it functions this way. So does mine. It becomes this way when a child is scared and alone for too long.
The fear is supposed to motivate an animal to do what it takes to survive a perceived danger. When a child is alone for too long with fear, the child learns to fear the fear itself, that is, the child’s emotions are perceived as the threat, the danger. Meaning, the child no longer fears the original danger (a parent’s anger, a parent’s threat to commit suicide and whatnot). The child fears his own emotions. And so, the child numbs them best he can, not by choice. Nature does that.
Fast forward, you are now a man, you meet this woman, you get excited-problem! The excitement itself is a problem. Excited emotions are perceived as a threat, danger!
anitaNovember 26, 2019 at 12:53 pm #324675
As always you are spot on, I did feel a rush and a panic when I was with her. I wanted us to be committed to eachother as soon as possible so that I could have an attachment and feel safe about it. This is a lot to ask of someone you just met a couple months ago.
I hope to slow down in the future, I was conscious of wanting to take things slow with her at first then slipped into my child like emotional mind as we’ve laid here. I really want to reach out to her again but I feel ashamed if I do, I really want someone to tell me that’s a bad idea. I already told her not to contact me. I’m just missing her so much right now, but I feel like even if we did decide to keep seeing eachother I would be incredibly anxious all the time.
Im having trouble being with this longing for connection, it really wants to be taken care of somehow and I’m lost right now on how to get that need met. I’m exhaustedNovember 26, 2019 at 1:03 pm #324679
I think it is a bad idea to contact her. On the other hand, I think it is a good idea if you get into a regular mindfulness practice so to slow down that “rush and a panic”. A slow yoga practice, better maybe tai chi (very slow motion martial art practice) will help slow down that mental windstorm that rains on your parade of life and is indeed exhausting!
anitaNovember 28, 2019 at 8:14 am #324987
I practice meditation daily, I also journal 3-4x week. Both of these exercises help me to slow down. I noticed it was more difficult for me to meditate when I was dating this time because My monkey mind couldn’t stay off wanting to be around her, and it was very distracting. Since this spring I’ve gotten back into skateboarding regularly and it has been a lifesaver, I struggle to find things that completely blank my mind but skateboarding does it for me, I get to zone out for a couple hours each day and be in flow. It requires my full attention or else. Since the winter is setting in I haven’t been able to skate as much and I’m becoming depressed again.
The more I’ve thought the past couple days and resisted reaching out to her again I realized I feel very desperate. I realized I don’t have faith that the universe will take care of me, or that opportunities will be there for me in the future, basically hopeless. This hopelessness has always been there to try to keep me safe from continuing to reach out and take risks. It really wants me to be depressed, and safe. I’m struggling to believe that connection is in my future anymore.November 28, 2019 at 8:33 am #324991
“The hopelessness has always been there to try to keep me safe from continuing to reach out and take risks”- no, I think the hopelessness set because as the child that you were you did reach out to your parents repeatedly but you weren’t loved. You loved them but in practice, they didn’t love you back.
The hopelessness is not something that was formed to protect you, it was a result of your love not being reciprocated by the people you loved so desperately- your parents.
There is nothing more devastating for a child than to love and to not be loved in return, day after day, night after night, year after year.
Fast forward, the man that you are is still experiencing the same, to love and to not be loved in return.
For a different life experience: to love and to be loved in return, you have to really see where love does not exist for you. That way you will be able to look elsewhere, where love is yet to be had for you, to love and to be loved in return.
anitaNovember 28, 2019 at 10:54 am #325019
i still see my hopelessness as a defense mechanism because having hope leads to disappointment, so my learned baseline has become disappointed in advanced, making me pessimistic about relationships.
I do agree that reaching out as a child was where I learned to be hopeless to begin with, and what you said about loving and not being reciprocated presently is true. I just don’t know what to look for apparently?November 28, 2019 at 1:33 pm #325037
“about loving and not being reciprocated.. I just don’t know what to look for apparently”-
– you mean you don’t know how reciprocated love looks like, how to spot love from a woman?
If so, when you interact with a woman you are interested in, or considering being interested in her, make a small move and give her the space to make her move. You smile to her, see if she smiles back. You tell her she looks nice, see if she tells you something nice about the way you look, or that she appreciates what you just said. Hold her hand, see if she holds your hand back. Call her, see if she calls you next, and so forth. One move on your part, pause, wait for hers. No move coming from her= no interest on her part.
Happy Thanksgiving, by the way!
anitaNovember 29, 2019 at 8:51 am #325111
Thank you and happy thanksgiving to you as well!
It is so frustrating to me how ignorant I become when I’m operating out of loneliness. I ignore things I wouldn’t if I had faith and confidence in myself. When I feel confident and lovable my attitude towards setting boundaries is much different than when I’m insecure and lonely. Im really looking for ways to keep my confidence in myself steady, and my faith in the universe that what I need I will receive with patience. I get frustrated with myself that I still feel unlovable even though there have been people and women who showed lots of interest in the past that I brush off and don’t take into account. I’m just so confused and angry with myself that I’m stuck in this pessimistic view of myself when no one else sees me this way. I get compliments from friends, family, clients, coworkers, and even complete strangers damn near on a daily basis, and I still can’t seem to shake my tendency to disqualify their positive remarks about me. All signals point to me being attractive, intelligent, sociable, lovable, fun, and compassionate yet I am so attached to my childlike ways of thinkingNovember 29, 2019 at 9:30 am #325119
There were no new posts this morning so I went back and re-read/ studies your previous threads, starting March 2017. This is before you posted your recent post. I will continue my study, but I do have a question regarding this sentence I cam across:
“I can feel the rush similar to a drug when I authentically connect with someone, and that feeling gives me confidence and lasts for days depending on how vulnerable the experience was”.
You mentioned confidence three times in your recent post. Back to the quote from Sept 2017 above, I wonder if you are looking for that rush more than a real-life relationship with a woman, “a rush similar to a drug” that gives you that feel-good confidence feeling. What do you think?
November 29, 2019 at 10:05 am #325127
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by anita.
That rush I would probably identify as feeling loved and accepted. That is what i’m looking for more than a relationship with a woman. I like to refer to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs a lot when working with clients and reflecting on my own life. On his hierarchy he has physical needs>safety needs>Love & belonging>esteem>self actualization. Looking at my statement through this lens that feeling of love and belonging brings me confidence (esteem) about myself, and it makes sense. Historically my main problem has been choosing safety out of fear (i.e. self harm behaviors, social withdrawal, weed, etc.) not allowing myself to keep reaching out for love and belonging.
If i’m in my right mature adult state of being I know that a woman will not fully fill my need for love & belonging. I have been strongly influenced subconsciously by romanticism in our culture which wrongly says “you find your person, you’ve found everlasting happiness” obviously a dangerous idea to put all my eggs one basket. However that’s what i do, i’m attached to this idea that if i find the right woman all my pain will be resolved and ill be healed. In reality i need a village, a community of people to connect with on a vulnerable level to fulfill my love/belonging need. The times when I have been involved in a group of some kind have been the times when i felt at my best whether it be a good therapy group, a workout group, or good coworkers/friends. I’m desperately missing community right now and i’m exhausted with the amount of work it takes to restart and maintain that community. This problem i see as much bigger than m individual psyche, i see it as a western society issue, one that i’m dedicating my life’s work as a therapist to address. I like how you advised me to cry in front of someone to connect, this is very much missing in my life, i have a roommate who is also a therapist but she gets caught up in trying to fix me when she sees me sad, when all i really need her to do is listen and see me. When people try to fix me it makes me feel even worse about how i’m feeling as if not only do i feel terrible but now i’m a problem for you too.November 29, 2019 at 10:25 am #325135
“I’m attached to this idea that if I find the right woman all my pain will be resolved and I’ll be healed”- thing is, reads like you already found the right woman when you were about 17, your girlfriend of five years: “She used to tell me she loved me at first I didn’t believe it, but soon I was able to feel it.. the first year we were together was probably the happiest I’d ever been in my life, I loved having someone who cared how I was doing every single day, and I loved caring for her too. The best part about being in love was that I knew I had someone in my corner, who no matter how much I messed up always saw the good in me… It also gave me something to look forward to when things weren’t going so well. There was nothing like that phone call right before bed to clear my mind and put things in perspective”.
There was no other relationship resembling that, or as long as that one, not even close. And yet, during those five years you smoked weed every day. You wrote about those five years: “I used to smoke so much weed, and cut myself, it was like a hug from the inside out”- so you see, her hugs didn’t do it for you.
“I’m attached to this idea that if I find the right woman all my pain will be resolved and I’ll be healed”, you wrote today. Isn’t that five year relationship proof that it ain’t so?