As someone with attachment trauma, who recently gained self esteem from
*A LOT of therapy (still going weekly)
*Pole dancing in a studio that supports women. Since college it’s often been difficult to meet new groups of friends outside of work. The owner actually does 6 week challenge that has nothing to do with diet/body aesthetics for pole. All 8 of us had a group chat going including with the owner. We ranged in age from mid 20s to late 30s and came from different walks of life, different sizes and finesses level. The group chat daily was anything from venting, funny memes, talking about of dating issues, politics, marriage/kids, therapy, family issues, medication, lifestyle changes or just random things. It was non judgmental and very pro-women vibe. Pole classes were awesome as well. I now have a tight knit group of friends and I wish more studios did more these type of challenges as it’s WAY BETTER for mental health then any temporary diet challenge. This has been crucial for self esteem boosting.
*Stimulant medication for previously diagnosed ADHD.
*Accomplishing local political goals with grassroots lobbying (helped in a very minor way pass a local law that police officers can’t retaliate if others speak up.) Also made like minded friends in the process while social distancing.
I want to add how self worth makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE on what you tolerate or how much you start fantasizing/idolizing in the very beginning triggering high anxiety. This made me tolerate BS I knew logically in my gut were red flags. I wouldn’t even consider my new found self esteem anything exceptional but there’s a huge difference comparing to shame, deep insecurities and not being self differentiated ( Self-differentiation involves being able to possess and identify your own thoughts and feelings and distinguish them from others. It helps one to not internalize rejection or to take others actions or opinions as a means of evaluating your worth.)
I would consider myself very anxiously attached. I recently went on a date with a guy (also early 30s) who followed me on Instagram through mutual friends. After a month or so, he asked me to hang out. I agreed. I found it odd he suggested going an hour way to a resort town on a Saturday (in our area, we usually have fall fest there but it was cancelled there due to covid) but we knew people in common so I shrugged it off but suggested grabbing a drink after work instead. He agreed. We hit it off and our date turned into 4 hours. He’s been divorced for about 1 year to 1 year and half from a woman he had been with since his early 20s but no kids. I spent the night with him at his place as it had been awhile. Everything went great. The next morning at work (a Wednesday) he text me that he had a great time last night. I replied that I had a blast myself & would hang out again. Then silence…
He was still watching every Instagram story and that weekend when I had a pole choreograph class, he DM’ed a reply to my story with the “eye heart popping out smile emoji.” I ignored it figuring if he wants to contact me, he can text me. Another week goes by. I post a photo with friends watching football and suddenly he DM’s me and texts me simultaneously. The texting thread was me replying to him almost saying 2 weeks prior “I had a blast. We should do it again sometime” to an almost 2 week gap then him saying “Sorry (upside down smilie face) You look great in that jersey. Want to hang out sometime?” I hesitated but learning in therapy direct communication regardless of response I replied “I said I was down to hang out again. I am hesitant as I’m unsure of what to make of the 2 week silence but still DMing me on Instagram sporadically. It’s a bit confusing.” His response “Oh yeah sorry I was super busy the last 2 weeks.” I didn’t buy it but thought, what the hell, I’ll give it on more chance. He asked me when I’d like to hang out. I suggested Tuesday night after work and my pole class to watch the election results together (were both political.) He agreed enthusiastically and continued to blow up my phone via text all day Sunday.
Then Monday. Silence but I thought nothing of it. Monday night around 4pm, I messaged him “I should be finished up with my class around 630pm tomorrow. Would you like to meet up around 730pm?”
Nothing. Around 7pm last night, I noticed he was watching my stories on Instagram yet failed to respond to my text for over 2 hours. It was almost comical. Finally around 830pm, one of the girls I knew from local activism invited me over to her place for an election night gathering. So at this point, given his past pattern of behavior, I sent him a message. –
“I haven’t received confirmation and I was just offered another invitation from friends for tomorrow. If you could let me know shortly otherwise I’ll make other plans. Thank you”
Within 5 minutes his response “Oh sorry I was waiting to see if I had to cover teaching this class tomorrow right after work and I’m still not sure if they need me. I don’t want to keep you from other plans so go ahead with them.” (The class he was referring to was a spin class at 5:30pm at a local gym. Which made little sense since I had already told him my pole class didn’t end until 6:30pm)
My final response:
“Thank you for the response. I think it’s best we part ways. I am not looking for hot/cold or confusing communication. Best of luck on everything.”
It doesn’t matter if his hot/cold behavior is due to his own insecurity, his divorce, mental health issues, intimacy fears, uncertainty or just little interest. None of that matters. The reason behind being emotionally unavailable means nothing. My previously fragile ego and very low self esteem always wanted a reason so the “blow”would hurt less or to give me hope. So I could keep fantasizing things would change instead of believing patterns and not voicing my boundaries.
One of the things that I’ve recognized as a differentiator between healthy and unhealthy relationships is the presence of excuses, whether it’s yours or theirs. In the worst of situations where you may be denying, rationalizing and minimizing, you may even be making excuses for their excuses which only goes to show how poor the original excuse was.
Just like how on the other side of a jumped boundary lies disrespect and on the other side of an excuse often not only lies at least some element of disrespect but also the real reason.
An excuse is a reason that is given to justify an offense or fault but its primary purpose is to lessen responsibility by getting you to overlook, excuse, or even forgive off the back of it. This of course is rather tricky because when there’s excuses it means that any commitment is being lessened, which means everything else tied to it becomes pretty flimsy. You may also be overlooking things that are busting up your boundaries.
People often get ‘reasons’ and ‘excuses’ mixed up because there appears to be some crossover. Excuses allow people to remain in their uncomfortable comfort zone, dodge conflict by avoiding honesty both with others and themselves, dodge accountability, and cast themselves in a better light.
Saying “The dog ate my homework” gives the impression that you’ve been a victim of misfortune and avoids conflict whereas saying, “I couldn’t be arsed to do my homework” or “I forgot” makes you look lazy and lacking in conscientiousness.
Likewise saying “I’ve been really busy” gives the impression that you’re so busy (ya know busier than a world leader) that you haven’t had the time to contact or see them whereas saying “I’m not interested / am half-hearted / have been trying to get back with my ex” will not only have you in the position of saying something that most people squirm at and possibly inviting ‘conflict’, but if you’re the type of person that likes to hedge your bets, you may want to keep them as a rainy day option. If anything you’re hoping they’ll take the hint and do your job for you and at the worst of things, you may be hoping the excuse allows you to avail of their ‘usefulness’.
Or “Look, can you hurry the eff up and get off my back because I’m only offering up this feeble justification for what I’ve said/done or failed to say/do because the real reason doesn’t sound too great when said out loud and may invite conflict, plus if I gave you the real reason, it would put me in the position of actually having to do something.”
Or “Please reduce your expectations of me and this relationship immediately.”
Sometimes, they’re even saying “Look, you know and I know what’s happened here but if you want to go along with this charade, I’ll throw you an excuse and see how much more of a free ride I can get.”
Sometimes, they’re saying, “Wow, it seems like you don’t seem to see what’s really going on here! Can’t you see I ain’t sh*t?!/ Can’t you see that I clearly am not putting in the time and effort here? Hmmm…well I won’t be direct with you because I don’t want to look like the bad guy here, so I’ll palm you off with this excuse in the hope that you get the hint. And if you don’t, well it’d be almost rude not to avail of what’s on offer…”
Behind every excuse is the real reason.
Just wanted to share 🙂
Happy Election Day.