The turmoil of having an anxious/ambivalent attachment style is in some ways worse than those these folks have in their relationship with others. The internal conflicts involving panic that a partner will leave them and fighting to contain the behaviors that ensue from that panic are horrendous.
They have an inner conflict going on all the time.
Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment Style: An Examination of Its Causes and How It Affects Adult Relationships
The article above specifically addresses relationships and the way that a person with CPTSD approaches them.
But, this internal ambivalence isn’t confined to relationships, it bleeds out and touches everything. In my head that ambivalence colors every corner. From core beliefs of my own worthiness and capability, to my value as a human and a host of other self-identification parameters.
I received a glowing compliment from an editor on my latest work. Most people would think this a good thing. It would act as verification that they were doing well, a pat on the back. Validation! It would spur them to continue their work.
However, in my mind, that initial rush of “Wonderful” is welded to the thought “That can’t be right.”
From that well-meant compliment springs a host of worries. That all lead back to one option, and one option only. “Quit now, before it all falls apart.”
Some people might look at this and think “imposter syndrome.” But, it goes further than that. This example is just one area of my life. In truth that ambivalence is threaded through every fiber.
It plays out on two stages – side by side.
On the first stage in my head, I have this driving need to be perfect. Absolutely perfect. Flawless. I push and I strive for that, and whatever I do, or achieve it is never enough. For one simple immutable reason. What is going on over on the other stage.
This stage has one purpose, to remind me of one fact. The fact that I am not enough.
– not good enough
– not smart enough
– not pretty enough
Not enough in any measure, not possible. Not me.
Incoming compliments are equally fished for and avoided. And, if someone has made the mistake to think I have done something worthwhile, then I should not revel in their mistaken perception, but I should instead correct it. Because if they continue in this idea, when they see the truth of me, they will feel deceived, and then leave.
Being abandoned is my greatest fear. It is the fear that strikes at my core. So, to keep people from leaving me I scuttle out of the light. I linger in the fringes of the darkness, barely seen. Because if people don’t know I’m there, they can’t choose to leave me.
So here I stand divided, one foot in light, one foot in shadow. Torn in both directions because if I’m not good enough, people will abandon me and because if I allow people to think I’m worthy they will abandon me when the deception is revealed.
It’s a no-win situation, that can only be survived by remaining unnoticed.