Please don't leave me
There is a fear within all of us. A truly raw, palpable fear. A fear that often causes us to think and behave in ways we wouldn’t usually dream of. It doesn’t always make much logical sense, but that does nothing to prevent how it makes us feel.
It is the fear that we are going to be LEFT...REJECTED...ABANDONED...
Each word worse than the last. It is a fear so strong that it means sometimes we do whatever we possibly can to stop it coming true. Ultimately, it can hugely affect the way we deal with the relationships we have with others, whether platonic, romantic or familial.
We are autonomous creatures. From our very conception, we are solely relying on the attachment and nurturing we have from our mother. Our literal survival depends on this relationship, right through from birth to adulthood and eventual independence. Unlike some animals that kick their young out into the world as soon as they can, that’s pretty much frowned on for us. In fact, the greater the secure attachment to our parents, the greater the achievement. However, just as you may imagine, the fact that so much depends on this relationship means that even the smallest thing that goes wrong with it has potential to cause long term issues with our other relationships going forward.
If something traumatic happens to you, it can follow you forever. Trauma doesn’t have to mean a fiery accident, a tragic death or the walking out of a parent. Sometimes it’s just not that clear. But at some stage in your young life there were little things, not significant to your adult memory, but hugely significant to your mind as a child, that may have happened which meant you grew up lacking any kind if trust that the people in your life aren’t going to leave.
Maybe this didn’t happen. Maybe you grew up with a healthy, secure attachment style. It’s a brilliant start to what can go on to be a lifetime of secure, trusting relationships. However, none of us are safe. Because we never know what may happen with one of those relationships one day. The moment we let someone else into our lives, into our hearts, we are opening ourselves up for all the hurt and pain we have so far avoided.
We as humans are free and that freedom comes with risk. The risk that anyone can leave at any time.
Being abandoned can be a terrifying thought. It may cause us to feel that we aren't good enough, or we may have a fear of being alone. The fear drives us in our decision making, overtaking any other feelings we may be having.
We may avoid starting a relationship. We may avoid ending a relationship. It may drive us mad in the middle of the night, over-analysing things we have said and done. We may be convinced of awful things happening to those we love. It may send us careening into fight/flight mode, spotting issues and problems when they don’t even exist. We may lose trust in our own judgement and ability to form happy, healthy attachments.
This fear doesn't look like it's going anywhere. So what the hell do we do? Well, we have two choices. We can lock down the fort, build the walls high and burn the key. We don’t let anyone get close enough that their absence would cause us the pain we fear.
Or, we take a sledgehammer to those walls. It may take a while and there may only be small cracks at first, letting in the smallest amount that we can handle. But eventually, the walls will be torn down and the love will be allowed to flood in. A nice mental image there. But what does that mean in reality? What can we actually do?
We can stop relying on other people to make us happy, and concentrate on ourselves. We can show ourselves care, build ourselves up and realise what we deserve. We can create a life we are happy to live in alone where others are seen as an added bonus to it, not the foundation. Get to the point where you can say "I don't NEED anyone, I just want them." Only then will you feel strong enough to start letting people in again, or stop clinging to them desperately. People may come and people may go. But you will always be here and you will survive no matter what.
There will always, always be a risk that someone you care about will leave you. You just have to choose. To live a life of limits and self-protection, or to live a life of risk, but one with a hell of a lot of love and happiness too. I choose number 2.