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What To Do When Someone Is Really Clingy

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Dealing with clingy people can be overwhelming and unsettling. Learn how to create boundaries, talk to people and upgrade your relationships.

Join relationship expert Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com and Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com as they discuss dealing with clingy people in an empowered way.

(Please note, we decided not to chop the beginning, and let you see how truly goofy Reid is!)

Cathy: Luckily, I can edit these and chop off the beginning because you started before I was ready.

Reid: No I didn’t, I was ready and I started it. You weren’t ready.

Cathy: Would you like to introduce it then?

Reid: No.

Cathy:  If you’re with someone who’s a bit clingy, it can be really hard. You want to set a boundary (laughs). It can be very disconcerting and uncomfortable. Wow, that’s almost creepy. Wow, that’s really creepy. So, what do you do Reid Mihalko from http://ReidAboutSex.com?

Reid:  What, Cathy Vartuli from http://TheIntimacyDojo.com?

Cathy:  When someone’s ultra-clingy, what do you do?

Reid: I love your website.

Cathy: (Laughs) So if you’re into energy, one thing you can do is imagine that they’re pulling … That a lot of people pull. There’s like tendrils of energy coming out and pulling at you. You can imagine gently and caringly taking the tendrils off and putting them back on themselves.

Reid: Oh, you’re touching me.

Cathy: (Laughs) If that doesn’t work, you may need to talk to them.

Reid: You should always talk to them, I think. You should be like “Hey, this is something that I’m noticing. Well this may not be real at all but in my head I have this thing going on and I want to share it with you. I am experiencing you, or maybe I’m just concerned or worried about our relationship getting really clingy.”

Cathy: Getting kind of …

Reid: “Getting weird, and it’s weird for me and I just need to say it.” You can kind of say this as just kind of like, “Hey, I may not be right about this at all, but I need to share this with you because you deserve for me to be honest and transparent with you.” Which is you role modeling for them to be honest and transparent back.

Cathy:  Some people may not be aware … There’s been times when I was really focused on someone and it might have occurred as clingy or needy and maybe I was. But if someone speaks to you and tells you, rather than just walking away and ignoring it, there’s a chance to save what could be a really good relationship or friendship. Just bringing it to people’s awareness, that “It occurs to me that you’re really kind of” … I love the analogy is what’s peeing around a bush. Dogs or cats will pee on a bush to indicate it belongs to them. I don’t like to be possessed. If someone’s occurs to me as peeing on me like trying to own me, sharing that experience allows them to modify their behavior, at least have some insights about it.

Reid:  Other things you can say is you can be like “Hey, your enthusiasm is occurring to me. Like you’re kind of … It’s feeling very claustrophobic. Would you mind creating a little bit more distance or being less enthusiastic about our connection.” I have said to people like “I feel like you’re claiming me in social situations.” Peeing on a bush was the phrase I used. This is the phrase “I wanted to check in with you. Does that have any relevance? Is that real at all for you? Is it just me, am I just making it up?” The “Am I just making it up”, I think can be really useful and gentle because people can be like “Yeah, you’re totally making it up.” You basically call them out on something without having to blame them.

Cathy:  Yes.

Reid: Then if somebody gets pushy or weird with you, when you’ve already spoken up the first time. And I get that for some people, this can be really challenging. Just finding your words can feel really confronting. For me it’s like “Is this just me? Maybe this is just me, I’m in my head about this.” I’ll kind of apologize without taking my power away. Which is also my way of taking ownership of this should I be wrong.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid:  When you call people out that first time, the second time it’s easier for you to speak up and be a little bit more direct. Be like “I really do feel like you’re being bossy with me, or kind of energetic and spooging all over me and that’s not cool.”

Cathy:  Well, you can also … If you can give someone specifics, that really helps. “When you said this and started using the term ‘we’ about what we were going to do, that felt very uncomfortable for me.” When you give someone specifics that might … They might have different cultural expectations, or beliefs, or just experiences.

Reid: And you might really be just in your head about it. “Those eighty two pictures you posted on Facebook from that weekend we were at the same party and tagged me in every one of them, felt a little weird. Do you normally do that, with everybody?” Basically, you can kind of compassionately point to the elephant in the room in a way that gives them space. Ultimately, for me as somebody who’s goofy, and charismatic and I meet a lot of people, in some ways I think people are just well-meaning.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: I’m pretty open and friendly with folks. I just assume they’re clunky, so I’m just telling them what I need for me to feel more comfortable around them.

Cathy: Yeah. If they go to every party and take eighty two pictures and tag the people there, maybe it’s just normal.

Reid: Yeah, maybe it’s normal. Again, you not speaking up is going to be the beginning of a much larger problem. How do you figure out how to use your words? And for my woo woo friends out there, energetically you’re using vibration to speak into existence adjustments that you need.

Cathy: Right. And energetic …

Reid: It is.

Cathy: It is magic, and then energetically you can also … I love your analogy, you have another video on Velcro. It’s just imagining that you’re a Velcro strand and there’s nothing for them to really cling on to.

Reid: There’s nothing for them to hook on to. Then when you get really good at it, you pull your Velcro strands in so that you’re smooth. So that people can’t glom on to you.

Cathy: For people that are energetic, can you try that. Just imagine that he’s clingy, and I’m straightening my Velcro and pull it in and he’s just rubbing up against some Rain X glass. It actually feels much less strangling to me.

Reid: I love your lips honey.

Cathy: (Laughs) There’s nothing really for him to cling to. It actually feels much safer for me.

Reid: Your voice is so pretty. (whispers)

Cathy: My Velcro is folding down.

Reid: What? Again, I’m being silly but the thing that’s missing is you saying “Hey, what you’re doing right now, it’s not working for me.”

Cathy: Yeah. I really appreciate your appreciation, but it’s coming to me as a little bit invasive.

Reid: When you name the elephant in a room, if that’s really what they’re doing, you get a quick read on how delusional they are. They either have cop to it, and they might not cop to it verbally but if somebody’s like “What do you mean? Yeah. I love being around you.” Then you’re like “Okay, this is a whole different situation that we need to deal with.” Again, you’re going to need to use your words.

Cathy: Yeah. By the way, you asked me to take the pictures at the birthday party.

Reid: That’s true. She’s a great PR person.

Cathy: (Laughs) Please leave comments below, let us know what you noticed. If this works for you, if you have upgrades; we’d love to hear them.

Reid: Yeah, thank you.

 

More articles on improving your communication and relationship skills:

How Do You Unhook and Stay UnHooked

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