Fear of Commitment – ACoAs (Part 3b)

too much love
ALL THAT ATTENTION
makes my head hurt!

PREVIOUS: FoC – Part 3b

 

3. SELF-DEFEATING re-enactment (cont.)
Some POSITIVE things that interfere with our willingness to Commit :

d. F of Visibility. To the WIC, C. to anything means everyone can see us, in all our imperfections & ‘badness’.
If we combine Fears OF: Abandonment + Compromise + Losing Control + Making mistakes + Responsibility, we end up with is a deep terror of being fully visible. It would mean exposing ourselves to the whole world as undeserving frauds, “Who do you think you are?” echoing in our head. The assumption is that everyone else is also like our family, who will punish us for daring to have an identity of our own

e. F of Receiving To the WIC, C. to others means making oneself vulnerable. AND it exposes us to good things we never had before, which will open the floodgates of need & longing – & drown us!
• We’re hungry for recognition & nourishment, but are forbidden. Our injunction against Receiving is bone deep, especially for the Hero & Lost Child.  TOXIC Rules include:
“Do everything yourself / I’m not important or valuable / I have no rights / No one actually sees me….”.
To ACoAs, Receiving IS: > breaking family rules, > weak & needy, > selfish & greedy, when others are suffering, > getting something I don’t deserve, > arrogant, presumptuous

2 broad categories @ Receiving:
Getting something because we actually asked. Being direct aboutgiven to
what we need is not only forbidden by the PP, but the WIC also believes that: 👎🏽 If we have to ask, then getting it doesn’t count!

That only applies to infants who can’t talk – they’re totally dependent on adults to know what they need. Of course, many of us didn’t have available, nurturing parents, so we’re still stuck back there, in the emotional infant-toddler stage, waiting, waiting…..
But this passivity is not appropriate for adults. It is our responsibility to know what we needsurprise gift & then ask for whatever we can’t supply for ourselves.

Getting something without asking, because someone generously offered, because they want to! Naturally, with our background of abuse & deprivation, the WIC doesn’t believe anyone would give us something ‘just because’. Since we’re unworthy, everyone must have an ulterior motive & it’s up to us to figure out what they want.

f. F of Success – To the WIC, C. to achieving our deepest goals means the sure loss of a connection to our family. (See Point c. in #3a). This refers to fulfilling our heart’s desire – what we were born to do. But even if we do follow the Right Path we’re more likely to keep from being as successful as we’re capable of – so we “Don’t get too big for your britches”! True success would mean disobeying a basic Toxic Rule “You always have to struggle, but never get there” !

g. F of Peacefulness. To the WIC, C. to anything good means being bored to tears. ACoAs are adrenaline junkies, ‘addicted to negative excitement’ (#8), always creating or inviting situations that make life more complicated & stressful. That includes those of us who are isolated & withdrawn: their form of excitement is mainly internal – the mental ‘spinning’ of obsessive self-hate & worry. Both types create unnecessary drama, re-enacting how our parents functioned + the chaos they created. Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 8.55.38 PM

• To be calm, quiet, peaceful makes no sense to ACoAs & make us anxious! 🧐 Without constant ‘agida‘ we feel empty, which we call boredom. Actually it’s healthy, but we have to get used to it, by filling it with love for ourselves. Even if the compulsion to be a ’drama queen /king’ is unconscious, it’s up to us to replace it with a saner way of life

h. F of Higher Power (God, Spirit, the “Universe”….). To the WIC C to any form of ‘power grater than ourselves’ is guaranteed obliteration (death of Self). ACoAs are ‘afraid of authority figures” #1. This comes from what John Bradshaw reminded us of – that children transfer their experiences with parents (the original ‘gods’) to their concept of a Higher Power. If they were dangerous – then obviously so must God be.

NEXT: Recovering from FoC #1

Advertisements

Fear of Commitment – ACoAs (Part 3a)

dating DATING IS HARD WORK!
I always have to be ‘on’

PREVIOUS: FoC – Part 2d

SITE: How to Cure Commitment Phobia” – NLP ‘secrets’

3. SELF-DEFEATING re-enactment
There are also POSITIVE things that interfere with our willingness to Commit :

a. Fear of self-careTo the WIC, C. to ourselves means having to give up the fantasy that someone will come along & rescue us.
12-Step Programs remind us that to truly progress, we need to put our Recovery first, before all else – particularly true for newcomers. Commitment to ourselves:
• requires the guts to go against all our early training, managing the resulting guilt & backlash

• means re-defining terms like ‘selfish, normal, fair, family, love’…. self-care
➼ If you’re in Integrity – true to Deepest Self – & are accused of Selfishness, it simply means you’re not doing what the other person wants. Don’t let someone guilt you into betraying your observations, values & beliefs. You can comply with their wishes if it suits you, but not from FoA

• means talking to the WIC every day, Meetings, 2-handed writing, books, therapy…. as much as possible. Once our Inner Child trusts that we’ll consistently show up for it, making a commitment to others won’t be so scary

b. F of being treated well & loved. To the WIC, C. to anything or anyone positive, means having to feel the contrast between the suffering our family (& others) put us thru – against – what we begin to see we could have / should have had. Painful & enraging.

• Many of us actually believe that wanting to be loved is a character defect!  But being loved is a fundamental & universal human need, which we had very little of when we needed it the most! So now we’re attracted to & stay with PPT that are either blatantly bad for us, not actually bad but unsuited to our True Self, or which only partly meet our needs. Screen Shot 2015-08-22 at 7.21.10 PM

• We don’t want to be disloyal to our parents, afraid to ‘hurt them, afraid to  grow up, afraid to be ‘vulnerable’.
Being treated with respect, consideration, patience, admiration, encouragement…. forces us to FEEL the abandonment we grew up with – how much we missed out on, & to think: “I could have had a V-8!” – I mean: “I didn’t cause the pain I grew up with. With healthier parents I would have been safe & loved!” 😢

c. F of our Power – To the WIC, C to our own strength means eclipsing family members & so in some way destroy them. 
🔥 Any sign of ‘stepping into our power’, being smart, knowing our rights & being able to shine was considered arrogant, presumptuous, even sinful.  Beside all the verbal & physical abuse for just being a normal kid, many of us got smacked down badly if we eveinvisibler let some of our natural strength out.

😡 The other down side of showing competence & strength as a kid was that one of more of the damaged adults used it – like a nightmare octopus – to feed off of us!

So, between being abused and used – we had to hide most of who we truly were, & adapt to what would get us through. Being ‘strong’ as a kid actually meant:
– highlighting the adults’ weaknesses & limitations
– usurping the narcissists’ limelight
– a disruptive threat to the whole dysfunctional system
– a signal they might no longer be able to ‘mess’ with us
– an attempt to disengage the symbiosis, triggering THEIR FoA

That left us invisible to ourselves – not knowing what we’re inherently capable of, unable to commit or connect in a genuine way. And our co-dependence tells us that if we outshine others, we’ll be bad for making them feel bad about themselves. Then they won’t like us, plus we’re terrified of their envy-backlash.

🌀 And, now – If we do get an inkling of our healthy power, so foreign & undeserved, it can set off panic. To let others actually SEE us feels life-and-death dangerous.

NOTE – Unhealthy responses from others & our resulting terror ONLY happens when dealing with very wounded / abusive people!

NEXT: FoC – #3a

Fear of Commitment – ACoAs (Part 2b)

FoC I KEEP TRYING TO CONNECT
but no one seems to want me!

PREVIOUS: FoC – ACoAs, Part 2a



SITE: Commitment Phobics – playing out a dysfunctional family role

QUOTE: • “Commitment is healthiest when it’s not without doubt, but in spite of doubt.” ~ Dr. Rollo May, psychologist

• “If you deny yourself commitment, what can you do with your life?” ~ Harvey Fierstein, actor, writer, director

RE-ENACTING (cont.)
d. F. of responsibility
as kidsTo the WIC, C. meant we had to be responsible for everyone & everything, & no one taking care of us. We were forced to be responsible (R) for our unhappy angry, crazy, drunk parents, & sometimes our siblings. Many of us had to be the ‘designated adult’ even when we were very little, because of their incompetence, selfishness & addictions. We got the RULE loud & clear “Everyone else’s needs are more important than mine”.

e. F. of losing control – OPPOSITE of being ‘in control’, of ourself & our life, which eliminates being able to fully commit. To the WIC, C. to anything means many ‘unbearable’ things: accepting how things really are, giving up absolute autonomy or getting our way / ‘allowing’ others to be different from us / having to move on…. lose control
We violently resist the middle “A” (Acceptance) or any suggestions to “let go – with love, let go – let God, let go – with sadness, disappointment, anger…” – any way we can, but LET GO.

We believe that WE have to be constantly alert to preventing others from having power over us, and stop the ‘craziness’ of addicts & narcissists from engulf us, which many of us kept trying to do in our home – unsuccessfully. And some of us still do, no matter how futile or unnecessary!

ACoAs project our S-H & paranoia out on the whole world, perpetuating our deep fear & mistrust. As adults, being controlling is a substitute for having real boundaries – mental & emotional walls the WIC thinks will protect us from actual or imagined dangers.

• If we were raised in great emotional & physical chaos, many of us will spend all our energy as adults trying to keep people-places-things (PPT) in our tight grip. The assumption is that if we don’t, everything will spin out of control, even if the present day circumstances are actually much more manageable.

• If we were raised in an uptight, controlling environment – we’ll either rebel & want no limits at all, or follow the family pattern & be uptight, rigid & overly-fussy. In any case, which ever style we choose will be the result of birth order & our Toxic Family Role (Hero //  Placater), but will also have a great deal to do with our native personality.

Needing to control everything & everyone in our environment is both a way to prevent in controlothers from getting too close (intimate), as well as trying to keep them attached to us.
Overtly: Telling everyone what they should be doing, feeling & thinking – that it’s our way or the highway.

Being pushy, aggressive, ‘difficult’, demanding…. It’s presumptuous & insulting – the controller’s assumption is that they’re the only one who knows how to do things, knows what’s best, what’s RIGHT, & how things should be done!
See Posts: “Controlling & Abandonment” //  “ACoAs – Getting controlled

Covertly: Many ACoAs are sure they’re not controlling, because they don’t recognize how they do it, since it’s indirect & sneaky – by omissions, withholding & people-pleasing.
Some ways:
– BY consistently denying oneself (needs emotions, opinions…) in favor of another. It’s a way to manipulate how someone behaves & how they feel about us, or prevent them from leaving (abandoning us).
– BY withholding – affection, communication, decisions, preferences….
– BY always being a victim, sickly or incompetent, so others have to take care of us or clean up our messes
– BY rescuing, people-pleasing…., to change someone or something into what we want, so we won’t have to leave & start over

NEXT: FoC, Part 2c

Fear of Commitment – ACoAs (Part 2a)

acoas fear 

I DUMP ON ANYONE
who tries to love me

PREVIOUS: FoC – ACoAs #1

SITE:10 most common fears” & more….

 

2. RE-ENACTING (cont.)
As stated in Part 1, besides ‘close’ relationships, Fear of Commitment (FoC) also shows up as not giving our all at school or work, at home or in public…. It’s a fear of giving our best, convinced that our best will be considered “not good enough”. That leaves us ashamed, lonely & scared.
BUT – ‘not-our-best’ according to whom??? Well, as long as our WIC is running things (via beliefs & emotions) we’re living in the past, assuming everyone will treat us exactly like our family did/does, even when we’ve had many experiences to the contrary.

Many ACoAs long for a positive, steady relationship & a better over-all life. Yet no matter how hard they try they keep missing the brass ring. The WIC’s terror of reproducing the dangerous intimacy of our original Parent-Child bond is so strong it prevents us from finding the love & acceptance we crave.

❤️ What can make the difference is the creation of a strong, healthy internal Loving Parent who will pull the WIC away from the PP, & forming a connection to a loving H.P., proving there’s another way to bond with others – safely.

Some REASONS for FoC
a. Fear of abandonment (FoA) – our most basic fear. A = not getting enough of our legitimate childhood PMES needs met, AND being abused in each of those 4 categories. It created the belief that we will always lose what we need & love, so there’s no point in setting ourselves up for more pain by committing (C) to something we care about. It’s one reason ACoAs are ‘best’ at what we like or love to do – the least. It’s inevitable that FoA would create lack of trust. SO – if our parents & other important caretakers neglected & assaulted us, how can we possible believe anyone else would be dependable or care for us?

b. F of leaving family of originwe can’t C. to anything we would like if it takes us away from ‘them’. IF WE:
– are so ‘under their thumb’ that we’re not allowed to make our own choices, or let family pick for you (mates, career, where to live…)
– have emotional incest ties to a parent, we can’t have our own dyad
– are still dealing with a parent who is an active addict, mentally ill or otherwise impaired, so we feel compelled to keep taking care of them, instead of ourselves

c. F of being trappedTo the WIC, C. to anything means never being able have our own space to breathe, NOR to get out of it, if it doesn’t work out the way we hoped.
As kids we were trapped with ‘them’, & the adults were trapped with each other, in dead-end jobs, with relatives they hated, & most of all trapped in their own damage. We swore we’d never let that happen to us, so now we never commit to anything or anyone.

Instead we have our own traps because of:
• NO Options: not allowed to choose (lovers, friends, mates…) for ourselves, whoever wants us gets us,whether we actually want them or not

• NO Boundaries – automatically disappearing / losing ourselves when around others, especially a mate. Not having access to our True Self, we don’t know what our needs, wants or tastes are, come here-go awayso we go along with whatever others expect, want, demand, imply…. This makes us feel suffocated, ‘swamped’, overwhelmed when we / they get too close.

• NO Freedom: we’re stuck because, along with our own FoA, we’re not allowed to leave one of our toxic family rule: “If you don’t like you have to stay”). ACoAs react in one of 2 ways:
– either stay way too long in bad or unsuitable situations OR
– compulsively come & go, isolate or just keep running
<—- “Come here-Go away” dance of FoC (see ‘Boundaries’)

NEXT: FoC – Part 2b

Fear of Commitment – ACoAs (Part 1)

chasing the alcoholic I REALLY WANT TO,
but I just can’t get myself to do it!

PREVIOUS: Fear of Commitment – general (#2)

QUOTE: ‘The worst thing isn’t fear of commitment – the worst thing is being with the wrong person because of fear of loneliness”. ~ ANON

1. ORIGIN – the basis for this fear (FoC) is the fear of intimacy, ie. “in-to-me-see”.
• In general, INTIMACY is the mental & emotional closeness between 2 people which allows each to know the other person behind their defenses or socially acceptable mask. Sexual intimacy may or may not include this.

a. But initially, it’s the intimacy between a child & it’s mother. From the very beginning of mother-childlife, each child is totally dependent on its primary caretaker(s), & therefore totally vulnerable to their plusses & minuses.
If the mother (or substitute) is an active addict, controlling, cruel or crazy, depressed, ill, distracted, insensitive, manipulative, raging, scared, (usually some combination) – the child will be in an intimacy double bind:
— on the one hand, desperately needing the adult(s) to love it, protect it & take care of all its needs
— on the other, emotionally & intuitively aware that the connection with that person is totally unsafe & therefore terrifying.

The child is trapped in this most intimate of all relationships which is truly dangerous to its well-being, but inescapable. Being raised with unreliability & chaos inevitably creates a lack of trust, which then becomes the model for all future relationships, creating a deep terror of intimacy.

b. In most cases we witnessed one or both of our parents:
— be unable to make a commitment – to each other, to their children, to work, to personal growth…. OR
— be committed to work instead of relationships (us), to their spouse not their children, to their addiction & nothing else!……
…… so we didn’t have a role-model for the emotional & spiritual requirements needed for consistent reliability

• Sometimes a child has another parent, older sibling or other relative who is more available & attentive than the primary. But if they are part of the same family, they too will have narcissistic damage & be limited in how much emotional safety & love they can provide. Often this ‘better’ person will either leave, die or turn on the child at some point – multiplying the abandonment pain.

All roads lead to Rome” was a familiar statement to the ancient Romans, & still is to all roadsmodern-day History students. The ACoAs version is: “All roads lead to Abandonment!”. This fear is the bottom line for us, governing all our responses to the world. So much so that we can even feel abandoned by the end of a book or movie we intensely connected to!

• Whenever we obsess, beat ourselves up, feel distrustful or hopeless, are terrified something bad will happen to us – we are tapping into old abandonment pain (E). Given how much abuse & neglect we experienced as children, it makes sense that the WIC would believe (T) that Ab. is the only possible outcome for us. SO – why bother committing to anything, if we’re always going to mess it up or have it taken away??

2. RE-ENACTING  (F=fear)
➼ Making a commitment to something or someone means showing up regularly, being self-motivated, taking risks, not knowing everything, asking for help along the way, having rights…. all the things we’re not allowed!

• The ACoA’s WIC has a whole trunk-full of reasons for FoC, even when we don’t have words for it or are aware of the WHY. As adults, this fear is perpetuated by Self-Hate & weak or confusionmissing Boundaries. We can apply the following issues to PPT (people-places-things), even tho the focus here is mainly on relationships.

It shows up as:
– Confusion (I don’t know what I want, who I am)
– Indecisiveness (should I or shouldn’t I?)
– Perfectionism (I have to know it all & do it right – the first time!)
Procrastination (maybe later, but secretly – maybe never)

NEXT: FoC – Part 2

Fear of Commitment – General (Part 2)

love distancing 

I WANT TO STAY WITH HIM
but he only want his freedom

PREVIOUS: Fear of Commitment (#1)

POSTS:Relationship Stages” // “Unrealistic expectations

 

SYMPTOMS: When reading the following list – & while holding your WIC – picture something you find hard to commit to – not just relationships, but anything you’re afraid to do or continue with. See how many of these items apply to that situation. Add any you have also experienced.

1. IN OURSELVES
Mental (including CDs)
•  are sure you have a fatal illness (aids, cancer…)
• feel “unreal” – detached, not yourselfgoing crazy
• focus on bad / scary images & movies about the subject
• obsess about the subject (whatever you’re avoiding)
• no motivation, can’t make decisions, confused
• scared of fainting, losing control or going crazy
• trouble thinking about anything other than the fear

Emotional
Anticipatory Anxiety – Persistent worry about upcoming events that involve any form of commitment
Breathing: shortness of breath, smothering sensation, feeling of choking
Compulsion: Overwhelming impulse to flee the situation, but the perceived danger is only in your mind – tough to understand or resist
General: hot or cold flashes, temporary muscle weakness

Gut: nausea or stomach distress, diarrhea
Head: dizzy, feeling unsteady, light-headed, faintfear-sick
Limbs: Trembling, shaking, tingling, joint pain
Moods: high levels of Anger, Sadness, Fear, Hurt & Guilt
Physical Apathy: lethargic, depressed, sleepy
Terror: Constant & overwhelming fear of the ‘issue’
Torso: Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate, chest pain or discomfort, numbness

IN OTHERS
FoC in Women – While women are often portrayed as ‘commitment crazy / hungry’, changes in social & moral rules make it easier for them to act out this fear, no matter how well disguised. (MORE: “Why women Won’t Commit”). Women who are socially awkward, have social anxiety, fear of being trapped, or in the closet – can now stay single & not be judged for it (except by very conservative communities!). Some of the symptoms for men, listed below, will apply to women as well, so go thru them carefully with that in mind.
➼ Biggest hint that a “Stayer” type woman is also commitment phobic – repeatedly clinging to ‘unavailable’ partners! Love a commitment-phobe?

Also – SHE: (SITE)
• has a lot of friends, whom she prefers to be with, & doesn’t want you to meet
• is often quite successful at work, doing well there because it represents her identity, but not good at emotional intimacy
• won’t discuss her inner life or feelings with you – either being very shut down or afraid to share her deepest self
• is only interested in her own likes & needs, not yours
• is often extremely critical of you – nothing is ever good enough. It keep others off balance & not too close
• may seem independent & ‘self-assured’, but her unpredictable mood swings say she’s insecure & scared
• will flirt with others when she’s out with you, talk a lot about her old lovers, stay in touch with them as ‘friends’, or need to cheat on you

FoC In Men – Pay attention: don’t overlook these symptoms if you want a healthy, serious, long-term connection. (The list is longer because this fear is more often seen in men – but also applies to many ACoAs). HE:charmer
uses charm & learned social skills to hook you, coming on strong at first. Once you’re caught, he’s not so pleasant or easy to be around
• keeps conversations & emotions superficial, & never talks about a future together
• won’t take NO for an answer – can’t handle conflict or rejection

• won’t stand for assertiveness. If you’re healthy enough to be clear about your needs, set boundaries & don’t agree with everything, he’ll leave
• doesn’t introduced you to his friends, relatives or co-workers
• hasn’t taken you to his place, but if he has – it’s either a total wreck, or looks like a hotel room
• will only talk about himself, & not be curious or interested in who you are, what you think, what’s important to you
• takes no responsibility for his choices (anything he does, says or feels) but blames you for unpleasant situations that occur. You end up feeling crazy – & angry. He won’t talk about it, & if you try, he’ll sulk or get mad

• won’t call ahead, call to connect or call to change plans, won’t say where he has been or what he’s been doing
• a last-minute planner, so he’s not committing to anything (or you), or giving you a chance to choose the activity. If he agrees to a plan you pick, he’s be late or cancelnon-stayers
• will actually say “You know I’m not the staying kind”, “I’m no good for you” … but will show up periodically (when lonely or horny)
• won’t do anything to accommodate you & your tastes. He’ll hate changing his way of doing things, even a little

won’t be around when you need help, so if you ask, he’ll make an excuse or give you the number of someone else. OR he’ll do only the things he wants, his way, not what you actually need or how it suits you.
• is often late, ‘forgets’, is unavailable, ‘away’ – a lot
• looses interest when things get serious. One day he’ll just disappear, with no explanation, or leave – blaming you for it not working out!
(modified from articles by Larry Cappel & Rashida Khilawala)
EXP: Chandler on “Friends”, Mr.Big on “Sex & the City”

Typically, the closer you get to what you’re afraid of, the greater your anxiety (fear) will be. Identify the severity of your problem with this 2-minute online fear of commitment TEST.

NEXT – FoC – ACoAs (Part 1)

Fear of Commitment – General (Part 1)

fear of commitment I WANT TO MOVE FORWARD
but he/she doesn’t

PREVIOUS: Feeling Sorry for #2

SITE: Hypnosis Downloads: #2“Overcome fear of commitment & get the real benefit of relationship”

\\\\\\

DEF: — the attitude of working very hard to do or support something
— a promise to do or give something, to be loyal to someone or something. Ongoing, permanent – if at all possible (‘Til death do us part’)
— the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionally driven
— an agreement to perform a particular activity at a certain time in the future, under certain circumstanceshappy old coule

POEMby Ashbash 1/13/2005
• Commitment is what transforms the promise into reality
• It is the words that speak boldly of your intentions, & the actions which speak louder than the words
• It is making the time when there is none
• Coming through time after time after time, year after year after year.
•  Commitment is the stuff character is made of
•  It is the power to change the face of things
• It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism
➼ When I say I love you, I mean that I’m committed to loving you even when it’s hard.

GENERAL: Fear of Commitment (FoC) is usually talked about in terms of relationships. However, the issue is much broader than that. Lack of commitment shows up in not pursuing or completing: education, career, hobbies, work projects, ones hopes & dreams, ideals & ethics – as well as relationships…. anything we’re procrastinating about, or avoiding.
It is most often something we want very badly but which our unrealistic or inaccurate beliefs keep us from pursuing

• Or it may be having trouble deciding on anything – where to travel on vacation, what to eat in a restaurant, which courses or job to take, go to the party or stay home…. because they don’t know ‘who they are’, wanting to do everything at once, afraid someone will be mad at them, afraid to make the wrong decision…. (See posts: Putting things off\] // Procrastination)

Re. Relationships
People who have FoC may be Gamophobic, fear of getting married, & extends to fear of being in or committing to relationships. This fear is caused by a number of personal experiences &/or observation of the negative effects of bad relationships, domestic violence, divorce, parents never married…. exacerbated by their own underlying emotional condition. Fear of being trapped, inability to trust, abandonment terror,  depression….intensifies the fear, so they’ve concluded that marriage is/will inevitably be harmful to them.

• The long-term inability to allow oneself to be vulnerable & show one’s ‘bad parts’ is a sign of a gamophobiapersonality disorder. In severe cases, they may like or love someone, but IF that person returns the affection & wants to be together permanently, the gamophobe can easily change their attraction into fault-finding, disdain, even hate.

This is usually done unconsciously, using the other person’s ‘limitations’ as an excuse to push them away. Turning love into hate, or over-valuing & then under-valuing a partner – without an appropriate reason – is a defense mechanism. Often, the sufferer knows their fears are unreasonable or exaggerated, but feel powerless to change.

Gamophobia is found more often in men, because the real or potential harm they fear can have greater consequences socially, financially, legally and personally. Of course, it is a very common fear is all categories of ACoAs.

SIGNS of AVOIDING Emotional Commitment (using T.E.A.)
Mental (Thoughts)
• have a long list of impossible requirements, too high expectations, make assumptions about that they’ll get from the other person or from the relationship
• afraid to lose other (possibly better) options
• focus on the negatives of the other person, continually criticizing / hurting their partners
• compulsively having one foot ‘out the door’, thinking or saying “I can always leave if you….”
• afraid / refuse to talk about a future with partner

Emotional (Emotions)
• over-reactions, mood swings, unwilling to talk about emotions
• only have a series of superficial relationships that can’t go anywhereno in love
• unjustified jealousy, always worrying about ‘being left’, not being worthy, making a mistake
• tend to always be depressed, needy or angry, which keeps others away
• always looking for / chasing new sexual partners, no matter how unsuitable, unhealthy, unstable (even when in a relationship)
• form attachment as long as no long-term demands are put on them (moving in, marriage, having children…)
• unwilling to risk — trying new things, moving out of ones comfort zone

Physical (Actions)
• isolate & avoid situations where they could meet potential dates/lovers… from fear of criticism, loss of freedom &/ or identity
• date only ‘unavailable’ people (addicts, married, narcissists, long distance…), &/or people they’re ashamed of
• leave too soon, before giving it a change – find fault with everything, run at the first sign of conflict or power struggle
• frequent job/career changes, &/or address changes
• often backing out of plans at the last-minute

NEXT: Fear of Commitment (#2)