Lost in Translation
I am a 20 year old woman who is currently experiencing several anxieties (getting engaged, looking for work,planning a wedding, and driving myself crazy). I have recently been experiencing irrational thoughts concerning my ex-boyfriend. Normally, I think young women in my situation would turn to their favorite magazine for answers, but I really think there is something wrong with me. I have been with my boyfriend for three years now, and in the beginning I still had contact with my ex, but after about 6 months of being with my now fiance, I lost ALL interest in the ex. Lately I have been making radical decisions to talk to him, and go see him. Why am I compromising my relationship, when I know that what I have is truly amazing and I am not afraid of commitment or dedicating myself entirely to my partner. I really often feel there are two people inside of me, who want very different things. What can this be, and more importantly how can I fix it?
We all have "different people" inside of us - even more than just two! And these parts of us often want totally different things. Unfortunately we can't please them all. But when an inner conflict arises, we have to recognize it, listen to the feelings (even if they seem irrational), and give them room to breath. It doesn't mean you have to act on every impulse, feeling or desire; Often, these feelings just need to be acknowledged and accepted.
Though you consciously don't feel any fear of commitment, there may be another part of you that is unconsciously terrified of commitment. This can take many forms. What does commitment mean to you? And what did you observe about your parent's commitment to one another? It could be an old belief that commitment will end badly in some way - with a loss of freedom or autonomy or control, or with disappointment and loss. There are all sorts of possibilities for what is undermining your conscious intentions. This "other" part of you isn't trying to hurt you, but is actually trying to protect you from getting hurt. Having compassion and respect for that part of you, is very important.
Talking this out with a trusted friend or therapist can be enough sometimes to gain the insight and acceptance to resolve this conflict. A more direct and quick way of shifting your unconscious negative beliefs and feelings, is EFT/ Meridian Tapping. The tapping process is still very much about acknowledging the feelings and speaking directly to that unconscious part of your mind so that you can get yourself unstuck. It does much more that simply talking about the problem.
I've rarely met a person who didn't have some fear of marriage - even when they feel deeply committed and positive about their decision. Fear is always in their somewhere. So don't beat yourself up over it.
Ben Schwarcz, MFT
Santa Rosa Psychotherapist
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