Emotional Vulnerability and Attachments

Depending on the day or even just how I’m feeling that hour, I will either tell you that I am an emotional mess or an emotionless zombie. There was rarely an in-between. I still feel I am often on one side or the other, but it would be invalidating to the actual work I’ve put in on trying to live life more in the gray thanks to DBT therapy to say I’m only one of those two things. It’s just those tend to be most “familiar/comfortable” so I spend a lot of time in one of those two swings. Growing up I was always a sensitive child, someone who felt everything intensely to the point that it was overwhelming, especially when it came to attachments. As a kid those attachments were my parents. Any time we went to a family event I clung to the arm of whichever parent I came in with and the moment they were not in sight I quickly began to panic because I immediately would feel unsafe and vulnerable. Something which honestly hasn’t changed much whenever I go out to a party I am desperately clinging onto the arm of the person I came with that I trust the most. After the anxieties became too much and I started going to family outings less often this clinginess and fear of abandonment, even in the most temporary of ways, manifested themselves in different ways. This is around the time I started finding myself unconsciously labeling people I was closest with and was obsessive and fearful at the thought of losing them as my favorite people. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when this dirty habit of mine started as I have throughout the years have confused these feelings with very similar and intense emotions especially romantic ones. Let’s just say there’s been a long list of people who I’ve felt extremely attached to and my mood, my self image, everything depending on how this person felt about me and validated me and that need from others I have felt for as long as I can remember. Being in these friendships created an environment for me that meant I was constantly feeling intense fear, discomfort, and paranoia that the only person who helped make my life bearable was going to get wise and decide they no longer needed me nor my desperate and clingy antics. I had become an addict to the serotonin their validation gave me. It was the only bit of serotonin I had so I tried every which way to keep these people in my life often unfortunately at the detriment to my own dignity, my mental health, their mental health, and unsurprisingly the relationship itself. I stupidly killed relationships in an attempt to keep them alive.

In an attempt to combat this feeling of always being vulnerable, of always paranoid things were going to come crashing down I gained the maladaptive coping mechanism of completely distancing myself emotionally which I might argue is worse and more to blame to my more recent feelings of unhappiness. It’s been surprisingly easy to distance myself from most relationships and just from feeling emotions in general. When you are constantly feeling emotions so intensely your brain has no idea how to react other than to completely shut down.. it feels almost indistinguishable to just do the shutting down myself before having to subject myself to that emotional whirlwind. The opposite of this emotional whirlwind, this emotion drought, isn’t all that comfortable either. It’s this slow burning and forever festering thoughts of you will be alone feeling like this forever and that there is no such thing as a happy ending for me. My idea of a happy ending stemmed from growing up on teenage coming of age and love movies so it was important to me that I let the girl I like know, to find that special one for me and that things would just sort of fall into place after that. It feels childish now, but I was a child and sure it’s contributed to a lot of unhealthy habits I have still to this day but as a kid, I’m going to give myself a break this time and say that’s all I had to work with. I did the best with what I knew. There were still favorite people that came into my life, one who’s been a big recurring topic of this blog, somebody who I think has held such a special place in my heart because I have literally given them every reason to walk away, wipe their hands clean from this whole situation (sure we have both done so in the past) but despite our constant ups and downs, backs and forths, they’re still here today. In the past their return would’ve set me into a spiral of fearing for the next big issue with us, but I just came out of the brink and for the first time that had nothing to do with how anyone else had been treating me. I’m seeing issues of mine that are just ingrained into me through no fault of anyone else and my main focus above everything else is to try and combat that because even though honestly given an easy choice to keep living or to just suddenly not exist with no pain or hurt for those I left behind I know which I would choose. In a heartbeat like not even a question. I do truly want to get better though, if not for me than at least so I am not emotionally taxing to be friends with anymore. These fears I clung onto this person, and all prior and subsequent favorite people, to try and help alleviate some of these worries, I still very much have but I am the only one capable of fixing them. And it isn’t going to be in one eye opening moment that inspires me to write a post where I truly think things are about to finally get better either. This whole process is a total mess and it’s going to be for as long as I’m in it, but that’s what’s important. The fact that I’m still in it and I’m seeing progress despite how difficult it’s been. Sure the progress isn’t always permanent, sometimes I slip up, but taking a step back I can clearly see I’m in a much better place emotionally and in respect to my ability to maintain relationships than I was just a few years ago.

Which brings me to maybe why I started this post, but something I think I’m going to have the most difficult expressing if I can even touch on it directly. It’s so much easier to talk about past feelings because I can at least use the excuse “that’s how I USED to feel” and that I no longer feel this way anymore. However as I’m abolishing this old habit of mine to completely detach from those emotions I am naturally letting in these habits of actually feeling my feelings, of allowing attachments to grow and that is a very anxiety-inducing process because it’s hard to know how much is a “healthy” amount when you really only have the two extremes to compare it to. I know and am very familiar with how I act when I am 100% not allowing myself to get attached to even the feelings I am feeling in the moment. Probably a big reason as to why my previous relationship didn’t work out. That and I guess it wasn’t enough to feel like I was being listened to if they didn’t actually understand what I was going through. It means a lot that they cared and I care about them but that just wasn’t enough. In general being understood is something I strive towards, it’s why this blog exists.. And I just need to look back a few years to know what holding on too tight feels like. I don’t like to think about any of those when I’m with the person I’m growing my current attachment to. It’s detrimental to bring in any comparisons, and sure I’m only comparing my own actions but even that brings its own flurry of anxieties and insecurities. For the most part I’ve refrained from doing so, I’ve been just trying to enjoy the time I get to spend with this person and talking with them is quite honestly the best part of my days so I think I’m at the very least doing a good job of appreciating whatever this is. Something recent that happened that I will say brought up this dichotomous feeling.. it was a night or two ago and I spent all day/night talking with them up to the point they had to go to sleep and like the minute they left.. I genuinely missed them. Which is weird because usually when I have that feeling its normally accompanied with the feeling of fear, or uneasiness because I would believe that the absence was a hint towards our inevitable demise. However that wasn’t the case this time, as I had just finished talking with them and as of now I have no reason to believe they’re going to just up and run so it was just a feeling of “Aw I wish I was with them right now.” I feel that as of writing this right now too and I just talked with them like half an hour ago. I really care about them and it’s oozing out of every aspect of my personality. Especially with this and with a recent slip up of my words, saying something which admittedly is true to how I felt at the moment but words have strong meanings and this one especially so it scared me to have this kind of jump out when I was completely unprepared for it. Considering, that situation could’ve gone a lot worse at least.. I’m not so glad I slipped up and was called out for it but I am glad that if it were anyone for me to have done it with I’m glad it was with Silas. I actually feel that way towards a lot of things with this person, anxious and a little worried but if there’s anyone I want to work through those anxieties and like make this a good experience for the both of us.. it would definitely be this person. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been growing the attachment.