After almost five years of on and off therapy, it turns out I have a fear of abandonment.
I can’t say this is particularly surprising. I think the thread of this theme can easily be seen woven throughout my life. But I do think this current therapist (I think I’ve finally found the one!) was the first one to say it “…in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions.”
My fear boils down very simply. I am scared anyone and everyone I care about will leave me. I am scared that if I ask for too much or reveal too much of myself, the people I care about will leave me.
I was convinced for a while that if I could just play the perfect person, someone will stay and love me.
But I realized I couldn’t live with that version of myself. At least not for very long. Though for longer than I thought I’d be able to. The number of lies, both to myself and to those I care about was too high. A conflict broke out in me.
The other thing that’s different with my current therapist is that she’s not trying to fix me. Though that doesn’t prevent me from trying to fix myself.
This pattern of mine runs so deep that I can conveniently and without even noticing adjust it to suit my current moods.
For a while here, I unconsciously grasped on to this idea that if I can just get secure enough, if I can overcome this fear, then I will be able to maintain a romantic relationship for good. (By the way, this fear applies to all my relationships, not just the romantics ones. I’m looking at you, friends). Only once I accomplish will I be truly worthy of love and acceptance.
Today, again, was filled with coming to terms with myself. It was like the dawning of a new day. A day that had dawned before. Though it was slightly different this time.
Today it dawned on me that my fear of abandonment will never fully go away. It may come up less, or some event in my life may cause it to arise frequently for a while, but odds are, even when I’m in a secure and loving relationship, it’ll rear its head at some point. The key, I realized, isn’t to overcome my fear. As we’ve all come to learn, after all, courage is not an absence of fear. The key is self-awareness. It’s the ability to recognize when a reaction I’m having is a result of the perception that has resulted from this fear. The key is self-compassion, not beating myself up for seeing things through this painful lens. The key is talking about it with the people who love and support me.
Odds are, I will always be afraid that the people I love will leave me. That doesn’t mean I’m gripped by fear 100% of the time. But it does mean I have to keep an eye out for it, love myself fiercely because of it, and tell my loved ones when I’m scared.