I am slipping in my recovery because I am having a hard time reconciling my ambivalent/avoidant behaviors with my overall understanding of my love addiction. I can see how I am a love addict when I pursue ex-partners because they are unavailable and do not give me the validation I think I need. I obsess, pursue, stalk, and can get suicidal. What is hard for me understand, what breaks my heart, though is that when I AM with them, I cannot respond to their love. I want to, but I shut down. I dissociate, leave, or sabotage. Only to end up chasing them. This process doesn't happen with everyone I date. Only the ones I end up loving and can't figure out how to actually be present for the intimacy. I was doing well for a while, working steadily on my stepwork. And then I hit my 9th step and became scared of the process. Reticent to rely on god. Now, I'm obsessing about a man whom I love deeply but whom I have caused much hurt because I push/pull based on my inability to follow through on what I think I want.
I'm really struggling in handing this over even though I see myself going down the rabbit hole again. I've upped the meetings, praying, and am planning on resuming my amends. But I'm in a lot of pain and it is taking everything in me not to try to control the situation.
what breaks my heart, though is that when I AM with them, I cannot respond to their love.
You cannot respond to their love because most likely, you don't love them. Plain and simple. You chase after them when you don't have them not for love, but rather, validation-- as a sign that THEY love YOU.
I used to do the same thing and could never figure it out until I built up confidence. You need BOTH parts of the equation of love: you need someone to love you, and you need to love them back.
Not sure if I suggested this experiment with you before, but think of a friend or relative whom you love dearly, with whom you CLEARLY have certain, sure feelings of like or love (a mother, father, sis, bro, cousin, friend, whoever). Think about your relationship in terms of your ambivalence. Are you ambivalent with everyone, or just men you date? If you're ambivalent with everyone there a clear blockage in your past history that is keeping you from forming a healthy bond, but if you are only ambivalent with members of the opposite sex, you are only block when it comes to love and romance. This is a good sign! Try to equate your healthy relationships with your unhealthy. Any relationship that doesn't CLEARLY match up-- there's something wrong.
We are not ambivalent for NO REASON. There is a reason. It's a defense mechanism, and it's usually doing its basic task of protecting us from people we should not be with in the first place.
Also, I really liked what mclaughlin73 wrote. Lots of good stuff.
Thank you both for your posts. The prayer was very helpful.
I wonder at the concept that I don't really love this man though. As an ambivalent/avoidant type, I shut off receiving love as opposed to not feeling it. I want it, but I'm terrified of it. This is what I believe I did with this man. This is not the case with the other exes - where it clearly was obsession and validation seeking. I am stuck because my I see how my fears and past traumas keept me from committing. This man was not bad for me - he was kind, loving, and stuck by side... at least until he couldn't anymore (a healthy move on his part?). So, I'm having a hard time sorting out if my desire to contact him is based on new knowledge that I ran away out of fear, or if it is just my need to have him validate me again.
I suppose since I don't know, I need to let it go. For now.