“When I’m attracted to a man, the feelings are so overwhelming…”

Anna writes:
“When I’m attracted to a man, my feelings are so overwhelming that they paralyze me. It happens when I “fall in love,” or “have a crush,” or just like someone. That’s why I always date only those people I don’t have strong feelings for, just who I’m comfortable with. But I’d like to be able to date a man I’m attracted to! I’ve heard from many people, that it’s normal to have “overwhelming feelings” but I’m thinking maybe mine are stronger, because when I feel I’m falling for someone I’m sabotaging them somehow. I indirectly reject a guy, hoping he’d understand and pursue me further…but they probably think I’m not interested at all by the indifferent way I act, and back off. I’ve heard of the Attachment Styles, so mine is probably the Avoidant one, or Anxious-ambivalent, however, this knowledge doesn’t help me. 🙂

“I have tried to listen to this “love” feeling (I fall in love quickly and often). And it has become easier than when I was trying to get rid of the feeling. But maybe there are some other parts involved here… I know that there are at least two: one is afraid to be rejected, the other one is afraid to be controlled. I don’t know how to move further with this. My “biological clock is ticking” and I’d like to live with a partner I love…”

Dear Anna,
It certainly sounds like there are parts involved! So you fall in love easily, have strong feelings of attraction, but then avoid the guy you feel this way about.

I would say there is a part of you that “falls in love” and has the strong feelings for the person, and another part of you that paralyzes you and keeps you away from the person.

In the Treasure Maps theory created by Barbara McGavin and myself, strong feelings of love and longing are an indication that a “Small One” is involved. “Small One” is our nickname for a type of part that we also call the Compromised Self. Its nature is to be quite young (thus the name “Small One”) and it is searching for a “savior” — a person who will save it, usually by loving it unconditionally.

The Small One holds a lot of life energy and is very close to your true Self. But without Self-in-Presence, the Small One can take over your body and lead you to take actions that don’t carry your life forward.

Another part of you knows this and takes on the job of suppressing the feelings and de-railing the actions of the Small One. This other part (a Controlling type) is extremely worried that an out-of-control Small One will lead to great trouble and danger. It could be right about that, but the way it suppresses and uses shaming to control other parts will also not carry life forward.

Why Self-in-Presence is So Important

Without Self-in-Presence, this struggle between parts is endless. None of them has a way out. They are driven by powerful unmet needs and they are not going to give up their positions, which they feel are ultimately to save YOU.

With Self-in-Presence, the Tangle can start to unwind. YOU are there, compassionately acknowledging each one of them.

You say to the Small One: “Yes, I really sense how much you long for someone to see you completely and adore you totally.” You say to the Controlling part: “Yes, I really sense how worried you are that the strong feelings will get out of control and lead to danger.” And then listen. Each one has more it wants to tell and show you. The Small One especially will have a particular body feeling that will need sensing exactly, and describing.

You may want to do this work with a Focusing partner or, even better, with a Focusing Practitioner, because it can be hard to hold Self-in-Presence alone with such powerful and ancient feelings. AND it can be so releasing when the parts finally take in that YOU are there, and the life-forward energy that has been bound in this Tangle begins to take the form that it has always truly needed…and your relationships can be between two real people!

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  1. Thank you, this is really helpful. I feel something similar and I’ve been lost as to how to handle it. I have what I call a needy or emotional part that has strongly attached to someone I recently met, in a way that does not feel healthy or appropriate and it has been absolute agony to manage it. I understand that some actions of the person I met triggered a fear of abandonment in the emotional part. I walked away from him but had to go back because the part was absolutely desolate. I do like him but I hate needing him in this way. It’s certainly a learning curve.

    1. Thank you for sharing , Lorna and Ann. The longing can feel really intens and painful. I will try to communicated wwith these parts of me.

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