The Avoidant

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Yep, another post from me.

Two days in a row, can you believe it?

The kids are back in school and blogging can become a regular part of my week.

I just need to figure out a schedule.

Sorry guys but I’m doing another post about sex addiction.  I normally don’t do two in one week but, meh, I’ve been gone for awhile.  Plus, I was pretty excited to find the link below and wanted to share it with those who may need it.

Now then, where was I?  Right, revelations.  Not the Bible chapter but self-discovery.  Yesterday, I talked about the importance of not being a parent to Devin any more.  That type of relationship is toxic in a marriage.

While doing some research on Devin's recent diagnosis of SLA vs SA, I discovered a fantastic

webpage

, and found that Devin and I fit this pattern almost perfectly.  Or, more accurately, we

used

to fit this pattern. 

Person

Desires

Attracted to

Behaviors

Process of person's relationships

Love addict

Security, safety acceptance, “oneness” (merger)

Fears:

Greatest fear is abandonment

Underlying fear is healthy intimacy (in enmeshment the core of the person is actually sealed off)

Self-contained individuals who appear strong, stable (often avoidant or obsessive compulsive, like their families of origin)

Line up next relationship before leaving current one--forming love triangles

Instant closeness, looking for “magic” feeling

Idealizing partner

Obsessing about partner

Talking obsessively to others about him or her

Acting out anger and revenge for being abandoned

Enters relationship in haze of fantasy--found this stable, strong, accepting individual

Gets high from fantasy

Denies how walled in avoidant really is

Avoidant gradually becomes distant and shuts down, abandons relationship in some way

Love addict acts out anger & revenge, turns to affairs and addictive sex

Partner capitulates and renews relationship, or love addict moves on to new relationship

Sense of self and self esteem does not develop--love addict remains in dependent position. Ability to tolerate fear and discomfort must develop for growth to occur

Avoidant

Wants to be connected, but not closely

Fears:

Greatest fear is intimacy/engulfment

Can have a hard time rejecting others or saying no

Individuals who provide much of the enthusiasm and intimacy for both of them

Ambivalence all the way through may be in relationship because can't say no

May show initial traditional romantic pursuing, but ultimately enters relationship because love addict provides most of the “intimate energy”; may fear would never make into a relationship otherwise

As love addict wants more and more attention avoidant attempts to please by giving it to them--at least initially

Eventually avoidant becomes overwhelmed by enmeshment and/or neediness of love addict, becomes critical, and eventually backs off from relationship or abandons it

Feels relationship has failed, sometimes gets involved with addictive behavior or affairs to distance, distract, or numb out

May return to relationship out of guilt or fear of being totally alone, or moves on to connect with another partner

Cycle of abandoning and returning can go on and on, especially if love addict starts to move on

If you didn’t figure it out, I’m the

avoidant

in this scenario.  I feared intimacy with someone and getting too close.  It made me feel vulnerable.  That fear was created after my first husband died.  I also thought I’d lose my sense of independence that I worked so hard to achieve after his death. 

What I didn’t realize was what an emotional mess I was inside after his death.  Instead of fixing myself, I focused on fixing others.  Some of you in a relationship with an addict may be nodding your heads right about now.  We tend to want to rescue people from their problems.  I tried to “fix” two alcoholics before I met Devin.  I didn’t even see the pattern of my relationships until I wrote them down while doing my step work.  How crazy is that?

The last column describes part of my relationship with Devin that are so painful to even think about.  It includes everything from me backing away from our relationship and then returning out of guilt to engaging in his addictive behaviors in an attempt to rescue our marriage. 

While it’s been a wild and crazy journey, I can truly say I look back on what I’ve been through with Devin with appreciation.  I never would have done this much work on myself had disclosure not happened.  Our marriage wouldn’t be as strong as it is now if he didn’t have the courage to tell me the truth and to get help.  We are better people today then we were in 2009-2010.

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