Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Traits of Emotional Distancers

The Task: Underline/highlight those which apply to YOU

SENSE OF SELF: On the surface, aggrandized self; strongly individualistic. In reality; psuedo-individualistic. Individualistic only in a supportive environment, such as at home, in presence of, but unresponsive to, his partner. Does things in own way, through defiance or passive resistance. A leader and self-initiator. Sees the world as centered on himself. Tries to be the center of attention. Feels unappreciated. Overly self-concerned and self-protective; always looking out for self. Difficulty perceiving others’ point of view. Prefers independent activities with “buddies,” not organized group activities. Chooses to be different for itss own sake. Experiences his individuality to the exclusion of relationship.
TRUST: Highly suspicious of others and relationships with them. Pessimistic about others’ motives.
EMOTIONS: Primarily object-oriented. Relates to and puts material things first, feelings and people second. Results in an overemphasis on thinking and logic. Fears emotions and emotionality. Avoids them. Unemotional, and affect is elusive. Impossible to tell his feelings by looking at or listening to him. Only emotion expressed regularly is anger. Either explosively and briefly or passive-aggressively, as if he’s not angry when he really is. Self-gratifying and unresponsive. Little sympathy for, or empathy with, others. Feels little for others or self.
EMOTIONAL BOUNDARIES: Overprotected. Needs a lot of “space.”
SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY: Underresponsible; feels little responsibility for his situation or relationship. Tends to blame others. Most comfortable emotionally (although not truly happy) behaving like a “baby.”
CAPACITY TO CHANGE: Lacks insight and/or follow-through. Inability to adjust. Clings rigidly to position regardless of circumstances. Resists direct change. Tends to evolve rather than changing directly in response to circumstances. Will change when faced with loss of significant other. Rejects advice, counseling. Solutions must come from self. Frustrates others’ efforts to change him.
RHYTHM OF INITIATING CHANGE: Tends to be overly “patient.” Procrastinates. Avoids facing relationship problems. Prone to relationship paralysis.
PATTERN OF EMOTIONS: Little variation. Tends to be reasonable, but boring. Depends on his pursuer for highs and lows.
RELATIONSHIP EXPECTATIONS: Expects the pursuer to always be there. Prone to despair and self-pity when not fulfilled.
PERSONAL PROBLEM-SOLVING SYTLE: Avoidance. Seeks peace, avoids emotional crises. Believes if you ignore a problem long enough, wit will go away.
CONTROL AND MANIPULATION: Strives to maintain central position to protect self from getting hurt. Manipulates environment to meet his needs.
DECISION MAKING: Decisions made and then clung to regardless of changes in circumstances.
VIEW OF LOVE: Overemphasizes practical aspects. Minimal expression of love, sharing, or romance, except when courting or pursuing a distancing partner.
TYPICAL BELIEF: Love is fine, but it doesn’t pay the bills.
SEXUALITY Physical enjoyment takes precedence over caring. Sex seen as conquest or performance, not shared experience. Objectifies partner.
SUBSTITUTE ACTIVITIES: Overly involved with objects, e.g., sports, cars, house (for prestige), work, sexual liaisons (conquest), alcohol.
SELF-DECEPTION: Believes overemphasis on individuality brings a sense of security, self-esteem, contentment. Fears emotional closeness. Believes he can evade a pursuer.
DEMEANOR: In later years: boring to be involved with. Arrogant, cynical, pessimistic, negative. Prone to self-pity.
FACIAL CHARACTERISTICS AFTER FORTY: Appears emotionless. Dark circles under eyes.
GREATEST RELATIONSHIP DIFFICULTY: Denial of problem. Avoidance of relationship issues.
TYPICAL STATEMENTS: “I like myself the way I am and you should too. If you don’t like me the way I am, you’re free to leave. I give you a comfortable life, don’t sleep around – what more do you want?”

Traits of Emotional Pursuers (Predominately female)

The Task: Underline/highlight those which apply to YOU

SENSE OF SELF: Strongly nonindividualistic. Has difficulty being alone or acting independently for any length of time. Rarely does things on own. Primarily does what others want. Tends to be clinging and overly anxious. A follower. Depends on others for guidance. Sees the world as centered on others. “Gives to get.” Feels taken for granted. Overly concerned and protective of others. Always looking out for others, never for self. Overly adaptive. Chooses to be like others or to yield for the sake of unity. Feels empty without interaction with others. Constantly seeking love, approval, and appreciation. Will give up individuality for the sake of relationship.
TRUST: Tends to be na├»ve about relationships. Optimist about others’ motives. Overly trusting; frequently taken advantage of.
EMOTIONS: Primarily people and feeling oriented. Places these above material things. Seeks out emotions and emotionality. Overemotional, and affect is heightened. Openly shows feelings to everyone. Expresses a full range of emotions. Frequently intensely expressive, at the expense of thought or reason. Overinvolved in others. A “co-dependent.” Overly sympathetic and empathetic. Heightened response to others. Avoids pain. Tries to protect others from consequences of their behavior.
EMOTIONAL BOUNDARIES: Ill-defined. May be nosy, intrusive (“always has to know what’s going on with everyone in the family at all times”).
RELATIONSHIP SKILLS: Immaturely applied.
SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY: Overly responsible. Assumes too much responsibility for the relationship. Assumes solution is in her power with sufficient effort. Most comfortable emotionally (although not truly happy) when tending to the needs of others. Tends to infantilize others. Is a “rescuer.”
CAPACITY TO CHANGE: Insight into others, but little into self. Often held back by looking for explanations. Much talk of change, while still passive. Changes made to appease. Avoids significant change because of anticipated pain and lack of approval. Wants prior guarantees. Open to direct change. Overly amenable. Fears taking a stand and dealing with consequences. Believes problems must be dealt with instantly. Seeks advice, counseling. Open to offered solutions via own efforts.
RHYTHM OF INITIATING CHANGE: Overly impatient. Cannot delay dealing with problems. Lacks restraint; impulsive.
PATTERN OF EMOTIONS: High peaks and deep lows. Depends on the distancer for stability.
RELATIONSHIP EXPECTATIONS: High expectations of others, low for self. Believes she expects “nothing in return,” but holds expectations no one could fulfill. Prone to resentment, bitterness in later years. Very critical of others.
PERSONAL PROBLEM-SOLVING STYLE: Emotional engagement. Seeks emotionally charged, reactive situations. Uncomfortable in calm situations. Tends to provoke reactivity and crises. Generates worry about everyone and everything.
CONTROL AND MANIPULATION: Controls to protect others from themselves. Manipulates, controls others through guilt, advice, retaliation, criticism, and/or submissiveness. Acts for others “own good.” Feels powerless and ultimately incapable. Seeks someone to exert control for and over her.
DECISION MAKING: Difficult, confused, inconsistent. Depends on others to make decisions (parents, partner).
VIEW OF LOVE: Love conquers all.
SEXUALITY: Caring for the partner takes precedence over physical enjoyment. Sex seen as a sign of caring for and by partner.
SUBSTITUTE ACTIVITIES: Overly involved with family, house (for approval), sexual liaisons (to feel cared for), medications, particularly tranquilizers.
SELF-DECEPTION: Believes living for or as extension of partner brings a sense of security, self-esteem, contentment. Believes can catch a distancer.
DEMEANOR: Assumed invulnerabilty. Self-righteous. In later years: bitter, cold, emotionally and physically fatigued. Prone to martyrdom.
FACIAL CHARACTERISTICS AFTER FORTY: Stress lines (from turmoil, anger). Fatigued look (from pursuit).
GREATEST RELATIONSHIP DIFFICULTY: Inability to remain uninvolved, particularly with own children.
TYPICAL STATEMENTS: “All I ever needed was a home and to be loved. I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep everyone happy. If he really cared about me, he would just know what I want.”

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