Need help communicating with DA gf about what triggers me Jun 15, 2019 2:53:21 GMT caroline1218 likes this
Post by shiningstar on Jun 15, 2019 2:53:21 GMT
sherry, your attempt at trying to see my gf point of view is probably quite accurate and is _very_ helpful. I know that my behavior is a big turn-off for her and probably the cause for her withdrawal. At the same time, I find that some of my requests are not necessarily unreasonnable and a secure partner would help me on the path to become secure. But as you both say, I can't expect her to change and must myself strive to become secure. If I do succeed in becoming secure, then I will reduce the behaviors that trigger her in the first place.
To answer some of the questions, no she doesn't criticize me. Ever. She instead withdraws when I act in an upsetting way for her. As for the question about what I'm doing to improve my own AP tendencies, I read 2 books on attachment so far and am currently reading a 3rd. I'm also reading a lot online and seeking advice on forums such as this one (though this is the best one). I took a dating hiatus after a 6 mo failed relationship with an "extreme" DA 3 years ago and took that time to work on myself and do lots of introspection. I was transparent from the very beginning with my current gf with my AP tendencies. I think I improved quite a bit in the last 2-3 years but I obviously have some ways to go. I had also started meditation at some point but gave up. I should start again.
shiningstar, thanks for your validation and empathy about my need for some consistency. You understood very well what I was trying to say. I also understand that if I was secure, then I wouldn't fear to bring this up with her and asking for my needs to be met. But then again, if I was secure I probably would never have displayed protest behaviors and I wouldn't have caused inconsistencies in my girlfriend in the first place. Yes, at this point my fear of abandonment is too great to freely speak up about the things that bother me. I don't want to lose this relationship because of my insecurities. I would much prefer to suck it up for now and work towards becoming secure. I would of course prefer if we could do this journey together but I don't feel that we can because she gets triggered whenever we speak about that subject.
You said that you read everything you could get your hands on about becoming secure but that didn't seem to help. What did help in the end? Was it simply, as you say, the realization that you have needs and are justified in them and just simply having the confidence to speak up about them? Did you end up ending a relationship with a DA to get into a relationship with a secure who could meet your needs?
what helped me was actually what sherry said - just focus on myself and work towards security, alone. this is an easy principle and solution, what I found really difficult was understanding what that really means. the process of getting to that point of understanding that message was facilitated by a few insights.
1. I was someone who triggered him and vice versa. I needed to be someone else, and that could be with or without him. It didn't matter at all - it would have been nice if we did it together, but he made it quite clear that he was not interested in doing anything like that. I needed to decide if i was going to do this work if he wasn't. I decided i was.
2. it got to a point where it felt like micro-suicide just to keep the relationship going and it was just too much. during this relationship i was terribly hurt but I also eventually saw how he was hurt by me. i saw that when i get triggered and the APness starts, i was also unavailable as a partner to him and be supportive of him in his life. this recognition that I was also a terrible partner to him made me question what it means to love someone - how could i have been unkind to him (even if i didnt think i was at that time, but i was) if i proclaimed to love him? and also, how mindless and uncentered was i to have acted in hurtful ways even if that was not my intention? while we can discuss his unavailability and how i got triggered etc, it _really_ didn't matter at all in the end. What is important is really how I respond to situations as an individual, regardless of what has happened. this was a standard I set for myself, because I needed to determine what my own values/beliefs are and what kind of partner do I want to be - this should be a consistent thing across partners.
3. I stopped focusing on what a terrible person i was and how i needed to fix myself so that i wouldn't do it again, but that wasn't really helpful in true healing. I recognized and acknowledged my own pain and needs, but I also needed to do the same for his. Only when i recognized and acknowledged and ACCEPTED my own pain in a compassionate and not blameful way, was I able to do the same for him. the ability to sit and process my own negative emotions is very very important in making sure that as a partner, i could hold space for another's. i was not able to do that before for him because i never learnt how to do it via doing it for myself. and this helped me realize what I needed for myself as well as how meeting this need myself helps me in identifying partners who could do the same and how it helps me be a better partner.
4. I stopped wondering why he did all those things and focused on what I want/need/can do. it didn't matter at all WHY he did those things - the fact is that he did them and the relationship was damaged. THIS GOES BOTH WAYS. it didn't matter that I behaved poorly because I was hurt. the past does not justify present behaviors. People pick partners to support and love them - he wasn't doing it for me and i wasn't doing it for him - that is the reality. however, during my process, I really investigated all insecure behaviors because I wanted to be secure, and I needed to differentiate different things cognitively to know where emotionally I'm coming from. in that process it helped me understood his perspective and my own, but it didn't really matter. I didn't want to be insecure and I didn't want to deal with other insecures - so I need to know all shades of insecurity, not just his.
5. I simply decided to fuck it and gave up on being AP because it wasn't helping me at all in structuring my world, as it used to when i was younger. it got to a point where i had to decide how to function as an adult by myself, and what that looked like for me. this means recreating my identity, rewriting my narrative, and doing alot of ground work in determining who i am as a person. the process of doing so involved alot of confrontation with the past, but i was much more able to do so because I had voice - this was greatly suppressed when i was a child. I just decided I will have a voice again and now that I earn my own keep, I really don't need to bow to anyone who didn't like my voice. I wanted to be secure and strong, which people thought i was even though I didn't feel like it. So i simply decided to embrace what people perceived - that i AM independent and that I can take care of myself, and that I don't need crappy relationships to pretend that I have a good life. I also decided that i need to be authentic which means i first need to know what my needs are and what my feelings are, WITHOUT asking for accountability from someone else. there was alot of decisions i had to make to shed old beliefs and behave in certain ways - it was scary at first, and it's something im still exploring, but simply taking control and deciding how things will be is also a very empowering act. I determine my own reality; i didn't need to keep asking someone to validate my reality. This is something very central to the AP experience - the need for validation because we simply don't trust our own reality.
When i saw all these things - how meeting my own emotional needs can help me be a better available partner as well as help me identify availability - it's what sherry said. just focus on yourself and work towards security. alone. but my realization is that in the process of getting to that point, one key thing is that one must take ownership for the self as an adult and that means the willingness and ability to speak up for needs without being consumed by the fear of doing so.
Note that i had absolutely no interest in getting into another relationship, secure or not, to meet my needs. There's alot of advice saying to find a secure who will meet your needs and that helps you heal. No. I didn't believe that I was a worthy partner yet, and therefore didn't want to unleash any of my nonsense on any one else. My current partner is a self-declared, self-aware exDA and he's committed to making changes for himself even before we met, so this has been a very healing relationship because he understands my experience deeply but from a very different angle, yet does not blame me for my APness. By our second or third date, I was absolutely clear on my dating rules. it probably came across as very harsh but i didn't really care either e.g., I don't tolerate hot and cold - once it goes cold, i'm out. I'm dating for marriage and potentially kids - if that was not in his plans, then i'm out regardless of how great the chemistry/sex was. I expect authenticity and consistency - do only what you can do sustainably in the long run. if that means texting once a day, do that, and it is my decision if that is enough for me (it was). I accepted that my sanity relied on consistency in attitude, not just behaviors, and it was also the promise I made to myself for myself and for future partners, to be as consistent as possible even during times of distress.
@sherry I agree with you it's not unique to AP. I said this before elsewhere but it was not a popular opinion! what i do think differ is the process of getting there - for me, discussing and verbalizing the process is important. it gives life to my reality and makes it concrete - an AP's reality is often confusing and abstract and fantastical/fantasy-like. I think for DAs it was simply reaching a conclusion/solution, and then executing strategies - this was how I dealt with my mother. but for my romantic relationships it's very different.