Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV

Emotional detachment?

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Alan_B:
Hi all,

Out of curiosity I would like some opinions on what has to be the biggest failure in my life so far.

I am completely emotionally detached from potential partners. This is the best way to describe it.

I was seeing a fantastic guy for a while, but it ended because he said I wasn't emotionally invested in the relationship, or words to that effect. This got me thinking about our relationship ( as it would ). And I think he is right.

I can't take compliments. I think that people are lying or just trying to make me feel better when they give me them. I know myself that I have low self esteem.
I find it hard to interact with people on an emotional level. I'm a very guarded person and tend not to wear my heart on my sleeve. If I'm in a bad mood I tend not to talk about it, and if I have problems I try to work out ways round it without confronting them.

This has left me being described in the past as cold hearted etc.

I put it down to having a fairly shit couple of years, between suicide of a close family member, stress of my parents being financially ripped off, diagnosis of HIV, not being able to or feeling able to tell my parents for fear of them worrying too much. When there is a problem I get on with my life and talk to friends about it a bit, but never seem to reach much closure on it.

Problem is, being a science / engineering person I look for practical solutions to problems, to which I can't find one for my problem. I leaves me feeling scared that ill end up alone :-/

And just to reiterate - it isn't just with this guy, it's been over the last 5 years or so. Ever since I was dumped by the one man I have ever truly loved. Maybe that's still having an effect. No idea.

Basically, what the hell should I do r can I do? Being like this is how I have got round problems in life, so how do I address this as a problem?

I don't think I have articulated this well at all, but I hope you can get the gist.

Cheers

Al

Alan_B:
Forgot to mention in there-

When it comes to sex, I'm all for it at the start of a relationship, then I go between not wanting it at all, to wanting it constantly.

A lot of my past relationships have basically turned into relationships because of the lack of sex after a period of time.

Which I guess is a bit odd for a 25 year old. :-/

I put it down to the vast majority of my first sexual experiences being casual, no cuddling after etc, just as soon as its over you go on with whatever you want to do.

I am actually realising this all and seeing things click into place, and its not making me sad or anything, I just know I have to change how I interact with people.

Buckmark:
You've taken the first important step, by identifying something that you want to change.  Lots of people don't even get this far.

To change your pattern of behavior, you need to first recognize it, understand what triggers it, and then learn new responses / actions to those situations and triggers. Often times it helps to understand the past incidents and interactions with people that led to your current behavior, which takes a little bit of digging, but not always.

I think you'd get a lot of value if you worked with a therapist / counselor.  Have you considered this?  I think if you took what you posted here, and put it under a good therapist's nose, they would see you as a good candidate and could start working with you right away.

Regards,

Henry

Alan_B:
It is something I can get easily and cheaply (free actually) through an HIV charity actually.

I know myself that I have certain . . . . . issues but not really until today that I realised that they have such an impact on my life, and other people's lives. It's something which certainly in the UK people don't do, or don't admit to.

Time to get on the phone I think. :-/

mecch:
Wanted to give you some encouragement. You're pretty young so its normal you're noticing some of the patterns and inclinations of who you are as an adult.  I teach at a tech university and its common enough to have young men who are a bit detached socially or emotionally in these fields.  You shouldn't feel like its something weird, more embrace that you are naturally inclined that way. You can probably get a good therapist and develop some strategies to counterbalance these inclinations, if you feel they are hurting your love life or social life...  Also, if you had a few traumatic events in recent years, its possible you have some post-traumatic stress, and a therapist should be able to help you sort that out, too.

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