Oh my god. I practically read through this entire thread and could relate so much.
Incoming wall of text. I want to share my story and what I learned.
So basically I've been trying to understand why I keep ****ing up my friendships/relationships with people and why I was never content in my life, and this thread has just hit the nail on the head. I think it all comes down to having a void that we need to fill with self-love, but because we don't have the right tools to do that, we go take the "easy" route and try to gain love from other people. It's almost like a survival instinct. It's this urgent feeling inside of you pushing you to find a connection so you can receive validation and feel the love you cannot give yourself. It has to do with self-worth.
Some people here mentioned it's either 0% or all the way to 100%. This is exactly me. I either don't care and pull away COMPLETELY, or if I get attached I am there 100%. It's scary and very unhealthy.
Years ago I made an online friend who I really connected with, that's something that rarely happens to me. So as I kept talking to her and she accepted me with my flaws and all, it's almost like I fell for her even though I'm straight. I invested so much into the friendship yet I was also very insecure and scared that she would just stop talking to me. I felt a clusterf*** of emotions all at once. Any signs of pulling away on her part, I would immediately begin to think she hated me and it was over, when in reality people just need their space and don't want to emotionally babysit someone 24/7. I got so paranoid that I ended up cutting it off before she could, before she realized something was REALLY wrong with me. And I knew something was wrong with me so I had to go and figure it out. The painful story continues.
What I did after that as a coping mechanism, I filled "the void" with negative emotions towards others for not understanding me, since I always felt left out from family and very different from most of the friends I ever had (except the girl I just mentioned). Now it didn't have to hurt anymore and I NEVER got lonely, EVER. I preferred to be alone, not just because of my introversion but because I genuinely felt disconnected from practically everyone in my life. I absolutely hated people who were clingy or even liked me to the point where they wanted to be friends with me, I found it annoying and never opened myself up. The walls around me were very high. The problem here was that the void was still there because it wasn't filled "authentically" by understanding and being kind to myself. I was like a black hole instead of someone radiating their true self. I was guarded instead of "okay with who I am". That's the key that I would eventually come to learn.
So fast forward a couple more years, one day I began working on my confidence and anxieties and made some progress. Not too much, but JUST enough to get rid of those negative feelings and coping mechanisms I had within myself. It got to the point where I began liking myself a little so I wasn't as blind and negative to the world around me anymore. The "void" now contained only a fraction of darkness mixed with VERY LITTLE positivity. The majority of it still empty. At this point, I came across a guy who I really connected with. I went from 0% to 100000000000% on the inside. I created all these scenarios and fantasies in my head, I legitimately made up a relationship with him FOR MONTHS ON END although we were mere acquaintances. It wasn't that he showed me kindness and I fell for him right away (this is probably where I can't exactly relate to some of you who posted in this thread), no, we were just very similar minded and since that's a rarity, I was so excited and wanted to make everything happen at once. I tried to control myself and it worked up to a point, he showed interest back and didn't seem appalled/scared, but my emotions just took over and, long story short, he ended up walking away because I said something that gave away my neediness or at the very least, I'm sure he felt something was off about me. I was completely devastated at that point, seriously so depressed for months, I used to get nightmares over it and how much I embarrassed myself and how pathetic I must've looked.
I was left with the void and absolutely NO coping mechanisms to fill it with anymore, because I knew they were coping mechanisms and not the truth. I couldn't lie to myself by saying "I don't need people, they're all horrible and I just want to be completely alone, F*** EVERYONE" like I used to. Imagine that, when you have nothing to grasp and nothing to soothe you in the hardest times. Not even yourself, since you still don't have a sense of identity and you have no idea what it really means to be okay with who you are.
It was one of the darkest points in my life, hands down. And it was during that time that I was the most vulnerable I had ever been, desperate for friends, and I immediately took a liking to anyone who smiled at me or exchanged a couple of words with. That lasted only a couple of weeks though before I realized why I was doing it.
It's been over a year since then and I can finally look back and look at everything objectively. In the end what I realized is that it's never about the other person/people, not really. It's about us. We MUST be content within ourselves. No one, not even me, would want someone who's very dependent and 'incomplete'. That puts way too much pressure on someone, it's almost like having to take care of a little kid who continuously throws tantrums and begs for attention. It's downright suffocating.
I feel like I should publish a book on this.