Men Don't Listen and Wayne L. Misner 2023©    

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A Push Away Pull Back Cycle©

 (By Wayne L. Misner,

  Maybe you and I handle some things in life the same way. Not for the same reasons but by the same solutions. I’ll explain me and if you see some of yourself in my patterns, then it is possible we handle some of life’s tests the same. You may only feel the surface of these emotions and never reach the point I’m at. So be aware of where you are and maybe you can try to break this bad pattern.

I push people away from a relationship, being a friend, relative, co-worker, significant other, etc. It’s that back and forth feeling of wanting to be close to someone, letting them into a more intimate and vulnerable position in my life, becoming afraid of some vulnerability within me, and needing to escape from that person. I’m sure it is because I fear deep within me of being hurt, fearing the loss of that person, fear of abandonment, so if I never get too close. I "protect" myself. There is nothing more devastatingly disappointing in life than to be abandoned by a parent, have a spouse leave or die, or a friend or colleague betray you. These are scars that one carries all their life.

By letting someone share my hopes, my dreams, my fears and my deepest longings–is too much of a risk. I risk being hurt (that seems an obvious one) but I also risk depending on someone, only to have them disappear precisely when I need them most. Not getting too close could mean I don’t talk with them or see them too often or go out with them. I would like to believe that I want to spend more time with the people I love, but will seem too busy with work and other obligations and its much safer being busy and not facing real people. I think of things that are wrong with them (seeing their negatives instead of their positives helps me avoid intimacy with those I love), that way I’m not too close and if they leave me or don’t like me; it will not hurt as much.

I fear of wanting to be intimately close to someone, and fear of being hurt/abandoned by them at the same time. The closer I allow someone to get to me, the more vulnerable I become to the reality that they are now in a position to hurt me more than other people. Keeping people at a distance is a safety zone, an emotional buffer.

But this doesn’t allow for true intimacy. Intimacy is an act of courage. Actively avoiding intimacy–avoiding the leap–only makes the prospect of letting people in scarier.

Because when I push people away, when I hide my feelings instead of letting people see who I am the world becomes a truly dangerous place, where everyone is a potential attacker and even a partner's or friends embrace seems unsafe. I wish you could make a journey inside my head and see things the way I see them. I simply can’t understand why you think differently and how you can miss something that seems so simple and obvious to me.

The mask I wear in relation with other people is put aside and all the things we usually try to hide come to the surface. I am my own worst critic. I feel no one knows the real me. If they behave lovingly to me I wonder what they really want. Am I deserving of peace and love?

It’s that whole threat of intimacy. I want to be close, but I want to be safe too. The closer someone gets, the more able they are to hurt me. So someone gets too close, I push away. Because maybe if they get to know me, really know me, they will see I’m not likable. My illusion of perfection will be shattered in the tarnished portrait of the bad person I really am. For as much as I want love, want to love, I don’t always believe I deserve it because I know how much has happened to me. All my baggage is too much to place on another person. For the most part I think it’s a fear response. Fear that I will be left, that I’m not worthy of being loved, so this is almost always a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One woman said, “This is what happened with my Ex. I wasn’t happy with him. The only time I was attracted to him was when we were breaking up. I absolutely believe this was because I was more afraid of The Loss (of marriage & feared being alone) and not necessarily the loss of him.  So I would pull him back to me, despite the fact that I knew deep down that I didn’t really want to be with him. It still FELT like I did. In the moment I absolutely believed I needed to be with him. It was the fear of that loss that triggered my need to pull him back to me though.” A push away and stay in her case for the wrong reason.

Not everything that goes on is purely in our own minds and created by our fears. Things are often brought about by how the other person treats us. So what I’m saying is some people we meet in life will deserve our trust and love and others we must be wise enough to protect ourselves from. Not easy sometimes to know who they are. I’ll do so much for people, pull people close, meet their needs and demands, and then eventually I’ll panic. However, some have earned our trust, which I’m trying very hard to learn.

How do you cultivate trust when you’ve been so wounded? How do you cultivate trust when you don’t actually know how to trust? I’m learning instead of living your life on high alert, you have to be willing to be vulnerable. If I want to be with this person I must take the risk to further this relationship, knowing I have no control of the other? Hurt does not heal instantly, neither does trust.

However, start gaining trustfulness with the little things and then trustfulness with the big things maybe in your future. Start today!

So maybe it is true what they say-----that we push people away to see who makes an effort to stay.