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Is anyone else afraid to attach?

N

notrealname

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May 4, 2009
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I've done loads of thinking (again...sorry...). About this time last year, I was talking to people about the fact I seem not to get attached platonically - it just doesn't happen, I just don't feel bonded. Over the last year, I seem to have bonded a lot more with my closest friends because I'm letting them in more, but mostly I feel unbonded to people and don't feel any urge to make friends in the same way others do.

I was trying to decide how I felt about intimate relationships, have read all sorts of theories on this, and didn't seem to fit in any theoretical box, but I think I've really seen what pattern there is now - I think I fear becoming attached at all.

I mostly didn't feel any form of attachment to boyfriends until I was in my early 20s, but when I look at diaries etc. it seems attachment itself is what bothers me and makes me anxious. I read a line in my diary from when I was about 20 that I couldn't stop thinking about the boyfriend I had at that time and that it was interrupting my revision and felt the same anxiety reading it back that I would have felt at the time - "this is not safe and it is undignified". Now I think about it, he had actually sent me a message not long before that said he couldn't stop thinking about me and it was interrupting his work, so he obviously did not feel fear when he had the same sensation, whereas I hated it.

I tend to go into things with the absolute expectation that I will not get attached - that I will be 'in control' - and my initial (internal) response to all men is that I will leave after a few months because they're clearly not the person I want to be with and this is all just a bit of fun. But then my internal feelings can change (they don't always), especially if I appear to be rejected, dismissed or ignored, and I find the idea that my mood is in any way dependent on another's actions both terrifying and shameful. I start to try and internally control by getting ultra logical with myself and repeatedly reading out my kind of 'list of mental values' to myself in my head - my career is the most important thing, relationships are the icing on the cake but are absolutely inessential, the outcome of this does not matter etc. But if (when) this doesn't seem to work I feel helpless and frustrated that I do not seem to be in control. Looking back now, I can see that I have felt depressed and anxious whenever I have missed a boyfriend when I've gone away without them for a week or so. I've felt this was not the correct way to feel. It's like I constantly aim for indifference. I am afraid of others having any effect on me whatsoever. I just find it undignified, like I say.

Having realised this about myself, a lot of stuff makes sense. It makes sense why I used to get obsessed with celebrities or people who lived very far away and not understand why (and I found that repulsive and undignified too...) - it's because an attachment with someone you will never meet is safe. I have also noticed that I do not fear being alone, but I do fear meeting someone I like (which, fortunately for me, appears to happen extremely, extremely rarely).

Does anyone else recognise this? Is this a thing other people get? Is it perhaps a fear of vulnerability? I think it may also be a fear of having my independent self-concept challenged and having to reduce my reliance on that to give me pride.

As an adjunct....does it matter? I feel relief now that I feel like I've worked it out. But on the other hand, as I've said above, I'm happy alone. It might not be normal to be alone, and as you might have noticed I hate not being normal, but if I'm happy alone then surely fear of attachment is not something I need to sort out? What do you reckon?

(Sorry for long post)
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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I can't say I have any ideas whatsoever of what to do with feeling this way, but I can really relate to everything you've said - even down to feeling undignified.
I've found myself thinking i'd be really embarrassed if someone knew how much I thought about them or this celebrity (I don't think about celebrities any more but I got very obsessed in my teens).

I suppose it is a fear of being vulnerable in some ways.. for me it's a fear of becoming dependant on another person and the fear of how i'll react when the inevitable rejection comes. :(

I'm sorry this isn't much of a reply.. just wanted you to know that you're not the only one who has these feelings - I definitely relate to them.
 
N

notrealname

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Yes for me it is a fear I will react in an undignified manner if rejected, although I don't know why I first felt that way...I can remember the fear beginning after the first time I was dumped, but the first time I was dumped I didn't overreact at all, I was perfectly sane about the whole thing, and he did it in a really nasty way too! It was more the sudden realisation that if someone dumps me I actually feel something - which for some reason I didn't expect, and then the hypervigilance came in to make sure I didn't care in the future because the idea I cared scared me (it made me feel weak), and then the next time I was dumped I did actually overreact despite spending the entire relationship pretty much practicing being indifferent in my head. It's weird, it's like the fear of that happening came before the thing actually happened...but then...I think maybe that's how it works sometimes?

Do you also hope to avoid ever being in a relationship again or are you willing to give it another try? I'm not scared of being hurt, because emotions end, it's more the feeling that I might tarnish my good reputation with myself - it's that horrible feeling of no longer being able to hold yourself in high esteem and I like being proud of myself!

I've just managed to think to myself today: "Who cares? Right?" Because now that I think about it, what's changed is that I thought I was really strong and resilient and that has been proven untrue a couple of times and that's what scares me. But people are vulnerable in all sorts of situations, and most of the time this particular fear doesn't even affect me because I don't have an interest in relationships, so I've finally got perspective and thought - this isn't even really a thing. The rest of my life is still the same :) I went to therapy because I was worried about getting on with my career, relationships weren't even a thing to me, they've only become a thing because I want to be perfect, but no-one's perfect, and I'm getting on with my career, so I've got what I wanted.

How have you found coping with it? Ooo...and do you feel like someone else has taken over your body if you do overreact? (I assume you have before from your emoticon) Is it like an inner fight? Or like there's emotion but you don't really know why you feel that way? I haven't met anyone else who has experienced this before, it feels really bizarre, right? Really unsettling.
 
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V1K1NG

V1K1NG

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I would have to say that I wasn't the person who used to be afraid of attachment, that developed about a year and a half ago... when my fiancee called off the wedding a week before (long story short: she offered no explanation, nor did she break it off to my face, later found out she was cheating on me with at least 2 of her guy friends).

Ever since that moment and the discovered reasoning as to why, I haven't been able to form any sort of deep human connection with anyone.

I agree with you that it is more than likely a fear of vulnerability, since I put my whole heart on the table only to have in smashed into a billion pieces with no one around to help me pick it all up. Following that event, no one in my family or group of friends helped, which further solidified my inability to trust.

Some days, like yourself, I am happy that I am by myself and have full control over mostly everything I do, but there are days that put me in a dark hole, wanting to reach out only to have that fear of vulnerability push my hand back down telling me I either can't handle the attachment or that I don't deserve it.
 
N

notrealname

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
766
I would have to say that I wasn't the person who used to be afraid of attachment, that developed about a year and a half ago... when my fiancee called off the wedding a week before (long story short: she offered no explanation, nor did she break it off to my face, later found out she was cheating on me with at least 2 of her guy friends).

Ever since that moment and the discovered reasoning as to why, I haven't been able to form any sort of deep human connection with anyone.

I agree with you that it is more than likely a fear of vulnerability, since I put my whole heart on the table only to have in smashed into a billion pieces with no one around to help me pick it all up. Following that event, no one in my family or group of friends helped, which further solidified my inability to trust.

Some days, like yourself, I am happy that I am by myself and have full control over mostly everything I do, but there are days that put me in a dark hole, wanting to reach out only to have that fear of vulnerability push my hand back down telling me I either can't handle the attachment or that I don't deserve it.
So sorry to hear about that. What I wish I had said to myself when I fell apart many years ago after a year full of losses (which I believe is why I can't attach well now), and I didn't have anyone to support me, is that you still have yourself and you have to believe you can do it. The more you tell yourself you can't cope, the more you'll make it true. You have to believe you can cope and have confidence that you can rise above all of this and create a new life for yourself. The positives of this situation is that it has opened up a gap in your life that you can choose to fill with something fantastic. You don't know what's going to happen, not just in the distant future, but in the next minute, or in the next day. Seize opportunities etc, make some big changes in your life to show yourself how much power you have over your own life.

Good luck x
 
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