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Old 04-15-2018, 10:46 AM   #1
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Default Do I have to give up on relationships?

Hi everyone - I could really do with some others' insight.

I am 40, have a life-long history of depression and failed relationships. I have done all sorts of soul searching and therapy over the years. I am currently 3 years in with a brilliant relational psychotherapist, however i am still having serious difficulty.

I certainly have a fearful-avoidant attachment style, erring on the side of avoidant. But I wonder if I have avoidant personality disorder.

On the surface I seem confident, friendly, capable. I'm a pro active person, and when depression hasn't got it's claws into me I do and have done all sorts with my life around this illness. However when it comes to relating to people I really struggle.

My therapist is helping me to deal with the affects of a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. There is no doubt I experienced childhood trauma. And I a have done a lot of accepting and worked hard with all the information I have.

I'm fine when I meet people for the first time, or at 'arms length', but once it becomes close I withdraw. My boyfriend was a friend before we got together. For once i thought i was getting it right, not getting caught up in a whirlwind, but genuinely loving being around someone. We have been together for over 2 years. I have told myself it's his own ill mental health that has kept me at a distance, but I am about to end this relationship again (this has happened over and over in the past with many guys, when i think i have finally got it right) as I can't feel love for him through this numb fear, and any kind of need from his direction just makes me want to create distance.

I guess what i wonder is, is there anyone else out there who has experienced serious issues with regard to avoidant behaviour in themselves, and were they able to create a secure mind for themselves. Right now it feels like I will always be alone and never love as being close is far too dangerous. (it manifests itself as vile inner voices from me that just pick that person apart until there is nothing left for me to like).

Sometimes being alone feels comfortable and I can cope with the idea of that.
In terms of doing things independently it's ok. But in terms of the extreme loneliness of having no one, I dont think I want that forever. People need people.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:35 PM   #2
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Hello Nomad: I'm sorry there is not much I can offer with regard to your particular concerns. Hopefully there will be some other members who will have some personal experiences they can share. However I noticed this is your first post here on PC. So... welcome to PsychCentral! May I suggest you introduce yourself to the general membership on our New Members Introductions forum? Here's a link:

https://forums.psychcentral.com/new-...introductions/

Here are links to a couple of articles, from PsychCentral's archives, on the subject of avoidant personality disorder. Perhaps some of the information in them can be of some interest:

https://psychcentral.com/disorders/a...lity-disorder/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/5-step...lity-disorder/

https://pro.psychcentral.com/exhaust...lity-disorder/

https://blogs.psychcentral.com/careg...ment-disorder/

I hope you find the time you spend here on PC to be of benefit.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:53 PM   #3
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:42 PM   #4
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Default Re: Do I have to give up on relationships?

I come from a similar background and share many of the interpersonal struggles you have. You may find the linked article helpful for understanding your behavior when people get "too close."

If you're not set on leaving your current relationship, is intimacy something the two of you could work through together, possibly with a therapist?


https://www.researchgate.net/publica...OUPLES_THERAPY
Attached Files
File Type: pdf AddictiontoAloneTime.pdf (584.5 KB, 17 views)
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:08 AM   #5
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Default Re: Do I have to give up on relationships?

[QUOTE=Daisy Dead Petals;6091736]I come from a similar background and share many of the interpersonal struggles you have. You may find the linked article helpful for understanding your behavior when people get "too close."

If you're not set on leaving your current relationship, is intimacy something the two of you could work through together, possibly with a therapist? ]


Thank you. The article is really interesting - I am looking forward to having time this evening to read it again. I have often been paranoid that I am narcissistic like my mother but my therapist tells me we all pick up traits from our parents, but to be a true narcissist would mean having no concept or awareness of the traits in oneself (like my mother). I guess there are always going to be links.

I thought about couples therapy, but I've got to the point with our relationship where I'm not really sure what we are fighting for. If the last two years have been so difficult maybe we are barking up the wrong tree. He is now so depressed (3 months signed off so far and not getting any better), that I don't want to be around him as I find it is a trigger of my mums behaviour. I give what I can, but when there is nothing back it wears you down. This comes with extraordinary guilt for not being available in his time of need.

I find all relationships difficult so I tell myself I need to try harder and see past the bad feelings so I can feel love. Then it's hard to know why I'm in any relationship in the first place. I used to tell myself I was choosing the wrong partners, but it is clearly more more about me. And that is getting worse the more times I fail to have a successful relationship.

I believe all people need people and I so desperately want to feel close to people and connect, it's a very lonely place to be. The only time I manage it is if I go away on trips with total strangers. I am 'safe' and fell like myself when no one knows me, but as soon as I become 'known' I withdraw and become depressed.

It's a funny time in life as I have not been able to create a family of my own, but all of my friends have their own. I have become an outsider in the units I have built around myself. My father has died and I can't have a relationship with my mother due to her behaviour.

This is not a call for violins, I merely want to find a way forwards that isn't about being 'solo' in all that I do. By sharing I hoped someone with experience in the same might know more.
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