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Dr. Wendy Walsh
The restaurant scene is dramatic and screen-worthy. Woman drives by and sees in the window her ex-boyfriend dining with another woman.
What’s worse is they are dining with a couple who had been their closest mutual friends!
Rather than proceeding on and licking her wounds, she finds her body consumed with some unexplainable angry feeling. As if driven by some force, she parks her car, walks into the restaurant and launches into a scene.
She all but ignores the new girlfriend and reams into her ex, snidely asking if there was perhaps some overlap in their relationships. She wonders how her man can have another girlfriend so quickly.
She is hell bent for revenge. And the table is appalled.
The next day, the woman herself is rife with embarrassment. She knows they had been broken up for two months. Why had she done such a thing?
An attachment injury is a rupture in a relationship at a critical moment of need. And it can make people behave in senseless ways.
In fact, that evening the woman had been reeling from the emotional toll of dealing with a friend suffering from cancer. When she passed the restaurant, she was driving home from the hospital.
Overwhelmed with feelings of fear, sadness and impending loss, her unconscious instinct was to navigate toward her familiar secure base. It may have been fate that took her to that restaurant, but something else walked her in the door.
On an emotional level, she saw her secure base (her boyfriend of four years) had fully abandoned her, thus the anger.
“Look through these situations with
the thinking part of your mind.”
But the emotional mind works on its own time clock. Since the woman hadn’t yet created another secure base, an emotional safe haven, a person to receive comfort from, her reflex was to hope to find it in her previous go-to person – her ex.
Believe it or not, her unexplained anger was actually a silent bid for care. She felt utterly rejected and angry because she was feeling needy – as much as she hated to admit it.
And the added pain that he was dining with their mutual friends as if they were abandoning her too put her over the top. Her relationship was her go-to place and that night it wasn’t there for her.
Of course, on an intellectual level, she knew they were broken up, but her most tender attachment brain hasn’t learned that yet.
Look through these situations with the thinking part of your mind to help the emotional part of your mind reframe things.
Time may heal attachment injuries and thoughtful work with a therapist can help you leave attachment injuries behind when you enter a new relationship.
A life of constant re-injury is not a life of loving relationships.
Ladies, have you ever acted like a crazy ex-girlfriend? I’d love to hear your stories.
Photo source: coedmagazine.wordpress.com.