1. I don’t like taking out the trash…I will allow it to pile up and spill over, or smell really bad before I finally throw it out. What’s wrong with me?
2. I save old papers and documents that I will probably never use again, but all I can think about when I attempt to throw them away is – “wait, you may need that.”
3. I save old grocery and shopping bags…and they take up too much space in my home.
As I was addressing the three aforementioned occurrences in my home, it got me thinking. Now, I’m not a full-blown out hoarder, I can walk through my home with ease. But was this a brief manifestation of a larger issue I have? Do I have attachment and detachment issues? If I’m going to be honest and admit it to myself, I can be clingy at times.
I cling on to what I think provides fulfillment, safety, stability and other forms of happiness enhancement. And if I don’t have those things, I cling on to the pursuit of bringing them to fruition. Writing that I can be clingy is mildly embarrassing because it has such a bad connotation to it, but allow me to explain.
Clinging to things that improve my character and quality of life seem to be justifiable. Or we can just wrap that in a prettier bow and call it dedication and discipline. However I’ve been known to cling to people and I see the cling at its best in romantic relationships. My relational cling has little to do with my family and friends. My parents didn’t abandon me and I had friends growing up.
I think the source of my relational cling is rooted in the stifled emotions I felt about my attractions. I didn’t date at all when I was younger and for a long time my sense of worth with respect to liking someone who liked me was pretty…low.
As I’ve been dating as an adult, I know in my mind that I’m a sufficient catch. I’ve done a lot to affirm myself and recognize what I bring to the table. I’m handsome, loyal, compassionate, funny, intelligent -I could name a bunch of things. What tends to get me though is that when I get affirmation from someone I desire, I cling on to that person as if they are the last person on Earth who will think good things about me. I’m not too prideful to admit if I’m insecure, but that isn’t the case. While we’ve all got insecurities, I don’t lack confidence about what I have to offer. I lack confidence that someone will consistently choose me and stick around through the good and the bad. With each relationship that I’ve had, an underlying fear for me has been...are you going to leave me? While some of the blame to that question can be placed on people not valuing commitment and monogamy, my clinginess can perpetuate it until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What I’m learning about my tendency to cling in relationships is that it may always be there, and it’s not my partner’s responsibility to soothe it, rather my own. Sure my partner can accept it, empathize and do their best to make sure I don’t feel like they are going to just leave me; however, at the end of the day, it’s not their issue…its mine. I’m actually glad to be so self-aware that I can pin-point my strengths and all the reasons someone should be with me, and the things I need to work on. And I’m clinging on to the idea of managing my clinginess.