When I was in primary school I attended extra classes for French and on Saturday mornings my mother would drop me off at my tutor’s home and an hour or so later, pick me up. Randomly, one Saturday I started balling my eyes out as soon as my mother dropped me off. I still remember the look on my tutor’s face as she tried to console me from crying for no apparent reason. Eventually between gulps and tears she realised that I had worked myself up so much into believing that my mother would forget about me, that as soon as she drove away the anxiety kicked in and the tears fell.
Looking back though this wasn’t an all of a sudden experience. It was a build-up of many little moments where this fear of being left behind or fear of being abandoned crept in. No one to blame, just different moments encapsulated in me always having this fear; which I didn’t recognise until I did a lot of internal work, a lot of introspection and a lot of looking at myself in the mirror (literally).
What I have found more important is how this fear plays out. When I was younger it would show up in uncontrollable tears; at my aunt’s house every day for 3 weeks when my parents went on holiday or at my tutor’s home on a Saturday.
As an adult though it’s a stark contrast. I either become triggered because people are allowing others to dictate their choices and giving up that power is huge which brings up my fear or when I’m feeling threatened by the potential of this fear of abandonment becoming a reality, it shows up first as my emotions being suppressed by my overuse of logic and eventually it becomes pure, unadulterated rage. Potentially followed by crying (alone). I have lost friendships, a marriage and whatever other relationships not solely for this reason, but it has played its part. The mere potential that someone close to me would or could leave creates pain. Somehow I give in to the logic that it’s better to hurt myself than be hurt by someone else or maybe it’s because I’m scared that the “feel good” emotions aren’t going to last because I don’t deserve them so I give in to the “feel bad” emotions.
Many people including me push others away in different ways; suppressing emotions with logic, going between marriage and divorce, sabotaging relationships by picking random fights or by keeping people at a distance by ebbing in friendships and relationships, never knowing which way to go, or by not even allowing anyone close in the first place.
Very few have felt my anger and it’s a pity that those closest to me have experienced it. Lately as I tune in more to my self-awareness, emotions and intuition I’m becoming less able to shut out those closest to me. My circle may not be getting wider but it sure damn is getting deeper. If I think about my parents, friends, family, exes, brother (okay, not him…he’s not going anywhere because…you know, I’ll stalk him for life) they experience a side of me I struggle to control. It’s a reality I had switched off to. Not fully understanding how scared being abandoned or just the idea of it makes me; not realising the impact of how I’ve used anger and logic to avoid being truly vulnerable in all my relationships. Under this anger is a lot of pain caused by the fear and lack of control of it as well as the shame and guilt I feel and have felt for having caused others pain because of it.
Now the awareness is there; too late in some relationships; the wanting to manage this fear is top of mind. I need to let go of the past hurts, the unknown future and accept that this fear of mine is just that, a fear. One that should no longer control my life and prevent me from living it truly. It will take time but if I remember that I no longer want to be controlled by this fear (which is then followed by the anger, pain, shame and guilt) I may not be able to get rid of it but I can somehow learn to manage it.
People are in my life either for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I need to give them, and not my fear, a real opportunity to decide which it is. Not by using logic over emotion or by using anger over vulnerability but by overcoming my fear with my emotions and by being vulnerable and trusting that all will be okay and I will be okay because I’ve lived my truth.