Trouble Moving On
Sometimes break ups can be incredibly painful. We can have a very difficult time forgetting about the person who broke up with us and moving on.
I have an email from a guy who is having a very difficult time doing just that.
Hey Craig, I really need your help and I don’t know who to turn to. My ex and I have been broken up for just under a year. We have a little girl. Sometimes she likes to spend time with us as a family, and I thought that doing that would cause her to think about how nice it would be if we could be together. I recently found out she is dating other people. I still have feelings for her. To be honest, part of me still loves her and wishes we could work it out. I think she gives me mixed messages. Sometimes she wants me and sometimes she doesn’t.
I’ve been watching your videos and I see that she has an avoidant attachment style. She has good things about her, but they bad tend to outweigh the good. I tend to completely overlook how she is distant she would be. She doesn’t even like physical touch. She is often very critical and self-absorbed. I’m not sure why I still love her as she has done many things to hurt me.
I watched your video We Are Attracted To The Familiar and I see that she is just like my mother and father. My mother is anxious attachment style and my father is avoidant. My mother is unable to hear me and meet my needs like yours was because of her anxiety. Thank you so much for helping me see that. I have spent my entire life not feeling listened to and now I know it’s because my mothers anxiety made it difficult to hear what I need.
I have a really strong attraction to my ex and I know it is because she is so much like my parents. I think that is why I have such a difficult time moving on. I look forward to hearing what you have to say and to our skype coaching we set up.
Craig: So first thing I want to say is that I’m sorry you’re going through this. I know how painful break ups can be.
You mention that your ex is just like your mother and father. This is huge reason as to why you don’t want to move on. For you, your mind believes you have found the love that you need. Because it feels exactly like the love you felt from your parents. It feels so familiar, like how you believe love is supposed to feel, even though your parents didn’t make you feel good!
When we grow up in a family that does not know how to treat each other well. If we have caregivers that aren’t attentive, don’t validate us, connect with us, we tend to distort reality. We do it because living with reality is actually too painful. We say, oh I have a great relationship with my parents, even though you may be angry at them all the time.
When you don’t deal with that in your adulthood. You continue to date people who treat you the way your parents did. It’s called the repetition compulsion. You reenact things over and over again in an effort to understand it. It’s like Charlie Brown and Lucy. Every time he believes she will allow him to kick the ball.
Now, as far as your ex. People with an avoidant attachment style tend to be angry and can get pretty nasty. Why? Because they haven’t had their needs met. Their parents continually disappointed them. They probably experienced a lot of sadness, disappointment, anger, neglect.
When you grow up in that type of environment day in and day out for years, it really has a huge impact on someone. The problem is we are wired to connect to others. So they are always in a very difficult internal struggle. Not trusting people but wanting to be close to others.
You are going to have to make a choice. Do you want to continue going after this woman, who you know has an avoidant attachment style and will likely continue to mistreat you, or do you want to find someone who will treat you better.
I know you are hoping that she will change, or you can change her. I have to be honest. People with an avoidant attachment style really struggle to change. Believe me, I’ve looked everywhere and the findings and they are discouraging. They have to want it and work hard to change it. But they certainly aren’t going to do it for you. Because they’re simply not that attached to you to begin with.
Now, let me share something that can be extremely difficult to see during a break up. Break ups aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Try to have the mindset that everything happens for a reason AND that this is going to make you stronger.
You can find a lot of good things coming out of a break up. If it wasn’t for my break ups I wouldn’t be where I’m at, and despite how much I suffered, I love where I am right now.
I used my break ups to fuel me to becoming the best version of me and I continue to work on myself every day. Have that attitude and focus on becoming the best version of you that you can. You’ll either re attract your ex or find someone even better. Your ex may even coming running back and realize you are the best thing she’s ever had and was a fool for losing you.