Its really painful when we get emotionally involved with withholding people. There is a core dynamic which I addressed in some past posts on avoidant and anxious attachment where those of us who may have been anxiously attached to a parent due to inconsistent emotional availability become magnets for avoidant attachment types. Avoidants tend to withhold attention, affection, praise or love due to deep wounds and fears. They often talk others down in their minds and thoughts so as to not get too close, because they are unconsciously self protecting.
The other day I opened my daily reader at random to the following page where Tian Dayton, trauma therapist, addresses the issue of withholding. I am subjected to this pattern with several family members and I always end up questioning what I did ‘wrong’ but often my therapist points out that’s my natural conclusion when any response doesn’t come forward, I personalise it. I am sharing this reading in the hope it may help others not personalise or allow themselves to be upset by a withholding person who has a deeply unconscious agenda.
When those I love withhold from me, I often take it very personally. I wonder “why don’t they want to give to me, why are they making me feel small, needy and unnourished?” But today I understand that this is exactly what they are experiencing inside themselves. It is they who feel small, needy, and undernourished, they who feel unseen and unvalued. They are acting out a state within themselves that they feel unbearable, that they cannot allow themselves to feel. They are projecting that state onto me, unconsciously wanting me to feel helpless, needy and unseen. Something must have happened to them when they were very, very small to be so withholding. Not a big trauma, but perhaps ongoing trauma of feeling un-held, immobile, and alone in a crib, left to wonder if anyone knew they were there. Waiting to be picked up, waiting to be remembered, waiting to feel alive and connected. This can happen in the most privileged and affluent homes, in underpriveleged homes and everythign in between. It reflects a lack of awareness of what a baby needs to develop emotional strength and resilience, it’s a parenting problem.
I will not withhold from me
Withdrawal and projection are the natural outcomes of withholding. When you withhold, you keep inside yourself things that should be expressed. The very act of hiding these things takes you one step back from the relationship. A result of this withdrawal is that you will begin to project. In other words, you will begin to attribute to other people things that are actually issues of your own.
Gay and Harville Hendricks
5 thoughts on “When someone withholds”
This in get.
I am sorry 😦
This makes some aspects of life more clear to me. Thank you.
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I’m glad if it clarified something for you. I struggled with this a lot. The reading helped me, too. 🙂
Reblogged this on Emerging From The Dark Night and commented:
I needed to re read this today. Being withheld from in key relationships can be agony. Eventually our inner adult needs to show up for our feeling self and hold us, but its so comforting when we can have reciprocal relationships with loved ones. But sadly for many of us those we are around just cannot be emotionally available for us. And that is not our fault (and probably not theirs either!!)