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Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

It seems limerence and other addictions stems from early life attachment wounds.
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David
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Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by David » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:26 am

A blog I penned for our couples counselling practice:

http://loverelations.co.uk/jealousy-ins ... tionships/

(Forgive the shameless advertising - its what funds limerence.net)

The content is as relevant here as I suspect more than a few of us have attachment issues.



“Every time he checks his phone, I’m convinced it’s another woman”.
“When she says she’s going for a drink after work, I start to feel sick with dread…”

“I used to be quite independent. Now I can barely concentrate for wondering what my partner’s up to….”



These are statements I often here with couples we see at LoveRelations because their relationships are in crisis. I hear all the pain and difficulty caused by insecurities: partners obsessively checking the other’s phone or social media activity; “white lies” told about seeing friends or family to avoid confrontation.

Excessive jealousy or insecurity is toxic to relationships. One partner lives in terror of being abandoned, the other walking on egg-shells in the face of suspicion and accusations. It’s not uncommon for couples to start changing their behaviours: phoning in to reassure, for example, often with thinly veiled resentment and feelings of being controlled.

Insecurities which manifest as jealousy or suspicion or excessive pre-occupation with our partners, are toxic to a relationship. Paradoxically, the more we do to reassure a suspicious partner, the worse it gets. Appeasing behavioural changes are not the answer.

If you are tip-toeing round a jealous partner or changing your behaviour to avoid upset, you’re simply putting a plaster on a historic wound. At LoveRelations, we look at historic patterns or “attachment styles” in each partner, and we work to help clients understand how these patterns were set.

Attachment theory was developed by John Bowlby, one of the pre-eminent child psychiatrists of the post-war era. Simply put, Attachment theory posits that human beings are hard-wired to seek proximity to a significant other. The quality of closeness, comfort, safety, and sense of being unconditionally loved is – ideally – instilled in an infant by its relationship with the mother, or primary care-giver. If that relationship is inconsistent, mis-atuned or lacking, unbearable anxiety or distress is set up in the infant. This is what attachment theorists would describe as “internal working models” – a sort of template for how we experience our most intimate relationships as adults.

Children who have an anxious attachment often grow up to have preoccupied attachment patterns. As adults, they tend to be self-critical and insecure. They seek approval and reassurance from others, yet this never relieves their self-doubt. In their relationships, deep-seated feelings that they are going to be rejected make them worried and not trusting. This drives them to act in a clingy manner, and to feel over dependent on their partners. These people’s lives are not balanced – their preoccupation leaves them turned against themselves and emotionally desperate in relationships.

These people are often driven to engage in pre-emptive strategies in an attempt to avoid being rejected. They feel resentful and angry when their partner doesn’t provide the attention and reassurance they think they need. Many of those with preoccupied attachment attachments are reluctant to express their angry feelings to a partner for fear of potential loss or rejection. When they try and suppress their anger, their behaviour tends to vacillate between outbursts of anger and pleas for forgiveness and support.

An anxious and preoccupied attachment style in one’s partner, can be like an emotional ticking time-bomb. Although many anxiously attached types are capable and independent, in relationship they become fixated on any hint of abandonment or rejection and hypervigilant to any threat to the relationship.

This is the root of the suspicion and jealousy, which is so ruinous. At LoveRelations, we begin by helping the individual and the couple to understand their styles of attachment. It can come as a great relief to both parties to realise that this is a behaviour pattern, set up in infancy and childhood. Anxious/pre-occupied attachment is thought to account for as much as 30% of the population. With over 60% of couples attending relationship therapy reporting that jealously/insecurity is a major factor in their relationship difficulties, the problem is far from unusual.

Whilst anxious/pre-occupied attachment can cause an individual enormous distress and wreak havoc in a relationship, there is great possibility for healing. We work with the couple to begin to unpick and look at how the jealousy and insecurity is undermining the relationship itself. And then, we work with each individual. It’s crucial that they understand how their history has set up a style of attachment where fear of abandonment, hyper-vigilance to rejection and general low self-worth, prevail.

Individual work is the key, and this is where couples therapy at LoveRelations differs from other couples counselling and interventions. We work with the couple together, to begin with. This allows both parties to talk about the areas in which they feel insecure or jealous or conversely under suspicion or controlled. It’s not uncommon for both partners to flip-flop between both positions during the course of relationship. Each party needs help and support to understand their attachment style and how it may be undermining their relationship in the present day.

The key to healing anxious/preoccupied attachment is first and foremost, understanding. “In the individual work we do, we help a client get a perspective on the roots of their anxiety, their feelings of fear of abandonment or threat to the relationship. Making sense of one’s history and seeing how it distorts our current perspective can be truly healing.

Clients are helped and encouraged to build their own emotional resilience, to form healthy attachments outside the prime relationship and work on self-esteem. Put simply, the more an individual can develop a sense of security from within, and resource themselves through healthy networks and inter-dependent relationships, the better they are to relate securely.

It’s a truly transformative process. We have seen individuals grow exponentially and heal the anxious and preoccupied way of being in the world and in relationship. Relationships which have been characterised by suspicion and anger and control can soften into something secure and solid and that’s the best base for happiness!
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - C.G. Jung

For Professional Coaching / Therapy see http://loverelations.co.uk/limerence

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Re: Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by LostAgain » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:57 am

Sounds great if you can build the therapetic relationship.
In my case when I went for counselling with the mother of my sons,long ago,she thought the therapists were siding with me and ganging up on her.
Wowzamundo,those were difficult times.All that horrid daddy stuff.

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Re: Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by Ivanhoe » Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:40 pm

Brilliant and incisive. Wish I had had this article six months ago.
65 (feel 50); Male

"Grief makes children of us all. Any intellectual difference is destroyed. The wisest know nothing."
- Emerson

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Re: Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by Maddie » Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:35 pm

David wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:26 am

Children who have an anxious attachment often grow up to have preoccupied attachment patterns. As adults, they tend to be self-critical and insecure. They seek approval and reassurance from others, yet this never relieves their self-doubt. In their relationships, deep-seated feelings that they are going to be rejected make them worried and not trusting. This drives them to act in a clingy manner, and to feel over dependent on their partners. These people’s lives are not balanced – their preoccupation leaves them turned against themselves and emotionally desperate in relationships.
Yes, this thread is awesome. I've known for a long time now that my attachment issues have caused a lot of dysfunction in relationships, and in my relationship with my husband. In the earlier paragraph regarding being nurtured by a primary caregiver...I've always known in some way that it was extremely chaotic/neglectful in my early years. My mother was an alcoholic (maybe recovering...I don't know), relied on my grandmother to help her in the first 10 or so years of my life. As much as I try to respect that my grandmother cared for me in many ways, she was emotionally abusive and very unhappy/bitter/angry. My father was never there. I don't know who he is to this day. My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was maybe 2 or 3, so my earliest memories of her was at the hospital where she received chemo/radiation. As a result of this (IMO), I was fearful of being left at school or left period. I worried about this til I cried. All the time. My mother once even asked me where I got the idea anyone was leaving. I sure as hell could not answer that question, especially at like the age of 7.

Thank God my mother made out of the cancer scare, but she continued to be absent in some form or another for her whole life. Anyway, I do hope to heal from these wounds. Why did I ever think I was alone in this....? I'm sure many others felt that their parents were neglectful/not nurturing or soothing. Right?

Is Bradshaw a good author for healing this early attachment issue? Can you recommend a book? Thank you!
37, F
Ex - LO 47 , M
What a long, strange trip it's been...

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Re: Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by David » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:04 am

Maddie wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:35 pm

Is Bradshaw a good author for healing this early attachment issue? Can you recommend a book? Thank you!
I like Pete Walkers work on complex PTSD - his book has a lot of practical self help stuff

http://www.pete-walker.com/

his website has a lot of free resources
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - C.G. Jung

For Professional Coaching / Therapy see http://loverelations.co.uk/limerence

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Re: Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by L-F » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:09 am

Ivanhoe wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:40 pm
Brilliant and incisive. Wish I had had this article six months ago.
Why is that Ivanhoe?
No one is coming to save you.
This life is 100% your responsibility.

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Re: Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by Maddie » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:30 pm

Thanks, David! Also -- I bet the book you recommended earlier, Growing Yourself Up may help too . I'll check out that link!
37, F
Ex - LO 47 , M
What a long, strange trip it's been...

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Re: Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by mamasita » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:52 pm

This post explains my marriage pretty well. What complicates things for me, personally is that for so many years, I was the anxious, he was the avoidant.
The relationship began to (eventually) crumble and I prepared to move on, divorce my husband and try to put my life back together.

He then became anxious attached. At first I thought, "wow, he has really changed! This is the marriage that I need! He is so attentive, he cares, finally!" Ever so slowly, however, his anxiety started to become the elephant in the room. Questions, worry, mistrust. It surrounds me every day. He knows I hate it, so he tries to avoid being too obvious about his mistrust.
Now he simmers in mistrust quietly, and I recoil at every "where were you" "have you been there before? With who?" type question. He is so afraid I will leave. Which makes me want to leave.

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Re: Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by Ivanhoe » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:02 pm

L-F wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:09 am
Ivanhoe wrote:
Tue Aug 29, 2017 3:40 pm
Brilliant and incisive. Wish I had had this article six months ago.
Why is that Ivanhoe?
\
Because I have come to understand my narcissistic tendencies and in my OCD have worried that those tendencies in and of themselves make me a "bad" person. I have obsessed about how those tendencies have infected my relationships AND, how they have kept me from successes and empathetic relationships that could have enriched my life. The worrying itself became a distraction and kept me from being real. David's comment put my narcissism back into context - the narc tendencies are caused by wounds and I should be addressing those, not allowing myself to obsess about whether I am a good or bad person.
65 (feel 50); Male

"Grief makes children of us all. Any intellectual difference is destroyed. The wisest know nothing."
- Emerson

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Re: Jealousy, Insecurity and Unbearable Anxiety - How Historic Insecurity Ruins Present Relationships

Post by Spinnaker » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:20 pm

"David's comment put my narcissism back into context - the narc tendencies are caused by wounds and I should be addressing those, not allowing myself to obsess about whether I am a good or bad person."

BOOM! :-bd

Yep, we are imperfect.... 2 years from now you/me/each of us who dares to open our eyes doing the heavy lifting will be leading more authentic (I know that word is sooooo overused, but it's true) lives. Face your flaws and fix them rather than hiding the truth and obsessing over trying to make the one dimension of who you are look like the real Ivanhoe. Shedding the ego and working through your shadows will ultimately reveal the true Ivanhoe. Hope you find your truth. I have a feeling you will. Definitely an openness to utilizing therapies and a mindset open to change is evident in your words.... which is a huge advantage.
"I'll become what I deserve".

Ben Howard

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