Controlling the urge to connect

Some people have what’s called “anxious attachment” which starts during childhood. They seek approval and reassurance from others, never having a relief from self-doubt. In their relationships the feeling that they’re going to be rejected worries them and causes them not to trust. This drives them to be over-dependent. They become emotionally desperate in their relationships.

This very much sounds like me. I wonder how many of us have such problems?

Lord, you know the pain I’ve felt, having sent an email to a good friend and not hearing back soon enough. Eventually a reply always came. Such a relief that was! I had started doubting whether she still cared about me. Such a comfort to know that those doubts were groundless. Why did I ever think I had lost a friend?

I’m reminded of feelings I had during childhood, wondering if my mother would ever come back after leaving me at preschool or at the hospital where I spent a lot of time. I panicked when I saw her leave. And while receiving treatment in hospital I felt very much alone, without the love I craved. Visiting times for parents were limited.

Once when a nurse gave me some extra attention I felt such comfort. She gave me the warm feeling that only a mother’s love could give. That was the last time she talked to me or hugged me. Longingly I watched her as she worked on the other end of the ward, sharing her love with other patients. She never came back to me.

Lord God, how can I overcome such need to be in frequent contact with the people who support me – the people who care about me? I know it must be hard for them to always have me enter their busy lives with a phone call or email. I’m worried I’ll lose their friendship.

This is one of those cases where I need to adopt a boundary for myself. A boundary to protect the people who are trying to help me. A boundary that will maintain a healthy friendship with them. I need to give my friends space to live their own lives in the way they wish, without constant interference from me.

This need to constantly connect is all about insecurity, isn’t it, God? People like me are like children living in a world built for adults. Will we ever be strong enough not to rely on others so much?

We need to reduce our insecurity. That would help us – and our friends too.

Can you help us find a way, Lord?