Relationship… or Just Dating?

#559 – Journey Of Attachment: Are We in a Relationship… or Just Dating?

You are hanging on by a thread. On the one hand, you have this amazing connection to someone. It feels almost unreal sometimes. On the other hand, you don’t see each other very often and you know he/she is probably dating other people. Seeing their profile all over dating apps is driving you crazy. BUT, he/she has been hurt in the past (or some other excuse), which makes getting into a relationship scary. You understand that and want to be patient because you see a potential future together. Part of you wants to confess your feelings, but you’re scared of pushing this person away. Meanwhile, you’re in anxiety hell.

This is not a relationship—it’s a game. You try new strategies, but still end up losing. You may even be pissed at him/her for “doing this” to you, not realizing you’re here by choice. It’s a painful attachment you’re afraid of losing. So why do you prolong your suffering, settling for breadcrumbs from someone who is clearly not willing to commit? In this episode I’ll talk about this painful hell many insecurely attached people find themselves in, along with some hard truths to separate fantasy from reality. I’ll also share two important steps that will give you the strength to realize you can move on. But first, your desire to feel better has to be stronger than the pain you’re in.

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Transcription:

Hey there. I am live on video doing podcast, and now I’m going to go live on audio. All right. So here we are, another episode of Journey of Attachment, or as I like to call it now, overcoming insecure attachment. Yes. So overcoming insecure attachment is what everything is about. I think a lot of us get stuck in, “Well, what does that even mean?” Right? So it’s a label I believe to help you get to all right, here’s some tools for me, but not to label yourself forever, like, “Oh my gosh, I have this fatal flaw or something’s wrong with me.” That’s not necessarily what you want to do with it. You just want to look at it and go, “Okay, so what tools do I have?” Well, that’s what my podcast is all about. All right. So today we are at, I did not put the right date on this. So this one is for February 23rd, 2021 and it is episode number 559. And it’s are you on a date or in a relationship?

And the title may change, I don’t know. But for today, that’s what it is until my editor comes in and says, “I don’t like your title. I’m going to change it.” I’m just kidding. So, anywho, what’s the main idea? The main idea is you feel like you’re hanging by a thread, you’ve seen each other once a week for the past three months. Is this a relationship? What is it? It’s non-committal right. And how the other person appears is something you’re already fantasizing about and thinking, “God, I really like this person.” So the connection feels off the charts, right? You got that chemistry going. And that may or may not be you seeing other people and them seeing other people and you’re seeing each other.

It may be you’re just seeing each other or that’s what you think. You don’t know. There is this whole idea of, “I don’t know where this relationship is.” And the thing is you have a lot of excuses because there is no consistency, there is no commitment. And you really don’t know what to define it as, right? So you say, “Oh gosh, this person’s been hurt so much in the past and they’ve treated me poorly, but they don’t mean it and I don’t want to hurt them more. I want to be their savior, their rescuer.” I’ve been there, so I understand this. It’s what to do and what do you call this? Right? So that’s basically what we’re talking about today. So hell. It can feel like, hell, and it feels like hell. Every time I was there, I felt like I was in some kind of hell.

And when somebody says, “I really like this guy and we’ve been seeing each other.” And it could be a girl too because I’ve heard it all different ways, does not matter if you’re straight or gay. Does not matter because the bottom line is, we’re talking about emotional stuff here. Emotional stuff doesn’t matter what sex you are at all. So wherever I say, guy, insert girl, whatever works for you. I know somebody saying, “I know this person has been talking to other people besides me and I really don’t want to get all attached, but I am getting attached.” Right? “And the thing is, I don’t want to distract myself since I really like this person. And it doesn’t feel right for me to be going out with other people. So maybe I don’t want to distract myself by going out with other people.” Right?

It’s so crazy what stories you can tell yourself, right? So here’s what you say. “Well, when we see each other, which is not that often, maybe once every month or so, the connection and the affection we have for each other feels just so unreal.” Right? “I know this person’s had a bad relationship experience so I can tell this person closes themselves off. But since I’m a pretty aware person, I can also tell when this guy is showing vulnerability, when this person seems to be open.” What, for a moment or two? Literally we are looking for the breadcrumbs. We’re looking for the tidbits at this point, right? And you can be as aware as you want, but you’re not being so aware because here you are in this relationship or this situationship, right?

So maybe you want to confess and say, “Oh gosh, this is how I really feel,” but another part of you is afraid to. Isn’t it interesting, in unhealthy relationships, we have this fear of saying how we really feel. The problem with that is in a healthy relationship you don’t do that. But the problem is that you’re holding back, right? And so you’re playing a game of, I’d better not say anything because that’s going to change their mind. It’s going to make them look at me different. It’s going to make them want something different, possibly leaving me. Right? And so the thing is you’re in this position and you don’t know what to do. And maybe on top of it, this person, you can see that they’re still on the dating app or dating apps, right? Or they’re sitting in your living room, scrolling on Instagram and looking at pictures of the opposite, whatever it is they’re attracted to. Right?

And they’re doing that and you feel helpless to do anything. And yet you don’t do anything. You just stay put. You don’t ever leave. You don’t ever do anything. You just keep going with this whole thing and you keep feeling bad. And that’s the problem with it, is that you’re feeling bad. So me, Oh, I’ve been there. Okay? I lived in a constant state of fear of loss all the time. Many of my clients have lived this way too. And that is one of the things we work on when I work with people. And that is why I have the programs that I have, because I know what it feels like. And you can feel like you’re stuck in cement, like “I can’t get out of this and I don’t even know this person and I’ve already got this attachment.” Okay? So for me, I always had the feeling of doing wrong and I didn’t really know how to do things right.

That was always the feeling, like, “God, I never really learned how to date or I really never learned how to be in a relationship.” I had a lot of excuses and if somebody were to say to me, “Well Tracy, you look like you’ve got it all together, you just keep choosing wrong,” it wasn’t even that. I didn’t even have an awareness of how I chose what I did because I would lie to myself all the time and tell myself a story about it. So it was all murky and this is what we do. Right? We meet somebody and we have this chemistry and we’re like, “Oh,” and this is attachment. So the thing is, for me, there was always the feeling of, like I said, doing the wrong thing or not giving in to what someone else wanted. I’m so stubborn.

I felt like my childhood feelings of being wrong were just magnified whenever it was I chose to go out with someone. Like all of a sudden, everything that I thought was bad about me was like in my face. And the thing is, is that I’d go out with these people and it would confirm it sooner or later, like I’m easily forgettable. Why would anybody want me? I never really thought from looking at it from the perspective of how I was coming across and the perspective of not putting bright, shiny, sparkly stuff on somebody else, like they were just a person. Okay? So the thing is, if I wanted to go out with someone else, I could try that. I failed at it miserably and for me it just didn’t work. I had to always step away and I would pine. I would pine away all my fantasy stories about how this was going to somehow work out when it had never worked before, by the way.

And I’m not counting how we do this whole, “Well, in the beginning, in the beginning, in the beginning.” We all do that, right? The first few dates. That’s not really where you want to plan a relationship from. You’re still getting to know someone and you’re only seeing them from the perspective that you have and that they put out there. So you don’t really know them yet, but we get attached to it. “Oh, they’ve shown signs of what I want.” Right? Well, I did this too. And so it would be this whole like, “Oh, I hope he comes to his senses and I can’t wait until the day that he really recognizes that I’m the right one for him,” and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, did it.

So anyways, I had this idea though, that if I could once again just get it right, then all would be well, and I did not want to deal with my disappointment, my shame, or my hurt. And that’s what we all are trying to avoid. I wanted to wallpaper right over it and not feel a thing. If I could have gone my whole life being numb, that would have been satisfactory to me because to me it was the torture of emotional states that I didn’t want. So why is this a problem? Well, problem is you are not in a real relationship, you’re in a game, a game you have lost, but have not figured it out yet because you keep trying a new strategy, right? It’s like you’re playing football and you’re down 60 points, right, which is crazy, and it’s the fourth quarter. And you’re like, “Okay, maybe I’ll punt and I’ll get a field goal and I’ll get three points.” You’re trying to come up with something because it’s so painful. It’s painful and yet you seem to think it’s okay that you suffer as long as you’re not abandoned.

Isn’t that amazing that we do this to ourselves? It’s okay if I suffer, as long as I’m not alone, as long as I have the idea that you’re not leaving me and that you’re something I can focus on besides my pain. And so, as you suffer, it’s ridiculous to look at it from the outside, right? When I’m saying this it’s like, “Oh my God.” But don’t beat yourself up, we do this. And the thing is, you don’t think the other person feels bad for their behavior or sometimes you do and then you’re victimizing yourself. And then you’re trying to manipulate them or hold them or do something to get them to feel bad for you in the position that you’re in. I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. “I have been here through thick and thin, even though it’s only been three dates,” I’m being kind of facetious.

But the point is you want something in return. And so you sit there and you go, “Oh, they’re doing this to me.” And my last statement about doing it to you because they’re not doing it to you, you get to listen to yourself talking. You believe you’re having this done to you. You’d rather do that than see it as a choice you’re making to be right where you are. And most of us don’t want to see the choice we’re making. And you made a choice to be here and it’s hard to hear that it’s hard to feel it and it’s hard to go “I want to make a new choice.” It’s so hard, but you can do it and I know you can do it. But you can’t just do it right when I’m saying this because there’s other crap going on inside of you that keeps you where you are.

It’s a bit by bit, step-by-step sort of thing you got to do. So you don’t consciously see a lot of this. You’re really unconscious about it because it’s about trying to keep the attachment. It’s a fear of letting go. And even though consciously, you have a bunch of reasons why this is your soulmate, they are more than one problem, as you can see. And the bigger issues are that it keeps you from healing. It keeps you from healing yourself, unless you become aware and then you start to make movement while being aware, and even in this situation. That’s what I’m saying you don’t have to go, “Whoa, I got to get out of here.” You have to really look at the opportunity that it does present because it does present an opportunity. But most of us don’t, we just look at the problem. The problem is I’m not having what I want.

And another major issue in this is that you can delude yourself into living in a future where the person who you believe has potential to be the person is still the same 10 years from now, like you’re in seriously this weird dating thing that’s not really dating. And you kind of see each other, but you know the other person’s seeing other people or you just see them and they’re like, “Oh, but they just like to spend a lot of time alone. They’re not with anybody.” Whatever the excuse is, right? But that’s a place of pain. And it’s a problem because you’ve got to start giving a shit about how you feel inside. And most of us, we won’t. When we have attachment issues, we have a hard time with that. We’re just too busy running from pain to actually be with the pain. Okay?

So breadcrumbs suck the life out of you, right? So you’re waiting for something that may never happen and that is such a painful place to live. Wanting a person to respond to how you feel and fill that hole inside can feel like more than you can handle and it can make you feel submerged under a heavy load. And the thing is, this is not how you need to feel anymore. Okay? But the problem is you’re living in an attachment. It’s what it is. And it sucks. Okay, so I have to stick to my outline guys because if I don’t stick to my outline, this can go off the rails and I’ll be talking about everything known about attachment for hours.

All right. What’s the wisdom nugget? And that’s a hashtag, wisdom nugget. Committing to treating yourself well, will be reflected in those who can be a true partner. It’s so true. It’s reflected back to you, right? Notice what’s being reflected back to you in the situation you’re in. You’re being treated horribly, but you’re treating yourself horribly by being there. Okay? Again, this is not so you beat yourself up. This is so that you become aware of what you’re doing so that you can follow the solution. Right? So what I did with this is I’ve come up with two things that you can do right away, and they’re hard to do because I have clients who have to do this and it’s really hard. It’s hard to do it alone. That’s why my mastery program is a great place to be. And I don’t sell these things like I want a hard sell because I don’t want people showing up who aren’t ready. I don’t want people who are just showing up going, “I don’t know, maybe.” Don’t call us.

And I don’t mean to be a jerk, I’m not trying to be. This work is something you have to commit to at a deep, deep level. And you got to ride the wild pony. And if you’re not ready to do it, and let’s say we talk you into it. We’re like, “Oh no, sign up, sign up,” and you do it, you’re going to have to be dragged through it. And I don’t want to drag anybody through it because you’re not going to get anything from it and it’s just frustrating for everybody. Okay? So whenever I bring this stuff up, it’s like, Hey, if you’re ready and you are sick to shit of doing this on your own, call me, or better yet email me. I was going to say call me. Email me happiness@tracycrossley.com.

So solution, solution. Okay, you got to get into reality. Yeah, I know I say that a lot. But we kind of build castles in the sky. Right? We live in a future and we don’t want to be at the reality because the reality is disappointing. And a lot of what we’re doing, like I said already, is we’re trying to avoid it. Right? We’re trying to avoid the feelings. And for some reason, anxiety feels better to us. Kind of weird, isn’t it? If you really look at it that way, it’s like, “I hate anxiety. Why am I doing that?” Because that’s what we do. So get in reality, meaning be in the moment. I did this when I was trying to get over someone, when I had started coaching. I think it was about a year into coaching. And I had this guy where I was seeing him and then he decided he didn’t want to see me anymore and it was just like, boom. And what I did, because I had already spent a year on and off with this person, right?

So at that point I’m like, “Tracy, you’re not going to build bullshit. You are going to face what he said, his actions and allow it to be the reality.” Not the reality you’re going to have him in a fantasy, seeing something different or acting different. Okay? So I wasn’t making it about him and he is in charge. What I was doing was going, this is the reality, this is what the person said, not they said something completely different or I’m taking things out of context to try and build a fantasy. That was a big move for me. And I would sit with it and then I would sit with how I felt about it. And I would sit with actually like, “Wow, wait a minute. How do I feel?” I got over him quicker than I got over anybody in my life because I didn’t pine away, I didn’t build up a bunch of crap that I usually would do. I actually was being real and it felt better.

And then I met the person that I ended up doing this whole thing with for six years of my life, following that, like literally two weeks later. Yeah. So that’s something to really pay attention to, is that perhaps this isn’t your soulmate. Right? And perhaps you can stay in reality. And if you stay in reality, it’s not that you’re saying, “I don’t want to see you anymore,” it’s that you’re at least able to get to that point because the more you stay in reality, the more able you are to actually have a little bit of value and a little bit of confidence and go, “Okay, I don’t really want to do this, at some point. Not today, maybe tomorrow.” So anxiety we have already established feels like poopoo, right?

So if you feel the feelings of reality, rather than believing the fairy tale that a lot of fairytales, I think it was Hans Christian Andersen, they ended poorly, I think. And then like somehow someway over the years, they don’t end as poorly, like some fairytales didn’t end well. And most of the ones we do with attachment don’t end well, right? So our mind tries to protect our feelings, but all it does is it prolongs our agony. And so once you’re living in reality, here’s the second thing you can do. Try matching your words and actions. Seriously match them up. You’re going to feel a hell of a lot better, but it’s really hard to do because we say one thing and we do another. And you blame other people for doing it, but I guarantee you do it too. Especially if you’re in an attached situation. “I want a healthy relationship. I’m going out with someone who’s going out with 80 other people and I’m sleeping with them, and I hate myself.” That does not make any sense, right? Like zero.

So we don’t see ourselves doing this, and this is what you got to start seeing. Just these two steps are going to make a huge difference because it’s going to be really hard to match your words and actions. And then you’re going to start feeling like, “Wow, this is a key to changing a lot of things that I go through in my life,” which is excellent. Right? So what did I do? Well, I stopped trying to win at this game I was in, literally stopped the strategies. I just went, “What in the hell am I doing?” I saw the cost for blaming my triggers. And even though at times I can still be triggered, I basically say this is my responsibility. Right? And the thing is, is that I did the same things though. Like I just said, I did the whole, I have to be in reality and do my words and actions match?

And I looked at what triggered me though into being attached. What was it? It wasn’t that I started analyzing the crap out of how I got there, but I started noticing the red flags and stuff and the things that would trigger me into holding on, in the beginning, right? I’d go back and go “Wow. Okay, when I started dating this person, what kind of space was I in? What was I feeling? What were some of the triggers that got me to want to hold on and not let go?” Right? Because for me, that was always the problem, other than that and avoidant. And I avoided anything that looked healthy. So I didn’t spend as much time with that because that wasn’t as much of my issue. I had to spend time with that when I decided I want to be in a healthy relationship. Then I had to work on my avoidancy issues. And I have them, yes. Big time.

So anyways, that’s what I got to say about my little part of the journey or my big part of the journey. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing this work. Right? All right, wisdom nugget. Committing to treating yourself well will be reflected in those who can be a true partner. True, true, true. Universal right. You have the universal right to be stuck living on the air in pain. Yes. That’s a great diet. No, not really. Rather than connecting within to build that relationship so you feel value and love.

Wrapping this up is attached situations with people we know or think we know and have already given carte blanche in running rampant all over our feelings and self-esteem can feel like you’re lost in quicksand. You are not, you can change this trajectory. It’s possible, but you have to make the connection to wanting to feel better enough first. And listening to this podcast is a step, absolutely. But don’t get lost in numbing yourself out listening to this stuff. Take these actions. When I suggest things, do them and see how you feel. Take little itsy-bitsy steps. You don’t have to take a big, huge leap. Okay?

I have two related podcast, number 529, Journey of Attachment Design a Fairytale, or design a real fairytale sorry, like real, reality. Like I’m talking about reality today, right? Number 426, How To Navigate A Hot and Cold Relationship. Okay. So if you have ideas for topics, please send them to podcasts@tracycrossley.com. And if you have questions, I’m not really taking questions about anything anymore. We’re looking at setting up a thing where you can text me a question and I’ll answer it, but it’s not for free. I get so many questions and I cannot keep up with all the questions. And there’s no way that I have to answer everybody who sends them. I’m grateful you listen. I’m grateful you get a lot from it. I am appreciative of that, so thank you.

And anyways, so with that, if you want to watch my Facebook Lives, those are at 9:00 AM Pacific Standard Time and they’re on YouTube, Facebook, and that’s it. And I have myself and a coach or other coaches with me and we pick a topic that we’re talking about that relates to insecure attachment. All right you guys, you all take care and I will see you next time. Bye-bye.

 

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