I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’m commitment-phobic. I couldn’t believe it, it’s something that has been having a subtle effect on all my relationships. I’m calling it subtle because I didn’t notice it but I’m thinking someone else may have.
I’ve always complained of how I don’t have a girlfriend and to realise that I’ve been sub-conscientiously sabotaging my own chances makes me laugh. Anyway so I did some research into it (Google/Wikipedia of course). The description I’ve written below is interspersed with commentary from me with how what I’ve written best describes me and how I’ve seen it in my life. These comments will be in brackets so don’t skip to the end hoping to see what I’m thinking.
First before I tell you what I found let me first do a little attribution to me sources. Since I’m blogging from email I’m putting the full page urls. Fear of Commitment on Wikipedia. Commitment Phobia on www.anxietymatters.com. I used these two pages because anymore would be too many for me to read, also the where the top pages when I googled “Commitment Phobia”.
A phobia is similar to a fear in that the mind perceives there to be a threat. The difference is, that in a phobia, the level of anxiety felt is disproportionate to the actual threat. So commitment phobia is a mechanism put in place by the brain to protect us from something that -for some reason-, it has misjudged the threat of.
The term commitment phobia was coined in the popular self-help book Men Who Can’t Love in 1987. While popular media has made it seem that it only affects romantic relations it can affect any part of someone’s life that requires a long time obligation such as work and school. Since on this blog post I meant commitment phobia on a romantic level that’s what I’m going to concentrate on.
Commitment phobic people claim that they are eager to find a lasting romantic attachment, yet they fail to find appropriate partners and maintain long lasting connections.(Defines me perfectly) Ironically, in these romantic relationships, the commitment phobic partner craves what he/she fears most: love and connection. This paradoxical craving for a frightening reality leads to a confusing and destructive pattern of seduction and rejection. The results are emotionally devastating. (I can’t say I’m emotionally devastated but I can imagine the other parties in my potential relationships may have been)
It should be said that there are as many possible causes of commitment phobia as there are people suffering from it. That’s because each of us have different experiences as we grow so no two people can ever be the same. However there are some things that appear common in most cases. People with commitment phobia in adulthood, have often experienced one or more of the following experiences in their earlier years.
-A significant loss or bereavement
-A childhood trauma
-Parental separation (This may be the major cause for me. My parents have been divorced for the last 6 years or so, which is, coincidentally the last time I can say I was in a relationship)
-Poor role models (I don’t look at my dad, as the man in my life, as a good role model for personal relationships)
-Abuse of one form or another during the formative, childhood years.
The symptoms of commitment phobia are wide and varied, and are only really limited by the imagination of the commitment phobic person themselves. Commitment phobia symptoms often appear as a sudden feeling of uncertainty, and sometimes the feeling of being trapped in the relationship. Such feelings are rooted in fear—fear of lost options or fear of making poor decisions. The commitment phobic mind sees decisions as permanent, opening the possibility of being caged or trapped.
Many commitment phobic people become fantasy-driven, using their active imaginations to fill in for the lack of emotional security and closeness in their lives. These fantasies pose additional problems because no potential partner can ever live up to the fantasy. Commitment phobic people are also prone to self-destructive behavior, such as walking out on partners. (Yeah this is so very true, in my experience, you build such a perfect fantasy of what you’re looking for that no one can ever live up to that vision. More than that is that you suddenly get scared that if you get into a relationship this mythical perfection you’ve come up with will appear-or at the very least, someone better than who you’re with- and you can’t get out of the relationship you’re in.)
One potentially misleading aspect of commitment phobic behavior is that the partner who is actively running away from commitment is the only one with a problem. In fact, commitment phobic behavior includes “settling” for inappropriate partners, pursuing unattainable partners, and engaging in instant relationships as well as fleeing from what might have appeared to be a stable romance. Any persistent behavior that actively prevents a person from making a commitment or allows a person to make excuses for not having made a commitment can be considered commitment phobic.
So there you have it as a definitive a description to can get on commitment phobia anywhere. I’m currently trying to get over my phobia one small step at a time. Any tips you may have on how you’ve dealt with your fears or you just want to share your experience be sure drop a line in the comments.(Or email me) I’d be most appreciative! Peace!!!