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Have I realised what my issues are too late in life? :(

(20 Posts)
Whatso Thu 03-Sep-20 10:26:33

I’ve basically got huge attachment issues. Been working on it for months and because I understand it I am in better control.

The problem is I’m 36 (and a half!) now and wondering how many things I messed up or didn’t take opportunity with in relationships because of these issues. I feel sad it’s too late? In a way I almost wish I hadn’t had this realisation.

Has anyone confronted this later in life and it been beneficial!

OP’s posts: |
Whatso Thu 03-Sep-20 10:30:50

I’ve also got damage to show for my issues... broken friendships from years back and abusive relationships that damaged me.

Now I see the light with it all I am so angry at myself and hate that these things happened. Will they always haunt me?

OP’s posts: |
DoTheHotStuff Thu 03-Sep-20 10:31:23

You say you understand your attachment issues more now and so you have it under better control. I think understanding is the first step - progress is progress, so you should be proud of yourself. 36 isn't too late to meet someone else. People can meet at any age; even into their 70's and 80's for example. Don't give up hope.

Tiny2018 Thu 03-Sep-20 10:44:31

I think you just need to meet somebody who matches your attachment style.
I believe that the best type for an anxious attacher is a secure attacher. The worst type for anxious is avoiding as this will make you more anxious.
A secure attacher puts anxious attacher at ease over time.

Tiny2018 Thu 03-Sep-20 10:45:01

avoidant*
bloody phone

AnaViaSalamanca Thu 03-Sep-20 10:50:16

everyone has issues to some extent. You are ahead of the curve for realizing them and trying to solve them. But give yourself a timeline to solve them.

Maybe a slightly unpopular opinion, but don't get too mired in self-help and trying to fix yourself. I have seen people becoming self development addicts and never really getting out of the cycle. A lot of times your issues are not the reason you have been in bad relationships, at times you could have been simply inexperienced, or unlucky.

Whatso Thu 03-Sep-20 11:04:27

I think some of it was inexperience and luck yes.

I just wish I had had better boundaries, higher self esteem, confidence etc. I can see so clearly now and feel so many years were wasted. And I have the bruises to show for it. Makes me angry with myself so much

OP’s posts: |
Justa2015 Thu 03-Sep-20 11:08:08

Nope, not too late! You're exactly the age I was when I started sorting out my attachment issues. Sometimes you need a bit of life experience to start to recognise the patterns. No-one glides through life without screwing a few things up so try not to be so hard on yourself, life really is one big learning curve. Keep working on your self awareness and try to forgive yourself for things that happened in the past- you did the best you could at the time. Well done for the self awareness that has got you this far, lots of people never get as far as you have.

ChanceEncounter Thu 03-Sep-20 11:14:18

Never too late. And try not to be angry with yourself - it isn't your fault you had the issues to deal with in the first place.

Daisy434 Thu 03-Sep-20 11:15:29

@Whatso

We are all the product of our personality and our childhood and adulthood relationships and experiences. There's no way to know what your life would or could have been like if things were different. But one thing you do know is that you are in a much better place than you have been before , you understand yourself better. I would ask you to really try and find a way to be kind to yourself in all that has happened and also realise that one thing you have hopefully gained is the appreciation in seeing how life is today versus to what it was like before. I have a fairly normal life, nothing enviable about it at all but I am able to appreciate all of it so much because of where I was before. And I hope to never lose that because I believe true appreciation of what you have is a very important factor in happiness.

SoulofanAggron Thu 03-Sep-20 12:36:39

36 isn't old. Just think, you wouldn't want to be any younger, because you didn't know then what you know now.

You know what you're going to do/try and do to an extent now.

You could do the Freedom Programme if you like, and/or have therapy, that might help you strengthen your ability to act on your discoveries about boundaries etc.

ThePhoenixAndTheAshes Thu 03-Sep-20 13:12:32

Too late for what? Not too late to fall in love and have a healthy relationship, not too late to look forward to many years of potentially better relationships both intimate and friends. Not too late to meet someone and have kids or to have kids on your own if that's what you want. Not too late to start again.

I wish I'd had better boundaries and more self confidence too. I'm 40 and in a disintegrating marriage with a man I once thought was amazing and only just realising what a mess he's made of my self-confidence and my boundaries and how toxic we are together. Most people my age seem to be struggling with some facet of their lives.

I can't imagine ever trusting someone enough to let them in after everything with DH. You can focus on thinking the grass would be greener if you'd just discovered this sooner, but equally a different decision about a boyfriend/friend might have resulted in your life being worse. Given all the threads on here, I think there's a good chance what you've missed out on is being in a toxic or abusive LTR. Or maybe the reason those relationships didn't work were not to do with your attachment style and happened because none of those people were right for you. You can't ever go back and try again to know which choices were right.

Sometimes new information comes along that makes you doubt past actions/decisions but given we can't see the future the best we can do in any given moment is make the decision that seems best in that moment of time.

noego Thu 03-Sep-20 13:55:15

You have to experience the bad to know the good. No regrets. Move on.

zafferana Thu 03-Sep-20 13:58:35

Whatso

I think some of it was inexperience and luck yes.

I just wish I had had better boundaries, higher self esteem, confidence etc. I can see so clearly now and feel so many years were wasted. And I have the bruises to show for it. Makes me angry with myself so much

Beating yourself up is not going to help OP. How about framing it differently? Along the lines of 'Thank goodness I figured this out now, when I'm on 36, rather going through any more of life not realising. Now I'm aware that I have this issue I can get some therapy/approach friendships and relationships from a more healthy standpoint in future'. Many people carry issues into adulthood as a result of childhood trauma OP. The main thing is understanding it and having that self-awareness.

zafferana Thu 03-Sep-20 13:59:16

*only, not on

Springfern Thu 03-Sep-20 15:21:40

I've often wondered this. I'm 32. I also wonder if someone with anxious/ambivalent attachment can ever change and become secure. Anyone done this?

ravenmum Thu 03-Sep-20 17:18:10

You're not later in life! I'm 15 years older than you and I might just about qualify for that title smile and even so, of course I'm still developing, maturing and improving, and don't intend to stop - what a shame to think you're set in stone when you're pretty likely to have another 50 years in front of you.

AnaViaSalamanca Thu 03-Sep-20 17:25:00

@Whatso hindsight is always 20/20, we all look back and wish we could have done things differently. The fact that you look back and see where you have gone wrong is good, means you are improving. Don't be too hard on yourself. Put the past mistakes behind you, and move forward.

AnaViaSalamanca Thu 03-Sep-20 17:27:17

@Springfern I have avoidant attachment. I have only recently realized it. I am not sure I want to fix it though? Maybe rather than fixing we have to find people who fit us well? I am not sure, but food for thought.

Maybe awareness as we go through a relationship, that a lot of it is in our head?

Ceriane Thu 03-Sep-20 19:26:50

Going through very similar at 38. Waking up every day thinking of missed opportunities potential and past relationships. I can relate. Hope it’s not too late for me either.

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