Susan's Blog

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Navigating Hell

Every so often, I let a new person into my life. I don’t do this easily, because I don’t trust easily. I know the reasons for this, and I’ll sum them up by saying that certain inconsistencies in my childhood left their mark, and so trust comes hard.

But I have had this same experience more than once by now, where I am pursued by someone interested in being my friend, and I am not sure of them for some reason. Maybe I’m wrapped up in a project, or simply content with the friends I already have. But these pursuers persist, and I slowly give myself over to their friendship. And then something shifts, and I realize that this new friendship is important to me. I realize that I liked being pursued. As soon as I have this realization, I begin to get anxious about holding onto the relationship. I start noticing it. I start noticing the dynamic of who-is-calling-whom; who-initiates-what. I think this is known as an “anxious attachment,” and it is a very tough dysfunctional behavior to break. I remember way back when I was 10, and I had my first intense friendship, with someone named Cynthia. I remember when she told me I was her “best friend.” This thrilled me so much that I felt almost addicted to it. I asked her frequently if I were still her best friend. This was my first conscious anxious attachment. Eventually (eight years later) she dumped me.

I feel it happening now sometimes with someone who pursued me and made me feel like I was the finest person on earth. I was uncertain about it. At last I opened my heart, and shortly after, the anxious attachment began sinking its black teeth into the friendship. This person often withdraws. My evil insecurity poisons it. So that’s what I’m dealing with now. A feeling of wondering if I’m a chump for trusting, and the burning shame of feeling not appreciated for being who I am. I probably see these things coming and so I resist these intense new friends, but they get under my skin, especially if they are Tauruses.

I sometimes wonder if my anxious wiring is related to Nat’s being autistic. I feel that they are related; we are both on SSRIs, and we both obsess about things. I wonder if he is free from this sort of pain, because his relationships with people are so much more basic. Although maybe they feel very, very complicated to him.

I guess we all have our own private hells to navigate.



You and I are very much Alike in many ways..I too have attachment anxiety, hell I have anxiety over most anything…especially realtionships..I think that you recongnizing this as an issue is outstanding- do you know many people can’t? You are a very intellegent, attractive person who is worthy of much more than you allow yourself. Did you ever stop and think that is why people seek you out…I mean look at me I found you after reading your book and I was instantly taken with you and have never even met (god that sounds

I will not claim to know you, cause i really don’t but the above mentioned are just distant observation of what I think you to be….Since I do not have the balls to come and say half the stuff that I think to say to people for fear that they will be mad at me, let me pose this question to you simply like this…

Do you think people’s anxiety level has to do with their “contentness” or lack there of..?

I notice that the people that are just content just “to be” are most happy and void of anxiety…I unfortunately have never been content or void of anxiety…is this a stupid question?

— added by Kristen on Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 10:44 pm

Me too. I have a lot of anxiety about relationships. I am tentative about establishing them like you, because maybe I expect too much from people, and then everything unravels.

I’ve had a “fight” with a friend who I feel has been very superficial and plastic. It’s been hard not to tell her how she hurt me with her pity-ing, her do-gooder attitude for the sake of herself. She treated me like a charity case and all the while she thought she was wonderful.

Well, I blew that away recently and let her know how I felt.It is really very difficult and upsetting to not have close friends, which is made all more apparent because I now have different things that I need from my friends.

— added by Estee Klar-Wolfond on Friday, March 24, 2006 at 1:16 am

Kristin – I think anxiety level has to do with contentment, and that it’s an inverse relationship. But you can be anxious and still be OK in your attachments.

(I was content in October. Hubby’s job got insane, and more fell to me. Stress increased. Anxiety increased. Contentment plummeted. But my few friends were still available for support, so the attachments were still OK. I’m very fortunate in that I have some good friends whom I’ve known since college and who will at least be sympathetic or offer decent advice when I dump all my crap in my Live Journal.)

— added by Julia on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 at 8:41 am