Article content by Cait Rappel (Attachment in Adult Relationships)
1. When we ghost, it’s not because we want to hurt you or believe you don’t deserve closure. It’s because we don’t believe we’re allowed to not want something and to say so out loud. We were taught as children that saying “no” wasn’t an option. We stopped trying because we learned it would not be respected no matter how much it was warranted. It was easier simply to run away. If we couldn’t run, we found ways to make ourselves disappear.
2. If we “love bomb” in the beginning of our relationship with you, it’s not because we’re trying to play with your head or your heart. On the contrary, we are so madly infatuated with your head and your heart that we want to build them a shrine and cover it in all of your favorite things. The problem is we have no idea what love looks or feels like after the “desperately wanting” phase, because as children we never managed to make it to the “receiving” phase. Our conception of love is like a flat earth cosmography–we can only travel so far, we believe, before falling off the edge. Those we trusted most in the world taught us as much.
3) If we confusingly withdraw our physical affections after it seems like we finally feel safe with you, it’s not because we want to punish you or make you feel unwanted. It’s because once we’ve been vulnerable with you, we’re no longer able to “perform” sexuality, which is all we know how to do. Letting down our guard long enough to receive physical pleasure that we can trust won’t come at a cost is beyond our capability. And once we’ve removed the mask, it never fits quite right again. While it may not seem like it, what we desire more than anything is the ability to lose ourselves in pleasure with you, with ANYONE, even for a moment we imagine would be heaven. What we fear more than anything however is the filthy, stinking tide of trauma that we are certain will come rushing out of our bodies should we relinquish control for even a second. Where will it fall? Who will it drown? What will it destroy forever?
4) When your anxiousness unleashes onto us your own begging, frightened, clinging, desperate need, it feels as if you are handing us over your inner child to raise for you. We treat this child’s unruly needs the only way we’ve been taught to. We tell them to buck up, get it together, learn to swim. Your inner child asking mine for care is like the blind leading the blind. It’s Lord of the Flies. We do not reject this need to be cruel. We do this because children should not be raising other children.