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Archive for July, 2010

Wanting the Unavailable

July 29, 2010 1 comment

Why do  we chase men and women who are emotionally unavailable?

Most people think they are specially equipped with radar to detect the right person – if not at first sight, at least by the second date. but a common bind for many is that you are only attracted to unavailable partners.  Your radar hones in on those who are destined to leave you in the end.  You are caught up in cycles of abandonment.

If this describes your love life, it may be that while you believe you are looking for a relationship, you are in fact seeking infatuation. When someone comes along who wants to be with you, he or she is too easy-to-get to arouse that “required level of insecurity.”  If you can’t feel those yearning, craving sensations, you think you aren’t “in love.” So you keep pursuing partners who offer an “emotional challenge” in order to stay infatuated.

What is this chase all about?

Many people are afraid of commitment — they fear both abandonment and engulfment — and pursue unavailable partners to avoid risking a real relationship.  Another cause lies buried in your early relationship with your parents.  Maybe you felt rejected or dismissed, or struggled to win their approval or recognition.  Now as an adult you’re easily “hooked” when someone pushes these old insecurity buttons.  Another cause is low self-esteem:  You wouldn’t want anyone who would want you.  You place yourself in one-down position to others, making yourself more easily dismissed. You may stay in the drama of pursuing hard-to-get lovers in order to distract yourself from an old wound.

To break the cycle:

  1. The first step is to recognize whether you have this problem.
  2. Question your motives: Are you looking for the emotional high of infatuation or are you seeking a trusting, loving, mutual relationship? In other words are you seeking romance instead of relationship?
  3. Reexamine your values about who is a “good catch.” False notions about love, about what a relationship is supposed to be, and about what kind of partner to choose, may be keeping you outside of love.  Revamp your old values left over from high school — the ones based on looks, money, status and the size of a person’s ego, rather than on his/her capacity for love and connection.
  4. Recognize that these patterns don’t just go away because you’ve become aware of them.  You have to change behavior.  Open yourself to new truths, new values, new experiences, and new people.
  5. Make breaking this pattern a primary goal of self-improvement and therapy.  As you aim toward your higher self, you become capable of mutual relationship.
  6. Be suspicious of your gut — when you feel attracted to someone, it may be because he/she is emotionally unavailable.  Your gut most likely go you into this pattern in the first place.  As you change your values, you’ll learn to distinguish being “attracted” from being “interested” in a truly emotionally reliable partner.
  7. Be suspicious of your notion that you “just haven’t met the right person.”  Maybe the right person came by and was too available — and it turned you off.
  8. Ask your prospective lovers how they ended their past relationships. Reading between the lines, you may be able to spot and abandoner — someone who can’t commit and who blames it on their former partners’ supposed inadequacies and faults in order to justify breaking up with them.
  9. Learn to tolerate being loved.  The feelings of trust, mutuality, and security are different from the intense emotional high of insecurity.  After pursuing unavailable partners, being loved takes some getting used to.
  10. When you find someone who is worthy of trust and commitment, rather than expect love to be an infatuated feeling that “washes over you.” think of love as an action verb that involves conscious choice and caring actions.

Hurts So Good?

July 28, 2010 2 comments

So many of you write about the pain you feel when someone you’re attached to turns out to be emotionally unreliable. So why is it so hard to leave these types of relationships?

It seems that negative attractions can be more compelling than positive ones.  Traumatic bonding, a highly prevalent condition of human relationship, has an addictive biochemistry of its own.  Fear and pain are powerful reinforcers — powerful enough, in many cases, to turn even the strongest into Pavlov’s dogs, salivating for someone we know is no good for us.

The animal kingdom offers many examples of this.  For instance, when a researcher steps on the toe of a duckling, it follows him more closely than before.

The hazing ritual involved in joining a fraternity is based on this principle.  Pain and humiliation inflicted upon the pledges increase the loyalty in the fraternal bond.

So what are the signs that you are involved in negative attraction?

  • You lose emotional control over your life as your partner constantly violates the trust of your relationship.
  • You feel desperately needy because your partner has been withholding of love and unreliable.
  • Your partner hasn’t treated you with the respect you know you deserve, and yet you keep going back for more
  • You feel addicted to your partner though you know he or she is only bringing you down.

How to Cope

Each one of us has a bottom, and it’s up to us to realize when we’ve reached that bottom.  Then we have to take action to regain control of our lives.

An addictive relationship is a lot like alcoholism.  You can’t just have a little “sip” of your partner without wanting the whole relationship.  And yet your partner is not willing or able to give you that, so you spend your entire life craving something you can’t have.

If the relationship is really destructive and damaging your life, you will probably have to abstain to regain control.  Yes, that may mean breaking away from your relationship, finding closure, letting go, moving forward.  Friends can help, but if you’re still stuck, get professional counseling.

In a negative attraction, it’s the boundary between reason and emotion that becomes blurred.  Only you can put an end to the addictive pattern and create a healthy boundary.  Sometimes it takes grit. Be tough as nails and act according to your own better judgement.

Should You Be Friends with Your Ex?

One of the major reasons heartbreak hurts so much is the lack of closure. Sometimes remaining friends with your ex offers the opportunity to maintain a dialogue in which a greater understanding about the issues leading to the breakup can be exchanged. Other times, contact with an ex can prolong the pain and delay closure.

Becoming friends means that you are able to disengage the gears of the romantic connection and face each other as separate individuals. This can provide the opportunity to reconcile differences and, in some cases, reconnect on new terms. Or you can use the opportunity to say what needs to be said in order to put the romantic feelings to rest.

But each time you have contact with your ex, you risk disappointment and further rejection. It’s important to have realistic expectations so that you don’t set yourself up for re-abandonment, which can hurt even more than the original tear. The constant re-wounding can delay the process of healing.

It’s important to question your motives in seeking a friendship with your ex. Are you settling for crumbs rather than go through emotional starvation? This may be an indication that the abandonment experience has lowered your sense of entitlement. After all, heartbreak can cause our self-esteem to plummet. It is important to avoid acting out this sense oflow self-worth at this vulnerable time. In spite of feeling at an all-time low, remind yourself that these feelings are temporary and that you are worthy of being fully loved. Fight to sustain your belief in yourself.

Sometimes people are fooling themselves in believing they can handle having a friendship with their ex. They are subjecting themselves to greater pain by staying friends, because they fail to recognize that they do have the strength to stand on their own two feet.

Many find that breaking the attachment to their ex allows them to develop emotional self-reliance and restore their injured self-esteem.

Examine the issues. Ask yourself: Am I staying friends to become emotionally stronger? Or am I just resisting “letting go?”

Does staying friends with my ex allow me additional closure, resolution of hurt feelings, and an opportunity to heal? Or does it prolong my sense of rejection, self-doubt and emotional hunger?

Does staying friends help me heal, or does it delay the moment when I must push forward and forge new relationships?

Taming Your Outer Child: Overcoming Self-Defeating Patterns can now be preordered.

Do you have an outer child?  Go to www.outer-child.com to see the checklist and learn more about self-sabotaging your *relationships *diets and *finances *etc. and what to do about it.

Stuck in Relationship Patterns

We all know people who are stuck in patterns. They’re alone and unfulfilled because they keep pursuing unavailable partners. When someone comes along who is genuinely interested, they push him or her away because they feel no attraction. Their lives are caught up in cycles of abandonment.

Why do we keep repeating the same patterns over and over and what can we do about them?

Step 1: Admit that you have the problem. This is an enormous step because it’s so easy to disguise it by telling yourself that you “just haven’t met the right person.” The truth is that even if the right person came along, unless he or she made you feel that old emotional hunger, you wouldn’t be attracted to him or her.

Step 2: Accept how futile it is to go through life being attracted only to unavailable people and running away from people who are genuinely available. Owning up to your pattern will create a turning point in your life.

Step 3: Recognize that you’re not alone. Millions of people like you are caught up in these patterns and don’t know how to get out.

Step 4: Be determined to break this pattern. Determination is absolutely necessary because this is a very hard problem to break. There is a way out, but insight alone won’t change it. You have to actively work on it.

Step 5: To keep you on track, consider seeking help from a counselor, trusted friend, or sponsor. Writing in a journal also helps. Be rigorously honest with yourself and others.

Step 6: Re-evaluate your old belief system about who is a “good catch” and what love is. Many of your values are undoubtedly left over from high school or from growing up with your parents.

Step 7: Once you identify faulty values, discard them. They have become bad emotional habits, so you must challenge them actively in your journal, in discussions with others, and in your everyday life.

Step 8: Redefine what love is all about. Mature love involves not constantly pursuing hard-to-get lovers, but mutual caring, trust, respect, sharing, and commitment. Seek a relationship instead of romance.

Step 9: Be realistic. Change won’t happen overnight. Your body is conditioned to feel turned on only when you feel insecure; otherwise you sexually and romantically shut down. You (and your body) have temporarily lost your capacity to appreciate mutual attachment. It takes time to retrain yourself to respond to new cues.

Step 10: To guide your journey, remain open to your own truth. Being rigorously honest with yourself and significant others helps your higher self to emerge — a higher self no longer stuck in patterns.

Step 11: Take positive risks. Reach out to activities and people beyond your usual circle to practice your hidden interests and capabilities. Become your higher self by sharing your changing values with others.

Step 12: What do you do when you slip back into the pattern? Understand what causes you to be attracted to the unavailable and summon the will to change it.

Why are you love-challenged? Because past heartbreaks have caused your wires to cross. You’ve come to confuse insecurity and longing with love. Your emotional pendulum swings between fear of engulfment and fear of abandonment. Insecurity has become your favorite aphrodisiac. Only you can uncross those wires. Re-examine your values, challenge your old beliefs and relearn how to love.

Taming Your Outer Child: Overcoming Self-Defeating Patterns can now be preordered.

Do you have an outer child?  Go to www.outer-child.com to see the checklist and learn more about self-sabotaging your *relationships *diets and *finances *etc. and what to do about it.