Romantic and platonic attachment issues?

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kdke

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Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« on: May 30, 2018, 04:24:37 PM »
One of the things I've noticed is a potential issue for me is how difficult it is for me to stay attached to people. Getting attached isn't an issue as I'm still recovering from the toxic enmeshment my mother put me through (I tend to let people in too quickly and have been taken advantage of many times for this), so I'm learning to make better boundaries between myself and others.

But then, a weird switch turns off after a while. I start to become... bored? Bored isn't the right word; it's not that I lose interest, but I start to feel a bit overwhelmed. I feel like my personal space is being taken away from me, and I become isolationist. I will even ghost people entirely. It's upsetting for them and honestly, it's upsetting to me, too. I'm not sure why I feel this way and why the urge is so strong.

I've tried to stop this behavior and rationalize it. "Oh, I'm just not used to all this company. I'm an introvert." And so on. Granted, my mother isolated me and her from our families and others at her discretion for many years, but I'm wondering if it's that and something more alarming going on. I know I've identified some fear I have about letting others get too close, like distrust, abandonment, and abuse.

Well... maybe that's the answer right there, and now it's just manifested subconsciously. Maybe this "omg so stifling" behavior is a defense mechanism, something to give me an excuse to avoid worst-case scenarios. I don't know. I guess I just needed to voice that.

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Estella

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Re: Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2018, 04:35:32 PM »
Hi Cadie,

Sorry to comment when I don't have any specific advice or ways to deal with this. I also have a switch for relationships - sometimes feeling confident and attached, other times I feel nothing, if not nothing, irritation. That's when my Flight response kicks in and I emotionally, if not physically abandon a person.

It would be good to find a way around this kind of behaviour, perhaps, if anyone has healthier suggestions. Sorry if this hijacks your thread a bit.

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kdke

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Re: Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2018, 04:43:32 PM »
Hi Cadie,

Sorry to comment when I don't have any specific advice or ways to deal with this. I also have a switch for relationships - sometimes feeling confident and attached, other times I feel nothing, if not nothing, irritation. That's when my Flight response kicks in and I emotionally, if not physically abandon a person.

It would be good to find a way around this kind of behaviour, perhaps, if anyone has healthier suggestions. Sorry if this hijacks your thread a bit.

Not at all, Estella. Actually, what you've described is very similar to what I go through when I start to distance myself from others that I've attached to. I can turn cold very quickly and will even become irritated by their presence, which for me is distressing (and for them, probably even more so!). I hate it as I'm sure that there's some kind of defense mechanism happening during that transition; I felt so strongly and close to this person, and now nothing? Feelings are allowed to change but the switch is palpable. I don't like it.

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Estella

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Re: Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2018, 05:43:27 PM »
I suppose at least you still have empathy intact. I tend to be one of those out of sight, out of mind types. Which sounds cold, is cold and I'm not sure how much psychoanalysing/explaining can soften how cold that is. I don't like that about myself, but maybe that's just because I don't want to seem like a "bad person".

I think other peoples contributions to this thread will help you more than mine.

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Rainagain

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Re: Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2018, 07:10:04 PM »
I've had situations where someone has switched on my fight/flight and the relationship has collapsed because of it.

In other relationships they set me off in some way, the trust vanishes and I gently and slowly back away from them until they drop contact with me.

I don't see it as being cold, it's self defence instincts due to trauma.

If you don't feel an emotional closeness its not much good pretending, if the lack is due to a traumatic past its just the reason behind it, doesn't change how you feel to try to understand the why you feel that way.

I've become less that way over time if that helps, but it still happens at a high enough threshold.

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Erebor

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Re: Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2018, 01:08:39 AM »
I don't know if this is the same thing, but your words reminded me of myself.  I have boundaries issues (I've experienced enmeshment too, with both parents) and get attached to people very quickly.  Even if they're not abusive, they end up running rails (I don't know if this is a real turn of phrase or not?) all over me because of my lack of boundaries and my being too attached to them so quickly. 

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I feel like my personal space is being taken away from me, and I become isolationist. I will even ghost people entirely. It's upsetting for them and honestly, it's upsetting to me, too. I'm not sure why I feel this way and why the urge is so strong.

Yes, first part speaks to me exactly. I end up stressed, worn down, wanting to avoid them, and like you say, feeling overwhelmed. I feel like I don't have any space that belongs to me, like my brain isn't even private anymore, so I want to run away and get back to the relief of no one draining me, being left alone and not bothered by people, with my own space again.  I can cope with acquaintances but not with anyone who wants anything more than that.

The more it happens, the more I am learning to avoid making these kinds or attachments because of how much they take out of me and how unpleasant they are to experience. But I'm finding that they're seemingly the only type of attachment I make (otherwise I am largely indifferent to people).  So I am doing my best to avoid letting anyone 'close' to me because for me all friendships go the same way, and until I've worked on myself and recovered to the point where this isn't such an issue it's just a stressful, self-damaging repetition. 

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Rainagain

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Re: Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2018, 06:10:58 AM »
I agree Erebor

Acquaintances, kept a certain comfortable distance away are OK.

Anything closer can get tricky real fast.

And it does feel like draining.

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Erebor

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Re: Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2018, 10:44:01 AM »
Rainagain, yes I definitely agree - acquaintances when they keep/are made to keep their distance are the best option for me.

Keeping them at a distance seems to be my issue. Sometimes I feel lonely or have an urge to be sociable, and the socialising I do under those circumstances never ever ends well. Always end up drained and desperate to get away. I just realised that another key part of it for me is that I feel like a stranger to myself, so I have to leave the relationships in order to get back to myself and feel rooted again.

If the other person has boundary or attachment issues, they can make it harder to keep my distance.

Edit: Cadie, I wanted to say congratulations on starting to learn to make better boundaries. That's a big step.  :cheer:
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 10:46:36 AM by Erebor »

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Sasha

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Re: Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2018, 10:06:42 PM »
Really helpful to read that other people go through this. I feel so similar and am today having an absulute switched off numb day.

Today I am finding it hard to refer to the person that I have been seeing on and off as my Ďpartnerí and feel a million miles away from any sort of intimacy. This is probably as a result of a disagreement the other day that is now over but during the conflict I felt myself emotionally leave him. Plus I went back on SSRIs 4 days ago so I guess the new meds musnít be helping my emotional regulation too much.

Iím trying to just stick it out but today Iím absolutely not feeling being in a relationship. I havenít wanted to touch or hug all day, and have been very quiet. At the start of the day I felt anxious and then as the day went on have just been mostly spaces out / dissociated.

He has been there for me so much recently and I felt very close before our argument. This switch in me is just horrible. So black and white. My trust just vanishes. I donít even want to be naked.

He is a good person and I have suggested a board for people in intimate relationships with people with CPTSD so he can find support.

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briasmith12

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Re: Romantic and platonic attachment issues?
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 07:06:30 AM »
Sorry, long post, here! But I wanted to offer what has helped me.

I absolutely have these days, too, more often than not. It is one hundred percent up to you whether the romantic or platonic relationship is something you want to keep. I  know you said you've tried to look at it rationally, but I have to look at it logically and to be completely honest with myself. With friends, I have gone both ways. I lose that connection to them and then realize, logically, that I never really valued our friendship anyway, that I maintained it out of some sense of obligation or just because I was plodding along without considering it. Or, I realize that I really do value them, I just need some space. The long term friends I have are all understanding of the fact that I don't always want to be around them.

With my husband, I realize that I know I loved my husband. It may have been weeks ago, but I know in my mind that I loved him. That intimate feeling returns after a time, which helps me make this connection, but with others it didn't and I knew it was time to move on. It has gotten better (less frequently and infinitely easier to deal with) since I've told him and let him know that on certain days or longer, I just don't feel connected, sometimes I feel irrationally angry at him and irritated by his presence, and it's difficult and physically painful for me to be too near him, so I need both physical and mental space. I have a room that I can go hole up in with my laptop or a book and my dog, or if he's holed up in his office, I can roam the house and retreat when needed. Thankfully, my husband has been (almost mythical-ly) understanding about all of this and gives me space.

If you do want to pursue a relationship of any kind, you don't have to give every detail of what you go through, or if you already have opened up to some extent: perhaps make your need for space known. In this case, it's really important to make it very clear that you do not want to end the relationship. It doesn't have to be a passionate plea. Just a "Hey, I just need you to know that I value our relationship a lot. I absolutely do not want this to end and it's important to me that you stay in my life as you are right now (friend or ____?). I need some time to recharge, though, and that might mean that we keep communication to a minimum for a week/weeks/what-have-you or so. You've done nothing wrong, it's just something I need."

I know it's such a worn out phrase, but the people who matter, the ones who deserve to be in your life, will be understanding. My marriage would not have lasted, or even got to marriage, if my husband had not been understanding of my need for space (I didn't share my full reasons until after marriage).
No matter the case, as you've seen, you are far from alone in this feeling. I imagine there is a rainbow of ways that people cope. I hope you can find yours and continue on to healthy relationships. :cheer: