Commitment Phobia: A Work In Progress

woman wearing white spaghetti strap top with blonde hair
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You promised to hold on. You promised not to leave me when I got afraid or acted out. You were good at this, the never leaving part. So instead, I acted. Instead, I ran. I ran far enough you couldn’t follow. This is what I have done with every man I have ever loved. The same process, almost every time.

Phase 1: The intoxication. I become fully immersed. You become fully immersed. I expect (demand) that you become just as entranced as myself by this very true in the moment love infatuation. It’s intoxicating because I am sincere. I become all “drench myself in your love, tell me your deepest dreams, give them to me, let me manifest them” in the rawest way a woman can. I emit vibrations that are trusting… until … it gets too real. The real begins to cut off circulation.

Phase 2: The Reversal. I am asphyxiated. I can’t breathe. It’s too scary. I look for the exit route as the flight mode switch in my head starts blinking rapidly overhead. I transition into the “Oh shit, it’s real. What have I done? I don’t know. Not my fault. Must flee” routine. A relocation soon follows and I end up in another city. However, this time it’s different, isn’t it? I ended up in a different country.

Phase 3: The Distraction. I arrive to a new environment and search for instant places to become distracted and reinvigorated. Anything to take my mind off the pain and disorientation of new bodies and new beds. I practice yoga. I read. I dine. I drink. I convince myself nothing is wrong, it simply wasn’t “right,” and all I need to do is allow time to take its course and I will feel alive again. At this stage, it is important to bombard myself with stimuli, outside conditions that are new and overwhelming. Too much to do, not enough time to think. Perfect.

But, this time it’s different. These marathon runaways have started to wear me down. My heart hurts. The search for a new place makes my psyche hurt. I’ve run across city districts, state lines, and passport controls. I’ve dodged failed marriages and unfaithful husbands. I’ve sacrificed a stable home and happy children to continue running from commitment. I know I have to break this habit. I’m tired of being incorrectly labeled: flighty, passionate, irresponsible. I’ve decided. It’s time to defeat this fear of commitment.

Phase 4: The Acknowledgement. This fear of commitment is rooted in fear of failure. I am afraid that I will fail in a relationship, fail at a job, fail at being a mother. Therefore, I have to change the mindset of fear. I have to decide to actively face it and change it. I need to understand why I self-sabotage. I have to admit that I am afraid, a lot.

Unfortunately, I have let the fear of being hurt paint me the “hysterical” woman, one driven by the tides of the ocean and the phases of the moon. But self-sabotage is self-defined and self-executed. Then where do I find the trigger and claim my conscious mind? The answer is, I have no idea.

Maybe today is not the day to change everything. That’s too grand a gesture for my present capabilities. However, acknowledging this is a behavior and addressing the fear when it arises is a first step. I can focus on the ways I have been able to commit. I can look at the positive parts of my life where commitment is present and remember that it’s okay to be afraid. This does not mean that I have to allow fear to drive my logic. I have to begin the journey of responding constructively.

Phase 5: The Journey. I know this journey involves listening to my heart and reprogramming the anxiety that comes from fear. This fear stems from not trusting myself or believing that I can make the right choices. I look to others to confirm that I am making the correct decision instead of trusting myself: win or lose. I worry constantly about the future and about the role I play in any kind of failure. So I let that handcuff my will in order to lead a “safe” life with a “safe” amount of success and happiness.

So today is where it starts. This reprogramming. I make the commitment to trust myself. I commit to make decisions based upon what I think is right for me and to learn from mistakes rather than to be crippled by fear. TC mark

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