Getting emotionally attached and dependent on people too easily - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2021, 04:23 AM Thread Starter
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Getting emotionally attached and dependent on people too easily


It has happened quite a lot before, but the latest one is currently really affecting me. It has happened more than a few times.

My driving instructor, on the very first lesson, was very friendly and complimented me at the end and after that I basically became obsessed with getting affection and validation from him, continuing to this day (UK lockdowns make seeing him difficult now).

I sort of view him as a father figure, it's complicated. I have no social skills really and am very socially awkward, so always **** potential friendships up (even when I like them a lot less).

I have messaged him before (we have common interests), and while he will sometimes reply he doesn't always, and just ends the conversation without responding to a question sometimes.
I do ask a lot of questions though, and he does have his own life and mates, but I'm just trying to be friendly and would honestly like to keep in contact with him after I finish lessons. He's rhe only person I know who likes the sport I like...

If he doesn't respond to me, but is still clearly talking to his mates, (I use WhatsApp), should I bother messaging again (the UK lockdown isn't going to end for another 2 months or so) or leave it?
I don't know if I said or say something wrong, or if he just doesn't want to talk to me ... Not sure how to tell online...

With the lockdown now, I have nothing to distract me from this so am always looking for answers online from all sorts of websites and forums.
It wouldn't be as big of a problem if life were more normal...
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2021, 09:35 AM
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Never expect genuine friendship from somebody you're paying to make you feel liked. Your driving instructor makes his living by being very friendly so that you'll come back for another lesson and recommend him to others.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2021, 10:17 AM
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My driving instructor might have legitimately been a little into me. She was probably about 55 years old and was almost unbelievably nice and seemed to really enjoy talking to me as we went along. It didn't even cross my mind at the time since I was maybe 15 and a half or something. Or maybe it was just the motherly instinct. I don't know. It did not seem purely professional. That's for sure.

But she did a great job and when I did take my driving test I was not the slightest bit nervous because she had prepared me for absolutely every second of it.

/WYSD
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2021, 02:05 PM
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I get emotionally attached to people, but it's happened so many times in the past I can sort of predict the cycle. And whenever it starts I try to focus more on the end. I ask myself things like "do you think you will still be as attached to this person a year from now?" then I try to think of all the other people I've been attached to and then completely forgot about and it seems more bearable.

I also never really know what I want from people I'm attached to. So it seems pointless anyway.

---

I think I met one person online who I felt like a father figure. I think that was back in 2009? I was like 20 and he was 40 or something. I really cared about his opinion on everything, but don't remember being attached really.

the truth may vary
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2021, 03:24 AM
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I use to more, especially with people I like, when I still have hopes that I can develop a lasting relationship with. Nowadays, I usually just accept I can't. So I approach everyone in my mind thinking and knowing "You are only going to be my acquaintance at best, and nothing more, and never anything more. Because I lack the personality for that to ever happen." I haven't really gotten emotionally attached to anyone ever since I accepted this mindset. Admittedly, it is kind of an emotionally painful and bleak way to live socially.

But in times of distress, I still do get emotionally attached. Although this is usually my subconscious becoming desperate for any emotional support and perhaps wanting social interactions as a temporary distraction from my distress.

What goes up, will inevitably come back down. Whoever you have to step on when you go up, you will be at their mercy when you go down.

The truth is strictly what the ones in power perceives it to be.

Enjoy any good things, even the little and menial ones, as you will never know what impending distresses could descend upon you in a moment.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2021, 12:41 PM
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You likely have an anxious attachment style. This is, more or less, a coping style that you developed when you were a child. Your caregivers more or less didn't give you any love or attention, and so your means of adapting was to grasp at any attention you did receive, this is what managed to persuade your caregivers to actually give any affection (more or less).

Unfortunately, this means that in the adult world, you grasp on any signs of friendliness and affection, and mistake this for a genuine and more deep connection, and become attached to it. This is what you learned, it isn't your fault, but unfortunately it's self fulfilling, because if you do this, it actually pre-emptively pushes people away. This is likely why you "ruin friendships", you come on too strong, too quickly, and it makes people withdraw. Unless of course, that person is also an anxious attachment style (which 25% of people are).

So, you need to work on developing a more secure attachment style. That means, initially moderating your behaviour to not grasp for others attention. I would suggest, (have used this before here), roughly mirroring the other persons interest level, as a guide. This also means you being able to tolerate the discomfort of not messaging as much as you would like, and getting used to tolerating the discomfort of thinking people are going to abandon you if they haven't messaged back, etc.

Re the driving instructor, no, they likely don't care. They are your driving instructor. Sorry (but its the truth).

Re other people, friendships, relationships, and so on, you never need to chase much. If people are interested in striking up a friendship, or a relationship, or anything more, they will typically take their fair share of the leg work. There is a slim chance they are playing hard to get, but honestly its more likely they are doing the opposite. They aren't interested because you are coming on too strong.

Your driving instructor is someone you are paying for their time. They aren't very interested, with a very high probability, sorry.

Also, I have (had) an anxious attachment style, fwiw, but I have spend a lot of time working on it (basically, NOT messaging when i felt the urge and learning to tolerate it).

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https://balancedminds.com/audio/
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-29-2021, 06:43 PM
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Another thing I'd like to add to what @SplendidBob said is that you should avoid personalizing rejection.

People have a very strong tendency to blame themselves if another person isn't interested in being their friend. They ask themselves what they did wrong, think they must be a horrible person, etc. But the fact is, the vast majority of people are simply not compatible enough to be friends. You should realistically expect most people to not want to be friends with you, even if they are very friendly. A friendly person who does not want to be friends is an acquaintance.

People only have time for a handful of real friends in their lives, and they tend to gravitate to those people they are most compatible with. Compatibility has next to nothing to do with how good a friend you would be in the abstract (ie. with your worth). You can be a perfectly lovely and pleasant person to be around and still be incompatible with almost everyone you meet. You can be a horrible, backstabbing SOB and still have friends. It depends on a lot of different factors.

So you should never take a person's rejection as evidence that you are an inherently unlikable or worthless person. Your desperation to make anyone who shows the least bit of interest in you a friend is something that can drive people away, but every person, without exception, has traits that can drive people away (arrogance, paranoia, addictions, etc.). And you feel that way about yourself to a large degree because you personalize rejection. In all likelihood, if you have few or no friends, it's because you have a strategy of avoidance that limits the number of people you come into contact with, and when you are with them, you're afraid to open up. And you likely have that strategy at least in part because you're convinced of your own unlikability.

If you rarely meet new people, the chances of you meeting someone compatible are very small. Getting emotionally attached and invested in people who don't reciprocate your feelings is something that tends to happen to people who have very few contacts. They invest every relationship with more emotional weight than most relationships can support, thus creating a cycle of rejection and disappointment.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2021, 01:54 AM
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Never look desperate - as the saying goes, a desperate salesman is a dead one. (or something like that)

Don't chase people.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2021, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harrison View Post
Never look desperate - as the saying goes, a desperate salesman is a dead one. (or something like that)

Don't chase people.

You just desperately sold this book now.. didn't you?




What goes up, will inevitably come back down. Whoever you have to step on when you go up, you will be at their mercy when you go down.

The truth is strictly what the ones in power perceives it to be.

Enjoy any good things, even the little and menial ones, as you will never know what impending distresses could descend upon you in a moment.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2021, 10:24 AM
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Honestly, I've always had the opposite problem. Because interacting with other human beings was always stressful to me, I learned very quickly how to be self-reliant and do things myself and get through life on my own, at least from an emotional standpoint. Likewise, I was never the type of person who had many friends, so I learned how to be comfortable on my own and with my own company. I just didn't know anything else. If anything, I tend to push people away, because bringing people into my life feels like the introduction of a complication I don't need, or another factor in my life I can't control.
Granted, I did have a friend in college with an anxiety disorder who had exactly the opposite problem from me: she didn't trust herself and couldn't stand to be alone or make decisions on her own. I've always been amazed at how similar cognitive distortions can manifest themselves in different ways in different people.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2021, 03:53 PM
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@truant , well said, as always

Compassion focused therapy audio, guided meditations:

https://balancedminds.com/audio/
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2021, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staticradio725 View Post
Honestly, I've always had the opposite problem. Because interacting with other human beings was always stressful to me, I learned very quickly how to be self-reliant and do things myself and get through life on my own, at least from an emotional standpoint. Likewise, I was never the type of person who had many friends, so I learned how to be comfortable on my own and with my own company. I just didn't know anything else.
This exactly.

Its hard for me to feel comfortable enough with someone to get emotionally attached to them and I don't think I could ever come to depend on anyone else. I'm way too independent for that.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2021, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truant View Post
Another thing I'd like to add to what @SplendidBob said is that you should avoid personalizing rejection.

People have a very strong tendency to blame themselves if another person isn't interested in being their friend. They ask themselves what they did wrong, think they must be a horrible person, etc. But the fact is, the vast majority of people are simply not compatible enough to be friends. You should realistically expect most people to not want to be friends with you, even if they are very friendly. A friendly person who does not want to be friends is an acquaintance.

People only have time for a handful of real friends in their lives, and they tend to gravitate to those people they are most compatible with. Compatibility has next to nothing to do with how good a friend you would be in the abstract (ie. with your worth). You can be a perfectly lovely and pleasant person to be around and still be incompatible with almost everyone you meet. You can be a horrible, backstabbing SOB and still have friends. It depends on a lot of different factors.

So you should never take a person's rejection as evidence that you are an inherently unlikable or worthless person. Your desperation to make anyone who shows the least bit of interest in you a friend is something that can drive people away, but every person, without exception, has traits that can drive people away (arrogance, paranoia, addictions, etc.). And you feel that way about yourself to a large degree because you personalize rejection. In all likelihood, if you have few or no friends, it's because you have a strategy of avoidance that limits the number of people you come into contact with, and when you are with them, you're afraid to open up. And you likely have that strategy at least in part because you're convinced of your own unlikability.

If you rarely meet new people, the chances of you meeting someone compatible are very small. Getting emotionally attached and invested in people who don't reciprocate your feelings is something that tends to happen to people who have very few contacts. They invest every relationship with more emotional weight than most relationships can support, thus creating a cycle of rejection and disappointment.
Very well said, I think this is very very true and it is worth keeping in mind. I have met people I absolutely adored but I knew we would never be friends or get close, by virtue of being different. It also makes the people you end up with more rewarding.

OP, if he's not into conversing with you, it might be best to drop the thing and revert to a friendly working relationship. It may be he already has people around him, unless he actively searches you out chances are that he's content keeping it more business than personal.

I fortunately do not get really attached quickly to people, unless they're my therapist in which case the whole thing usually turns into a trainwreck. But other than that there's only a handful of people I can say I really formed a bond with and that I am really close to.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-02-2021, 03:43 PM
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In regards to your question on whether to continue contacting if he hasn't the past few times, I would advise not. It can get annoying when people message and expect one to respond each time, even if your driver instructor is busy during those times. Plus you have initially went to him for driving instructions and it should be kept that way so long as you are going to him for it.

I can get where you're coming from in regards to attachment and I have faced similar things (though not all romantic, even with just friendly connections.) But unless you truly know that person and can officially say you're friends or even good acquaintances then it shouldn't be surprising if they don't give the same response or energy as you do. It would be best to move on for your sake.
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