Los Angeles Times

Stop the love bombing

- Email questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@ amydickins­on.com.

Dear Amy: I’m a 65-yearold woman. I’ve been divorced three times now, and have had a couple of other serious love relationsh­ips — all unsuccessf­ul.

I’m single now and trying to understand what I’ve been doing wrong.

I’m the one doing the leaving every time, so my “excuse” has been I have a “broken picker,” but that sounds like BS, even to me.

I was reading your column and the topic of “love bombing” came up.

That’s me! That’s what I do! I even caught myself love-bombing last week! Some drunken idiot had started flirting with me at a bar, and even as I was thinking to myself, “What a fool this guy is,” I was fawning over him. What the heck?

I recognized my pattern of meeting an interested man, “reeling him in” with flattery and attention, and then realizing he’s a totally inappropri­ate fit and discarding him, often only after years and years of misery.

What is wrong with me and how do I stop?!

I’ve wasted nearly my entire life in this self-sabotaging behavior, and I just want to hang my head in shame.

I’m hoping you have some wisdom for me.

Yikes

Dear Yikes: Barroom epiphanies can be extremely powerful, but the point of enlightenm­ent is to take the insight and the wisdom forward in order to change.

You are probably charming and appealing, even when you’re not overwhelmi­ng male prey. My theory is that when you apply your charm with a fire hose, you fall in love — with yourself.

I suggest that when you realize that you are actually “enough,” you’ll stop lobbing your lovely love bombs at every man in sight.

Try this: Stop doing that, and see how it feels! This would require you suppress your overwhelmi­ng charm, stop leaning in, handle the anxiety that goes with being quiet, and see if you still love yourself if you put the pin back into the love grenade and do more active listening.

Listen to an idiot for five minutes, and you’ll know he’s an idiot. In the process, you’ll build up a residual affection for yourself and confidence in your discernmen­t.

A wingwoman would really help to keep you honest.

Also, need it be said? Therapy.

Dear Amy: I have been struggling with self-harm for several years now.

Every time I get explosivel­y angry, I end up attacking myself (usually scratching the insides of my arms or my face/lips).

My parents and sister know this, and it upsets them so much.

The last time I did this was three days ago, and this time I had to come clean.

I have finally opened up fully to my partner and to a few friends, and they’ve been amazing and supportive.

I want to stop for good. Is there anything I can do?

Want to Stop

Dear Want to Stop: You’ve already taken many positive steps: You understand the pattern when you engage in self-harm. You’ve told people about it (and they’re supportive). You want to stop.

You can recover. Specialize­d therapy will help.

It might help you to read more about self-harm in order to fully understand the triggers and response. The Trevor Project has helpful informatio­n and a “lifeline”: thetrevorp­roject.org.

Crisis Text Line is open 24/7. Texting when you feel pressure rising can help you cope while avoiding self-injury. Text HOME to 741741.

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