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Addicted to Chasing Unavailable Lovers: Outer Child is a Notorious Abandoholic – Part 1

September 9, 2011 2 comments

Outer Child is a Notorious Abandoholic

© Susan Anderson 2010

What is Abandoholism?

You’ve heard of food-oholism, work-oholism, shop-oholism and, of course, alcoholism. Now here comes another, most insidious, addictive pattern – abandoholism.

Abandoholism is Outer Child’s tendency to become attracted to unavailable partners. Abandoholism is one of Outer’s most insidious patterns, and it is shared by millions.

Abandoholism is similar to the other “oholisms,” but instead of being addicted to a substance, you’re addicted to the emotional drama of heartbreak. You pursue hard-to-get partners to keep the romantic intensity going, and to keep your body’s love-chemicals and stress hormones flowing – an intoxicating brew to which you become both physically and emotionally addicted.

What makes someone an abandoholic?

Abandoholism sets in when you’ve been hurt so many times that you’ve come to equate insecurity with love. When your wires get crossed like this, unless you’re pursuing someone you’re insecure about, you don’t feel in love.

Conversely, when someone comes along who wants to be with you, that person’s availability fails to arouse the required level of insecurity. If you can’t feel those yearning, lovesick feelings, then you don’t feel attracted. Your Outer Child has taken hold and got you caught up in a pattern of pursuing unavailable partners. You’ve become neuro-biologically addicted to the high stakes drama of an emotional challenge and the love-chemicals that go with it.

This abandonment compulsion is insidious. You didn’t know it was developing. Until now you didn’t have a name for it: Abandoholism is a new concept.

Insecurity is an aphrodisiac.

If you are a hard-core abandoholic, you’re drawn to a kind of love that is highly combustible. The hottest sex is when you’re trying to seduce a hard-to-get lover. Insecurity becomes your favorite aphrodisiac. These intoxicated states are produced when you sense emotional danger – the danger of your lover’s potential to abandon you just when you start to attach.

At the other end of the seesaw, you start to turn off and shut down when you happen to successfully win someone’s love. If your lover succumbs to your charms – heaven forbid – you suddenly feel too comfortable, too sure of him to stay interested. There’s not enough challenge to sustain your sexual energy. You interpret your turn-off as his not being right for you.

How about following your gut?

If you’re an abandoholic, following your gut is probably what got you into this mess in the first place. Your gut gets you to pursue someone who makes your heart go pitter pat, not because he’s the right one, but because he arouses your subliminal fear of abandonment. And your gut gets you to avoid someone who is truly trustworthy, because he doesn’t press the right insecurity-buttons to create the aphrodisiac.

Enrich your mind. Follow your wisdom. But until you overcome your abandonment compulsion, don’t follow your gut – it will only get you into trouble – because your gut tells you that unavailable people are attractive.

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INSECURE? TAKE BACK CONTROL!

October 25, 2010 1 comment

Some people have written in this week about being in relationships where they feel painfully insecure. This kind of pain is different from that expressed by those who are lonely – folks who are emotionally alone because they can’t make a connection with anyone. Which pain hurts more? Most of us can identify with both of them. If your relationship gives you a constant knot in your stomach, you’re in a kind of torture that takes complete control over your life. After a while, being in the “one down” position brings shame. It causes your self-esteem to plummet. It causes your friends to lose patience with you.

It becomes a negative central focus for your life – an obsession. So why stay in? For most people, it’s because the fear of the other kind of pain — the pain of being completely alone — somehow seems worse. In fact, most people have a fear of being alone. The fear is always worse than the reality.

You rationalize staying in a painful relationship by telling yourself that a bad relationship is better than no relationship at all. Your fear of abandonment prevents you from taking any action that will sever the connection.

The antidote is to suddenly pull back and take stock. Helping people (and myself) to this point is always a challenge. The task involves putting on the breaks and taking complete responsibility for your own emotional well-being — whether you decide to stay in the relationship or not.

Stop looking to your partner to fulfill your needs. Due to the circumstances, you alone must make yourself secure — and not lay your needs at the feet of the other person. When you look to the other person, you give up your power.

When a relationship is going smoothly, you can afford to look to your partner for love and security. It’s normal to depend upon someone to care for you and give you mutual love. But when your partner isn’t meeting you halfway, your task is to get yourself out of the emotional torture. This is where you must act on the realization that you and only you are responsible for making you feel secure.

The tools are available: i.e., “Big You, Little You” from JOURNEY FROM ABANDONMENT or JOURNEY FROM HEARTBREAK. Learning how to take complete care of yourself emotionally is a task that will help you grow — and it might also salvage your relationship.

My Insecurity Drives Him Away

September 20, 2010 Leave a comment

When I give a workshop, the hottest issue people share about is the pattern of driving their lovers away due to their insecurity.

How many times have I heard: “They love me at first….until my intensity drives them away.”

As common a pattern as this is, the people struggling with in feel quite isolated. They feel they are in an abandonment box of their own making. They feel freakish for having this problem. They feel weak, unfit to be in a relationship. It’s such a painful pattern, and there are thousands of people out there suffering through it.

Insecurity creates such a disastrous dynamic in a relationship. It gives our power to our partners. It takes the mutuality out of the equation. It makes us overreact and over-need. Insecurity makes us want too much too fast. It gets us in over our heads. It causes us to aim our emotional suction cups at our partners. It makes us feel less about ourselves and our partners feel less about us. Feeling insecure and driving our partners away leads to self-loathing.

The first step is to stop beating ourselves up. Emotions are given. We can’t just switch them off, try as we might. We know our insecurity is turning the other person off, but we can’t just grab a magic dial and turn down the fear. We’d sure like to, at least in time to save the relationship, but we can’t just will our feelings away.

We need to DEAL with these feelings and there is a lot we can do to regain our balance. It begins when we end the protest.

Ending the protest means acceptance of the reality that we are responsible for our own emotional wellbeing. This is an enormous leap, and one I’ve written a great deal about in previous books, articles, blogs, etc.

If our neediness and insecurity are creating problems in our relationships, we have to realize that becoming emotionally self-assured is the only way to go – and what better time to learn this than right now, right in the midst of an insecurity crisis, where we are obsessed over our partner response toward us.

It’s important for people to understand that these emotional issues we’re struggling with are not due to any inherent weakness on our parts – they are most likely due to historic events that emotionally conditioned us to respond with fear. This emotionally conditioned response is quite involuntary – locked into our mammalian brains. The intense insecurity, neediness, fear, panic – these are not our faults, but since we’re plagued with them, we are responsible for “fixing” them.

I want to preach this from the rooftops, because people need to stop beating themselves up and instead take this leap to self-reliance. The alternatives are just too painful: Either to get caught up in patterns of constant re-abandonment (abandoholism) or avoid relationships altogether (abandophobism) in order to remove ourselves from the intense anxiety.

One thing about fear: rather than dissipate, it incubates over time. So if you just avoid the fear-causing situation (i.e. relationship), you are not healing the fear, you are allowing it to increase. This means that it will be right there, with an even stronger punch the next time you attempt to be with someone.

No, the only positive option is to use your insecurity as an opportunity to become emotionally self-reliant. This involves radical acceptance of your separateness as an individual. You must stop laying your need for security and reassurance at the feet of your partner and do all of that for yourself.

This is what motivated me to write my book BLACK SWAN as well as the others – because we feel so helpless and hopeless when we’re going through something like this, but it is the most amazingly beneficial opportunity we could ever have, if we know how to make this leap to emotional self-reliance. And very often we can do it in time to save the relationship.

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.

When Your Relationship Ends: Do You Blame Yourself?

June 28, 2010 1 comment

Blaming yourself for your relationship’s failure to thrive is a most painful type of regret. Beating yourself for losing someone’s love is true agony.

People often blame themselves for breakups, believing that their insecurity is what drove their partner away.

Another thing on which people blame their breakup is their own personal defects. They believe that their lackings, inadequacies, faults or negative behaviors drove away the person they love. They feel as if they’ve been condemned to involuntary aloneness as a form of personal punishment for their shortcomings.

People also blame the breakup on their supposed unworthiness. They feel they are lacking enough personal power to hold a person’s love. In short, their pain during the breakup is coming from feeling unlovable, that they’re somehow inherently lacking some essential ingredient of personal value. Otherwise, why would someone have thrown them away?

The truth is, we are all needy — especially when we are attempting a new relationship, and especially when the person we are attached to isn’t fulfilling our basic need for trust and security.

Unless we feel a mutual love and attachment coming from the other person, we can all become insecure and exhibit behaviors that are extreme and can drive the person further away.

The first step is to accept our humanness — neediness and insecurity are part of the human condition (even if most people don’t admit to them in public).

The task is to accept yourself, warts and all.

Don’t expect to be perfect.

Don’t expect other people to validate your worth. You must do that yourself, even at this painful moment when you are believing yourself unworthy of a relationship.

Stop looking to your ex to accept you. You must take 100 percent responsibility to give yourself the esteem that you need (that’s why it’s called self-esteem).

Your task is to give yourself security; it’s nobody else’s job — especially not your lover’s. Only you can do this. And as you do, you will become emotionally self-reliant. Write your ex a thank you note for motivating you to finally develop self-regard and self-respect.

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.