Confessions of Avoidant Attachment Personality

Confessions of Avoidant Attachment Personality

Confessions of Avoidant Attachment Personality

I’ve been more comfortable being alone for most of my life.

With the exception of a five-year marriage and the two years we dated prior to that, my longest relationship was six months. I had three of those, all before the age of 20, and then I was steadfastly single until I met my ex-husband at age 26.

Looking back, I can see how I mostly only allowed myself to be attached to people that it wouldn’t hurt to lose. The longest I can remember being upset about a breakup was two days when I was 17.

I was always the one who ended the relationships, and typically it was only after I’d let my unhappiness fester for so long that I couldn’t even stand for the other person to touch me anymore. I felt like I had to have a reason—the fact that I just wasn’t into the relationship anymore wasn’t good enough.

When I was 19 and had been with my boyfriend at the time for about six months, he asked me, point blank: “Where do you see our relationship in two years?”

Me, being the complete commitment phobe that I was, replied, “I have no idea. I don’t plan that far ahead. Where do you see our relationship in two years?”

He told me he hoped we’d be engaged. I broke up with him a week later, and never dated anyone longer than three weeks for the next six years.

At 28, I came into my marriage (with a once-divorced man who was 12 years older than me) having no real relationship experience. In retrospect, the fact that either of us thought this was going to work is somewhat absurd, but I suppose we were both still living in the fairytale fantasy that you meet someone who is perfectly compatible with you and live happily ever after—and we were highly compatible people, but compatibility is not synonymous with intimacy.

Up to that point, my M.O. was to avoid conflict for as long as possible, withhold my feelings, and ignore my needs. The truth is, I didn’t even know what my needs were, much less what I wanted in a relationship. Much like anyone in their twenties, I didn’t even know who the fuck I was.

In addition to having no real depth of understanding of myself, I never learned conflict resolution skills. I assumed my unhappiness was due to some fatal personality conflict, and ending the relationship and starting over with someone else seemed easier.

This, of course, led to a cyclical repetition of the same relationship scenario over and over, always with the same person wearing a different face, because I never took the time to stop reflect on myself or why it kept happening.

I would enter into a safe relationship with someone who accommodated my fear of intimacy and attachment, then I’d become dissatisfied with the lack of intimacy and attachment, then wait for an excuse—any excuse—to end said relationship. Lather, rinse, repeat.

 

 

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It wasn’t until I was 33 that I began to recognize my need for connection and intimacy, or how my own fear of it had led me to choose partners who couldn’t give it to me. This was also the same timeframe in which I began to see that I had no idea who I really was, culminating in the realization that the life I was living felt like it didn’t belong to me.

The last two years have been spent deconstructing anything about myself that didn’t feel authentic and patiently seeking that which was. You can’t possibly have a successful relationship with another person until you have achieved a successful relationship with yourself.

That’s what real personal development looks like: digging below the surface level interactions between you and your partner and uncovering the underlying subconscious motivations that drive your behavior—then working to heal it at the core, instead of continuing to apply bandaids.

Your twenties are for fucking up your life and your thirties are for seeing how fucked up your life is and committing to changing it—if, that is, you’re willing to do the hard work instead of continuing to repeat the cycle.


Note: This post originally appeared on my Instagram. I’ve been writing a lot over there and I’ll be sharing some of those posts here in the coming weeks. If you’re on Instagram, I’d love it if you’d pop over and hang out with me >>>click here<<< or on the embedded photo up there.

Xo,

Ash

 

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An Open Letter To All The Men Who Have Failed Me

An Open Letter To All The Men Who Have Failed Me

An Open Letter To All The Men Who Have Failed Me

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day, an annual reminder of all of love’s disappointments. A day that I spent recalling all of the ways you’ve failed to show up for me.

Every time one of you disappeared after I poured my pain on the floor for you to see, it opened the gaping wound in my heart just a little wider.

You knew my history. Or at least, you should have. If you’d paid any attention, you’d realize that I told you, many times in a number of ways, directly and indirectly.

But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say maybe you didn’t know. Or at least, you most likely don’t immediately remember some of the things I told you. You didn’t know about my first love who crushed my soul into a thousand shattered pieces in a myriad of ways, not the least of which was refusing to acknowledge or respond to no less than 8 emails I sent him over the course of 2 years, absolutely laying my soul bare.

And maybe you didn’t know about how my own father avoided talking to me for an entire year because he, “thought I was mad at him or something.”

And maybe you didn’t know about my best friend. How much I loved him. And that he abruptly blocked me from every possible way of contacting him and hasn’t spoken to me three years. Maybe you didn’t know that it was the most painful, sudden loss I’ve ever experienced or that it triggered a year long depression during which my health failed and my marriage fell apart.

Maybe you aren’t familiar with the sense of panic one feels when you know it’s about to happen again, after having already happened again and again and again. You tell yourself that the feeling of impending doom, it’s all in your head. They’re not going to do this to you AGAIN. They love you. They’d never want to hurt you. And then they do.

Maybe you aren’t familiar with the aching feeling the creeps up in your heart and starts to radiate outward into your whole upper body. The contraction in your chest. The tightness in your throat. The heaviness that sets in in your stomach. The numbness that takes over as you sit there in a haze asking yourself why. Why are you doing this to me? And why does this. Keep. HAPPENING?

“Was it something I said? Was it something I did?” I think of 30,000 ways that this is my fault. “Did I hurt your feelings? Maybe I shouldn’t have told you how I felt? I probably should have worded it differently. Maybe I just have shitty taste in humans? Maybe I love all the wrong people? Maybe there are no good people? Maybe I’m a masochist? Maybe I’m fucking delusional and you never cared about me the way I thought you did? Maybe you never cared about me at all? Why am I here again? What’s the point if it all? I don’t want to feel this anymore. Maybe I should just walk out in front of a car and put myself out of my misery because anything is better than this old and ever familiar pain.”

I choked back tears on my entire walk home, watching all the people meandering through the streets, juggling their bouquets of red roses, cliché symbols of affection meant for people who are certainly far more lovable and deserving than I.

I felt the ache trying to claw its way out of my chest and into my throat, the tightness therein keeping it trapped squarely half way between a sob and a gasp for air. Quite possibly, I felt the greatest pain I’ve ever felt in the entirety of my existence.

And yet somehow—while standing on the corner of Hope Street, teetering on the edge of losing faith in myself, along with everything I’ve ever believed in, just before I reached the stairs…I still managed to forgive you.

Sincerely,
All Women, Everywhere

For the women whose hearts continue rising from the ashes.

Xo,

Ash

 

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Confessions of Avoidant Attachment Personality

Recognizing and Breaking Negative Relationship Patterns

Recognizing and Breaking Negative Relationship Patterns

Question from a reader:

If we meet our partners as a way to see ourselves through them and learn, how is it that you break up with someone because you don’t feel like being with them anymore?

Of course there are still things I haven’t learned so I am going to meet another person that is still going to teach me what the other person couldn’t. Should I keep trying to learn things from the first person? Why do they seem to always appear again? Does that mean something?

All relationships reflect back to us parts of ourselves. Sometimes ugly parts. Sometimes beautiful parts. Sometimes it brings out aspects of yourself you never knew existed. They’re all opportunities to know ourselves a little more, reflected through another.

Some relationships – karmic ones – are meant to give you very specific experiences that you’ve been working to heal through across lifetimes with that same soul. Others are just reflecting back to you patterns that were created in this lifetime.

You’ll always know a karmic relationship, because it’s not something you’re going to be able to shake easily. The allure will be irresistible. The chemistry palpable. It’ll be really, really good, or really, really bad. There’s no in between, you’re going to have strong emotions in one direction or the other – maybe even both.

Karmic Patterns

With karmic relationships, we often attract partners who feed our imbalances. For example, a person with a history of codependent care-taking will be drawn to partners who “need” them in some way. For men, it’s typically partners who require financial support or otherwise look to them as someone who can provide. For women, it’s often wounded men. The allure of the relationship is that, at least initially, it feels good to give. It validates a need within both partners – for the caretaker, the need to feel needed. For the one being taken care of, the filling of the void.

Eventually, the caretakers often give more than they receive in the relationship and end up feeling drained and resentful of their less capable partners. This pattern plays out over and over until one or both parties recognizes that their habits are not the result of love, but rather, a lack of self-love and seeking validation from an outside source.

Sometimes you break up because you learn all the lessons that relationship has to offer you – you recognize your karmic patterns and step into your true power. Sometimes you break up because one of you outgrows the lesson and one of you doesn’t, and needs to keep repeating it. Another person will come along to fill that role while you move on to something new and your partner remains trapped in a karmic feedback loop with the universe serving them the same shit sandwich they ate the day before, repeating the same mistakes over and over with a new person who holds the same fundamental energetic framework as the last person, but with a pretty new face and storyline.

Breaking The Repetition 

Becoming aware of your patterns is one thing – actively working to maintain that awareness in any given situation, understand what it’s showing you about yourself, and healing that is wholly another.

The biggest mistake I often see people make is thinking that simply because they became aware of the pattern that they won’t repeat it, or that they can somehow work through that pattern while maintaining a relationship with another person who is reflective of it.

The reality of the situation is that either both of you choose to grow, or you go your separate ways. There’s no in between, and the longer you cling to the attachment, the more suffering it creates. Eventually the universe bulldozes obstacles out of your life, one way or another.

Never stick around in a stagnant relationship. You’re going to know, in your heart, when it’s time to go. The tricky part is that sometimes “leaving” is a part of our pattern and we do it because we fear intimacy or commitment, or some other aspect of the relationship. Other times, clinging to it is part of our pattern. In either case, it’s going to keep happening again and again until you confront it and choose something different. Same story, different character.

The Universe is likes to give us little tests to see if we’re really committed to ourselves, our healing, and are ready to move forward. Will you slip back into old patterns? Or will you choose something different?

Xo,

Ash

 

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