I GUESS THIS IS GOODBYE 😦How could this happen to me!?)
PREVIOUS: Intro, Differentiating, Limiting, Stagnating (#1)
▼ ACTS OF DISTANCING ▼ (cont)
Normal: The 2 people have been in a committed relationship, but no longer see themselves in the dyad. They’ve withdrawn their emotions & are ‘spending‘ them elsewhere. Deep emotional distance is an indicator that the union is no longer salvageable. Each person knows in their mind & heart they’re detaching, & need to protect themselves.
• They reorganize their lives to avoid being together & may even verbalize it: “I don’t want to talk to ____”. It can also show up by sleeping in separate beds or rooms, & one or both looking for a new place to live.
• People not living together will avoid calls, emails & texts. “Leave me a message & I’ll get back to you” , “I’m really busy, so I’m sure you’ll understand if we don’t get together this week”. Usually there’s less fighting, but what’s left may be sniping, sarcasm, put-downs. Otherwise, communication is only about practical necessities
1. TERMINATING (Final)
Normal: This stage can be done rather quickly or be dragged out for years.
• It is the actual physical leaving of the relationship with a little or a lot of psychological finality. If both parties can accept this, it makes it much easier to move on. “I can’t do this any more. This is the end for me.” — “Yeah, sure, whatever you say.”
• When one partner has come to their ending point, it’s important & respectful (‘clean‘) to actually tell the other person. This is more likely with a longer-term connection. Often with less developed ties, one person just stops taking calls, emails…
• Verbal messages are used to prepare for the end by only using ‘I’ or ‘me’ statements, & meant to create finality & permanent distance “This relationship isn’t working for me anymore” , “Please don’t call me again” .
• It’s not uncommon for one or both people to have another relationship, job, even a new city… waiting in the wings, even if the new ‘love’ is temporary, to get them thru the transition.
✶ Leaving may actually be a benefit for both, even if it hurts. They may need it to continue their career, their personal growth or to start a more suitable lifestyle.
♥ ♥ ♥
Re. ACoAs: It’s difficult to make notes for each stage separately because we are so extreme – not going thru the steps at all, going thru them all in the first few weeks or staying for years even when we know better…. We too experience endings (leaving or being left), but suffer more that people who are less wounded. So these are general observations of ACoA patterns
LEAVING: Regardless of our style, personality type…. when we can’t bear it anymore – we leave, but rarely in a healthy way:
a. Even tho we know it’s dead & hopeless, we desperately try to hang on, begging, manipulating, threatening to kill ourselves….
b. We cut people off – cold turkey, without explanation & refuse any opportunity for closure. If they’re the Clinging type, they will be unprepared & dumbfounded. We’re angry or fed up. We don’t want to deal with their abandonment issues, their tantrums, their sulking & self hate. We don’t want to get sucked back in. Our boundaries are not strong enough & it’s just not healthy
c. One or both create such drama, fighting, emotional upheaval – that the only possible outcome is an explosion & then the big split. We don’t want to feel our abandonment pain either – anger is a cheap, fast & sometimes cruel or physically dangerous way to get out
d. For some, no matter how bad the situation, there’s no leaving at all – only an ending when one partner dies
e. Some ACoAs are capable of more appropriate exits, but it’s rare
1. ACoA AVOIDERS: Some ACoAs are so afraid of commitment,
being trapped, being abused & then left, that they don’t make long-term connection at all, or they have short serial relationships, friends, jobs…
• They go thru these 5 steps very quickly, over & over, always finding fault with any hint of imperfection, always picking people & situations which reproduce our original abuse & abandonment, OR not giving themselves & others a chance to develop connections that would be beneficial
2. ACoA CLINGERS
● ACoAs often start out in a fantasy fog of symbiosis, all hopeful & excited. There may be very little thought, just a whirlwind of feelings. Or the thought is: ‘This time it will be different’
● Then the dis-illusionment. The other person says or does something so unacceptable that it breaks the trance of togetherness. It may be something truly inappropriate, or just that they pushed an old button of ours.
● We may object, complain, attack, but we stay rather than start over. We accept the unacceptable & spend a lot of effort covering it up. And we feel depressed.
NEXT: “Trying to Leave you” (Part 2) – Clingers (b), Leaving