Yup, I’m a seductive withholder. I’ve always longed for a secure, loving life partner, but whenever I get close to it, I go ‘arrgghhh’, and run for the hills. I seem to need woman to be a certain distance away from me. Any closer = anxiety. Any further away = fear I’m going to lose them. So I come close, then when you come close, I pull away, when you pull away, I come close - in a hideous dance of pain and confusion.
Yup, that description fits for me, but it only became apparent about 8years ago when I met a lovely woman, thought she was ‘the one’. But the more I tried to commit to her, the more tense, then stressed, then anxious, then panicky I got. I spent 18 months seeing a relationship therapist, reading Harville Hendrix books (with all the exercises in them – there are loads!) and everything else I could think of. And despite everything, I got worse and worse, and had to end it.
The same thing has happened five times since. I don’t get anxious if it is someone I just like, and feel warm to, but don’t really connect with. But if the woman can ‘into-me-see’ - then I get really anxious, and do all the things that seductive withholders do.
I’m SOOOOO sick of this. It’s ------ up all my important relationships. What do I do to get off it? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
I am the female version of you, except I've done it within the confines of a 25 year marriage. I have kept every POA (and my husband) at bay -- my fear of intimacy is astoundingly strong. I attend SLAA, SAA but what really has tipped the scales in favor of help is therapy. Not relationship or couples therapy, but therapy for me to seek out the reasons and the root cause of my fear of intimacy. And -- VERY CRUCIAL IN THIS PROCESS -- not to take on any lovers or sexual or romantic intrigue partners while doing so, so as to keep my head clear and my motivation to heal strong.
Thanks for your thoughts, Havefaith. It’s nice to know I am not alone in this.
After seeing the relationship therapist, I saw a psychologist to learn CBT for about a year – which helped a little, then I spent about 18 months seeing a really good psychotherapist weekly. I leaned all about the connections between my childhood and my adult behaviour, did lots of exercises, and read lots more books. I understand my fear really well now.... BUT it didn’t make it any less powerful. I think I may have rather a bad case of this – and I also have generalised anxiety disorder – which makes coping with anxiety very difficult. I’m a bit reluctant to go back again to see another psychotherapist as I’m not sure that learning any more about it will help that much.
Do you (or anyone else) have any other good ideas? Good books to read, exercises to do, courses to follow?
Sospiri. Maybe try reading John kabat zinn. And his MBSR. I have a lot of fear and anxiety too. Tried every combo of docs and drugs with no success. MBSR has been the only profound impact I have experienced and works when I'm disciplined about it.