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>> No. 28675 Anonymous
23rd June 2019
Sunday 1:49 pm
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I keep running up against a wall in my relationships with others, romantic and platonic, and a recent talk with my girlfriend made this clear.

In short: I internalised the fact that I am very much alone in the world from a very young age. A degree of emotional independence might be healthy, but I take it much too far. I struggle with the idea that anyone really has my back or wants to (or even can) support me. I have a lot of confidence in myself, not so much in others.

I could examine every little reason for and aspect of that, but I don't feel like I need to. I think it's a typical story: boy in a shite industrial town, hard-working but depressed parents. Lots of toxic relationships and traumatic experiences. Didn't or couldn't have much faith in the adults around me. Truthfully, for a long time I did not have anyone, so handled it by keeping things to myself. I'm sure this can be pathologised as avoidant personality or disordered attachment or whatever label you like, but that kind of analysis doesn't really interest me much.

The other side of the coin is that I'm also pretty bright, emotionally expressive, and sociable. I have a lot of interests and have mixed with many kinds of people. I like talking to and sharing life with others. I have built a very good life for myself in another location and am loving meeting people here.

The result is that I have a lot of friends and enjoy the companionship, but as soon as something rubs me the wrong way or I feel that people are no longer an "ally", the switch flips and I quite literally feel nothing for them but a very cold sense of distance. The best way I can describe it is anger, but viewed through a telescope.

I sometimes feel as though the same sensitivity and awareness that makes me so good at gabbing and becoming close with people is the exact same sensitivity which will put me on high alert if anyone indicates they might hurt me or let me down.

This understandably upsets and confuses people, especially girls I've become involved with. I really hate this. I hate hurting others. And to be quite honest, it doesn't seem fair to open up and unleash my "issues" on people, even if they want to know and help. Treating friends and partners like therapists is rarely a good idea.

I want to handle this responsibly. I don't see any romance in "damaged but charming" or any other stereotypee. Money is a bit tight for proper therapy right now, and I've found most therapists woefully inept in dealing with young men in particular. I know at least one of you will suggest CBT, and I won't reject it out of hand but it seems like an extremely dry and mechanical process. I have my reservations about it. So, what do I do?
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>> No. 28676 Anonymous
23rd June 2019
Sunday 2:47 pm
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I'm going through something very similar. I think the only way you get over that wall is by making yourself vulnerable.

>And to be quite honest, it doesn't seem fair to open up and unleash my "issues" on people, even if they want to know and help.

Your friends are there for you to open up to and it's a little rude to keep people away like that.

>Treating friends and partners like therapists is rarely a good idea.

Asking friends to pick up some milk once in a while is fine, but expecting them to do your grocery shop week in, week out is rude. It's the same with talking about issues, friends do want to help and be helped.

I made the mistake of thinking that any opening up (or vulnerability) was wrong (that I shouldn't put my problems on other people, etc.). But, I greatly underestimated my own emotional intelligence.

I don't think you need therapy and I don't really see what it'd achieve. I think you just need to work on making yourself a bit more vulnerable here and there.
>> No. 28677 Anonymous
23rd June 2019
Sunday 4:18 pm
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You might want to read up on attachment theory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory
>> No. 28895 Anonymous
4th September 2019
Wednesday 5:49 pm
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I feel like I'm becoming cold as fuck.

I haven't seen my girlfriend for three weeks, some friends for four months, and my family for nearly a year. Yet I don't miss any of them, or even really feel their absence. In some cases, I even feel rather grateful for the time apart.
>> No. 28896 Anonymous
4th September 2019
Wednesday 6:16 pm
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Ah shite, a lot of what you lads have said in this thread is ringing true for me and I've recently decided a hermit life is best for me. However, honestly it's great so far and I remember wanting this back when I was a kid, I guess I forgot.
>> No. 28897 Anonymous
4th September 2019
Wednesday 6:51 pm
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I can relate to a lot of what you're saying. My parents were quite emotionally unstable and needy, so I grew up trying to be a sort of parent to my own parents. For many years I didn't like hugging people, because mum only ever hugged me when she needed a hug, never when she thought I needed a hug. My home life wasn't abusive or especially neglectful, but there was always a pallor of gloom and dread hanging over everything.

I grew up treading on eggshells, always trying to reassure and appease my parents, so in my adult life I tend to keep people at a distance to avoid the sheer effort of what I thought intimacy meant. For me, the key insight was realising that healthy relationships can survive some amount of conflict. It's OK to have a disagreement, it's even OK to have a blazing row occasionally, it's OK to vent about my shitty day or get a bit arsey about the state of the kitchen sink. Subconsciously, the fear of being abandoned by my moody and unreliable parents had stifled my ability to express my own emotional needs in adult relationships.

I'm not sure it's something I'll ever "get over", but being consciously aware of this tendency allows me to deal with things in a healthier and more mature way. I still tend to be guarded and keep people at arm's length, I still tend to smooth things over rather than argue things out, but I can remind myself to be a bit more assertive about my own needs, a bit less fearful about being abandoned and a bit more open about my personal experiences.

I can second the recommendation of >>28677 and would also suggest reading up on transactional analysis, which is a practical application of attachment theory.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transactional_analysis
>> No. 28900 Anonymous
4th September 2019
Wednesday 10:07 pm
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>>28895
Assuming that in long-term they all die, such self-sufficiency - if that's it - might be beneficial.
Sage because now I slightly feel 'cold as fuck'.
Myself, I surely appreciate the distance and the need to retreat into my shell periodically.

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