Fear of abandonment

How did it all begin? 

My story started when I was a child and my mom died. Followed by years of social exclusion and bullying. Followed by relationships, where my partners where not good at respecting my boundaries – and unfortunately I was not good at respecting myself.

My life experiences has created an almost unwaveringly belief within me, about me being dispensable.

How do I experience it?

Evolutionarily speaking, human beings has survived as a species because of our ability to cooperate in groups. As a species we needed to be part of a group in order to survive. That is the reason why we unconsciously wants to fit in – that applies also when you actually thrive in your own individuality. We need feel close to others. “People need people”, as they say in the norwegian youth series SKAM (shame).

In every group a hierarchy exist, where everyone intuitively knows their place. The one on top of the hierarchy has more chance of survival than the one in the bottom. It has always been that way – in the stone age  it was about food, and today it is about more abstract concepts like popularity, but the principle is the same.

When I was younger I was in the bottom of the hierarchy, and in order to survive I would do anything to be friends with those in top of the group. In my case that meant for example to start sharing the same interests as my class mates. If they listened to a certain kind of music, then I listed to it, so that I could be part of the group.

I never said anything against anyones opinions, but agreed with them so that they would like me better. The strategy was completely unconscious (I was just a child) and it was very helpful for a while.

After a while the disadvantages was big. I was easy to bully, because I never said anything to protect myself. I could not argue for anything that I said, because the opinions was not really mine. Because of that my class mates did not find me very interesting, and I did not get invited to things. But what was far worse than that was, that because I lived my life through others, I did not know who I was. I could only judge myself from the way other people treated me. The way I looked at myself  eventually became as a person that was dispensable.

For some reason, the way it shows up in my life today is only in my relationships with lovers. Not in my relationships with friends and family. I do not know why, it just turned out that way. I specifically experience it as having difficulty in setting boundaries for myself. I was taught through my childhood experiences that if I set boundaries, then people will leave me.

It takes me a long time to get over a break up. At least a year and often even longer. After a break up I am very sad and I show a lot of avoidance behavior, which means that I avoid even the smallest things that could remind me of the person that broke up with me. I change channels if someone in a TV show has the same name as the person and I avoid places where we have gone together. And yes, the avoidance keeps me in my pain, but at the same time it soothes me. Therefor it is a balance for me to confront the difficult things and at the same time taking care of myself.

The episode that has affected me the most happened 2-3 years ago. I had been in a relationship where my partner put my partners needs first, and where I was not good enough to express my needs. It ended in a break up and I had a prolonged emotional reaction that was complicated by other factors, such as a family member dying. I was not really aware of how bad a condition I was in, until one day, where I found myself lying on the floor in the basement – crying and un able to move. I had not been eating or sleeping for three days. I could not think of anything but throwing myself in front of a car. I did not really want to die, but I could not face life at this point. I could not see and end in my suffering.

My friend was contacted and she picked my up from the basement floor and drove me to the psychiatric emergency center.  I started taking antidepressants and I stared seeing a psychologist, and at the same time I spent a lot of time with my family.

Slowly I started getting better. I have had very small set backs since then, but nothing that can compare to what I went through back then.

My biggest fear today is (besides someone in my nearest family dying) to be abandoned. To fall in love with someone who breaks up with me. That I will never find someone who can love me and wants to start a family with me. That I have to live without the dream of creating a family with a person that I love. That it destroys me so much that I wont be able to take care of my wonderful work, and that my life will become so meaningless, because of it and that I wont be able to see other options than ending my own life.

How do I deal with it?

1) I deepen relationships in my life that I am not afraid of loosing. Family and friends.

2) I engage in my professional development and my hobbies.

3) I allow myself to have days where fear and grief is present. On those days I treat myself gently – maybe by watching a movie under a blanket, eating dessert and spending time with my family. Today I know that my fear has the purpose of taking care of me – for that I am grateful to my fear – but I wont allow it to get control over me or my life. That is why i insist on spending time with it despite of everything.

4) I see a psychologist whenever I need it. And if some day I will need to take antidepressants for a while again, then I will not see that as a defeat, but more as consequence of the difficult parts of my upbringing.

Written by anonymous

Author: Mie My

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