Emotional unavailability and radical self-honesty

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default Emotional unavailability and radical self-honesty

Post by Riana on Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:12 am

How complex human nature is, that we can feel two strong forces that pull us in a completely opposite direction: a yearning to love and be loved, and a tremendous fear of showing our true self to the other person. We yearn for intimacy, yet such a closeness cannot be achieved without disclosure.
To avoid having to open up ourselves in such a vulnerable way, we often choose impossible loves, people who we can love, but who -we subconsciously know- are not capable or willing to love us in return. They trigger our need to seek validation from outside, and because they are reluctant to give it, we crave it even more, thinking that if they give us the appreciation we need, it will mean so much more. Instead of focusing on our wounds within, we are seduced by the easy fix we think they represent: winning their love will solve all our problems and finally make us feel loved and whole.
What a tricky business it is indeed, to place our value in someone else's hands. We are left helpless, dependent and anxious, for what if they should leave, and we are left on our own again? Where will we find our value then?

And in the rare case that we can draw water from a stone and get such an unwilling character to give us the love and attention we need, something odd happens: we lose interest. Why? Because we are emotionally unavailable ourselves. Our walls are high up and we are not ready for anything that true intimacy entails. In fact, we are scared shitless.
The shame we feel prevents us from truly being able to open up, and instead we turn towards the next unavailable person, labeling anyone who actually returns our feelings in a genuine way as "boring", "not my type".

Healing comes when we are willing to be honest with ourselves and face our pattern. It's hard, peering into our depths and truly feeling the shame, pain and hurt. To realise we have been so wronged and hurt in the past that we decided that others cannot be trusted, and that we are bad and don't deserve love. The feelings of despair and emptiness can be overwhelming, and we desperately want to reach out and find someone who will make everything better. But there is a reason for our solitude: we have to find ourselves and stop this unhealthy dependency on the opinion and validation of others. The importance of gentle patience cannot be underestimated - we've walked around with our walls and pain for years, and they won't go away overnight. In fact, there may be several occasions where we think we've healed our wounds, only to be triggered by a situation or person and to feel all those negative emotions all over again. It's part of the process and it's a lifelong journey.
But the only way forward is radical self-honesty, self-forgiveness and self-love. The realisation that you are responsible for your life and the people you attract is the first step.

Your thoughts?
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Post by melodiccolor on Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:39 pm

Great insights Riana! I fully agree. For those of you who struggle with self love and acceptance, this is a great path to follow. Also you need to look deeper as you do this, find out the source of the lack of self value and emotional unavailability.

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Post by Dreamspace on Mon Dec 24, 2012 5:58 pm

This is probably true of quite a few people, or even most people, who have self-acceptance issues, but I'm not sure that I identify with everything here. It is true that I have a poor self-image, but would I reject acceptance or acknowledgement from someone else? I would say many compliments tend to make me feel guilty, but I am elated when somebody else displays affection for me. For me, it's addictive; I would likely be discouraged by an emotionally unavailable person before very long. I don't think I try to hide myself, either, as it would be pointless to seek approbation from someone who doesn't accept me for who I am. If they would reject the real me, they can't give me what it is I want to begin with. Feelings of unworthiness? That usually results in abandonment anxiety.

So I relate to many of these feelings, but not the responses to them.
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Post by rombomb on Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:47 pm

Dreamspace wrote:This is probably true of quite a few people, or even most people, who have self-acceptance issues, but I'm not sure that I identify with everything here. It is true that I have a poor self-image, but would I reject acceptance or acknowledgement from someone else? I would say many compliments tend to make me feel guilty, but I am elated when somebody else displays affection for me. For me, it's addictive; I would likely be discouraged by an emotionally unavailable person before very long. I don't think I try to hide myself, either, as it would be pointless to seek approbation from someone who doesn't accept me for who I am. If they would reject the real me, they can't give me what it is I want to begin with. Feelings of unworthiness? That usually results in abandonment anxiety.

So I relate to many of these feelings, but not the responses to them.
Why do you have a poor self-image? You're highly rational (as evidenced by your posts). Being highly rational means that you make lots of good decisions and that you improve yourself constantly and (relatively) easily. These are virtues. So why the poor self-image?

Why do compliments make you feel guilty?

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default Re: Emotional unavailability and radical self-honesty

Post by Dreamspace on Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:51 pm

rombomb wrote:Why do you have a poor self-image? You're highly rational (as evidenced by your posts). Being highly rational means that you make lots of good decisions and that you improve yourself constantly and (relatively) easily. These are virtues. So why the poor self-image?

I'm good at making conceptual distinctions, following and building logical schemes, being analytical, and so forth. That in itself is a narrow skill-set, but it's the skill-set my natural aptitudes lend themselves well to. I'm not all that great at long-term planning or goal-setting, or other practical decision-making skills for concrete, real-world results. I'm not so sure I do much as far as self-improvement goes.

And while I'm very good at making rational decisions about intangibles, it doesn't mean I'm not a highly emotional person I am. When it comes to my social and emotional life, I'm a wreck and make all sorts of mistakes and poor choices on a regular basis. Few of my major life decisions, and few of my reactions to major events in my life, have been very rational.

Why do compliments make you feel guilty?

I typically feel like that person is mistaken and going to be disappointed, or feel like I've somehow duped them.
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default Re: Emotional unavailability and radical self-honesty

Post by rombomb on Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:03 pm

Dreamspace wrote:
rombomb wrote:Why do you have a poor self-image? You're highly rational (as evidenced by your posts). Being highly rational means that you make lots of good decisions and that you improve yourself constantly and (relatively) easily. These are virtues. So why the poor self-image?

I'm good at making conceptual distinctions, following and building logical schemes, being analytical, and so forth. That in itself is a narrow skill-set,

No, that is a very very very general-purpose, knowledge-creating, skill-set. You may have some specific problems preventing you from using your good reasoning skills in certain situations. You may have some anti-rational memes that are shielding some specific things in your life from your good reasoning skills. These are problems that can be solved. All problems are soluble! Do you agree?

Dreamspace wrote:
but it's the skill-set my natural aptitudes lend themselves well to. I'm not all that great at long-term planning or goal-setting, or other practical decision-making skills for concrete, real-world results. I'm not so sure I do much as far as self-improvement goes.
All of these things you think you're not good are things that can be solved by your existing skill-set.

For what its worth, I too thought like you. I thought I was a really skilled thinker in some things (like physics/math) but unskilled in others (like social skills, parenting, etc.). By learning some philosophy, I learned how to apply my reasoning skills to *all* parts of my life, including the things you say you aren't good at doing.

Dreamspace wrote:
And while I'm very good at making rational decisions about intangibles, it doesn't mean I'm not a highly emotional person I am. When it comes to my social and emotional life, I'm a wreck and make all sorts of mistakes and poor choices on a regular basis. Few of my major life decisions, and few of my reactions to major events in my life, have been very rational.
Me too. And I've solved most of my problems -- the most important ones -- the ones that caused the most hurt on me and others. Now I have a lot more time for working on my fun problems, and for being a better father, since my mind is no longer clouded by the emotion, resulting from the hurt, caused by the mistakes, caused by my past problems.

Dreamspace wrote:
Why do compliments make you feel guilty?

I typically feel like that person is mistaken and going to be disappointed, or feel like I've somehow duped them.
If they are mistaken, who is responsible for that? You or them?

If you think you are responsible, what do you think you did wrong? Was it an honest mistake or did you have malicious intent?

If you think they are responsible, why do you think you are guilty?

In most situations where people say they "feel guilty", they are not responsible nor had any control over the situation. So why do they think they are guilty?

Something I'd like to share with you.

"We do not and must not hold a person responsible, nor must he hold himself responsible, for a natural event or human action over which he has no control. However, we must hold a person responsible, and he should hold himself responsible, for acts that he can, or ought to be able to, control. Prohibiting death control-like prohibiting birth control and other self-regarding behaviors-reduces the individual's opportunities to assume responsibility for these behaviors and makes the person dependent on external controls instead of self-control. Therein lies the most insidious danger of using prohibitions to regulate behaviors that can, in the final analysis, be effectively regulated only by internal controls. If young people believe that they cannot, need not, or must not control how they procreate -- because assuming such control is sinful or because others will assume responsibility for the consequences of their behavior -- then they are likely to create new life irresponsibly. Similarly, if old people believe that they cannot, need not, or must not control how they die -- because assuming such control signifies that they are insane or because others will assume responsibility for the consequences of their behavior -- then they are likely to die irresponsibly."
Thomas Szasz 1920-2012

"The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt."
Ayn Rand 1902-1982


I'm going to make some guesses:

You are ashamed of your mistakes. Call this an emotion if you like. What causes emotions? One's ideas. You have the idea that mistakes are shameful. This is a common attitude towards mistakes, and its the wrong attitude. Its an anti-rational meme that has been replicating in the human population for thousands of years. Why does it continue to replicate? Because parents and schools continue to punish children for making mistakes. This requires much more attention but I'll leave that for another time.

You have the idea that you will remain mistaken, that your problems will remain unsolved. You believe this because so far many of your problems are yet unsolved. This idea (this belief) causes you to fear your problems and their resulting mistakes. This is a parochial mistake.

Some people react to this shame and fear by trying to avoid thinking about the problems and the mistakes. This physically prevents you from creating the necessary knowledge to solve your problems.

The reality is that *all problems are soluble*. Each problem requires the right knowledge to solve it. Lack of that knowledge causes the problem to persist.

Some people think that this implies perfection, but they're mistaken. Perfection implies that all problems are already solved, which is false. Everybody has open problems -- by "open" I mean *yet unsolved*. Each problem requires some specific piece of knowledge to solve it, and there is nothing stopping its responsible agent from creating that knowledge -- by "responsible agent" I'm referring to the person responsible for solving the problem.

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