How do I correct my behavior of cutting people out of my life for no good reason?

In answer to Quora question "How do I correct my behavior of cutting people out of my life for no good reason?"

Thank you for the A2A Sam Hobbs. And thanks to the OP for the clarifications in your comments.

After reading through answers, comments, etc. there are a few things that struck me. First, I would encourage you to check out the chart in the following Relationship Matrix:

Notice in that Matrix that there are many different ways to connect with people - and on many different levels - and as along as both parties are aware of (and okay with) the level of involvement, then relationships can operate smoothly and with clear boundaries. The sense I get from reading the OP's comments and insights is that you are an all-in/all-out sort of person. That is, you want to have a high level of connection, honesty, emotional support and trust in your friendships and family relationships, and if you can't achieve that, then you tend to withdraw. There are a number of reasons people operate this way, and you have a number of factors that are likely influencing you, including your youth, your anxiety disorder, and your family history. That said, it is possible to cultivate varying levels of intimacy and trust with people - gradations of friendship, if you will - as outlined in the Relationship Matrix, so that you don't have to feel the need to either completely invest in or completely divest yourself from certain relationships. Sure, there will almost certainly be people at both extremes - those you feel very close to, and those you just can't stand - but there is a wide expanse of "gray area" that you may have yet to explore. And that is what I would encourage you to do. Part of this will be learning how to clarify and enforce healthy boundaries in all of your relationships - both for others to respect, and for you to respect when interacting with others. It takes time (years, actually) to learn how to do this, but it is quite worthwhile.

That said, even at age 51 I still struggle with similar issues; the self-isolating habit you describe isn't something that just evaporates even with healthy and plentiful relationships - or even a lot of therapy (though that can certainly help!). Even if you end up in a long-term committed relationship, and perhaps have your own children and grandchildren, you may still find yourself observing the same patterns much later in life. You may still withdraw, you may still be lonely, and you may still worry that you aren't going about relating to others in an optimal way. And this speaks to something that may have a great deal to do with what you are experiencing right now: self-acceptance. The more compassion and affection we can have for our entire self - with all our limitations and foibles - the more we can both be comfortable being alone when necessary or desired, and be more forgiving and accepting of other people's shortcomings.

Lastly, regarding being confronted with the failings of others, I'll leave you with some advice Marcus Aurelius, a stoic philosopher and Roman emperor, shared many centuries ago: "People exist for one another; teach them then, or bear with them."

My 2 cents.


Trackback specific URI for this entry

This link is not meant to be clicked. It contains the trackback URI for this entry. You can use this URI to send ping- & trackbacks from your own blog to this entry. To copy the link, right click and select "Copy Shortcut" in Internet Explorer or "Copy Link Location" in Mozilla.

No Trackbacks


Display comments as Linear | Threaded

No comments

The author does not allow comments to this entry