FA/DA relationship: what I've learned and why I'm grateful Dec 26, 2019 1:22:16 GMT anne12, andy, and 2 more like this
Post by fa1972 on Dec 26, 2019 1:22:16 GMT
Connecting with my DA in relationship for the past seven years has been incredibly transformational for me in many ways. There have been many incredibly painful periods along the way, but ultimately this relationship has been the catalyst that's pushed me into self growth and even mastery. Unlike any other connection in my life, this interaction has pushed me to my limits and made me into the person that I am proud to be today.
1. I am primarily a fearful avoidant person who is closer to being secure in my attachments than I ever have been before. My confusion in interacting with my DA is what lead me into a journey of introspection, translating into a six year stint in therapy where I was exposed to the concept of attachment. Seeing the push/pull and how they've interacted with me has forced me to look at the ways that I've been avoidant with many people in my life. I tend to enforce strict boundaries with my secure and anxiously attached friendships but I then tend to be anxious when it comes to interacting with someone who is dismissive. I've had to work on myself to both OPEN myself to love and be emotionally vulnerable to those people who show genuine care for me while at the same time enforce tighter boundaries with my DA; which makes him more comfortable.
2. Watching how my DA lives his life is something I greatly admire. While I don't want to become a dismissive avoidant; I've been able to incorporate some of my DA's coping mechanisms and it's changed my life. Specifically being able to self-soothe, to know that I have my own back! We all need people in our lives, but for me, it was very important for me to learn that I can count on myself! I've watched how my DA treats himself very well. He takes care of himself! His expectation is not that other people will take care of him at all. He handles himself in a way that is very different than how I usually have been. His level of self containment and self confidence is definitely something that was lacking in my life.
3. My DA has made me deeply question my motives. As a fearful avoidant, I learned early that I give and receive love by DOING. Mostly OVER doing actually. I tend to over insinuate myself into a situation when it involves someone I care about. I over give both in physical ways and in emotional ways. I never gave this much thought...I just thought I was just a very nice person! Interacting with my DA over the years has shown me that there have been many times I've given with strings attached. I've given with the idea that I can manage someone else's behavior and shape it to make them be or act the way I want them to be. As you all know, DA's will refuse to be manipulated and can see through this easily. No matter how lavish my gifts have been, he never responded in a typical way or in a way that I wanted him to. I was essentially trying to buy his emotional validation. This is still something I'm working on. I'm trying to manage what is essentially a good thing. Learning to be truly generous without needing or expecting something in return.
4. Overall interacting with my DA has shown me the broad spectrum that all of us navigate as we interact with each other. The differences should be celebrated not judged and criticized and labeled as something negative. If we were all exactly the same, how boring life would be. My relationship has shown me how differently all of us process our emotions, thoughts and relationships. Once I was able to remove the judgement, a lot of my anxiety went away. The simple fact is this. My DA is not thinking about me the way I am about him. He's not analyzing my reactions, my emotions and my thoughts the way I've been his. He's living his life. He uses coping mechanisms (some good, some bad) that work for him. This has often been a huge source of pain for me. It tends to make me feel like he doesn't give a shit about me. That's far from true. He's never going to gush out his emotions at me. NOT EVER. And if that's something I require, I need to interact with someone who's more secure in their attachment style. But I know beyond anything, that if I ever truly needed him for something, he'd be there in an instant.
I continue to be in this relationship because it continues to challenge me and make me grow. I use my other relationships for different things. I have deeper emotional time with some of my more secure friendships. With my DA, there are moments of intimacy or closeness but that's usually followed by a period of time when they withdraw. Instead of taking this personally, I now understand he NEEDS that time. Like it's his survival. The attachment anxiety that often would cut me at my core and keep me awake at night, is EXACTLY the same panic he feels when he feels like the relationship is engulfing him.
Interacting with a DA is not easy and I'll never say it is. But it's been one of the most pivotal and life changing interactions I've ever had with another human being. I continue to be triggered at times with his passivity and lack of emotional language and engagement but I know that's never going to change and I've stopped expecting it to. I've also see him be incredibly kind and patient with me when I have an emotional outburst. I've seen him navigate the tricky waters of my emotions even though he doesn't want to. Underneath his tough exterior is a beautiful and sensitive soul. I interact with him these days in a sensible way. I save the emotions for other friends. I've learned that what he needs from me more than anything is is consistency. Unconditional positive regard. When I have to speak with him about something I make sure to word it in a way that doesn't feel like an outright attack or criticism. I'm very grateful for this experience and even though it's been the toughest relationship I've ever been in, I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.
I will say that while I have become more self aware through therapy and introspection, he has mainly only become more dismissive avoidant, lol. I hope the point of this post is not taken as allowing people to emotionally or physically abuse anyone. I do still call him on his shit when necessary but he's fairly aware of his issues anyway. The point of this post is really for people who truly love their DA and are tired of the emotional roller coaster. We can't control THEM, we can only control ourselves and by not only accepting him but also learning from him; I have been able to make this relationship better for both of us. If and when it no longer works for either of us, then it will be time to say goodbye. Even though I hope that day never comes, I know that I will be OK no matter what, and IRONICALLY it's because of this relationship that I'm at a place where I can say that.