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    avacad0
    Participant

    Hi, I would love to hear from people who are struggling with balancing close relationships.

    I had a very difficult childhood with lots and lots of trauma and neglect. Now that I am a married woman with a family of my own I feel like the scars that I have been left with continues to haunt me. I have done a lot of inner work to make changes in very many relationships and I can say that I have really created healthy boundaries with people that have taken advantage of my deficit of being assertive. But I am still struggling immensely with relationships that either I need to connect to on a very deep level and it scares me to no end (in example my spouse) I have a very deep fear of rejection. And on the other side of the coin I have very deep struggles with keeping healthy boundaries when I meet a person that I really like and I feel like I want to connect to that person on a deeper level. I end up getting enmeshed and then feeling very rejected by that person because it gets too intense and unhealthy. I know it happens to me because I am missing the fundamental tools of balancing my emotions so that it should remain a healthy relationship. I get too caught up with the person and it causes me untold pain.

     

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    Chavy
    Participant

    Hi Avocad0e, this seems very hard and tricky and I think I can relate on some level. Like you said, I also have a hard time with relationships and they can get too intense bc my emotions get in the way. I’m just trying to understand…You mentioned that when you get too caught up in a relationship, “it causes me untold pain.” Is the pain from the fear and rejection you described and you’re therefore are scared to get too close? Meaning, is the the pain stemming more from childhood traumas or is it more recent pain? (Sorry for so many questions…)

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    avacad0
    Participant
    Topic Author

    I am missing the balance of having a really close relationship. I have a lot of friends but I rarely let my guard down. I’m usually the one dispensing advice or listening to people. The few times that I did let my guard down to people that I decided to instinctively trust I ended up getting hurt by the relationship. I get attracted to people that are very confident and charismatic and I get blinded by their power. I had two very painful experiences where I opened up to them and I felt rejected. Both times I only opened up because they sort of won me over. They wanted to connect to me and I chose to trust them. Now I am left with the remnants of the pain that one of these relationships has caused me.

    I am very grateful that I learnt not to push away my negative emotions that I’m feeling. So although I am struggling to be calm and happy I know that the fact that I let the feelings just be is such progress from where I’m coming from.

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    Chavy
    Participant

    Hi Avocad0e, I can totally understand that. I too am attracted to others that are very calm and confident, and sometimes, my intense emotions cause the relationships to fall through. I know how that pain feels; not very good. It’s hard to open up again after being pushed away several times. Is there something that you can pinpoint that may give you a hint/clue as to why that happens? I know that I latch onto such people and can be overbearing which I’m working on. It’s amazing that you’re still with your negative emotions even with all the pain. So, kudos to you for that!

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    Chany
    Participant

    Hi avocado i think i understand what you’re going through and it sounds painful because you’re trying to get it right and make it right. Trying to Prove to yourself that you can have deep relationships and they won’t hurt you or that you need to stay away to preserve yourself. Your past has taught you that getting too close is dangerously painful and your present is showing you that lacking intimate connection is painful. So you find yourself stuck between pain and pain and i can relate to that because i often find myself stuck in between two paths where there is fear of pain in any choice i make. So what to do? i think the best place to start is to decide which pain can you tolerate living with for now? The pain of striving for intimate relationships and continuously course correcting until you find the relationships that made the “fighting” for it worth it. Or the pain of keeping up your guard and starving for more connection here and there but riding out those feelings and realizing is the price to pay for fear and pain the alternate way. It sounds like you desire the former and ultimately healthier route but beat yourself up when you get hurt. I suggest you celebrate those times because they are the reminders that you made a decision and you’re fighting for something worthwhile and getting closer everyday. The relationships that are sustaining will make it all worth it. Of course there will be times intimate relationships are difficult and you get hurt but again your committment to work through the pain and not necessarily cut off the relationship will help make it stronger and healthier. Don’t blame yourself for the pain – it’s a normal part of development especially considering a past you described. If you can find the strength to keep working on finding and developing these healthy intimate bonds you win everyday.

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    avacad0
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you Chany, yes you totally described my struggles. thanks for the validation I greatly appreciate it. It was so calming to be able to read exactly what I am struggling with, you really got me!

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    Fern Weis
    Participant

    AvacadO, I, too, look for deeper connections.  The surface level feels superficial and unsatisfying.  It can be helpful to be an observer of yourself.  When you meet someone and start to cultivate a relationship, consider asking yourself a few exploratory questions:

    What do I find appealing about this person?
    Is there something going on my life that has me feeling more ‘susceptible’ to being drawn into a relationship?
    What evidence is there that this person is looking for the same depth of connection? (Has s/he confided in me or reciprocated in a meaningful way?)

    This may give you some insights and awareness to continue looking for more, or not. The idea is to become aware so that you don’t all of a sudden find yourself rejected and adrift, wondering how you got there again.

    I don’t know if this will appeal to you or not, but I have been listening to, and reading a lot from, Brene Brown.  She started out as researcher in the areas of vulnerability and shame.  “We are hardwired for connection,” she says.  We can only be truly connected when we are vulnerable, which means giving something of yourself, which is a risky proposition.  And yet, there are no meaningful, truly satisfying relationships without it.  Sorry to ramble, there is so much more to her work and teaching. I love tapping in to her wisdom.

    You do have choices (even though it feels like this is just happening to you.  You can be the person who chooses relationships.

    I read something recently in a book by Rabbi Rami Shapiro,  Recovery: The Sacred Art.  He says that we are all addicts, addicted to control and the illusion that we have any control over our lives.  What is up to us, however, is our next step.  We can’t control what happens to us, only what we do next.  With that in mind, you can cultivate your self-awareness and be an active participant in influencing how your relationships evolve.

    All the best,

    Fern

     

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    avacad0
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you for your insight about my struggle that I have shared. I read your post and it resonated with me. I totally agree with the concept of giving of yourself in order to connect, and that is why it was so painful how this person sort of backed away, because my issue is not about giving, the problem with me is that I always want to give and not to take. This time I opened up about my struggles (which I rarely do) and this person also shared a lot of personal information with me. I really thought it was balanced. I took the risk of sharing some very vulnerable things about myself. It took a huge amount of courage to do this. I hope I will continue to try to pursue deep and healthy relationships even if I got so hurt.

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    Chany
    Participant

    thank you fern for sharing that wisdom. It resonated with me as well. Avocado, what happened that made you get hurt? You said There was some balance in the sharing of vulnerability and then what happened? Can it be that you are reading into a response as a rejection when in reality it is just a different style of maintaining an intimate relationship? Like i know for myself, I have some friends who i am connected with more deeply and we can have weeks and months where we don’t really speak or  connect or even check in in an intimate way at all because life got to us. But we both know that if either reached out or needed or wanted to reconnect the other would be there, and that is enough on some level even though it would sometimes be nice to have an initiation more frequently etc. but it doesn’t mean the relationship is not intimate or meaningful if it comes and goes in waves of connection and separation. Any of this resonates?

     

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    Fern Weis
    Participant

    Chany, I love the point you made.  Here’s what it brings up for me…

    Sometimes I meet someone and feel a connection pretty quickly.  But what can happen is that it’s not enough to maintain a relationship. Avocado, I think it’s about expectations going in.  It sounds like you want so much for it to work out that you are understandably  disappointed when it doesn’t. If I want that too much, I believe the other person can feel it, that pressure for it to be something more than it is at that time.  I have no doubt that at times in my life my neediness has come through and  maybe scared someone away.  Or maybe it’s just that we were exploring, kind of like dating and getting to know someone.  After a few dates you realize that the initial excitement and possibilities have faded and it’s not  going to be a lasting relationship.

    I also remember being at a job, many jobs, and becoming good friends with a co-worker, and when I left the friendship disintegrated.  The thing that brought us together was not enough to keep us together once that ‘container’ of our job was gone.  It was sad, and yet it’s a normal thing that happens.

    You mentioned getting enmeshed and having trouble with personal boundaries.  Have you sought any help for this?  You have been open and vulnerable here. Could you trust a therapist, too?

    By the way, I remember having those AHA moments of self-awareness and thinking, “Wow, it was hard work getting here. Surely something will change now.”  And then the awareness that this was just the first step.  I couldn’t make those changes by myself.  It definitely took help from an outsider.

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    avacad0
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Both Chany and Fern have very strong points in what has happened to me. I do have certain expectations because of my extreme perfectionist of doing the right thing at all times. I am learning to let go of that and not to expect people to always do what I view as the “right thing” people have different definitions of what is the correct way of doing things in different situations. Also it is so true that I jump to conclusions very quickly and assume things from my limited perception. This friend that I thought backed away was just busy with her life. She reached out to me recently and we had a real nice time together. In my mind i was already working on letting go and i was feeling so hurt, when in reality she still considers me a friend…..In my mind everything gets so magnified.

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    Chany
    Participant

    Aha i love this. thanks so much for sharing this avocado  because that has happened to me so many times and i think it happens to so many until we learn the pattern and lesson for life. Not everything is about us, for better or for worse…

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