I have PTSD – something I don’t like to admit to myself, and even less so to other people. This has given me the gifts of anxiety, emotional flashbacks, the aforementioned inability to connect with my emotions (AKA alexythymia), and an insecure attachment style.
There’s more information on insecure attachment at this website:
I’m avoidant and relationships scare me, so I avoid them or, sometimes, push people away. I like to say I don’t need relationships or I’m independent, but the truth is that everyone needs someone, even if it’s one or a small group of people.
This has played out in my marriage. I love my wife, and so I pursue intimacy and we connect and love one another intensely. Until something triggers that anxiety and I fear I’m losing myself, my identity, my independence, or I’m being manipulated or controlled. So I withdraw from the relationship. I check out emotionally, I become anxious and withdrawn, I’m irritable, I stop obeying, I turn off my submissive self.
This has created such a rollercoaster in our relationship as each period can last up to a few months. It doesn’t help when I’m already more vulnerable in the winter, emotionally. I’ll be doing more this fall to prepare accordingly.
We first discussed attachment as a couple with my therapist a few weeks ago and it hit like a ton of bricks. I am scared, terrified even, of close relationships. But if I’m honest, I know I need them and want them.
Even having that knowledge, though, has been really helpful. Now if I’m feeling like withdrawing, I know why. I can take a step back and say, “is she trying to manipulate me, or am I acting out of an insecure attachment?”
I’m already feeling more confident in our relationship, and I hope I can work toward being more stable and consistent. Having a partner with a secure attachment is a big step, and I’m thankful my wife now has one after years of therapy (she was the anxious/fearful style when we married). I’ve supported through her healing, and now she’s doing the same. I couldn’t ask for more. ❤️