Afraid to damage my relationship even more, help Feb 8, 2021 15:18:39 GMT via mobile
Post by armadillo5000 on Feb 8, 2021 15:18:39 GMT
"There's a lot of talk on these forums about how to talk to avoidant partners. It's a very common question (always wanting to talk to the avoidant "gently") because these dynamics often present similarly, and a frustrated partner comes here wondering if they can change things. But a lot of the advice goes the same way, because most of our experiences with this have gone the same way: you didn't cause them to have problems and so you can't fix them, and confronting them is likely to make them defensive and further shut down. However, it's probably worthwhile for you to read through some of the threads, which do have a range of experiences.
My general opinion is, you can try, but tread very lightly without expectations it'll sink in / change anything, and do not bring in your own agenda or you'll end up disappointed.
For your situation specifically, is your boyfriend leading this conversation or are you?
In my experience, someone saying what's wrong with me offhand, and especially when pressed by another person or when drinking etc. versus bringing it up pointedly, on their own, initiating a serious conversation about it when sober... isn't all that serious about it. If he's just saying it when you're bringing up how you feel, and he's not taking any action to really figure it out then he's not ready and you won't be able to change that. Him ignoring the mutual friend suggesting therapy without much or any follow up is very indicative of where he's at.
I have had "success" introducing attachment style to FRIENDS, but never to insecure significant others or exes. My most recent DA anecdote involves a friend IRL I've known for many years. He has said to me in passing a couple times in years past, I'm unhappy and I wonder why. I mentioned attachment style and therapy, he ignored it totally and resumed avoidance of his issues. A few months ago, on his own initiative, he was fairly upset about something that had happened in his life (unrelated to me). He had really thought it through and asked if we could have a serious conversation and maybe I could help. I listened, told him again about attachment style. He didn't even remember my saying it before, but THIS time, since he came to me about it when he was actually ready to listen, it stuck. Not only did he listen, he asked me for more information and resources and then took off getting into it on his own. I'd never actually seen him ready to deal with it before, but this time has been very different with lots of follow up action on his end. Again, we're totally platonic friends, no hidden agendas for either of us, and he seems to be making the progress he wants and is getting happier for it. It's very inspiring when someone is confronting their issues in earnest, which also makes it apparent when they're ready.
I also recommend taking a look at the book The Truth, by Neil Strauss. It was once recommended to me by an old poster on this forum. The summary version is, Neil had a life-long FA attachment style (though he doesn't really use any technical attachment theory terms in the book), and eventually earned secure (once he was in enough pain to truly want to heal). But it took a long time, and the depths he went to to stay in denial about the work he needed to do and avoid changing is stunning... in spite of his friends having told him all the answers he needed years earlier. He eventually comments near the end something like, you should listen to the people you trust because they probably know what they're talking about, but you likely won't listen until you're actually ready to hear it.
Having earned secure myself and knowing how difficult that was, and then reading this well-written account from someone who had an even harder time with it (but also got through it too!) was enlightening in regards to how internally-motivated the process is. These cycles that lead to unhappiness can be broken, but they really won't be until someone's ready to break them.
Thanks a lot for this!
I think from what you say it seems like I should have a conversation with him, because he seems to be looking for an advice but kinda afraid to properly talk about it. I understand him, it's easier to just ignore it.