Attachment Trauma and Longing For Your Ex
In this video I’m going to talk about attachment, and how trauma to the bond with our caregivers, affects our romantic relationships, and has a huge impact on how break ups affect us.
So, you’re going to learn why you may be having obsessive thoughts and longing towards your ex. I’m going to talk about some of the factors about why break ups affect everyone differently. Then I’m going to get into an email from someone who is obsessed with their ex.
Break ups are unique to everyone. There are so many different factors that affect how someone feels during a break up.
Were you the one who ended the relationship? Were you the one who got broken up with? How long did you date? How attached to the other person were you? How strong was your desire to be with them? What is your own attachment style.
Those are just some of the factors that affect how someone feels during a break up.Some people have an incredibly difficult time moving on from a break up. They obsess over trying to get their ex back.
For them, break ups are extremely painful. Remember, break ups literally cause you physical pain. They get tremendous amounts of anxiety (which is separation anxiety) and they become depressed because they lost the object of their love.
As Freud said "We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love, never so helplessly unhappy when we have lost our loved object or its love".
So what does this all this have to do with wanting our ex back and obsessing and longing for our ex? Well it has to do with our attachment to others.
Our body is wired to attach and connect to others. It is for survival. It is the main strategy for survival from our species. We attach to our caregivers and unconsciously know that without them, it means death. Children cannot take care of themselves so we literally would die without an adult caregiver.
When we separate from our parents it feels like death. When we separate from our romantic partner it feels like death.
Now here is what is so important to understand. All of this information is to give you a real understanding of why break ups are so painful. You have to know about how attaching affects us to know how the detaching affects us.
We form attachments to our caregivers. We can form a healthy secure attachment or we have something go wrong.
We don’t get the love, affection, and attention that we need. Over time we form an anxious attachment style and constantly fearing abandonment.
Or we can distrust that our parents will take care of us and we decide we are not going to trust them and take care of ourselves and form an avoidant attachment style.
The abandonment, neglect, hurt, and pain can be traumatic. The more intense and painful the trauma is, the more symptoms you will have.
I believe that the people who have a very difficult time with a break up have had attachment injuries in their childhood.
It could be a major event, like a parent abandoning you or a death that caused the loss.
Or it could have been their experiences with their caregivers that caused them this pain. Years of being ignored, abandoned, neglected.
People who have had that happen tend to have major abandonment issues and form an anxious or avoidant attachment style.
If a trauma is bad enough, our brain can’t separate the past from the present.
Think about it. If you had a trauma about an attachment with your caregivers. You are going to feel that same intense pain with your romantic partners.
The interesting thing is that there are tons of similarities between the relationship between our parents and our romantic partners.
I talk about attraction. I’ve explained how the relationships with our parents kind of create a blueprint for love. That we are attracted to people who are similar to our caregivers. We are attracted to romantic partners that are similar parents negative traits. They hurt us in a certain way.
Perhaps its because we are trying to correct it in adulthood. Perhaps we are just drawn to it on an unconscious level. Nobody really knows the answer to that.
I got an email here from Brian that says: Hey Craig: I wanted to say that your videos and your channel have been incredibly helpful. I have already learned a ton from you and am looking forward to our Skype coaching. Thanks to your video’s I know that I have an anxious attachment style. My father left our home when I was about 2 and he moved out of state. My mom was always stressed out and upset (bills, taking care of us, my older brother has issues). Here’s what’s been going on with me. My ex and I broke up about 2 months ago and I can’t stop thinking about her. I feel absolutely obsessed and I don’t know what to do to stop. I’m depressed and anxious all the time. I get sick to my stomach all the time and am constantly having diarrhea.
Disconnection hurts- You want to be conscious that when you lose the connection, which is the main source for safety and comfort, you lose the ability to regulate your emotions. It causes intense grief and physical pain.
That separation anxiety is causing you to have the obtrusive thoughts. They are intrusive to the point where it’s all you can think about. It’s overwhelming and exhausting.
I believe for many people it’s because the break up triggers an Attachment injury from their childhood. Longing, obsessive and habituated thoughts.
Replaying events over and over again. Replaying memories repeatedly. But our memories are distorted. It’s not a video, the intense emotions and reality distortions of how you were feeling and remembering slightly different each time causes more and more distortion over time.
I can remember during my break ups, bargaining was absolutely ruthless for me. I couldn’t stop bargaining in my mind. Over and over and over again. If I had done this differently. If she had only done this or made that effort. If we could have just done that. I would replay the days leading up to the break up over and over. If I had only confronted her in this way. I couldn’t stop.
Now what I’m about to tell you is key to understanding why you can’t stop obsessing over your ex.
The degree to which you are feeling the intensity of the longing for your ex, mirrors the degree to which you were hurt by your caregivers in your childhood.
Unseen, misunderstood. Ignored, abandoned.Not known in my family.
Intensity of those feelings of separation is the attachment injury. It’s the unresolved childhood grief coming out in the current life scenario.
The trauma from the past, the abandonment, is presenting itself in the present is projected onto the current loss.
It’s because you want to feel comforted.
One way to relieve your anxiety is remind yourself that there is a good chance your ex will revisit the idea of working things out. And even if she started dating someone else, there is an excellent chance that relationship will fail. This will calm your anxiety, clear that fog and help you to think more clearly.
By leaving your ex alone- completely, if they were attached to you, they will begin to wonder about you and think about you. It will cause them to have separation anxiety. Anxiety is the root of desire.