Jump to content

Psych thinks I don’t have an insecure attachment style and I’m bothered.


1a1a
 Share

Recommended Posts

In an hour’s session she really only made it through the last two serious relationships and the disaster string of Luke warm boys that processed in the 5 years following (and she was my couples counsellor so she knows about the most recent too though not in depth about the amount of conflict we’ve had). 
 

She kept coming back to ‘these people were bad fits so of course you feel anxious, something is wrong.’

 

And yeah, they all were. But what about the part where I hold onto the unavailable person for months (years)!!!!! Talk off the ears of every person who’ll listen, make endless posts here, be the (eventually) grateful recipient of a strong chorus of ‘he’s just not that into you’ from friends and forum members alike and still not let go? Doesn’t that indicate some kind of attachment malfunction? How does she explain 4 years of depression after the last serious relationship ended?! 
 

I’m really bothered by this. It feels going to the drs with some kind of pain and being told ‘you’re fine, everything checks out’.

 

She says I don’t have attachment issues I just make bad choices in dating. (She said she’s studied it. You do understand there’s some anxiety involved right? Like if ‘just making the choice to walk away’ came naturally to me I would already be doing it!!!!!!!!) And how does she explain the catastrophising? We never even got to discuss how I feel like the person has lost interest in me when I don’t hear back from them. Especially if I see that read message receipt. Ugh, I Hate that thing! (Would she just say, but you’re not catastrophising because your instinct that this person was pulling away was correct!’? My most recent ex, who did turn out to be not committed to me at all, used to say he’d read my messages as soon as they came in because he was excited to see what I had to say, but he’d need a bit of time to compose an answer so he’d have to wait till he finished work to reply. Hence, read receipt, on a text that wasn’t being ignored….)


Then I think maybe telling you you’re fine and don’t have attachment issues, maybe that’s part of the cure. Then she coaches me to make better dating choices *raises eyebrows*
 

Maybe the learning to make better dating choices would be the cure and is perfectly sound advice for All who make bad choices in dating, attachment traumatised and not. 


Which then made me wonder why am I so bothered? I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle, had a lightbulb moment earlier of ‘ah, my identity is tied up with this description’ but also, the pattern of not letting go has caused me a lot of suffering over the last 8 years. When she says I don’t have a problem then I feel like the hope of fixing that problem diminishes. (But I think I understand at this point that maybe the cure for insecure attachment might be in fact the same as the cure for a broken heart. Fill up your life/meditate/work to mitigate reactivity.)
 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey 1a1a!

 

Maybe sometimes we want a label or diagnosis to explain our behaviour? Maybe it will make us feel better?

 

Maybe sometimes, due to our personalities, upbringing, nature and nurture, we just made some mistakes? Made some not great decisions? It doesn’t mean we have a mental disorder I am sure all of the time.

 

It is actually refreshing to hear that a psychologist didn’t simply diagnosis a disorder. 
 

If you are unhappy, you could always try others, see if you get a better fit? One psychologist isn’t always correct. Psychologists can see the same person and all hold different opinions. You might want to shop around if you feel this one isn’t helping. But he or she may be right? 
 

Sometimes we go over things to the point of obsession - thoughts and people play in our minds for years, the rest of our lives! This to me, is part of the human condition, and seems more likely in certain personality types.

 

I’m obviously no mental health professional. But, if they are right - how do you feel about that? Would you be more relieved if given a diagnosis of some kind? And if so, why?

 

x

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In fact, you should be relieved that you don't have an insecure attachment style. That would take longer to break/heal with a therapist!

Instead, think of it as a chance to become more empowered with your therapist. Since she knows all the dating stuff, she'll help you get closer to your dating goals. Isn't that great?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

Doesn’t that indicate some kind of attachment malfunction?

Nope.  

I remember after each relationship, I am giving myself every mental health condition under the book.  Then, over time, you start to work through things, and onto the next chapter.

Almost all of us have to kiss SEVERAL frogs to find our prince.  When you are truly ready, they find you.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 1a1a said:

I’m really bothered by this. It feels going to the drs with some kind of pain and being told ‘you’re fine, everything checks out’.

She says I don’t have attachment issues I just make bad choices in dating. (She said she’s studied it.

I hear, and it's true that bad choices in dating don't exactly address the difficulty in detaching or what these bad matches enliven in you that prompts you to keep choosing them--and staying with them.

So I guess I'd ask therapist to explain which aspects of an anxious attachment style don't I possess, and I'd keep her focused on this until she can satisfy an answer rather than dismiss your concerns.

If your pain were to be dismissed by an MD, you'd call her or him on that, right?

And if not, you'd seek a second opinion, right?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Insecure attachment styles are tied to childhood experiences. Meaning that its something you developed from your parents treating you in a certain way. For example in "avoidant attachment style" parents neglected feelings of the kid. Which makes kid as an adult avoidant of the emotions. In "ambivalent attachment" parents are inconsistant with emotions which makes kid seeking validation through relationships later on. And "neglectfull attachment style" comes from constantly neglecting childs needs when it is in distress or even because of abuse. So kid will avoid close intimacy later when it comes to a relationships. 

Anyway, my point is, if she hasnt noticed that in regards of how your parents were treating you or how you make connections, yes, its quite possible she thinks you are just connecting with the wrong people. People who wont give you what you want from the relationship. Or just cant give you. And she is maybe right about that. Insecure attachment would have to be treated as it would create a problem even with the right person. But if you dont have it, you should be fine providing that you match with the right person. As all of those things you told to her regarding your attachment to someone, wouldnt pose a problem if only person is the one to return your emotions properly. Your last guy wasnt that case. Some next guy will.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, 1a1a said:

How does she explain 4 years of depression after the last serious relationship ended?! 
 

I’m really bothered by this. It feels going to the drs with some kind of pain and being told ‘you’re fine, everything checks out’.

Agree. She has a point. Depression, anxiety, etc. are diagnoses. It seems she is trying to diminish catastrophizing etc., It doesn't mean "you're fine", it means attachment theories are theories, not specific disorders. 

Keep in mind Cognitive Behavior Therapy focuses on challenging distorted thoughts and reactive behaviors and replacing them with productive thoughts and behaviors rather than self-defeating ones.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, 1a1a said:

Which then made me wonder why am I so bothered?

Great question!! 

Why are you so invested in this diagnosis? Somehow, I doubt it's because you want the credit of successfully self-diagnosing. You don't strike me as the Must-Be-Right-At-Any-Cost type.

3 hours ago, 1a1a said:

She kept coming back to ‘these people were bad fits so of course you feel anxious, something is wrong.’

In my own experience, I've found this to be true. All the anxiety, rumination, conversation, forum posts, bizarre, bizarre catastrophizing--ALL OF IT--disappeared once I stopped settling and found someone who didn't drive me crazy. It was so simple. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

All of my relationship anxiety disappeared when I stopped trying to force a relationship with someone who was clearly wrong for me. It was so blatantly obvious but I didn't want to accept it. It wasn't something pulled out of a pop culture book, it was me making poor dating choices. Taking personal responsibility isn't always easy but it's the best thing to do because it makes solving the problem so much simpler.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a good book on the subject.  Attached, Levine & Heller.

When in therapy and after reading the book, my therapist asked me what I thought applied to me.  I guessed insecure attachment.  He came back with ambivalently attached.  I had to go back and reread that chapter and honestly, I'd rather have the label of insecure.  It becomes a conundrum to be insecure and fight to keep a distance simultaneously.  

Anyway, it's a fascinating topic.  I really recommend the book and it's any easy read.  It explains the origins of why we have these styles to begin.

There are theories about being attracted to unavailable people, such as in your experience.  It suggests you are unavailable yourself.   People with healthy attachments styles don't waste their time with unavailable people and are attracted to equally available partners.

If you are unavailable you attract other unavailables and nothing comes to fruition, which reinforces a subconscious need to secure space.

(rereading this, I've clearly had a lot of therapy. . lol)

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, boltnrun said:

All of my relationship anxiety disappeared when I stopped trying to force a relationship with someone who was clearly wrong for me. It was so blatantly obvious but I didn't want to accept it.

Yep, and nobody teaches us how to screen out bad matches, it's all trial an error. Sometimes we want a person to be our match so badly, we'll overlook the things that will bite us later. Then the futility hurts even worse because we've attached.

Some people confuse anxiety and longing with love. This can happen if you've never experienced love as peace and security. 

Quote

It wasn't something pulled out of a pop culture book, it was me making poor dating choices. Taking personal responsibility isn't always easy but it's the best thing to do because it makes solving the problem so much simpler.

Yes! I wish more people credited the phrase 'taking responsibility' with positive connotations. It isn't self blame or assigning blame. It's the opposite of feeling powerless.

We don't need to beat ourselves up for mistakes, and we don't need to vilify another person. We can just trust that as we move forward, certain answers will occur to us along the way, and we'll adjust accordingly, and we'll do better. 

We don't need all of the answers BEFORE we take the steps ahead. Those answers will come to us once we've gained a new perspective from our motion. 

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had a lifetime of wrong relationships.  For the past five years I am in the healthiest relationship I've known.  But at times I feel restless because I am not experiencing those highs, the push and pull, the drama and angst I associated with being love. 

This relationship easy and effortless. I feel heard and understood.  We are both decent people who care about meeting each other's needs.  We are able to compromise so conflicts are few.  

Over time, if we aren't careful, we associate pain and drama as a measure of how much we love.   It's not supposed to be that way.  In that old unhealthy way, I catch myself yearning for the drama I've known for most of my adult life.  And then  . . I catch myself.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why is it you are bothered by this?  As you said it was only an hour's session...

Do you think you do?  Or is it just that you feel you do have something like this?

Many people do have issue's with experiencing relationships.  Some are quite toxic.  Some drain us , due to the stress & anguish. 😕  ( as she mentioned, maybe you've just come across those not good for you...).

As for reasons you are 'holding on' to them for way too long, there's often the case of being 'emotionally attached', which always makes it that much harder to pull and stay away.  There is also 'trauma bonding'. So, even though someone is so toxic, belittling, abusive, untrustworthy, etc., we still remain .

So, IMO, there are a whole lot of reason's for everything we experience.

I know, when I was in my 20's, I knew nothing of what was 'healthy' for me. I was new to all of that!  Yes, in time I did come to learn my ex was an alcy, so eventually it did end ( but not for another 5 yrs- and it was hard to do 😕 ). 

My next long-term relation was about another 5 yrs.. Again, I came to realize how toxic he was to myself & the kids and had to get out of that too. ( easier than the first one).

A few yrs later, I came across someone I fell hard for - in time I caught on that he was a liar/cheater 😞 .  Was hard to walk away from this one too- but knew I had to.

After my first long term ( with the alcy), I did learn how to be responsible and grew a back bone, in which I learned how to speak up etc.  I tried and tried with him, but had to throw in the towel.

You see, in time, we can often come to learn through our experiences, our strengths and how/when we've had enough & to walk away - which is being 'strong'.

So, what I am saying, is maybe YOU just haven't found that.. yet.  Maybe you are weaker and need to still learn Your worth!  In which case, you won't stick around long, once you do realize someone is toxic for you - And, when one is 'emotionally invested', makes it that much harder 😞 .

Over the last 25 yrs, I have been in therapy many times.  I have 'worked through my issues' a few times.  I am at the time now, that I know I don't have what is needed for a healthy relationship. As that takes your energy and expectations. I am mentally & emotionally exhausted.  

Also, I was, at one point diagnosed as with a 'dependent personality'.. yet, a few years later, with an 'avoidant personality', lol. ( I found that ironic).  As, I knew I was struggling due to my experiences thru life, but I wasn't sure about their 'diagnosis'.

Anyways, I say give this all time.  Only you know all you've experienced. and whether you get some sort of diagnosis or not.  Maybe consider continuing on your own for a while and 'work through your stuff', as I did.  Believe me, you'll most likely be glad you did!  Instead of doing something that can end up messing you up even more 😕 .

Never think being single is bad!  I've been so almost 5 years and I am okay with that.  I am in no rush to run into something again at this time.

Take it easy.. one day at a time and just give yourself some time.  So you can go into something with a much healthier outlook, clearer eyes and a kinder heart. 🙂 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ask yourself why you need a label and/or a diagnosis to feel validated that something is wrong and that there is a pattern that you are showing in your choices of unavailable men (if that is the pattern).  

Yesterday I thought I might have covid.  I have only felt this way when I've actually been exposed and also had symptoms.  But I did feel that way. I tested.  Negative.  Later I felt better. I guess I was extremely exhausted.  But yes sometimes we want a label or diagnosis - or confirmation that there is no diagnosis -to move on mentally -truth is seeing the negative result likely helped me manage and experience my symptoms better-psychologically.  

Labels and diagnoses sometimes are too powerful and not helpful.  You seem like you want it as validation or a crutch maybe?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is encouragement gold. Brain too tired to engage properly but thank you all for lending your thoughts.

At the end of the day, I want to be cured! Googled trauma bond (that suggestion might have been a different thread), doesn't quite resonate (the og boyfriend was pretty distant though, maybe that left a sub par model for relationshipping. But the 3rd guy I was with was an absolute sweetheart who returned my emotions in kind and at a later stage in life probably he would have been good for the settling down with. We were together two years, so I have had at least one long term, stable, fulfilling relationship. And the next long term relationship after that was with another guy of similar calibre. But in the end my feelings for him had faded and we parted).

Looked up emotional availability too. Since I have so much trouble letting go of bad fits, does that mean I'm emotionally unavailable? How do I become more available? But I readily talk about feelings mine and others and hide nothing of myself, this shoe doesn't fit either and that's frustrating (not because I want that shoe to fit but because I want to form a meaningful relationship with someone that goes the distance).

Maybe there is no diagnosis and it's just attachment/neediness (I did come out of the last relationship as a black hole of need. That was a long time ago, and that need has calmed down a lot, but I guess still haven't made it to totally full life full of awesome things and people so awesome I don't waste another second with someone who expresses doubts town yet!) And maybe the cure for this is no different to the cure for eating too much treat food. Just discipline. On another of my threads someone described letting go of the bad fit relationships as an act of self care (also that holding onto them is a poor personal choice. Make good choices, live better life). Seems so simple. But I have a hunch if you'd told me any years previous since last savage heart break (and I probably have been told many many times), maybe I just couldn't hear it before.

I'll keep seeing the psych, she did give me a pretty killer get over the ex action plan.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

 But I have a hunch if you'd told me any years previous since last savage heart break (and I probably have been told many many times), maybe I just couldn't hear it before.

 

Maybe you just weren't ready to hear it.  Now you are.  To admit something to ourselves typically means you might need to act on it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You are not emotionally unavailable. Emotionally unavailable people act differently and are usually not commiting. Sometimes its easier to search for something that is wrong with us and "blame it" on that rather to accept its just our bad choices. Because then at least we could blame it on that something. If we made a bad choice, that means that we actually had a choice and that its on us that it was a bad one and not a good one. Lots of people have a problem admitting that.

45 minutes ago, 1a1a said:

But the 3rd guy I was with was an absolute sweetheart who returned my emotions in kind and at a later stage in life probably he would have been good for the settling down with. We were together two years, so I have had at least one long term, stable, fulfilling relationship.

What happened to that guy? Why did you two broke up?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

You are not emotionally unavailable. Emotionally unavailable people act differently and are usually not commiting. Sometimes its easier to search for something that is wrong with us and "blame it" on that rather to accept its just our bad choices. Because then at least we could blame it on that something. If we made a bad choice, that means that we actually had a choice and that its on us that it was a bad one and not a good one. Lots of people have a problem admitting that.

What happened to that guy? Why did you two broke up?

 I am on the scale of unavailable. And I can commit.  And I have committed to my share of unavailables.  Those that never worked out

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, 1a1a said:

At the end of the day, I want to be cured!

Of course! That's what we all want when we feel lousy. But grief is grief. Maybe you have a particularly hard time with any or all of the typical stages of it.

Denial, bargaining, anger, depression and acceptance--these cycles we keep spinning through, repeatedly, and in no particular order, until we've resolved them.

Maybe you get stuck inside the denial and bargaining stages because you're afraid to deal with anger?

Maybe you 'avoid' recognizing and fully grasping the extent to which ex has mistreated you? So you keep plowing over those MOST IMPORTANT facts in order to remain in denial--viewing those facts as incidental to the hope that you can bargain your way back to the memories of ex that were good?

What has stood out for me is that you report facts of mistreatment in a narrative manner, then you focus instead like a laser beam on tactics for 'curing' the breakup--as though this will somehow lead you to a good place instead of deeper into the problems of mistreatment.

Then you can't understand why the mistreatment won't 'go away'... even when the BF comes back?

Consider exploring 'avoidance' of FEELING the anger stage. Maybe write a tribute to your recognition of all they ways you've been dismissed and harmed--and how THIS makes you FEEL.

NOT as a contrast to your memories of the good times. Just the current behavior--and maybe examine why you would not excuse if it were done to a close friend or someone you love?

This doesn't mean you 'must' feel angry, but maybe it will nudge you a bit closer to the kind of recognition you're looking for.

The 'cure' you want seems apparent to all of us yet hidden from you while you root through your drawers, your car, your therapists office--looking everywhere else BUT where you need to look. It's right there like the missing pair of glasses you're wearing on top of your head.

SEE why the mistreatment you've reported is unacceptable, and explore why you're blanking on that. (It's emotionally avoidant.)

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A diagnosis so you have something to "blame" is easier than taking personal responsibility.  You can point to the diagnosis and say "See!  It's not my fault, I have an insecure attachment style!"  Instead of telling yourself "I am deliberately choosing to stay in a bad relationship.  I'm refusing to let go because I'd rather be involved with the wrong person than be 'alone'".

I could come up with all sorts of excuses why I stayed with a horrible man for four entire years.  But bottom line, I didn't feel good about myself and thought if I could get him to love me that meant I was attractive and worthwhile.  HE had to dump ME before I took the time to understand what I was doing to myself.  And I stopped doing it.  I moved away and cut off contact and gave myself time and space.  And I no longer cared about him. Really, just like that.

Please see my signature line.  The cause of the pain is NEVER the cure for the pain.  That's like having a peanut allergy, eating peanuts, having a bad reaction, and deciding the cure for the reaction is to eat more peanuts.  Doesn't make sense.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, reinventmyself said:

 I am on the scale of unavailable. And I can commit.  And I have committed to my share of unavailables.  Those that never worked out

I am not saying its impossible. Just that its highly unlikely when she is not "emotionally cold" and actually cares and makes an effort. Emotionally unavailable usually stay away from the relationships. And even when they are there, they are not there.

Also, she has a psych. I would more be inclined to believe somebody with actual knowledge and who talked to her and knows how to see signs, than something she just read online and that matches some of her behavior. So in this case, its probably just bad matches.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

54 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

I am not saying its impossible. Just that its highly unlikely when she is not "emotionally cold" and actually cares and makes an effort. Emotionally unavailable usually stay away from the relationships. And even when they are there, they are not there.

Also, she has a psych. I would more be inclined to believe somebody with actual knowledge and who talked to her and knows how to see signs, than something she just read online and that matches some of her behavior. So in this case, its probably just bad matches.

A good number of people that struggle with emotional availability to different degrees get into relationships everyday and go on to get married.   It doesn't make them cold or automatically avoid them. It just makes relationships a little more challenging for them and their partners.

To be honest unless it's brought to your attention you don't even know that you're doing it

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...