CPTSD and the Attraction to Unavailable People, PART 1

 

People who experienced early trauma show common patterns in the way they form attachments. Among all the the long-term outcomes associated with ACEs, the damage to the way we seek and form romantic relationships can be one the most devastating, yet one of the least discussed. 

As a survivor, I had to learn a systematic way to change this, and after years of informally teaching hundreds of peers to heal the pattern and use a structured approach to dating , I've just put it all into an online course: Dating and Relationships for People with Childhood PTSD. It's for people who want to change their pattern and and develop a stable, loving, committed relationship instead. The course has more than three hours of video, a 32-page workbook, and the opportunity to join free webinars and mini-courses to support the ongoing work of changing.

Below you'll find an excerpt from the course -- it's half of a longer video that's all about just one of the self-defeating behaviors common to those of us with CPTSD -- the attraction to unavailable people -- and how to stop dating them.  I'll release part two in a few days (and don't worry -- the question at the end of this video will be answered in the second video excerpt!).

The video will give you a feel for the the content, and and if it speaks to you, click here to get full information, registration and instant access to the course. 

If you think you have Childhood PTSD, and you want to better understand what's happening in your brain and start learn strategies to feel better (and function better) right away, you can access my first course, Healing Childhood PTSD here. The two courses go nicely together (though they can be taken individually). But if you take both, this Healing course would be the best place to start.

For more articles, stories and free tools for healing, check out the Crappy Childhood Fairy blog.

Finally, if you like learning through videos, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel! 

See you in a few days with Part 2. Have a great weekend!

Anna (the Fairy)

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No bridge, it's been more of a dance. She wouldn't want me to be more specific than that.

As I get into my mental health counseling career I have recently started, It  became immediately and continually necessary to check myself for biases and triggers as I work with my clients. They all have relationship difficulties, which to varying degrees match my own.

Rich Featherly posted:

I have a mind block remembering the names of the attachment styles. I seem to remember a grid with anxiety on one axis and avoidance on the other, the quadrant with low anxiety and low avoidance being the healthiest.

Easier for me to remember are three coping mechanisms for stress. I read about them in my social work text a year+ ago, then heard Brene Brown describe them in a video clip as the ways we cope with shame. They are "moving against, "moving away" and "moving toward". Easier to remember because they correspond to the stress responses of fight, flight and submit/freeze.

Every attachment style or coping style is is in response to our universal human needs (safety, connection, autonomy, etc.) as described by folks like Maslow and Marshall Rosenberg. The book "A Course In Miracles" simplifies that by saying "Everything [we do] is Love or a call for Love".

Thanks for the opportunity to have this discussion.

Hi Rich, good summary of good info out there. What have you done that's helped to bridge the attachment style-gap with your wife? (Experience from people who know the difficulties are the most helpful, in my book!)

I have a mind block remembering the names of the attachment styles. I seem to remember a grid with anxiety on one axis and avoidance on the other, the quadrant with low anxiety and low avoidance being the healthiest.

Easier for me to remember are three coping mechanisms for stress. I read about them in my social work text a year+ ago, then heard Brene Brown describe them in a video clip as the ways we cope with shame. They are "moving against, "moving away" and "moving toward". Easier to remember because they correspond to the stress responses of fight, flight and submit/freeze.

Every attachment style or coping style is is in response to our universal human needs (safety, connection, autonomy, etc.) as described by folks like Maslow and Marshall Rosenberg. The book "A Course In Miracles" simplifies that by saying "Everything [we do] is Love or a call for Love".

Thanks for the opportunity to have this discussion.

Rich Featherly posted:

It's interesting for me to think about what you are talking about. You are speaking one aspect of attachment wounding. As a woman yourself and seem mostly to be talking to women, you seem to be talking about being too attached to someone who is not reciprocating. My own wound has more to do with autonomy. I hear it's common for men to be more distancing. I am most often triggered by feeling constrained or limited.  That means I can relate to the partner who pulls away when the other is getting to close and constraining. I'm sure I'm not the worst, I've been married for over 30 years. I'm sure my wife could tell you a few stories though.

Hi Rich, thank you for saying this. These two videos I've posted this week are from my new dating course for people with CPTSD, and in the course, I disclose up front that while I think any type of person could benefit, all the content will be biased toward my own experience as straight, female, married (and before marriage really wanting marriage). I might have added, "with a certain attachment style"! I originally thought my courses would appeal mostly to women, but men turn out to be a significant portion of the registrants. I love that men would do this -- take a course to get better at being in a relationship! It warms my heart, and makes me realize I had some blinders on about what men experience. And pulling away? I used to conflate that with power in the relarionship. I now know it's an attachment style. Good thing life is long, because there is so much for me to learn! I appreciate that you commented. Glad to meet you.

It's interesting for me to think about what you are talking about. You are speaking one aspect of attachment wounding. As a woman yourself and seem mostly to be talking to women, you seem to be talking about being too attached to someone who is not reciprocating. My own wound has more to do with autonomy. I hear it's common for men to be more distancing. I am most often triggered by feeling constrained or limited.  That means I can relate to the partner who pulls away when the other is getting to close and constraining. I'm sure I'm not the worst, I've been married for over 30 years. I'm sure my wife could tell you a few stories though.

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