How my Childhood Trauma Affects my Relationships

Loving the ADHD devil – DAY 28

I have a problem with relationships, not just the romantic ones, but all of them. When I was younger I noticed how I could never behave properly in any kind of relationship, getting angry without reason, demanding the impossible or just abandon everyone when things got too complicated. No friendship lasted and no boyfriend wanted to stay with me until I decided at one point to stop trying and live my life alone, hiding from the behavior that surfaced when I would get close to someone.

I believed that if I would spend years just by myself, my relationship-harming behavior would just disappear, maybe because I would become extremely independent and even in a relationship I would not need the other person to be there for me. So I lived my years alone, without ever wanting a deeper connection with anyone and I was kind of ok on my own, I wasn’t happy but I was in control over myself and none of my strange behavior occurred in this period.

After years alone, I met my boyfriend, now 1 year ago. We dated for 7 months, and in this time I felt like I was actually healed. We met each other once or twice a week and I was able to enjoy our time together without any strange feelings. Even if he would go on a holiday and we wouldn’t see each other for some time I was fine, knowing that he would always return to me afterwards. I was able to be independent while I truly enjoyed having him in my life, I was finally kind of having the relationship I always wanted, with more distance between us but with the calmth I had been searching for all my life. However, around New Year’s Eve we got closer, we started a proper relationship, and soon after this evening everything changed.

I started to feel extremely insecure, maybe even out of fear of my behavior to return, and I think it was within a month that I started to notice my old patterns. I started feeling upset if there was one day that he didn’t have time for me, I started getting jealous, I started to wait for him instead of doing my own things, I started picking fights over nothing, I had no idea what happened to me, no idea why I suddenly changed into the girlfriend I was so afraid of, but I did, and this is one of the things that brought me to my breakdown.

The behavior I’m talking about is basically being extremely clingy. I want to be a part of everything he does, and when he does things alone I feel bad about myself, feeling like I am not good enough for him, believing that he will leave me. I get a bit obsessed about him, spending my own time thinking about him, waiting for him to contact me or show up. When he takes too long to return, or when he does not reply to my texts or answers my calls, things get really bad. I get angry about nothing, I can yell at him for hours without any real reason, and I start demanding things from him in a completely wrong way. Besides my anger, I sometimes make myself extremely vulnerable to make him do what I want, telling him I need him and I can not do it alone, I tell him I feel so bad and he has to listen and be there for me. And in these moments I even believe that life would be over without him, even if it’s just for a couple of days.

All of this is absolutely not me! I don’t recognize myself in these times, I have honestly no idea why I behave the way I do, my true self can not come up with any reason for how I act. It feels like something inside me is able to take over and I do things without any control, they just happen, without any logic. It is even more strange how this behavior did not occur in the months we were dating, and how everything changed after the first time we spend 24 hours together, like in this moment I suddenly lost everything that used to be me and he became a part of everything, like I suddenly lost all my independence just because someone entered my life for real.

It does not make any sense, I mean, for 7 months he choose to come back to me every single time while there was no reason for him to return to me, he just did because he wanted me in his life, he wanted to spend time with me. But then, after the night we decided that we want to come back to each other, that we want to spend more time and that we want to be together, I suddenly go crazy about loosing him, I started to loose control over myself completely, and most importantly, I actually harm our relationship by trying to keep him close.

I can say that for sure this is not who I really am, this obsessive behavior is not my true self, it is something that I have no control over and really don’t believe in. I hate myself when I act like this, I feel shame and guilt, anger and sadness every time I am unable to prevent myself from going there. Besides, it exhausts me to spend so much time out of control, to spend so much energy on trying to be better but loosing every single time, like a constant fight I am just never able to win and it drains all my strength.

Some days I figure I should just break up with my boyfriend, just so I don’t have to fight myself anymore, so I’m no longer confronted with this darkness inside me, so I can pretend to be sane and independent, to be the way I am. But loosing him is something I know I don’t want, not because my uncontrolled obsession over him, but because I know that once I am able to get rid of my monster, we can have a great time together. Besides, I want to be able to have more people in my life, I want to be able to truly open up and since this behavior is not limited to romantic relationships, I need to get control over it.

However, staying with my boyfriend and letting people in, means that I have to face my monster and figure our where he comes from, it means that I have to admit that something dark inside me exists, that my behavior wasn’t just a puberty induced struggle and that I wasn’t able to heal from it by myself. Staying means that I have to admit that there is really something wrong with me, something that makes me behave inappropriate whenever someone gets close to me, that I have to admit that I am truly broken in a way and that I will need all my energy to get past this.

I now know that I want more in my life, I want to have people and I want to feel happiness. I want to be myself and I want to best for me, but something inside me is able to ruin everything, able to take over and turn me into my own worst enemy. It hurts me so much to agree that this is a part of me, that I have this damage inside me and that I can not just ignore it and return to normal. I know that I can no longer run but am I strong enough to finally deal with it? I’m not sure.

If I don’t start figuring out where my obsessive behavior comes from I will keep hurting myself for the rest of my life, but I also know that working on these issues will be extremely confronting and painful. What I believe is that everything comes from my childhood, that years of being misunderstood, abused and ignored are the reason I just can not deal with someone that will be there for me. I just never learned how to trust and love other people as a child, I always expect to be used, hurt and left alone, and because of this I have developed this strange behavior as a way to avoid painful and overwhelming emotions.

The coping styles I have created to deal with my childhood pain might have worked years ago, when they helped me to survive, but it turns out that they have the complete opposite effect in my adult life, they hurt me. The problem is though, that I have absolutely no control over it, I can not fight it I can not even see it coming, it just takes over. Dealing with this part of me means going back to the pain, figuring out what I missed as a child and finally start filling in the missing parts of myself, something I should have done a long time ago but have always been extremely afraid of, and still am actually.

My life has been hard but it feels like until now it has never really been a part of me, my childhood has mostly been a story, a tragedy that has not really been my own. But soon I will start a therapy that will focus on the effects of my childhood, and once I do, I will become the main character in this sad story I have been telling for years. The story will no longer remain something I can just tell without emotion, it will become a part of me or I will become it. I’m not sure how it works but there will no longer be a wall between my past and my now, everything will become real and although I will get better in the end ( I trust that I will ) I am afraid of everything I will have to go through, afraid of connecting with my story and mostly afraid to assess all the hidden damage.

I can only tell myself to be strong. To keep trying, to keep fighting for a better me. My previous therapy seemed scary to me as well ( although much less than this one ) but in the end I discovered all the good it did me, how opening up to a psychologist turned out to be an extremely rewarding journey. The same will happen to this one, even when it is my biggest fear, it is what I need to do. I need to get rid of all the hidden darkness, I need to create space inside myself for love and positivity, and I deserve to live without any monsters. I deserve to be myself, all the time.

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