November 16, 2021 at 10:04 am #388698anitaParticipant
“I definitely bring the anxiety from my mother into relationships with women, as I am hyper aware of their feelings and try to work out if it is something I’ve done wrong which might have upset them, if that makes sense?“- it makes sense to me because (1) a young child is naturally self-centered, believing the world revolves around him and when his mother is upset, it must be something he (the child) did wrong, (2) a child needs his mother close to him, comforting and supportive, and when she is not, the child feels anxious, (3) an anxious child needs his mother so desperately, that he is hyper aware of her feelings, and when he detects that she is upset and distant, he is ready to do everything in his power to make her feel better and close.
“I try my best to be there for the people who need me, and especially the women in my life. I still am there for my ex partner, we are still friends, but I would drop anything to be there for her if she was hurting“- when you detected that your mother was hurt/ upset, your first priority was to make her feel better. Fast forward, as an adult, when you detect that a current or past romantic partner is hurt, it becomes your first priority to make her feel better, and you’ll drop anything to make it happen. Dropping anything to he there for a woman is a habit that started when you were a child, in regard to your mother, a habit that and extends to romantic partners.
“Today has been a tough day, feeling like I don’t want to hurt anyone I’m dating, but also feeling like I need someone’s support, I feel a bit paradoxical“- I think that the paradox is a combination of (1) the child that you were needing your mother’s support and closeness (“I need someone’s support“), (2) your mother was not present enough, and not supportive and close enough when present, (3) you believed that she was not close enough because you hurt her somehow (“I don’t want to hurt anyone”/ “fear of hurting her“- in the title of your thread).
The conflict seems to be that (1) You are anxious and you need a woman’s closeness to calm you and comfort you, but (2) when in a relationship, you don’t trust that the woman will be close to you for long, you are hyper alert and anxious, anticipating that she will be distant any time, experiencing minor expressions of distance on her part (ex. let’s say she’s tired and needs alone time) as major, I imagine.. believing that when she’s distant, it is because you did something wrong, that you must have hurt her somehow.. and overall, a relationship that is supposed to calm and comfort you ends up causing you even more anxiety than when you are alone.
“I feel I’m also at the age as a man who shouldn’t be reaching out to my mother for so much support“- if you are currently receiving emotional support from your mother, it’s too late to work for you beyond a moment here or there: too late to change the very inadequate support you received from her during your formative years of childhood.
“I have been through stages in life where I’ve been given validation (women finding me attractive etc), and have felt great self esteem“- a self-esteem moment here, a self-esteem moment there.
In regard to the second part of your post, giving me your excellent input regarding my mother/ my life, you wrote: “I hope you are finding this helpful? I obviously don’t want to keep asking you questions if you are not finding it useful. Please let me know if there is anything specific you would like to work on?“- yes, I find your input helpful. Thank you for your empathy, understanding and sensitivity: I can see that you have a lot of experience giving emotionally supportive input to your mother and to your romantic partners.
I don’t want to continue to separate our communication to your mother/ your life.. and my mother/ my life. When I attend to your life and your childhood relationship with your mother, in my own mind I go back to my life and my childhood relationship with my mother, and that’s helpful to me. I do this with other members as well, and I don’t really have to discuss my life separately. I’d rather focus on your life experiences from here on. If I would like to address my life/ my mother with you in the future, I will let you know.
anitaNovember 26, 2021 at 2:35 am #389051DaveFParticipant
Sorry for my late reply, things have been rather hectic this week.
“that he is hyper aware of her feelings, and when he detects that she is upset and distant” I can definitely relate to this. I notice the smallest ques from the women I am involved with, and sometimes take them personally. I am definitely working on this, and have been speaking with a counselor about this and several other things. I think it comes down to self-esteem as well with me, that I think I’m not worthy of the love, attention and their happiness.
“started when you were a child, in regard to your mother, a habit that and extends to romantic partners” Yes absolutely. Although I am still not sure if this is something that is to my detriment or not. Like it still confuses me, that I do love to be there for people and help, but sometimes I’m not sure if I put myself second, and if this is a good or bad thing.
As for the paradox, yes that makes a lot of sense what you have noted. I do sometimes need to understand my needs a little better, and be aware that I may be searching for the attention and validation that the young me didn’t always receive. I dated someone for a couple of weeks but called it off as I wasn’t feeling that connection, though it was hard hurting someone I still didn’t even know that well, and to lose a source of validation. I feel that some days I am still getting used to being single, to not have someone there to listen and to validate my feelings etc.
“when in a relationship, you don’t trust that the woman will be close to you for long, you are hyper alert and anxious, anticipating that she will be distant any time” This makes a lot of sense. I have had several serious relationships as an adult, and I have either finished them as they weren’t working for me, or I have been completely blindsided by others whom I thought I could spend the rest of my life with. So maybe these feelings of abandonment have been reinforced a little in adult life, that women have left me, seemingly without notice. This again is something I am working on, being more mindful and not expecting things that are out of my control.
“a self-esteem moment here, a self-esteem moment there.” 100%, again things I am working on. That I should feel my own intrinsic value without the validation from a woman, though I do appreciate that it is also positive to have that from a partner.
I am glad you have found some of the things regarding your life useful as well. I understand that we don’t need to go further on this, but thank you for letting me help in any way. I really do appreciate all your valuable conversation, it is a constant source of comfort.
DaveNovember 26, 2021 at 10:20 am #389061anitaParticipant
Not a problem when you reply to my posts, any time is fine with me!
I wrote to you: “when you detected that your mother was hurt/ upset, your first priority was to make her feel better. Fast forward, as an adult, when you detect that a current or past romantic partner is hurt, it becomes your first priority to make her feel better, and you’ll drop anything to make it happen”, and you responded: “Yes absolutely. Although I am still not sure if this is something that is to my detriment or not. Like it still confuses me, that I do love to be there for people and help, but sometimes I’m not sure if I put myself second, and if this is a good or bad thing“-
– The problem is not you being there for people and helping them (as long as it is not at the expense of your health, ex. helping someone move and re-injuring a previously injured back), but the motivation & expectations behind you helping others. If your motivation and expectation is to heal and elevate your self-esteem, feeling worthy as a result on an ongoing basis (“I think it comes down to self-esteem as well with me, that I think I’m not worthy of the love, attention and their happiness“)- then helping others will continue to lead to disappointment.
The injury to your self-esteem took place when you were a child because for too often and for too long- she, your mother, wasn’t there for you. The injury to your self-esteem did not happen because you, the child that you were, wasn’t there for her (by successfully helping her, taking away her hurt and upset, make her feel better).
Fast forward, you can’t heal your self-esteem by being there for a woman. To heal your self-esteem, it will take you becoming able to relax in the company of another person who genuinely appreciates you and values you, absorbing his/ her appreciation, letting it sink in and slowly dissolves the angst. This other person may be a counselor, or a woman with whom you get involved with while attending counseling.