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Old 07-21-2011, 06:00 AM   #1
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Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

I just joined as I'm trying to come to terms with what's going on with me. I've only had 3 serious relationships and I'm presently in my 3rd (and hopefully last) one. For some reason though, this current relationship is where I've experienced the most anxiety and what I'm finding out now to be reassurance ocd. I don't know enough about either yet (have an appt. to start seeing a therapist Aug. 1) but I'm guessing I'm being triggered by little things that bring me back to my childhood when I "lost" my Dad after being so close to him - first when i was a teen and he completely withdrew when he had a stroke and had to stop working and then later when I went through two really traumatic years of watching both my parents pass away while I was their sole caretaker.

I was an only child and used to affection and by current boyfriend simply has a hard time with it. I realize not every couple can be on the same page with this especially since he grew up without the affection but most of the time, he's good about it, even if he doesn't truly enjoy it (even though I hope one day he will).

But what I'm finding is that I get anxiety when he goes away (his Mom lives two states away so he occasionally visits her) or if I don't get alone time with him for a long period of time (busy schedules and he also has a teenager). It's not just missing him, it's to the point where I work myself up so much I get sick, I'm crying, cranky, and feel like i'm going to lose my mind if I don't see him or spend alone time with him and it's causing much angst between us. I even get upset when we don't go to bed at the same time because I have this need to be near him when I fall asleep.

Just this morning, he was running late for work and I should have been more respectful of that as I kept stopping him to help me with something that I could have done myself. Next thing I know, I hear the engine start so I went to the window and he's gone. It's not that we had an argument, things were fine, but I was so upset that he left without saying goodbye or getting a kiss (something I think is important to start each day). I called him and of course we got into yet another fight. I'm hurt and angry because it would've taken seconds to say goodbye. But I'm at work, can't concentrate, extremely upset, and can't stand the thought of going through another day of feeling like crap when I just want to be home curled up in a ball in bed trying to forget how I feel.

I'm having a very hard time separating what's irrational on my part and what I have a right to feel. I don't know what's real anymore and if I don't get this under control soon, I'm afraid we won't make it.

Please help!

 
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:58 AM   #2
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

Hi dear, I'm afraid you won't make it with your boyfriend if you continue with this needy behavior. It will only push him away and then it will make it worse for you. You need to see a counselor to talk to about the emotional pain you went through losing your mom and dad and feeling so lonely inside. I'm glad you are going to a therapist on August 1. Tell you boyfriend to be patient with you and that you are going to get help. I was married young to a man I felt could meet all my emotional needs and I did everything for him which is not good. I missed him so much when he worked and would have done anything to get the affection I so much needed. I found out that when you are in a relationship it has to be two emotionally healthy people who have their own tanks filled and can compliment each other's strengths and weaknesses. No one person can fill all your needs. You need to find reservoirs within yourself and other people or hobbies to fill those voids. I was an only child and I realized that I can find some people who can help me fill my tank when I'm lonely or having a difficult time but I have to make the effort myself to accept myself and love who I am and who God made me. My faith helps me a lot too. Best wishes to you. I didn't mean to be negative at the beginning but be careful and call a friend when you want to smother your boyfriend.

 
Old 07-21-2011, 07:50 AM   #3
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

I am not offended by your reply, in fact I appreciate your honesty. It is only the last couple of days that I've been able to put all the pieces together of what's been going on with me. But even after realizing the issues (illness?) I have to address, this morning when he left without saying goodbye felt *real* and I truly felt validated by being hurt. Even talking about this now, I still do. I simply don't know how to determine what's irrational. And I assume by your reply that being upset about this morning was just that.

I just want someone to shut my brain off for a little while. My mind races with negative thoughts and it seems to be getting worse. I'm so afraid I will never be at peace internally. I did bring this to my boyfriend's attention last night and he was very supportive. But later when I asked if he'd go with me to a session if the therapist thought it was a good idea, he didn't jump at the idea so I got upset because I expected him to want to do whatever it takes to help.

I can't stand this. I'm so afraid that I just won't be happy unless I'm alone. At least that way, I won't be making anyone else miserable.

And as far as interests/hobbies, I do have some, and picked up a couple new ones this year. But I don't have the money right now to do some of the things I'd like (like yoga, cooking class, etc.) so it's a vicious circle.

 
Old 07-21-2011, 08:02 AM   #4
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

Hi, I understand you are hurt from him leaving without saying goodbye or kissing you. Sometimes men can't handle extreme emotions from women. They don't like to see a woman crying because they feel helpless to help them. They don't feel in "control" of things and sometimes it hurts them and they don't know what to do if they really love you and want to help you. I think you need to talk to a girlfriend or a good friend that will listen and give you understanding. Don't talk to a person who is judgemental or critical or toxic, then it will make things worse. Men and women are wired differently in our brains so some men are very caring and compassionate and others don't have that gift. My husband is not a caregiver but I am so I have to realize that when I need a caring ear, I call a girlfriend who will listen and be there for me. He has other strengths which your boyfriend must have too. You don't need to be alone. You just need to talk to a professional and grieve your parent's deaths and move on with a healthy emotional life and enjoy who you are inside and out. Best to you. Keep in touch.

 
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:26 AM   #5
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

I'm so embarrassed by this that it's hard to find someone I trust enough to talk to. But I will try because you're right that I do need someone to bounce things off of.

On one hand, admitting to my boyfriend once and for all what's going on (now that I understand what it is) was a relief. But then my mind starts going and I also feel like I'm giving up all control in our relationship in that he will never feel like anything I'm hurt by is valid so he won't have to apologize for anything because it'll all be blamed on my issues.

He keeps his feelings to himself, is not very affectionate, and has a hard time complementing because of his own upbringing. That in itself would not be a big issue if I were confident and wasn't dealing with what I'm dealing with. But I think him being the opposite of me (open with my feelings, affectionate, etc.) exaserbates (I know I spelled that wrong) my anxiety. To him, leaving this morning without saying goodbye was no big deal since he doesn't require that closeness. To me (the affectionate one), would it have been such a big deal if I didn't have such anxiety? It's just foreign to me to walk out of a house without saying goodbye for the day. So that's what I'm having a hard time distinguishing. UGH. I can't wait for my first appt.!

 
Old 07-21-2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

Hi, I think if you find a good therapist to talk to and maybe he/she will give you some medicine for a while to take away your anxiety so you can put your emotional life in order. It is difficult to find balance in life. I lost my mom when I was 12 years old and my dad really didn't want me and I left home at 18 and I have always had to struggle with low self-esteem and not feeling close to too many people I can trust with who I am. You can only be yourself and love and show affection as I do. Just make sure you communicate how you feel with your boyfriend. I don't know how long you have been together and how committed he is to you. Are you planning to marry him? You can always write to me if you want and I can listen to how you feel. I don't know how old you are but in my 20's and 30's it was difficult for me emotionally and I grieved for my mom in my 30's because no one in my family would talk about her. It will be alright. You have a friend here on this forum and I'm sure many will try to help you. I do care about how you feel. I try to shake things off when I'm really upset about something and also try to rise above things and vent to someone who loves me unconditionally.

 
Old 07-21-2011, 09:58 AM   #7
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

It's scary to me to realize that for the first time in my life, I don't feel like I have control over anything (meaning myself, my emotions, etc.). I am in my 40's now, was married in my early 20's but remember never really feeling like I was in love. We were great friends but that's about it. I do remember always feeling like something was missing and not being happy that my ex didn't do much in the way of romantic things, or being expressive. We parted as friends and I chalked up my side to being immature and not knowing what I wanted yet. My only other serious relationship was with someone who was bipolar and it was very dysfunctional. Looking back, I definitely exhibited similar symptoms as I do now in my current relationship, but once again, it was chalked up to the great amounts of stress I felt while in the relationship. Being alone in between, I think I occasionally would feel the same kind of anxiety with a friend here and there but it has never been an obvious issue 'til now.

I wonder, is it learned behavior or is it a "mis-wiring" in our brains (which is what I've read so far about OCD and anxiety issues).

You lost your Mom much earlier than I and I can only imagine how hard that must have been. Myself, I didn't grieve properly for a year, I just buried myself in cleaning up their house, my activities, and finding new ways of being spiritual which helped. I was pushed to go to a grief counseling group but I still don't feel I fully came to grips with everything that happened. But I'm not the only one who has gone through such losses. So I don't know that it is the *reason* for me being the way I am, but possibly a trigger to what's happening now? Because every time I feel "slighted" by my boyfriend, it feels like a loss to me in some weird way.

You asked about our commitment. We are very committed to one another, live together, and are in it for the long run. Marriage really hasn't been discussed but neither of us are in a hurry to push things when we still are working out the kinks. I thank God for his patience and understanding even though he's hard around the edges sometimes. I know his heart is huge and he is very sensitive - to see his face as I broke down telling him last night what I found out about me - he may not be abe to say it, but I saw how much he cared and how it effected him.

I think part of the OCD that I found I have is lack of patience. When I get something in my head, I want to act on it NOW and if I can't, then I look for other ways to satisfy me until then. It's exhausting to say the least.

 
Old 07-21-2011, 09:59 AM   #8
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

By the way, thank you for being so supportive. I really appreciate it!

 
Old 07-21-2011, 10:18 AM   #9
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

Hi, I'm glad to listen or read to be supportive for you. We all need someone to hear us. How did you find out you had reassurance ocd? I think we all need reassurance of people in our lives who we feel connected to to show us that they care through a hug, kiss or an assurance of a good word. I need this more than other people too and I saw what you wrote at the beginning that you were close to your dad and then he completely withdrew from you due to a stroke. My dad withdrew from me too when my mom died and wanted me to leave him but I promised my mom I would stay with him and it was very difficult because for years I was ignored and distanted emotionally from him. I think this affects some people like us in a more deeper way than others. Some people can stuff it down and maybe get addicted to pills, sex, or other things. I think mine was food and I stuff down food when I have any emotion and need affirmation from others and reassurance of those I am near that they love me and have not rejected me. I think you felt so rejected by your boyfriend which I'm sure he didn't mean to do by not saying good-bye to you but we since we have been emotionally distanced and ignored, it hurts us to the core when those we love don't meet our expectation of what we need and feel we need to feel loved and accepted. Does this ring a bell? I can get so upset when someone criticizes me or judges me. I react when people ignore me or act indifferent to me. I am a people pleaser and don't understand when people don't seem to like me. I know everyone can't like me because that is not realistic but I try really hard if I think they don't like me. I'm getting better and getting a thicker skin. Try to do something really special for your boyfriend tonight and don't bring up how bothered you were and thank him for all he has meant to you and how supportive he is. I think the therapist will give you more tools to work with in your relationship. I'd love to know what they tell you if you wish to share with me. I know I need therapy too one of these days.

Last edited by moderator2; 07-21-2011 at 11:09 AM.

 
Old 07-21-2011, 10:37 AM   #10
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

Wow, yes, what you wrote definitely rings true. Could losing our Dads who we were close to really be the reason we need such reassurance? It was so long ago I figured I'd gotten over it by now.

Things changed when my boyfriend and I started living together. I felt the anxiety before but it didn't happen enough or I didn't have someone by my side when it was happening to point it out. I would get so upset if I didn't hear from him that I'd convince myself it was over and analyze the last conversation we had or the last time we spent together. After we started living together, he saw the changes in me that he wasn't seeing before. I was this carefree happy person before and now here he was living with someone who was constantly questioning his feelings and motives, stressed out and each time we talked about it, I thought "this is the last time I will behave like this" because I was so afraid of losing him. And each time I tried hard to come up with a reason why.

Over the last few months I've been poking around on line and found things that sounded like me but it wasn't 'til the other day that I decided to finally tackle it head on because I realized Icouldn't live like this any longer nor could I put my boyfriend through this any more. And I found two different websites where someone had written their experience and I could have written it. Same story, same anxieties, doubts, fears, being creative with questions to get the same answers, obsessive thoughts, and finally, a name to what I was experience. It was relief and overwhelming sadness all at the same time. So, it would appear that I have reassurance ocd and various anxiety issues and when broken down, it means (so embarrassed to admit this) that I exhibit behaviors that suffocate my boyfriend and pretty sure co-dependency. Things I thought were being loving like sending him texts expressing my feelings (not occasionally but a few times/week), the constant need for affection, wanting him to go to bed the same time as me, etc.

When I look at what I just wrote, how in the world has he stayed with me? lol. He told me last night that the good times are GREAT and that he knows how giving of a person I am, and how much I care. I just wish I could remember all this when i start spiraling.

I hope I can be of help to you too and to any others who are suffering from this awfully debilitating illness (is it an illness by the way?).

Last edited by moderator2; 07-21-2011 at 11:09 AM.

 
Old 07-21-2011, 12:43 PM   #11
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

Hi, the first way to get healing is by acknowledging there is something wrong and that there is a name given to it. I don't think you have to be embarrassed by this because you are trying to reach out to a stranger or a strange forum and trust people with your deepest hurts. I think that I had delayed grief and I still want to please my dad who is 91 years old but he doesn't want to attach emotionally with me and never will. I have to accept that. Your boyfriend sounds very understanding and when you feel secure within yourself and feel safe in your relationship which has to do with trust and respect then with a therapist to help you sort your feelings out, I think you will be fine. I read a lot of books and one is called Healing is a Choice and Boundaries by John Townsend and Henry Cloud. I listen to a lot of Christian counseling and there are a lot of emotionally damaged women and men. Communication is the key. I require a lot of attention and affection too and if your man doesn't show his love for you in this way, he may show you in different ways. There is a book called the 5 Languages of Love and it really helped me see that some people feel loved when you do a service or act for them, some need affection, some need words of affirmation and some need gifts to feel loved. Maybe your boyfriend could remember to give you a big hug before he goes to work and that will hold you for all day. He needs to know what you need. We all need our tanks of love filled one way or another and so many people have empty tanks and no hope to find a love in their life. Keep writing and we can share our feelings. I really care about you.

 
Old 07-21-2011, 01:32 PM   #12
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

I really like reading self help books so I'll have to check those out some time, thank you.

On one hand, I think I must have one of the most understanding boyfriends ever if he has stayed with me this long before I was even able to understand and admit what was going on with me. On the other hand, since all of my needs feel so real to me, I feel hurt during the times he doesn't respond to when I want a hug or to cuddle. But I've criticized him so often for so many little things, he probably doesn't have a clue how to please me any more and that's sad that I've done that.

Lately, it's been rare that we go for a period of a week or two where everything is ok (it's been that bad) but when we do, things are magical. then all of a sudden, he says or does something that feels so hurtful and we're back to square one and it takes that much longer to recover each time. I shudder just thinking about this cycle I've created.

 
Old 07-21-2011, 05:43 PM   #13
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

Hello, I wanted you tell you that you're not alone, I actually have seperation anxiety a long with PTSD and all I can say is that if he's making you feel this way and is unwilling to help he's probably not the one for you. These men aren't equipped to give us the love we need, infact, this is the reason we fall for these men, because we can recreate whatever hurt us in the past and try to fix it, but it wont ever happen, we need to find men who can give us the love we need, and the men who are ready and can give us the love we need will never trigger us, which is a whole new way of relating and brings on a whole new set of problems, I'm going through such problems atm.

On a different note, when I was getting triggered I thought it was some kind of OCD, but my psych actually told me it wasn't OCD, it had an OCD taste but it wasn't OCD, because it wasn't happening with all people or even all males, just guys I got into romantic relationships with. It's basically a strong fear of abandonment by a loved one and it's really a whole mess, but the best thing is to find someone who doesn't make you feel this way because this isn't love, doing this to someone, trying to keep them prisoner is not love, it's trying to win a battle we've lost in our past.

good luck!
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Last edited by 00lady00; 07-21-2011 at 06:01 PM.

 
Old 07-22-2011, 06:07 AM   #14
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

Hi, You are absolutely right and being a co-dependent is not a healthy way to have a relationship. Women Who Love Too Much is a great book about love and that if it makes you crazy and cry too much then you are doing too much in the relationship and the other person may not be the right one for you. Living together really causes more complications when a person is hurt emotionally and mentally. A strong fear of abandonment and rejection is at the core of many people and some people get to be stalkers and really cause problems for another person. There are people in this world that are emotionally handicapped and for those who need a lot of affection and love, then those people will always push the wrong buttons for us. Anyone who pushes us away from them is not a person we should be around either. People will find the buttons to push to upset us consciously or unconsciously and that is a form of manipulation. Things for us all to think about. I know I need a therapist for issues in my life too.

 
Old 07-22-2011, 06:32 AM   #15
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Re: Is this Adult Separation Anxiety?

So I have a question to both, if my current boyfriend is not right for me, how do I know I wouldn't behave the same way with someone who has a different personality? I am really trying to take a good look at myself and read more last night about smothering and found a good site. I cringed when I read the "signs" because I've done almost all of them. So it seems that I'm one extreme and he tends to be on the other. When it sounds to him as if I'm talking about taking all the blame, he quickly corrects me that he knows he has to work on things too. I guess I feel that as long as he's able to look at himself, then we have a chance.

Everything could be going good and all it takes isfor him to say one little thing that's not "perfect" in my head and that's when I start questioning what he meant by it. And I keep asking questions, talking about it, on and on until I find some way to appease my anxiety but by that time, an argument starts and it gets worse, not better. If I text him and get a one word answer, I start thinking he's mad or that something's wrong. So I text him again asking if everything's ok, and this happens alot. When I think rationally, I realize he could've been sleeping, working (he does construction so it's hard to talk or stop what he's doing), driving, etc. but when I'm stuck, all rationale goes out the window and I spiral and that's when the axiety kicks in. Not making excuses for him by any means but thinking about it at the moment, *I* would drive me crazy too.

 
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