My boyfriend is AA. He is giving me the silent treatment right now. It’s been since Saturday night. I’m just figuring all this out since I thought the love bombing for awhile might be narcissistic. I mentioned someone trying to hit on me at midnight while we were talking. I was really thinking out loud since a text came through sort of late and even though it was benign i thought out loud ‘ohhh…someone is trying to hit on me?’ And he then shut down and was upset. Said he had a lot to do..important business things the next day and was annoyed i had mentioned another person. We are fairly new and I’ve always been honest about these things in past relationships. I find its best to be honest but i don’t find that to be the case with him.
I’m really trying to figure out if this many days not hearing from someone who is actually my boyfriend makes sense for protest behavior? Especially since it was so slight. He had been talking about how happy i make him and called me 3-4 times that night and said I love you a so many times right before that. I maybe was feeling a little unsure myself and maybe he caught onto the fact i didn’t say i love you back. He didn’t respond to my texts the next day or the day after and i haven’t tried to call. He usually calls everyday. Should i be still considering this protest behavior or can it be more sinister? I don’t understand what I should do.
We are fairly new and I’ve always been honest about these things in past relationships. I find its best to be honest but i don’t find that to be the case with him.
I'm sorry that this is painful and your relationship is confusing. But in regards to what to do, I'd first ask myself about this snippet you posted. I agree that it is best to be honest, as enduring and healthy relationships are built on trust and communication! If you feel like you cannot be honest with him, does this relationship really work for you? You can listen to your instincts and trust them... if they're telling you can't always be honest with him, it is a huge red flag. If you're being neglected for days even though you didn't really do anything wrong, even if that's out of protest behavior, is that a good match or relationship dynamic that works for you? Since things are new, they should be easier than they currently are. That's when people are trying to show their best sides as they get to know each other. He's showing you he would rather hide and mope or wait for you to chase him rather than acting like an adult and telling you what he needs to say. It is never healthy to be expected to mind-read in a relationship. Why are you willing to tolerate it when he's taking his issues out on you?
I’m really upset that he is capable of doing this. It does make me question whether I will be able to continue. I just spent the week supporting him through a rough patch in his career. I’m super surprised he would turn around and treat me like this. I spent the week building him up and telling him how great he was so he could do well and be confident. I’ll also say he made me sick during the week, giving me his illness and he didn’t really seem remorseful or too worried. He should be checking up on me this week because he is back in town and can send me soup or something, but he hasn’t even called. I feel like I’m being treated the worse that i can possibly be treated and i am searching for understanding to address it when he does return. But it almost seems like he is waiting for an apology? Or for me to reach out? I don’t want to play games but i also don’t want to set this up so that he thinks ‘this worked.’ I’m confused if I’m dealing with anxious attachment or not. Is the silent treatment for days something that is typical???
So if I understand you correctly, you're asking if he has attachment issues or something else, such as a personality disorder? We don't have enough information to tell you from what you've posted. I'm inclined to say if he's anxious, he's on the fearful avoidant side because it's pretty difficult for someone anxious preoccupied to give the silent treatment for 6 days early in the relationship like this. Even in protest, it is always about seeking reconnection. But if you believe he was love bombing you before, he's being dismissive of you and your health now, and you haven't been dating long, I don't think it really matters how you "diagnose" him. He's not treating you the way you seek or deserve. There's really no excuse for that. Someone can have attachment issues that make relationships challenging, but that doesn't mean they will be or should be cruel. A person can have attachment issues but also good character and be aware and trying to work through their issues without taking them out of the partner. A person can also just be a jerk, whether they have attachment issues or not. If he's not communicating, he's not working through his issues. He's instead taking them out on you, and there's really no excuse for that. If you're looking for a healthy relationship and a good partner, you should reconsider this situation.
I used to be AA, and I'd never treat someone the way he's treating you. I'm now secure, which means I know what it takes to get emotionally healthy from a deeply insecure place (and it takes a lot). Which means that I cannot diagnose him for you, but I can assure you that he's not on the right track to treat you any better than he is right now. When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
I sent him a text on Sunday and another on Monday. I haven’t heard back from him and he reaches out normally. My guess its for ‘punishment’ because last time i told him the truth about going on a date with someone while we were still just seeing each other, he furrowed his eyebrows an looked really upset and asked me to come clean if there was anything else. But it seems that he doesn’t get life because I had only been on one date with him and he was mad i went out with someone else? ANyway, he mentioned during this episode that ‘next time its going to be worse..’ and so it seems that me being honest about someone texting me made it worse. Blah. So, yes, I’m in surprise that this is how he is handling this. But i also didn’t say i love you back to him when he said it to me, so i can see how maybe he is desperate and trying to get my attention. It’s all very hard to know. Fearful avoidants are my specialty….I’ve dated a few. I thought i was doing the best thing possible, dating a sort of clingy, interdependent man like him. I was taking a break from the FAs. I myself am an FA. He did no warning me that he had issues. He did say ‘i walk away faster than people run.’ Was that FA warning? He has taken time away where he has had to go scuba to clear his head and I’ve heard little from him. He would respond after a few hours maybe and not reach out. But reach out after trip ended (few days). He was technically not my boyfriend back then though. ANd the walking comment was related to work. I just took it as a threat for our relationship….maybe that was FA warning? But it could also be Anxious, right? I thought I knew how to see a FA a mile away. This one did other protest behavior like threaten to break up and ultimatums because he was scared he was being strung along. Called me up and asked me why I wanted to date him. Sounded low when he did it. Belittled himself. Most of the time he would talk himself up. I would point to him and say ‘why would anyone cheat on you?’ And he would say ‘I know! Right?’ He has a nice body. Lol. But there was one time where he was like mad i wasn’t calling him my boyfriend and he said ‘if no one will love me then I’ll get a dog.’ Almost like it was actually what he was thinking. I was so clueless about his constant protest behavior that I didn’t even realize all of it was anxious until i looked it up. Then i realized he was seeking closeness not faking it. I was so used to FAs that i am guarded and recovering FA myself.
I’m working on it and trying to figure out whether any of this is worth it. I can make him feel more secure now that I know he is anxious. I hadn’t realized that before. I was always scared he could run away i guess, like he did. So maybe he is FA. I don’t know.
ANyway, he mentioned during this episode that ‘next time its going to be worse..’
You're going to make your own decisions no matter what any of us say, but my response to this in the rest of the context is, run. This is scary for me to even read. He's withdrawn from you while threatening next time he'll do something worse? This is a sign of escalating abuse. Please just let him go and do not abandon yourself. You cannot make him secure.
Staying with someone because they're clingy is not a healthy solution to the FA-FA pairing dynamic problem. It isn't healthy either, it is just different. A healthy person isn't clingy. They want to see you and won't play games about how they feel, but they're also fine on their own. You're trying to dismiss all his red flags so you can stay with him because you're attempting to do something different than your "type," but he's not healthy or emotionally available either even if it looks different than the guys you've dated before who primarily leaned avoidant instead of anxious.
This isn't a relationship it's an insecure power struggle. Your own line of thinking here is unhealthy, but you're focusing on him and his behavior. Try to step back and take a look at how you are showing up in this dynamic.... as a fixer (building him up so he can be confident) a martyr (I've done so much good for and this is how he treats me?). This is constructive criticism, not bashing. If his is protest behavior, what is your behavior? That's the insight you need to become healthier and choose available partners. Good luck. I know this hurts but only you can choose change. It's an illusion to think that if you do something different you might get something better from him.... that's the fixer / helper mentality, and it will never bring you happiness.
I’m not sure what to think. I did everything I could to not follow my own FA patterns and I did a damn good job. I was proud of myself for seeing him multiple times a week. I would even drive to him, which is a boundary i would throw up to make someone prove to me they really wanted to see me in the past. I felt i made quite an effort to not be FA. I moved passed that and did a good job, is what i mean. It takes effort to recover. It took me effort, at least. But he was clingy. And it was very hard to know how to handle early efforts to get me into a relationship. He is a passionate artist, so it was hard to understand him. I am an artist too, but not in the same capacity as him. There was a lot of really relating to each other and motivating each other in our arts. It was kinship only creatives can really feel with creatives. That’s the good i meant. I was concerned when he was furrowing his eyes brows and saying it would get worse. I didn’t quite get what he meant. So i assume this is a punishment now. Which I’m struggling with the idea he would dole out a punishment. What I’m trying to decide is if i just run, because this is very toxic, or i give a chance to hear him out and let him know this isn’t an acceptable way of communicating with me. FAs don’t really punish like this from my experience. That’s why I saw him as anxious. A close friend of mine asked her boyfriend questions and he said it was obvious i mentioned the other guy on purpose. If this is his response to assuming i did it on purpose….well, he just doesn’t get me. I wouldn’t do that on purpose. I just say things as they come to me. I don’t really try too hard to keep things from people and I’m a little too honest. He might still not get that…i did consider he might be on the spectrum. That he doesn’t get that I’m not trying to intentionally harm him? I don’t know. Still working through it.
People with anxious attachment don't punish others just because they have an anxious attachment style. Some may do so simply because they suck as people or are too immature for romantic relationships, or their anxious attachments are co-morbid with other mental health problems. Plenty of anxious attachers are not mean or cruel, same as any other insecure attachment style. Same thing if he's on the spectrum: that doesn't give him an excuse to be mean. I know many people on the spectrum, and they are not punishing others even if they are missing cues or are confused. So don't give him the excuse of attachment style or mental health problem or on the spectrum to explain it away.
This is also all true of any insecure attachment type, even if it looks different between types. Some anxious people will have unhealthy skills to deal with conflict. Maybe all they have in their toolbox of defense mechanisms is protesting. Some fearful avoidants will do the same, because they can get triggered anxious. Some dismissive avoidants can punish by stonewalling. Many insecure attachers won't punish at all because that's not who they are as people.
But this is also up to you. Don't choose someone who has the capacity to be vindictive!
It sounds like you're trying to do the work and change your more dysfunctional behaviors. That's good! But something that's very important is you can change your own behaviors and try to be more trusting, then choose to be doing that with someone who has their own problems and can't be trusted. It has nothing to do with you, but it'll have the same exact outcome as if you were dysfunctional on your side of things. Because both pieces need to be true: you acting healthier and improving your relationship and ability to communicate, trust, and connect with yourself and others, AND you choosing to have people around you who are indeed trustworthy. Practicing better relationship skills on someone who cannot receive it because they are emotionally unhealthy will still result in you getting hurt for choosing to trust and open up to an unsafe person. Even if, again, the reason they are unsafe and toxic is not your fault.
You put in effort this time, and it was not a waste of your time. That effort showed you quickly who he really is. You said he's someone who stonewalls you and confuses you, tries to be controlling, makes you feel punished, and threatens that things will get worse. That's not up to you to fix. Do you feel a voice inside you saying to protect yourself? Or do you feel a familiar attraction, because there were people you needed to keep close by you when you were a child even if they were treating you poorly and not able to meet your needs?
Do not stick around trying to make this guy "healthier." Listen to his warning that things will get worse. You can try telling him you don't find this behavior acceptable before you break up and see what he does, it is good to practice honest communication so you get better at it, but I don't expect it will change much since your gut is that being honest with him makes things worse since HE is too emotionally unhealthy. Once again, not your fault.
Keep doing your work on yourself. But changing your behaviors on the surface isn't enough to automatically find healthier partners. It's part of the bigger picture that's involved in healing the trauma that led to you developing an FA attachment style as a defense mechanism. And there's a TON of information on this forum for FA and others to work on themselves to get more secure.
Thanks Alexandra. It feels like I’ve made so much progress. I hear the little voice in my head to run. This guy was very upfront and willing to speak up when i would give up. He would say ‘no no…come back..’ or ‘I thought you’d stay the full day?’ The issue for me has been….am I being an FA by running or am I scared of him? Honestly. I had a very abusive marriage and almost died. I know why I am an FA. Pain=love. When I used to hear the voice before this man, I would run. I would actually run. This guy has been able to say ‘no..don’t go…don’t be upset by what i just said.’ And I’ve been able to stay…because he would say ‘you are hot and cold,’ and i would recognize that that was likely me being an FA. But I felt like really unsure if I was truly being an FA just acting like an FA for no reason or he was actually all wrong. I keep having a hard time distinguishing between the impulse to ‘run’ from being an FA and ‘run’ from him being unsafe. I’ve maybe squelched all running assuming its me being an FA. I dealt with two FAs in a row with confusing behavior that hurt me. One specifically was hot and cold in the same conversation and I learned to recognize that behavior better in me after the pain of him. So now I’m left assuming every running feeling is my confusion because of me. Not because he is unsafe. I do feel like I don’t know how to choose the right people still. How do i learn to choose the correct people? I google what’s the characteristics of a good person and things like that to make sure i can spot them. I google red flags…I’m trying so hard to choose correctly.
I understand, and it's hard to trust yourself when you've had toxic relationships in the past. But, he's also acting hot and cold, so calling you out for it may be his projection and playing on your fears about running. It must have come up if you had a conversation that he walks faster than people run, and I don't know what you've told him about your history with that. But in your posts about what he's saying and doing, it seems like he's using your fears against you to try to get you to stay in spite of his bad behavior.
Someone emotionally safe won't play games with you and you won't be confused about where you stand or who they are, because it will all be consistent. Like, even if you're triggered to run, if a person is safe and you are triggering yourself, it will still be much more clear that the fear is your issues and not the other person (because you won't be able to clearly identify anything the other person is doing to cause the desire to run and might start even trying to reach and find any reason to attempt to explain and justify running). If they are unsafe, you'll have real reasons to be concerned, reasons like you've expressed here about this guy.
The answer to your question about how to fix your picker and choose the right partners is in strengthening yourself and healing your trauma. If you can trust yourself and build up a stronger sense of identity and self-esteem, then you won't tolerate behavior that makes you feel uncomfortable, because you will value yourself and believe you deserve better. But it's not easy, and it takes time. Have you tried any forms of therapy to deal with your past trauma and abusive relationships?
alexandra lkj Yes, I was thinking about if I should post it in the fa forum section instead ?
What do you girls think…? Should we move some of the thread/posts to the fa section ?
It can be difficult for people with some desorganised attatchment style to listen to/to feel their intuition, their boundaries - they can’t always trust their body sensations/their gut the same way, as the other attatchmentstyles can, so there are speciel tips and tricks to help them
lkj you can just copy paste some of your posts into a new thread in the fa section
Anne12, I’m not sure how to move a thread? Anyway, if you’d like to, its fine by me. I do agree maybe more relevant to FAs now. I’ll check out the links! I definitely have no idea how to tell if I’m concerned about danger or if I’m getting an FA fear response. They feel the same, maybe? i did ask over and over for friends to meet him. The most alarming thing that happened was when his friend that i hadn’t met before, sat down and said ‘he’s a total psychopath.’ My boyfriend was in the kitchen pressing his perfect coffee from Brazil in his perfect way by using all his weight instead of using a button with a machine (he literally was straddling and contorted trying to achieve this…it was not a French press) and it was meant to be a joke because he is an absolute perfectionist for certain but i had googled signs of psychopath that week, so it was hard for me to feel easy about it. My friends tell me stop googling all these things and they say I’m looking for reasons to not be with him…but this week of no silence shows that it wasn’t just me being scared. He is from another country. He is eastern european. So a lot of his strange behaviors i wondered if they were cultural and it was difficult to tell if it was him,me or upbringing/culture.