Am I ruining a great relationship with my anxiety or am I anxious because my relationship is not great? Is there a way to tell the difference between irrational anxiety and alarm bells?
I have recently discovered that in terms of attachment theory
I am fearful-avoidant
. A history of sexual abuse, family issues, and two damaging previous relationships (one year with an emotional sadist, seven years with a compulsive cheater and liar) mean I have pretty much zero self-esteem and zero trust in others. In a relationship, I tend to completely idolize the other person, while at the same time being deadly afraid of them, so I go through exhausting anxiety-avoidance cycles.
I am now in a LTR with someone whom I love very much, and with whom I am closer than with anyone before (let’s call them Y). I have been with Y for 3,5 years, living together for a year. However, what worries me is that the longer we are together, the more insecure I get. In the last year, I have become very, unreasonably jealous and my anxiety is off the charts. I am worried that this is eventually going to seriously affect my life and my relationship in a very negative way.
I’ve recently read the book ‘Attached
’. It made me look past my own issues and for the first time ask the question of where Y fits in all this, and I realized I'm unable to judge that. I know that the main reason why I stayed way too long in the previous, bad relationships was because I was so focused on my own inadequacies that I couldn’t even see my then-partners’ behavior clearly. I love Y and I want to be with them, but I feel that if I am to work on this, it’s really important for me to be able to look into _our dynamic_, rather than just _my own insecurity_. Unfortunately, my insecurity is making it impossible.
I have been working very hard on communication with Y and they know about my past and my issues. In general, I feel I get mixed responses ranging from “I see how hard it is for you and I will do anything to help” to “This is all in your head and I will not engage with your insecurities”. Because I oscillate between seeing Y as perfect (idolizing) and seeing them as a cold, dismissive monster (fear), because I know it must be difficult to deal with someone else’s issues, and because I have no previous experience of a good relationship, I honestly cannot tell to what extent what I perceive is real.
Of course, I don’t expect you to be able to tell either, as I can’t give you a complete picture. My question is just: How do you recognize someone secure and loving if you have no experience of people like that in your romantic history, and if your insecurity is going off the charts?
Note: Unfortunately, therapy is currently not an option (no time and no money.) I have had therapy in the past, so I am trying to do some self-help CBT and ACT/mindfulness.