Fear of Abandonment

Posted by Joanna Rubini on

Is it really possible that adult humans are walking around with this childlike fear? After all, many adults have their own jobs, their own homes, their own spouses, partners, children, cars, ideas. This fear cannot possibly exist in adults. And yet, it does. I want to say that it is clear as day, but most likely it's muddled. We think our fear of abandonment has to do with our current situation. Or even, the relationship we had before our current one. Or even, our very first boy or girl friend. But if all of our patterns of behavior are learned in childhood, then that's where our fear of abandonment was programmed into us.

I want to make it very clear that there is nothing wrong with having a fear of being left. It is a valid fear because it is quite real-feeling in our minds, that the departure of a loved one is imminent. 

If we can identify in the present that we have this fear, we can start to see our reactionary behavior that is triggered when the fear arises. It is then that we can get curious and compassionate with ourselves. "Hmmm, why am I acting...petulant? defensive? guarded? angry? in reaction to this other person trying to do their thing?

Healing this fear is a simple 2 step process:

STEP 1 Think back to the last time you felt afraid of being left or were actually left.  Heal that situation. What do you need to happen to feel better about it? Visualize things going down differently. Do you behave differently? Or the other person? What ever you imagine, it needs to be 100% plausible and believable, and you need to physically feel the relief in your body. For me, gratitude is very easy to express in tears, so I rewrite past occurrences in a way that soothes my past self, and then feel the wash of gratitude for the healing that occurs because of the do over. I imagine the tears coming, the tears come because I know I was healed. For you, your expression of receiving a healing might feel different and be expressed different. You might do a touchdown dance, or punch the air, or shout in euphoria. You do you :o) Do this stepping back, and back and back until the fear of abandonment root is found. Identifying this is like finding the golden chalice, the pot of gold, the lost arc. Our humanness finally makes sense, and we can heal our original wound of fear of abandonment. Going forward, the edge of this fear is either gone or on it's merry way out once we realize there is no substance supporting it.

STEP 2 This step is true for every single trigger we have. If we are triggered, before reacting and even if we are reacting, opening ourselves to the mantra "How can I feel better in this situation?" open us up to, you guessed it, feeling better. Because we are used to reacting certain ways to certain triggers, we may not immediately be able to cease our habituated reactions. But it will be more like watching ourselves in a movie when we introduce this gentle query of ourselves. How can I feel better? 

For example, if you're lying in bed awaiting snuggle time with your partner, and s/he gets up and out of bed to start the day, you might feel rejected and unimportant and abandoned and then resentful that s/he was so thoughtless. "How can I feel better?" starts through your head, even as the resentment starts to heat up. And then, like magic, you remember making clear to him/her your day's schedule that included a prompt wake up at x time. So obviously, s/he was following instructions and very lovingly supporting your plan. So if you want to feel better in this situation but you feel abandoned because you received no snuggle time, you need to ask for that. Reach out to your partner affectionately. It doesn't need to take a long time, it's just a 'quickie' acknowledgement that you care for one another and that connection with him/her is important to you. You'll meet your needs, your resentment will vanish like magic, and you'll probably uplift your partner at the same time. Please note, our needs fulfilled do not always support what other's around us are craving, because remember, most of us are operating unconsciously from childhood programming. At this time, patience is a virtue. Do your thing and eventually those around you will start to care for themselves better. it's the best virus there is!

You are awesome, lovable, worthy!

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