I’ve already started getting emails coming through about my new ebook The No Contact Rule and the chapter that seems to have resonated deeply with readers has been the chapter Breaking Your Pattern by Understanding Your Compulsion. Here I share an excerpt from it which gives some initial insight into how we can essentially end up being trapped in our feelings for someone, distorting our perception of ourselves and everything else around us, and having us running back to the person to try to stem the rejection, so that we end up numb….
“Some of the women I regularly correspond with feel a compulsion to make contact with their exes. They conjure up excuses to send a text, agonise over whether to send a birthday card, worry about what he might think about the fact that she’s not supposed to be thinking about him, and will have gone through regular periods of cutting contact, albeit maybe more fleetingly. Many women cut contact physically, as in they don’t see or speak with their ex, but they stay mentally connected by moving into obsessing about him. This is effectively like conducting your relationship in spirit on an alternative planet.
Obsessing about your ex and analysing the coulda, woulda, shouldas of the relationship is about looking for reasons to blame yourself, which also become reasons for you to find a way to try to ‘fix’ things, which in turn also keeps you emotionally invested in the person and the relationship.
Of course, if you are literally consumed by your thoughts and feelings for this person, you will not only fail to move on, but you’ll end up being trapped by your own feelings.
It’s very difficult to gain objectivity, perspective, and a sense of reality if you’re submerged in an underworld of illusions. You’ll feel intrinsically tied to him irrespective of whatever pain you have been through and become convinced that having him in any way, shape, or form, is better than not having him at all in your life. And so you will opt back into the cycle and likely make contact with him and go through all the rigmarole until something else happens to cause you to feel like you have to find a way out of the relationship.
Not only will you be trapped by your feelings, often feeling paralysed unable to do anything or resist the compulsion, but you may feel isolated.
No Contact is difficult. There is a huge reward at the end of it, but particularly for those of you who are constantly fighting yourselves, you’ll struggle to recognise what the reward is because you’ll perceive the absence of him from your life as ‘punishment’.
Unfortunately by isolating yourself in your feelings, you’re putting yourself into emotional purgatory.
This happens because with your dating habits, the likelihood is that you validate yourself based on your success or lack of it, with men. You’re likely to feel invalid when you stop trying to pursue a relationship with him and will internalise the reasons as to why the relationship ‘failed’. You may not even know why you want what you want, you just know that you feel like you want it because of the fact that things have not worked out in the way that you expected.
We choose men that reflect the things that we believe about ourselves, love, and relationships, and if we are carrying a lot of negativity, we’ll find ourselves with the very type of men that we profess to want to avoid. The classic example of this is being afraid of abandonment and then finding yourself with partners who disappear on you or who keep abandoning the relationship and are completely disloyal.
The danger in having a lack of self-love is that if we seek validation in others, when we are alone, we’ll panic, and quickly try to go back to the original source for some familiarity.
If you’ve kept going back to a relationship, you don’t know how to, are afraid of, and are unprepared to deal with loss. In fact, you may be hypersensitive to loss, and rather than actually work your way through it, you just avoid going the whole hog of feeling the loss.
Avoidance of feeling the pain and professing fear of it, is about dodging the full extent of your feelings about the loss, abandonment, and any perceived rejection.
Hard as it may be for you to hear, the fact that you avoid feeling out something to the fullest extent, doesn’t change the reality. The relationship is still over, you still need to grieve it, and you’ll still feel rejected. The difference is you’re prolonging your own agony and suspending yourself in limbo. This is why you’ll end up being stuck in an illusion being completely distanced from the reality. You won’t see the real him and he’ll be able to recognise this because you need to live a lie so that the reality doesn’t pierce it.
Burying your feelings as a coping mechanism is basically shutting down. You may have numbed the pain but it will play its way out through your health, mental, and emotional state with the potential to affect how you cope with stress, family, work, and general life. It’ll feel like swimming through quicksand.”
Your thoughts? Are you consumed by your feelings for someone?