I get emails from people who have read the books commenting about how they apply them to their own issues. This one is heartfelt but free of any specific issues that could identify the author, so I can post it with my reply:
I have just finished “Avoidant” and wanted to say that I found it incredibly helpful and somewhat emotional. Truth is, I am an avoidant, or at least one in recovery. After ending a relationship (of course) I started to realize something was very wrong with me, but struggled to work out what the problem was. I am 42 and have a history littered with short term relationships — I am almost a cliche of an avoidant. After searching endlessly and getting a hint I had something of a fear of commitment, I finally started to find out about attachment theory which ultimately led to your book.
On finding out I had this problem I was initially devastated, not only because it made me confront the hurt I have caused, but also because there is little sympathy for people like me. We are cast, rightly so I guess, as the boyfriends to avoid, men who are troubled, broken, and unreliable with little hope. There is always a lot of help for those in relationships with avoidants, but very rarely any help or support for those like me who have the problem. At least in your book you detailed ways in which people like me can begin to change, so thank you for that.
I have been in therapy for 6 months now and am determined to change my ways as much as I possibly can. I’m very emotional writing this, so at least that must be a good sign that I’m in touch with my feelings 🙂
Anyway, I hope this email finds you well and thank you for an enlightening book. Hopefully, your words will help heal and change a lost, confused soul into one capable of being in a loving relationship.
Thank you for the heartfelt letter. I really appreciate it when people tell me they’ve found my work helpful. You made my day….
My piece of advice for you is not to regret too much. You have recognized the problem and are working on it. Keep at it — 42 is still young, you have half a life left to experience being more in touch with your feelings. I know all too many edging on 60 who will never examine themselves.
Recognize that your defense mechanism of blocking negative feelings kept you from hurting, but also kept you from learning. Not being able to process those feelings left you less capable of making good decisions of all sorts.
The unblocked you will pick up skills rapidly and is more likely to succeed at everything, but especially at finding and keeping a good partner. No point in feeling bad about in some sense starting out anew at 42 — there will be somebody out there who was similarly trapped and just getting freed up.
Good luck with the work. Being able to absorb the book and write this means you are most of the way along!