Asking for Reassurance

Overcoming

Confident
I've had a disorganized attachment style since childhood and because of my personality type, I struggle in being able to trust and connect and then fearing "messing it up," and ruining a relationship that feels good. Friendships in particular. Sometimes I get anxious and wonder if everything in the relationship is okay. Am I doing anything to upset them, make them uncomfortable, etc? I feel l like some kind of monster that might hurt people if they get close. Reassurance would be helpful. I've considered asking if everything is okay and whether I've done anything to upset the relationship. This is after no response to messages for a few days and then a somewhat stunted reply after that. Is it creepy, needy, or excessive to "check in" on the relationship? Would that push people away? Especially if it's all in my head. Then again, there was a relationship that I asked too many times and it literally freakin imploded. I feel like a depressed mess.
 

RussellSue

Not Active
Sometimes I get anxious and wonder if everything in the relationship is okay.
I do this, too - A LOT. I do better when the people close to me are people I can check in with without pushing them away. The only problem with that is that you have to try it out to make that discovery.

The truth is that people are all different. Some people might be annoyed by having you check up on the state of things. Others might dearly appreciate that you cared enough to be concerned. It just depends on so many factors. It certainly does not sound like you are a monster putting this much thought into the feelings/comfort of others.

If I were in your position, I would ask and I would add that I tend to be a worrier or something of that sort because if you open up a channel whereby this other person can get to know you better, you have a better chance of having a healthy relationship. If you spend your time worried about the relationship and also worried about checking in, it's going to be a hard road for you.

I also don't think there is anything abnormal about checking in on people. I think people who care about their relationships and feel like something might be amiss do that sort of thing.
 

woodsy1

MyPTSD Pro
I've had a disorganized attachment style since childhood and because of my personality type, I struggle in being able to trust and connect and then fearing "messing it up," and ruining a relationship that feels good. Friendships in particular. Sometimes I get anxious and wonder if everything in the relationship is okay. Am I doing anything to upset them, make them uncomfortable, etc? I feel l like some kind of monster that might hurt people if they get close. Reassurance would be helpful. I've considered asking if everything is okay and whether I've done anything to upset the relationship. This is after no response to messages for a few days and then a somewhat stunted reply after that. Is it creepy, needy, or excessive to "check in" on the relationship? Would that push people away? Especially if it's all in my head. Then again, there was a relationship that I asked too many times and it literally freakin imploded. I feel like a depressed mess.
Hiya @Overcoming,

I have a similar attachment disorder. I find that talking about it with my partner helps. Letting them know what I am going through, what my needs are, what my fears are, etc. People seem very eager to accept my weirdness if they understand more about where it is coming from.

My biggest fault has been denial. Just trying to be or come off as "normal" when normal is in the past for me. I had to come to terms with who PTSD makes me and let that person reach out to form relationship based on this new identity with all it's needs.

I don't know if I've expressed this well, or if it helps, but I hope so!

We are who we are. It's best if we are real in relationship with people who (for whatever reason) accept us and appreciate us just the way we are. The first person who has to do that is we, ourselves.

Keep being you!
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
I relate to feeling insecure, wanting reassurance, and at the same time, feeling like any little thing I do could reveal that I'm a freak and people would abandon me. I'm getting a lot better about trying to find my own security. But I think the thing that drives the need for reassurance is having had neglectful and abusive parents. My needs were not important. I grew up hyperfocused on serving them, in part just in order to survive. Any attention on me was bad and punitive, so I learned to stop paying attention, and worse, I saw my needs as an obstacle to my survival. I think the hyper focus on other people's evaluations of me have to do with having to please my parents. I'm getting better about turning on a switch inside when I get insecure to turn my attention away from others and towards myself. I try to reassure that hurt child inside and persuade her that we're going to be alright.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Ah, this problem is terrible. Setting up degrees of protection through different tactics—among which being just a bit disagreeable or cutting, just a bit destabilizing or blatantly avoidant and then longing for connection, reviewing all the relationship and think we’re a weird mess. Plus, offloading from time to time on others doesn’t really help. Some people are completely okay, especially if you listen too, but some just don’t want to know. So you come back and forth between random weather discussion and Actually Big Loaded Convo Sista!, it’s very confusing for most people. I’ve always been called a weirdo and was feeling bad about it at first, then progressively I started not giving a shit as my efforts where ineffective (they weren’t the right ones, I reinforced hostile behavior because I drew back in unknown environment… Didn’t realised I was triggered as f*ck and so tense the entire room would freeze when I get in). I certainly have come off as arrogant or so while I really am not if you know me well, and I truly detest this on myself and will vaguely ignore or be rather unresponsive to friends watching to actually catch up in a meaningful way because I get scared I couldn’t arrange myself to be positive fast enough, and this very especially if they’re curious and nice and open and excited to meet me. Ugh! I am so tired of all this social mess! You aren’t alone!

Over time the friends that remained are the ones that are okay with the "weirdness". At the end, I never did anything bad to them and gradually we had opportunities to know that we can rely on each other, and the trust builds on that. I have more sinned on the side of not checking in enough times rather than the reverse. I fear I’m so depressing just checking in from my behalf is depressing, as if it were a contagious disease.

Also, cptsd, bpd and other niceties such depression and mood disorders can also make people shell and this actually has nothing to do with you. It’s not rare. When you look at the statistics of DV and CSA, you can tell yourself there are quite a lot of tricky people trying to find their ways over there.
 

Friday

Moderator
Is it creepy, needy, or excessive to "check in" on the relationship?
It can be. It can also be just fine. It can also be deeply desired.


Would that push people away?
Definitely. As would saying nothing.

^^^
The point with all of this? Is that it depends on the person in question as well as how you go about it.

Since you’re asking about it? The way you go about it -for people in general- probably needs some work. You know how there’s a ginormous difference between someone who tells stories that captivate their audiences, and someone who has people frustrated and leaving, or ignoring them, or looking for any excuse to change the subject? That’s almost entirely about delivery. (The rest is time&place and subject matter.)

There’s an art to setting people at their ease, and engaging them. Whilst some people acquire that skill set fairly organically? (They see it, they copy it, they refine it). Other people have to be deliberately taught how to do it, or seek to learn it.

The same is true for very nearly every single aspect of engaging with people. Whether it’s making an apology, making an appeal, telling a funny story, picking up a stranger at a bar, making a child feel better after a disappointment, public speaking... you can list out every single possible micro-interaction that people have... and there are ways that just “work” and ways that don’t. With “people” as a whole, rather than individuals.

Something that always strikes me as odd is when people declare that learning HOW to speak effectively is somehow unauthentic? I have very little idea as to why. Learning to be a better runner, writer, musician, cook, driver, etc.? Doesn’t a) somehow change who you are nor b) mean that you’re “faking”. It baffles me. If I want to learn how to do anything? I observe & practice. That doesn’t make me a liar. That doesn’t make me less me. That makes me someone who is learning how to do something better. Learning? Isnt unauthentic. I was born unable to walk & talk, and shit myself at least 10 times a day. I learned how to walk, talk, and use the toilet. And 5o,ooo other things. And hopefully? I have another 5o,ooo things TO learn.

If you want to learn to check in on relationships
1. Without being creepy, needy, or excessive about it?
2. In a way that endears you to people, rather than distancing yourself?

It sounds like you’re going to need to learn/practice a new skill set.
 

Justmehere

Moderator
I'm somewhere between avoidant and disorganized in my attachment style.

I've also been on both sides of it checking in on the relationship when someone isn't responsive as I would like. I have had someone ask me if we are ok because I didn't respond for a few days and I have asked someone if we are ok because they didn't respond for a bit.

In friendships, as we get closer, I tell people straight up in a good moment, "Hey. by the way, if are ever upset with me, just let me know, ok? I find it helpful when people tell me if something is up between us and then I'm not guessing if we are ok because you'd tell me... I rather know that not know because I care about you." Usually this is a good conversation and the other person often says something the same back. It sort of gives people permission to take responsibility for their own feelings and speak up. It also helps me reassure myself, in a way, that I gave them that open door. I find I need less reassurance over the long term.

When have had the courage to do a check in with friend, I try to own it as my stuff. Like, "Hey I'm having a weirdly anxious day... I'd like to ask if we are ok? I know you may just be busy, and that's cool. If we are not ok, I'm here to talk about it it that would be helpful." I'm not suggesting others should approach it this way, this is just what works for me. Feels like an easy way to own that I know I could have misplaced anxiety, they don't need to manage it... but that reassurance or talking it through could be helpful. It also gives context.

When I have been asked, "are we ok?" out of the blue, that can be confusing. I'll be wondering omg, what have I done... lol. If someone says, "you didn't respond quickly are we ok?" Then I feel pressured to respond quickly...

But if someone owns they are anxious, they know I could just be busy, and that a check in would be helpful if I have time... it usually is an easy thing for me to respond and actually be reassuring. If that makes any sense?

The other thing I'll do that seems to help questions about a relationship not push people away is to tell them in good moments what helps me and tell them it's ok to say no, or now is not a good time, or it's ok to tell me I'm asking too much, etc. Friends who have reassured me we are good have also commented they appreciate that they don't feel pressured to say yes, or like I'm fishing, but genuinely checking in and giving them the space to have their own needs. Even friends who have never said no to me, say they feel like they can because I straight up "give permission" for it to be said.

Much of the time, if I ask if we are ok, people will say yeah we are cool, just busy with blah blah. A couple of times over the years, someone has said we are not ok and that's been good too. Recently, I had someone be a jerk back, but later found out someone close to them was near death... and when it went wonky that time, over the long haul, it brought us closer.

I've also gotten the silent response back, and in a way, that's helpful. I know that's a person in my life I may not have deep close friendship with, but a more distant one, and that's ok. There's different levels of closeness that people can do and it's good to have a mix in my life.

I have one good friend who sometimes seeks a lot of reassurance from me. At first, I was glad to know she was wondering, then I got a little overwhelmed, because it was a couple times a week for a bit. I was shut down at the time and didn't know how to help her know it wasn't her but other stuff... Even when I wanted to step back from her when she asked a lot, I am still glad she said what was going on for her.

I'm still working on the balance of how to tell people what helps me in relationships, how to express I'm worried we are not ok, while not putting it on them to manage my anxiety.

In the last few years, and especially during the pandemic, it seems like "check ins" in relationships are becoming more the norm, more common. Thing is, with any skill, it takes practice. Others are learning too. Friends that are worth it, they will appreciate you giving a go at trying communicating your concern and request. If the person is an ass back, or it pushes them away, well, that likel says more about them than you.

I hope you give it a go and test out the waters a bit and that it goes well. :)
 
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