And then, as the room went black, I was suddenly hyperaware that Edward was sitting less than an inch from me. I was stunned by the unexpected electricity that flowed through me, amazed that it was possible to be more aware of him than I already was. A crazy impulse to reach over and touch him, to stroke his perfect face just once in the darkness, nearly overwhelmed me. I crossed my arms tightly across my chest, my hands balling into fists. I was losing my mind.
The singing stopped when I walked in. They all turned and stared at me, Bonne-Bell-Orange-Crush-glossed mouths hanging open, looking at me with the same horror and excitement they'd exhibit it I had just walked into the room naked. I stood there frozen, hyperaware of my scruffiness, my shirt untucked and one ponytail higher than the other. The Bad Dog turned me in on myself like a vortex, gleefully saying, Look, look. There they are, here you are. Separate. You do not belong.
When I consider the men (like my father) I have treated in psychotherapy, I recognize the challenge I face as a counselor. These men are in counseling due to an insistent wife, troubled child or their own addiction. They suffer a lack of connection with the people they say they love most. Chronically accused of being over controlling or emotionally absent, they feel at sea when their wives and children claim to be lonely in their presence. How can these people feel 'un-loved' when (from his perspective) he has dedicated his life to their welfare? Some of these men will express their lack of vitality and emotional engagement though endless service. They are hyperaware of the moods, needs and prefer-ences of loved ones, yet their self-neglect can be profound. This text examines how a lack of secure early attachment with caregivers can result in the tendency to self-abandon while managing connections with significant others. Their anxiety and distrust of the connection of others will manifest in anxious monitoring, over-giving, passive aggressive approaches to anger and chronic worry. For them, failure to anticipate and meet the needs of others equals abandonment.
Mary Crocker Cook