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Despite my own issues with enmeshment (fear of becoming trapped in a relationship), there’s another issue far more popular–abandonment (fear of being abandoned).
If a love addict parented you, you might have enmeshment issues and grow up to become an avoidant.
If an avoidant parented you, you might have abandonment issues and grow up to be a love addict.
If you’re lucky, like me, you had the best of both worlds (and many of us do because a love addict woman, for example, is typically attracted to, and thus marries, an avoidant man (and vice versa).
In that case, you tend to exhibit both qualities of love addiction and avoidance, better known as ambivalence, which further means that you have both fear of enmeshment and fear of abandonment. OK, then let’s not get too deep into analyzing where our fear of [fill in the blank] came from, and instead, let’s talk about what to do about it.
For individuals who suffer from fear of enmeshment, our typical reaction to intimacy is to run, or push away. It’s not something we learned to accept or deal with in a healthy way because, chances are, we were smothered by it–not real intimacy, mind you, but neediness disguised as love and attentiveness.