Why Feeling “Not Enough” Is Impacting Your Relationship

Do find yourself thinking, “I’m not enough,” “feeling like I’m not good enough” or “I’m not worthy of love?”
Or do you feel that you work hard to be the best, but you should be more, do more or be better? Otherwise, you don’t measure up.
Maybe feeling not good enough triggered if your friend didn’t call when she said she would, or someone rejected your ideas or perhaps your relationship ended.
If this is you, then you may have childhood wounds that haven’t been healed.

Why Do I Feel Like I Am not Good Enough for Anyone?

As children, we are completely dependent on our parents and caregivers for food, safety, and boundaries. Most importantly, we want and need to feel loved and accepted by our primary caregivers.
Imagine a baby who’s desperate for attention, but his mother ignores him. Think about how impressionable that is for him. When babies and children don’t have a proper connection, they will crave this and grow up feeling that they are not enough.
For example, if this child was raised by a dysfunctional family, say with a narcissistic parent, then the child does not understand why that parent is not capable of empathy or love. Or an alcoholic parent who is sometimes available and other times is not able to function.
Children who live in these situations may try to fix the problem, by thinking “if I were a better child, my daddy wouldn’t drink.”
This leads them to feel that they need to be better and that somehow, they are not good enough as they are.
As they get older, they’ll continue to feel like they’re not enough, and in later years, they may turn to fixing others, food, alcohol, porn, relationships, or drugs to fill that void.
The good news is that there is hope for changing the negative self-talk of feeling like you’re unworthy or feeling insecure and not good enough.
But first, if you’re in a relationship, here are five signs that feeling this way is impacting your relationship:

Five Signs That Your Relationship Is Affected

If you rely on your partner to feel like you’re ‘enough’ — attractive enough, fun enough, smart enough, kind enough — then you’ll never be entirely happy. And it can impact your relationship because you look to your partner to fix this you.
Here are five signs that your “not good enough” thoughts are impacting your relationship:

1)   You can’t totally trust your partner

Although you crave love, you may be experiencing trust issues that make you unwilling to attach to someone emotionally. If you don’t fully trust your partner, then it’s difficult to open up emotionally, which can stop your relationship from growing.
Trust issues typically come from past hurts or unhealthy family relationships during childhood.

2) You compare yourself to your partner’s ex

It’s natural to be curious about your partner’s ex. But if you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to them or worrying you don’t measure up, then that’s a sign that your feeling of “not good enough” is taking over your relationship.
Remember, your partner chose you. They are not with their ex any longer.

3) You expect your partner to reassure you continually

Everyone wants some reassurance from their partner now and then. But if you constantly need them to validate you, their love or your relationship, then that’s a sign that negative thoughts are taking over your relationship.
This can lead to an increased fear of losing the relationship because you feel dependent on your partner as the “fix.”

4) There’s distance in your relationship

Being in a relationship is healthy when it provides the feeling of being loved, supported and emotionally close with your partner. Healthy relationships give your relationship an intimate connection for you both.
If you have trouble with building emotional intimacy and communicating, or you feel alone, and keep your partner at a distance, then this may be due to you feeling like you are not enough and therefore your relationship will not be healthy.

5) You assume the worst about your partner

No matter what happens, you assume the worst about your partner. If they haven’t answered their phone, it’s because they’re cheating. If they’re not with you, then they must be betraying you.
Feeling not good enough for a partner can make you believe that If they don’t say they love you all the time, then they’re “not into you.”
This changes the focus of your relationship for your partner to need to prove their feelings and their actions.

Am I Good Enough? Healing the Wounds

If you recognize any of the signs above, then just know that you’re not alone. Lots of people struggle with feeling not good enough for someone.
The good news is that you can heal yourself and experience self-acceptance so that you can have a healthy relationship.
As certified relationship coaches and therapists, we encourage our clients to not be hard on themselves. You are not “broken” or flawed.

Wave Your Insecurities Goodbye with PIVOT

The first step to overcoming insecurity is recognizing you feel this way. We recommend that you seek support from professionals to help you explore childhood abandonment issues and focus on healing your wounds with self-love and self-acceptance.
Remember, you are worthy of love, happiness, and a healthy relationship. You don’t need to look outside yourself for happiness and self-worth.
If you are ready to heal your feelings of not enough, then contact PIVOT. We can also help you if you’re struggling with depression, experiencing feelings of anxiety or need help overcoming codependency issues in your relationship.
Apart from individual and personalized solutions, we also provide intensive relationship coaching at our retreat center, The Glass House. We’re here to help.

Are You Repeating the Abandonment Cycle?

Healthy, loving relationships are a haven for love, happiness, joy, and security. But what if you find yourself moving from one relationship to another, or feel dissatisfied in your current relationship?
Maybe you’re asking what’s the point of being in a relationship, especially when it seems one-sided or too much like hard work.
Before you decide if relationships are for you or not, consider if you’re caught in a cycle of abandonment anxiety in the relationship. If so, there’s a solution.
But first…

What Is Abandonment?

Feelings of abandonment in a relationship are often thought of as being physically left. It also relates to emotional neglect, brought by not having our needs met in a relationship – including our relationship with ourselves.
But what is abandonment fear exactly and where does it originate? In a nutshell, abandonment feelings can start in our childhood because of the way we were raised. This is often referred to as the abandoned child syndrome.

What causes fear of abandonment?

As children, we are entirely dependent on our parents and caregivers for food, safety, love, and boundaries. Most importantly, we need to feel loved and accepted by both parents.
However, if you didn’t have your basic needs met because you were raised by a workaholic, alcoholic, divorced or absent parent, then you may have suffered neglect and abandonment trauma. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy in relationships, as well as a range of other issues, including severe anxiety symptoms and problems committing to a single partner.

How Does Abandonment Affect a Person?

A story about a recent client of mine perfectly illustrates abandonment issues in relationships.
He’d left his wife and children to pursue a relationship with an old high school crush; however, it didn’t end well.
The new relationship started by sending Facebook messages because he felt abandoned by his wife. This led to him “falling in love” and leaving his family. The hole he felt inside from untreated trauma, was in need of being fulfilled by the attention and feeling of belonging that a new relationship can give temporarily.
The relationship was brief. When it fell apart, he felt abandoned by the woman who he thought was his “soul mate.”
On a deeper level, after the relationship ended, he felt lost and destabilized. After all, he’d flipped his life around to be with this new woman, but once it ended, he still felt the same feelings he had before he started the new relationship… abandoned.
We discussed his childhood, and he revealed that his father left him when he was a little boy. He’d felt abandoned for decades.
Unfortunately, he unrealistically expected another person to heal his deep abandonment wound. When his wife couldn’t, he left her for a new relationship, hoping this would fix him.

The Abandonment Cycle

As adults that have experienced abandonment in childhood, we become scared of intimacy.
To deal with this, we create distance by avoiding being close to others (abandon relationships), or we get into a relationship with someone who avoids intimacy (and feel abandonment).
Either way, we distance ourselves from our partners, which leads to feeling unloved, hopeless or creates perceptions that you are not enough in the relationship. The strange thing about this is – it is familiar and we are drawn to what is familiar regardless of merit.

An endless cycle of fear

When the relationship ends, we feel alone and rejected, which creates more fears of abandonment and intimacy.
This creates a cycle of loneliness, fear of intimacy and abandonment.
If this sounds like the relationships you have, then you may also be experiencing anger, guilt, grief, fear, and shame.
The good news is that you can break the abandonment cycle.

Breaking the Abandonment Cycle

While healing abandonment issues is definitely not easy, it can be done with a bit of courage and a lot of patience. The best way to break the abandonment cycle and release the pattern from childhood is by exploring childhood issues and focus on healing your wounds. Remember, these wounds are deep and often remain hidden, so be patient.

Heal Your Abandonment Wounds with PIVOT

We recommend that you seek support from professionals to help you examine the abandonment pain so you can heal from the impact of the parenting you received.
Break the cycle by being a good parent to yourself. Remember, you are worthy of love, happiness, and a healthy relationship. You don’t need to look outside yourself for happiness and self-worth. You can attach to others securely, without feelings of abandonment, anxiety and depression.
If you are ready to create meaningful connections and break the abandonment cycle, then contact PIVOT. Apart from our individual and personalized coaching that can effectively tackle issues such as abandonment anxiety and codependent relational behaviors, we also provide intensive workshops at our relationship coaching retreat, The Glass House. We’re here to help.

What Is Attachment Dysregulation? (Formerly Known As Love Addiction)

If you’ve ever felt like the world was coming to an end, depressed or in despair when you’ve let go of a relationship, then you may have experienced withdrawal, or what the Behavioral Health industry has been calling “Love Addiction.”
In the PIVOT Process, we define this as Attachment Dysregulation, to highlight the severity of the condition.

What Is Attachment Dysregulation (Formerly Known As Love Addiction)?

Attachment Dysregulation is a condition that is typically created by adopting survival patterns to tolerate feelings of abandonment or neglect.

What Causes Attachment Issues?

Often individuals that have Attachment Dysregulation have experienced unresolved abandonment and neglect in childhood. This leads them to be challenged with attachment wounds and can make them feel lonely, empty, and lifeless.
The result?
When in a relationship, the default behavior is to cling to another person because of a deep fear of abandonment and neglect. Until the attachment wounds have been treated.

What Are The Most Common Attachment Styles?

There are several ways that our relationship with our caregivers in childhood can affect our adult life. As kids, we tend to manifest the following four attachment styles:

  • Secure: this style of attachment is considered to be the healthiest. It comes about when parents give their children sufficient care, protection, and emotional support.
  • Anxious-ambivalent: this attachment occurs as a result of unpredictable parenting.  The child is in distress when the caregiver is gone and ambivalent when they return.
  • Anxious-avoidant: kids with an avoidant style tend to ignore their caregiver and show little emotion. It occurs as a result of a neglectful or unresponsive parenting style.
  • Disorganized: a child that exhibits disorganized attachment shows no clear attachment behaviors.

How Attachment Disruption Leads To Dysregulation

A secure attachment can become disrupted for a great number of reasons, leading to a series of difficulties for the child later on in their life. A child with attachment wounds is likely to experience issues with forming and maintaining relationships in adulthood.
For example, an adult with attachment issues may struggle with expressing their emotions to their partner and communicating with them in a healthy way. Bottling up emotions and withdrawing emotionally can take a great toll on any relationship and cause great distress for both parties.

The dangers of traumatic attachment and affect dysregulation

There are many ways in which childhood trauma can affect your adult relationships. Our attachment style is, in fact, one of the most important factors that influence our ability to form and maintain healthy intimate relationships. Some of the most common attachment dysregulation patterns we see are:

  • If we’re rejected or neglected by our parents when we’re young, we may develop a tendency to avoid commitment, keep our partners at a distance, and show little genuine emotion for fear of being rejected once again.
  • If we’re hurt or abused by our caregivers, we can develop an attachment style where we struggle to trust our partner, fear abandonment and rejection and have trouble showing our emotions freely.
  • If our parents are inconsistent in tending to our needs, we tend to be clingy in our relationship, crave lots of attention and intimacy and be paranoid about the relationship falling apart.

How Do You Know If You Have Fear of Abandonment?

If you feel overwhelmed that your partner will leave you, it may be the case that you have a deeply rooted fear of abandonment that is a result of a traumatic emotional experience from your childhood. But how do you know for sure that that’s the case? Look out for these signs:

  • Are you sensitive to criticism?
  • Do you have trouble trusting your partner?
  • Do you find it hard to make friends?
  • Have your relationships been predominantly unhealthy?
  • Do you get attached quickly, but also move on quite soon?
  • Do you blame yourself for anything that goes wrong?
  • Do you do everything in your power to please your partner?
  • Do you tend to stay in the relationship even though you know it’s not healthy?

If these sound familiar, it’s very likely that you’re struggling with fear of abandonment that probably comes from emotional abandonment you experienced when you were a child.

How Do You Know If You Have Attachment Issues?

Individuals who have unresolved childhood abandoned issues are in a destabilizing position – they feel anxious and depressed. In most cases, they are unable to show up for commitments, work, and family.
This anxiety and depression lead to feeling relationally challenged with people and when relationships don’t work or end, they experience relational withdrawal.
Anxiety can create a pattern of addictive relationships and result in Attachment Dysregulation (formerly known as love addiction) and codependency.
If you’re wondering if you or a loved one has Attachment Dysregulation, here are the most common signs and characteristics to look for:

Most Common Signs And Characteristics Of Attachment Dysregulation:

  • Lack of nurturing and attention when young
  • Feeling isolated, detached from parents and family
  • Seek to avoid rejection and abandonment at any cost
  • Highly manipulative and controlling of others
  • Unrealistic expectations of others in relationships
  • Mistake intensity for intimacy (drama driven relationships)
  • Hidden pain or denial
  • Afraid to trust anyone in a relationship
  • Inner rage over lack of nurturing, early abandonment
  • Sense of worthlessness without a relationship or partner
  • Need for positive regard
  • Tolerance for high-risk behavior
  • Presence of other addictive or compulsive problems
  • Using others, sex and relationships to alter mood or relieve emotional pain
  • Confusion of sexual attraction with love at first sight
  • Trading sexual activity for “love” or attachment
  • Outer facade of “having it all together” to hide internal disintegration
  • Existence of a secret “double life”
  • Refusal to acknowledge the presence of a problem
  • Leaving one relationship for another and the inability to be without a relationship

If you’ve gone through any of the situations described when your relationship ends, then you may experience withdrawal symptoms of Attachment Dysregulation such as:

Common Withdrawal Symptoms Of Attachment Dysregulation:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Having a hard time with a spiritual connection
  • Spending money that you don’t have
  • Not able to show up for other relationships
  • Unmet longing
  • Missing deadlines at work
  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Dramatic changes in weight
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive thinking
  • Rage
  • Loneliness
  • Irrational thinking
  • Irritability
  • Extreme grief
  • Restlessness
  • Anger
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Emotional instability
  • Inability to care for yourself or others such as children
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Denial
  • Despair

What does withdrawal from love addiction look like?

For a person experiencing attachment dysregulation, a withdrawal from a relationship looks a lot like recovering from any other addiction. It’s a highly emotional and stressful experience that may leave serious consequences without effective relationship addiction counseling and other forms of care.
The recovery process tends to be long and tedious, with a number of intense highs and lows. What’s more, the experience of emotional dysregulation attachment can sometimes include physical symptoms such as vomiting and stomach aches, as well as extreme psychological symptoms like severe depression, anxiety, and distress.

What To Do If You Experience Attachment Dysregulation
(Formerly Known As Love Addiction)?

If you think you are in withdrawal from love addiction, you must give yourself time to heal.
The good news is you’re not stuck with this forever. You can heal and create secure attachments in the future.

How To Deal With Love Withdrawal

Recovery starts with being aware of and recognizing the symptoms. It is about getting the right help and being motivated and accountable to the process.
Healing allows you to reconnect to yourself with self-compassion and self-love and have a different outcome…
Remember, you are worthy of happiness and love and a healthy relationship. You can have relational freedom.

Freedom From Love Addiction: How We Can Help

At the Glass House, located in Northern California, we offer a 5 day retreat program, which is designed to repair and restore relational challenges and heal old attachment wounds. For those of you who are unable to visit the Glass House, we also offer remote, one on one relationship coaching with a certified PIVOT advocate. We’re here to help!

What Is Avoidance / Ambivalence Attachment?

For some individuals, thinking about being in a relationship can activate feelings of wanting to run away. Why? Because they feel that the needs of a partner, family member, or employer are overwhelming.
Unfortunately, many individuals find themselves attracted to avoidant or ambivalent partners. This often leads to a series of unhealthy patterns which cause a great deal of pain for both sides in the relationship. If this is the case with you and your partner, consider love avoidance coaching or intensive workshops which can give you the tools and resources you need to heal your attachment wounds.
Read on to learn more about love avoidance and ambivalence.

What Is Avoidant Attachment?

Avoidant attachment is the inability and fear to show love. Individuals will carefully guard themselves when in relationships and avoid real intimacy… to protect themselves from rejection, loss and pain. Often they are not even aware of the behavior and it can be misunderstood as selfishness.
Unfortunately, denial and avoidance become habits, which keeps the individual from being seen, feeling connected and loved.
Paradoxically, the individual will often want more but will go outside the relationship to get what they want, because it feels safer. 
People with avoidance issues have difficulty trusting others and will distance themselves if a relationship feels too close. Experiences in early childhood are usually the cause of this, and they use avoidance to try to feel safe within an intimate relationship.

How Do You Know If You Have an Avoidant Attachment Style?

Do you think you or your partner have avoidance issues? That may be the case if you notice that you tend to be uncomfortable with intimacy in your relationship and have a way of escaping commitment when you start to feel stifled or suffocated. 
If you worry your partner is avoidant, you may want to look for signs such as: 

  • Not returning your texts or calls
  • Idealizing a past relationship
  • Sending mixed signals
  • Keeping secrets 
  • Childish and sullen behavior
  • Showing mistrust 
  • Escaping commitment 

Of course, these are just some of the signs your partner may exhibit in your relationship. However, if you feel like most of these signs ring true, you may want to consider professional couple counseling or relationship therapy workshops. 

Do Avoidants Fall In Love?

Despite the name, love avoidants actually crave love and affection, just like everyone else. But because of their childhood wounds, they find it more difficult to face disappointment and betrayal than other people, so they tend to guard their feelings and do all they can to avoid being hurt in their relationships. They are not running away from love, they are running away from pain. 

Why Are Love Avoidants Attracted to Love Addicts?

Both love addicts and love avoidants often carry deeply ingrained fears and insecurities that stem from their childhood. On one hand, addicts crave affection and love that they rarely received from their parent or caregiver. Love avoidants, on the other hand, typically try to run from intimacy to avoid getting engulfed and hurt once again. 
While the relationship may work initially, it is bound to come with its own set of challenges. As the love addict showers the avoidant with love and affection, the avoidant will inevitably start to pull away. The distancing of the avoidant will lead the addict to seek even more reassurance and affection as proof of the avoidant’s love. This cycle often repeats itself. This is what many refer to as a love addicted tango.

How Do You Deal With A Love Avoidant?

Being in a relationship with an avoidant partner can be extremely challenging, especially for a love addict. But despite the challenges, it is possible to create a deep connection with an avoidant, but only if they are willing to put in some effort, too. Here’s how you can improve your relationship with an avoidant partner: 

  • Be patient and show your partner that they can trust you 
  • Give your partner some space instead of chasing them 
  • Keep in mind that their love avoidance is not your fault 
  • Be understanding and dependable without overwhelming them
  • Learn the differences between the wants and needs for the relationship between you and your partner 
  • Recognize your own unhealthy survival patterns 
  • Set healthy boundaries 
  • Don’t neglect your own needs 

What Is Ambivalent Attachment?

Another way attachment shows up is if the individual is unavailable for intimacy. This means they are caught up in feeling anxious and also at times avoidant. This is the type of person that communicates “come here – go away”. This is known as being Ambivalent
The coping strategies that are avoidant or ambivalent which people use relate to creating an intensity in other activities outside the relationship, such as non-intimate sex, work, shopping, drugs and alcohol. 
Among all of the attachment styles, ambivalent attachment seems to be the most chaotic. This is because ambivalent attachment tends to come from a childhood in which the parent or caregiver was inconsistent in providing love and affection. 
A child who never knows when they will receive attention or love ends up being fearful of it but still craves it desperately. They never feel secure in a relationship and will live with a constant fear of abandonment and an intense need for validation. 

How Do You Know If You Have an Ambivalent Attachment Style?

Being ambivalent in your relationships or living with an ambivalent partner can be exhausting. If you’re worried that your partner has an ambivalent attachment style, look for the following traits: 

  • Is your partner constantly critical or picky? 
  • Do they have a history of short relationships? 
  • Are they confused about what they want from the relationship? 
  • Do they always seem distant or busy? 
  • Are their actions unpredictable? 
  • Are they hesitant to make long-term plans? 

If you never feel sure of what your partner feels or thinks, it’s likely that you feel lost and confused about the nature of your relationship. If that’s the case, it would probably be a good idea to seek expert help if you want to salvage the relationship and improve your mental health. 

Link Between Attachment Style And Depression

The Glass House helps avoidant and ambivalent individuals find their voice and use it. 
When the avoidant or ambivalent behavior is defined and understood, it becomes a starting point to treat the underlying causes that create love avoidance. If this isn’t treated, then it often leads to depression.
When an individual has difficulty deciding whether to leave a relationship, this indecisiveness can lead to a combination of feeling anxious and depressed. 

Why Is Attachment Important To Physical And Mental Health?

Avoidant and ambivalent attachment behaviors can significantly decrease the quality of your life, especially when it comes to your interpersonal relationships. In fact, the style of our attachment is a key factor in our physical and mental health. Here’s how: 

  • The relationship with our caregivers will shape our intimate relationships. 
  • Unhealthy attachment can result in difficulties with understanding our emotions.
  • In turn, we may struggle with relating to the emotions of other people.
  • Without healthy connections with others, we may struggle with anxiety and depression.
  • Our attachment style can make it hard to bounce back from disappointment and failure. 

As you can see, your attachment style is a key factor in determining your personal relationships. Because of this, working on your attachment can be incredibly useful for improving your intimate relationships and overall wellbeing. 

What Causes Love Avoidance and Ambivalence?

Individuals need love and connection with others. However, if you have suffered from feelings of abandonment or loss as a child, then you are likely to have difficulty forming healthy attachments in adulthood, which can lead to avoidance or ambivalence. 
Avoidance or ambivalence can also occur from experiencing abuse or neglect as a child from parents, siblings, other family members, teachers, coaches, bullies and friends. 
If you’re wondering if you or a loved one has Avoidance behaviors, here are the most common signs and characteristics to look for.

Most Common Characteristics And Signs Of Avoidant Attachment

Individuals with an avoidant attachment style tend to exhibit a number of characteristic behaviors, including: 

  • Avoid intimacy in the relationship by creating an intensity in other activities outside the relationship
  • Craving independence at all costs
  • Emotional withdrawal and bottling up emotions
  • Avoid being known in the relationship
  • Distance themselves from intimate contact to keep from feeling engulfed
  • Over-controlling parenting when young
  • Secretive behavior – hiding feelings
  • Need to be seen and adored and then escape
  • Refusal to acknowledge the existence of a problem
  • Tolerance for high-risk behavior
  • Denial that there is a problem 

Most Common Characteristics And Signs Of Ambivalent Attachment

If you’re wondering if you or a loved one has Ambivalent behaviors, here are the most common signs and characteristics to look for:

  • They let other things outside of the relationship get in the way, i.e., hobbies, work, friends, lovers, addictions—anything.
  • Typically, they had one anxious and one avoidant parent attachment style
  • They have a “come here, go away” relational pattern
  • Crave love and fear it
  • Avoid intimacy by obsessing about love through romantic fantasies about unavailable people
  • They sexualize relationships such that emotional intimacy is non-existent and then become addicted to the sex or the relationship—often both.
  • They become addicted through romantic affairs rather than committed relationships
  • They struggle to open to a deeper level of emotional intimacy, and yet they are unable to let go of the relationship.

Can Avoidance or Ambivalence Be Treated?

The first step starts with being aware of and recognizing the symptoms. It is about healing yourself and being committed to being able to attach securely by knowing what you want and need in a relationship based on your personal storyline and background.
The process includes dealing with feelings and healing from past wounds. Healing allows you to reconnect to yourself with self-compassion and self-love. 
We recommend that you seek support from professionals and talk about the pain that’s inside of you. 
Remember, you are worthy of happiness and love and a healthy relationship. You can have relational freedom.

How can you deal with ambivalent or avoidant attachment?

Coping with their attachment style is a long and stressful process for most people. This is because we’re often unaware of the exact issues that stem from our relationship with our caregiver in our early childhood and finding out exactly how much it has affected us can be both eye-opening and terrifying. 
The first step to overcoming your insecure attachment is to get acquainted with your past. Understanding exactly how you became the person you are now can help you accept and reconcile with your childhood experiences. 
This is best done through professional therapy and attending different workshops and programs designed to help you improve your relationships and your overall well being. But if you want to take some steps on your own, here’s what you should do: 

  • Start by identifying your emotions and expressing your needs without fear. 
  • Strive to be as authentic in your communication as possible. 
  • Combat your shame and work on your self-esteem. 
  • Try not to criticize yourself and accept your flaws. 
  • Work on compromising and seeing your partner’s perspective. 

Of course, these are just some of the steps you can take to start on your path to recovery. In addition to these general coping techniques, you should also seek professional support if you want to improve your relationships and the quality of your life. 

How To Overcome Insecure Attachment: Our Love Avoidance Intensive Workshops Can Help!

We provide support and healing for these individuals by providing a personal PIVOT coach or coming to The Glass House and taking a 5-day deep dive into the PIVOT process. We provide defining attachment styles, one on one sessions, group process and experiential therapies to encourage individuals to be seen, respected, and understood.
In addition, we offer intensive programs designed to repair and restore relational challenges. Learn more about the PIVOT process and our programs. We’re here to help.

Think You Might Be A People Pleaser? Here’s How To Stop

Many of us find it hard to find a balance between being nice and putting our feelings aside to make the people around us feel good. While it may not seem like such a big deal, being a people pleaser can cause a series of issues in your interpersonal relationships and other areas of your life.
If you keep accommodating other people’s needs without fulfilling your own, you may start to harbor resentment, anger, and hurt towards the ones you love the most. In many cases, these unresolved inner conflicts result in emotional withdrawal and unhealthy relationships that may benefit from individual relationship counseling and other forms of treatment.
Read on to find out about the dangers of being a people pleaser and learn how to stop.

Are You A People Pleaser?

If you’re unsure if you’re simply a nice person or a people pleaser, you should take a look at how you tend to interact with other people. If you feel like you have to say yes to every favor that’s asked of you, you may be leading towards the latter option. Either way, the best way to determine whether you are in fact a people pleaser is to understand how this pattern came about.

Why Do Some People Become People Pleasers?

As with most unhealthy patterns, people-pleasing starts in childhood. Some children learn very early on that the only way to earn love and acceptance from their parents is to be good and ready to please.
If your caregivers convinced you, consciously or unconsciously, that you had to do things for them and fulfill their wishes in order to be considered valuable and “good”, it’s no wonder that you’re struggling with creating healthy boundaries and saying no in your adult life.

Signs of People-Pleasing 

The first step towards breaking your people-pleasing habit is to recognize how it manifests. Here are some of the most common signs that you may be a people-pleaser:

  • You think you’re responsible for other people’s feelings and try hard to make them happy with your actions.
  • You say sorry all the time and blame yourself for everything that goes wrong in your life, even if there’s no reason to believe that’s the case.
  • You avoid conflict at all costs and can’t stand when someone is angry or displeased with you or your actions.
  • You feel uncomfortable saying no and accept favors and arrangements even if you would rather not go through with them.
  • You crave validation from people to feel good and tend to base your self-worth on the opinions of others.

Is People Pleasing And Codependency The Same?

Many people are confused by the differences between codependency and people-pleasing. While these two dynamics can overlap, they are different in some key respects. The main distinction has to do with the relationship between codependency and childhood trauma, specifically the role a person assumed in their family as a child.
For instance, a codependent may have had to act as the responsible adult to an addicted family member and, in turn, developed an attraction to addiction-prone and abusive partners. By contrast, people-pleasers tend to come from a family that neglected them or taught them they had to earn their love and attention by being good and willing to help.

The Danger Of Being A People Pleaser

Being a people-pleaser can have severe consequences for your overall well-being. Here are the main dangers of pleasing others to an excessive degree:

  • Resentment and bitterness
  • Losing one’s identity
  • Being taken advantage of
  • Lack of respect from others
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Unstable relationships
  • Addiction to affection and love

How To Stop Being A People Pleaser (But Still Be Nice)

If you’ve realized that you have people-pleasing tendencies, you’re probably wondering what you can do about it. Here are some useful tips:

  • Practice internal validation by building up self-worth. Focus on your own qualities and participate in activities that make you feel good about yourself.
  • Take small steps and give yourself time. Instead of rushing and saying no to everything straight away, try starting with small no’s and go from that.
  • Set healthy boundaries. Start showing people how you feel about certain situations and choose to spend your time with individuals who make you feel at ease.
  • Practice self-care. Make sure to spend quality time with yourself every day doing what you enjoy the most, without pressure and feelings of guilt.

Learn How To Put Your Own Needs First With PIVOT 

With over 10 years of success, the PIVOT process is a great way to start changing your life for the better. Whether you’re looking for effective individual coaching or want to attend a relationship therapy workshop, look no further. What’s more, we also offer five-day retreats at Glass House, a residential facility where you can transform your life through the PIVOT process.
Start working on your well-being today!

The Ambivalent

When it comes to addictive relationships, the most common types of people are; those who love too much (Anxious), and those who love too little, (the Avoidant). If you vacillate between the two you are an Ambivalent. It’s not really “love” that we are talking about. It is actually energy that either desires a wound to be healed by filling it up with a relationship (Anxious) or energy that is trying to not be engulfed by keeping relationships at a distance (Avoidant) or both (Ambivalent).
Most Ambivalent individuals are frightened of intimacy and usually pursue unavailable people. This kind of ambivalence, more than any other, feeds on fantasies and delusions.
Often Ambivalent individuals will destroy relationships when they start to get serious or at whatever point the fear of intimacy comes up. This can be anytime (before the first date, after the first date, after sex, after the subject of commitment comes up) whenever.
Some Ambivalents run hot and cold. They always come on to you when they want sex or companionship. When they become bored or frightened, they begin withholding companionship, sex, and affection, anything that makes them feel anxious. If they keep repeating the pattern of being available/unavailable in the same relationship, they withhold intimacy. They tend to offer more intimacy each time they come back. They up the stakes with offers of commitment, living together, marriage, children, etc. They rarely keep their promises to change.
Some Ambivalents are simultaneously addicted to multiple partners. Unlike sex addicts, who are trying to avoid bonding altogether, these Ambivalents bond with each of their partners, to one degree or another, even if the romantic liaisons are short-lived. These Ambivalent individuals are often confused with Sex Addicts.
The most complicated kind of Ambivalent is someone who has been labeled a Narcissist. On the surface, he or she is usually aloof, detached, self-confident, self-centered, domineering, and/or afraid of commitment. However, when you leave this individual, what appeared like Narcissism is quickly seen as ambivalent behavior because they can’t handle being rejected. They turn to manipulation, aggression, and even violence to hold on to the relationship even though they remain ambivalent.
It is a common pattern for Ambivalents to obsess when someone is unavailable and then become ambivalent when a healthy person comes along. This happens a lot in recovery for other addictions. For more about this, read Finally Getting it Right by Howard Halpern.
Ambivalents suffer from some form of childhood incest (overt, covert, or emotional) and they fall in love but abort the relationship when it gets too serious. (By incest I mean overt (sexual molestation and rape); covert (sexual energy without touching); and emotional incest (being forced to be a surrogate partner.) Research this for yourself and recommend The Emotional Incest Syndrome by Patricia Love or The Courage to Heal by Laura Davis.
In summary, the Ambivalent is a complicated person. When treated by an experienced individual who specializes in Attachment Disorder, one can change. It takes time, willingness to dive deep into the pain body wound and patience for a new level of relational tolerance to take place.

Love Isn't Addictive… Here's Why

  • Do you mistake intensity for intimacy?
  • Do you have to be in relationship to avoid feeling empty?
  • Do you know you need help navigating relationships and not sure
    about what help to get?
  • Do you feel like you are working harder in the relationship than your
  • Is the love ever enough?
  • Do you find yourself confused instead of having clarity in your

If you can relate to some of these questions, you are among many people who suffer from what our behavioral health industry calls love addiction.  If you have an adverse reaction to that label, here’s why…
When I was 39 years old – I was sitting in an office – broken hearted over another relationship that had fallen apart.  I couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t eat.  I couldn’t sleep.  And, I wanted to die.
I was told that I suffered from something called love addiction.  From what I understood, love addiction was a proposed model of pathological passion-related behavior involving the feeling of being in love.
Well, it didn’t make ANY sense to me.  At the time, the relationships I was involved in did not feel loving.  What I felt was intensity from the desire of longing to be loved.  I was in the throes of the twisting and turning and chasing and pulling on relationships with the hopes of some kind of felt sense of belonging.
In relationships I used to be what I call a stage 5 cling on – I could not be alone – I had to be in a relationship all of the time.  I displayed a very anxious attachment style.  I took others hostage and boarded what I call Crazy Train – in hopes of traveling to a fantasyland of love.
So, when I was told I had this condition called love addiction what was the cure?  I was instructed to stay out of relationships, call myself a love addict, and magically stop connecting sexually to feel loved.  Don’t dare draw attention to myself and definitely pretty down.  I might as well have disappeared.  The loneliness from this prescription of what was supposed to be helpful was painful and now I definitely felt like I was going to die.
What I really always wanted was to love and be loved and now I can’t even do that because I am addicted to Love?  Very confusing.  So now, I didn’t get to love.  I didn’t deserve to love – instead, I was told I had to stay out of LOVE and was addicted to it.
What I know today is that it was not love that I was addicted to.  When I was calling someone’s cell phone 38 times in a row and driving by their house to make sure they were home and not lying to me was nowhere near being in a state of consciousness of love.  When one is in love – there is a reverence present – a level of respect that is honored and one is held in high regard. What I was in engaged in was drama driven relationships fueled by intensity (what does intensity feel like?), not intimacy.  I had no idea what love was.  The transparency, trust and a felt sense of belonging that love commands were foreign to me.  How could I be addicted to something I had never allowed myself to experience?  I had no self-esteem and I was addicted to chasing unavailable people.
I was in a state of consciousness called desire.  This desire created a constant craving and I was enslaved to this process and it ruled my every breath.  I would be thrown into withdrawal from the crazy relationships that I would choose on a regular basis.  It was never ever enough and life was always disappointing.
Let me break this down:
When I was 3 years old, my father, drowned.  We were there and it was tragic.  My mother dealt with my father’s death by using alcohol as a survival pattern so basically, my childhood was laced with abandonment.  This was the energy that fueled my relationships and formed how I would attach to others.  Translation: DON’T LEAVE ME.
When I was a teenager, my mother died from her own lack of self-care and alcoholism.  I rebelled and was a force to be reckoned with.  I came at life full force with guns a blazing.  My spirited adolescence energy stayed with me for a very long time.  I was emotionally immature and easily persuaded if you gave me a place to belong.
I lived with untreated trauma and a deep-rooted abandonment button that created this never-ending desire that burned deep in my soul.  The best way I can describe this feeling is unmet longing.
I desperately wanted a do-over – so I unconsciously sought out relationships that ignited this unmet longing and tried to prove to myself that I was enough by taking these relationships hostage in an honest attempt to get chosen and somehow belong and feel loved.
I was satisfied with crumbs and was constantly affected by unrealistic expectations of others. Managing and tolerating my feelings felt impossible at times. I had a pain body root of abandonment and it was activated on a daily basis.
When I was growing up after my Father’s death, my Mom was emotionally not available.  Every year there was one exception – my birthday.  On my birthday, my mom would greet me with a smile and a happy birthday kiss.  It was a day where I didn’t have to act out, throw a fit, and scream and cry to get attention.  Instead, I got the loving attention every kid deserves. I felt special. No matter how old I was, Savannah – the name I call the inner child in me — felt special.
Two things happened that day every year:
First, I got to pick the dinner which was steamed clams with melted butter.  I felt important over the fuss created in finding the fresh clams.
Second, was the beautiful cake my mom would bake for me.  From scratch.  My birthday is in December, a few weeks before Christmas and I always got an angel food cake with white frosting and candy canes and red gumdrops on top.  Candyland happened to be my favorite game as a child.
Every year, when she brought that cake to the table, Candyland came to life. My life felt joyous and loving–one of the rare moments I was not either on full alert or in complete despair.
Many years later when I was in my late 20’s, I met a caring man who was doing his best to show up for me.
One evening, shortly after we started dating, I opened up to him.  I told him about my mom and the birthday cake.  I hadn’t talked about the cake with anyone since my 17th birthday when she forgot to make the cake and then died 6 days later.
I described the angel food cake with candy canes and gumdrops on top and explained to this man that it was the one time I could count on my Mom to show up for me.  He listened and I felt safe being vulnerable with him about my past.  He told me about his own experiences with an alcoholic mother and we bonded in our trauma storylines.  So, we got engaged.
This pattern of opening up to another person early on in a relationship and then pinning huge expectations on that person to be responsible for my emotions was familiar.  At that moment, I had no idea that I was grooming him to recreate a pattern of pain from my childhood in hopes of that do-over.
Not much later after telling him that story, my birthday rolled around and we made plans to go out to dinner that night.  During the workday, I had received warm chocolate chip cookies with a birthday card delivered to my office by a bike messenger.  I felt special and looked forward to an evening of celebration.
Later that evening, he knocked on my door and was standing there with a pink cake box. The sensation running through my veins felt like a drug – and at that moment, the unmet longing hole was filled.  I was seen.  Subconsciously, Candyland, gumdrops, the perfect cake, the perfect man – all of it – the good memories, the felt sense of being seen created a warm sensation throughout my body.  It is moments in time like this for people that have unresolved trauma in our bodies where we want to freeze time and stay there longer.
I took the cake box from his hands, I opened the box with excitement and inside that pink box was a *^<#ing Carrot Cake.  I froze.  I could not think at that moment and my painbody wound was activated.
I can remember his smile vanishing as I went into full hostage taking, guns a blazing mode.  It’s like being in an emotional blackout only there are no drugs involved.  How could he not bring home the angel food cake with the candy canes and gumdrops?  Didn’t he hear me?  Doesn’t he see me?  Didn’t he understand?  The card and chocolate chip cookies were a distant memory…and this poor guy didn’t stand a chance.  He went to a bakery after work to get me a birthday cake–simple, thoughtful, and kind.  The idea of an emotional explosion over a carrot cake probably sounds silly to most of you.
When you get emotionally activated, you make it about something else because the unresolved trauma is pushed down so deep.  As Travis Meadows sings in his song Sideways – push it down it comes out sideways… and on that night – it sure came out sideways.  I ruined my own birthday and of course, blamed him for it.  This is the behavior that I was addicted to.  I was unconsciously causing drama to recreate the trauma to have a corrective experience.  I’m here to tell you it doesn’t work like that.  I didn’t know how to PIVOT when my pain got activated.  The end result is disconnected, and often failed relationships.
I’d like to emphasize something.
The simple act of becoming AWARE of the wounds and behaviors as they are
happening is an ENORMOUS first step.
So, as I just explained, I was not addicted to love.  I was addicted to the drama and the desire of the fight to find love.  Healthy, unconditional love is boring for those of you fighting the wrong fight in hopes of winning.
What I know is that people can and do change – AND you can learn to attach securely in relationships.  I know – because I have done just that.
Today I stand in front of you as a Healthy Adult who is not afraid to be vulnerable.  I am sensitive and I can name that.  I have learned to be responsible for my own emotions and choose connection over conflict.  I have learned to have good internal boundaries and how to manage my pain body when it is activated.
I now work with others to help them learn to PIVOT toward self-care and self-efficacy so that we can stop the violence and pain caused by wounded hearts.
For those of you who identify with what I am saying I want you to know – you are not crazy – you are simply riding what I call the Crazy Train and you can de-board.  You can learn how to be responsible for your emotions and stand in relational alignment…a term that I created which means when your mind thinks in alignment with how your heart feels and you have the courage to take healthy action with your feet, you have achieved a verticality that is honest, ethical, and authentic to who you are.
In closing, my invitation to the Behavioral Health Community is to stop using the term Love Addiction.  We need to stop shaming those who long for love by telling them they are addicted to it.  Let’s please stop using the term love addiction and call it attachment dysregulation.
If you find that you are suffering from attachment dysregulation and considering getting out of a relationship that feels addictive, there is help. I started PIVOT, a relational alignment group and have been training advocates which consists of therapists and coaches to help you transition out of unhealthy relationships and teach you what relationships are healthy for you based on who you are and where you come from.
If you are currently looking to end a relationship, I encourage you to consider taking the steps listed below:
1. Identify and evaluate the relationship from the Whole Perspective
At PIVOT, we use the Whole Perspective concept as a tool to look at a relationship foundation from more than just what is getting triggered emotionally.  It will eliminate fantasy and put you into reality quickly.  The Whole Perspective consists of five components; spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical, and financial.
2. Get the right support
If you are seeing a therapist, make sure they are skilled working with attachment and family of origin issues.  You may benefit from getting your own PIVOT advocate.  While you are gearing up for possible relational withdrawal, you will need support if you decide to pull the plug.
3. Observe the relationship
Learn to be a good observer.  Often we “think” we know what is going on as we evaluate a relationship while in emotional crisis.  If you are playing defense and defending your position in the relationship while in emotional pain, you cannot see reality.  I suggest that you get a notebook and at the start of every day BEFORE you engage with anyone, take a few minutes and write down what the relationship consisted of the previous day.  You will soon see your own patterns and get a really good idea of what is happening in your relationship.
4. Identify the Core – Wound
Work with a professional and find the reason why this pain is so deeply rooted.  If you experienced abandonment and neglect like in my story above – someone ending a relationship with you is going to be considerably harder.  You also may stay in relationship due to a codependent relationship with a mentally ill parent.  Your storyline is unique and you must understand what is going to activate your old wounds.
5. Create a self-care plan
How will you take care of yourself based on the Whole Perspective?  What do you need to prepare yourself for if you leave this relationship?  Are there any financial realities that need to be considered and managed?  Do you have a physical outlet to help with the anxiety and depression that may surface temporarily after the relationship is over?  What kind of spiritual guidance can help?  Are you able to take some time for yourself to begin to heal emotionally?  Any new intellectual interests you can engage in to give your mind something new to focus on?
6. Make a decision
If you followed these steps, you will be in a much better position to decide to stay or leave the relationship.  If you leave, it will sting and you will now have valuable information that can help continue to inform you that you made the right decision.  Remember this is not a straight line and there will be days when you will want to go back.  And, if you do decide to stay and give it another try, you will have a lot more information that may help you in couples counseling.
Remember that YOU have to take care of YOU.  When we allow others to be responsible for our emotions, we rob ourselves of emotional intelligence and personal growth and create a dependency that looks and feels like an addiction to others.  PIVOT toward yourself – heal your wounds – and then you can attach securely to others as a healthy adult!
By: Lori Jean Glass