Do you have an underlying sense of anxiety or sadness - even when you are happy? How often do you get something you’ve wanted only to realize that you might not want it after all? This is ambivalence.
Ambivalence is a reflection of anxiety and fear. It is when you can’t feel one thing without the present of it’s opposing force. The polarization of life experience through the ambivalent lens is unsettling at best and depressing and/or tortuous at worst. ..
Ambivalence is a dear friend of mine - something I have struggled with for a long time. Even when I am happy I am always somewhat unhappy. Once I get something I want - I want something else. I know this to be true for many people. What we all have in common is self-doubt and a history of abandonment, trauma, and/or loss. The core belief is, “We cannot trust ourselves or the world around us because it has failed us far too many times.
To obtain the object of your desire is to achieve resolution and return to a neutral state. Pain works the same way; desperation often informs our desire to escape pain and once it subsides we return to a neutral state. Self-generated pain informs both forms of desperation; desire and pain. That is ambivalence - self-generated pain. It isn’t a compulsory repertoire of masochistic behavior, it’s anxiety.
Anxiety over losing a state of safety, comfort, and calm. Fear that catastrophe lurks behind a single incorrect decision. That one statement from our partner could spark their abandonment or our own. The anxiety and fear comes from a REAL experience with it; at some point in our lives there was catastrophe. ..
This is not about the future - it is about the past. It’s a story we narrated to survive at some point in our lives. But the likelihood is that it no longer serves us. It drives me crazy. The more I have become aware of it the better I have become in quieting the ambivalent voice. If this is you, first know that you aren’t alone. Next understand that your anxiety over a present decision or relationship is likely about something larger.