The incredible irony of relationship addiction is that at the core of this obsession with another person lies deep fear of intimacy, a fear we never have to face as long as we continue to choose partners who are, for one reason or another, impossible. ~ Robin Norwood
Intimacy requires closeness, being vulnerable and letting go of fear. If you’ve been hurt in your life you might not be capable of that closeness, vulnerability or fearlessness…it’s just not possible until you look at your stuff and work through it.
If you suffer from fear of abandonment you will continue to find relationships with people who will abandon you because the hurt of abandonment is less than the fear of being close. You also are trying to WIN over the abandonment and find someone who won’t leave you. The irony about abandonment issues is that we gravitate to people who will abandon us. And so fear of abandonment CAUSES abandonment.
The only way to win is not to play the game but you have to become AWARE that you are playing. And then work on your own issues.
The person with abandonment issues has a fear of people, of being hurt, and they don’t know how to be close in a healthy way so they appear standoffish. They usually don’t leave relationships well. Even if they’ve spent the entire relationship pushing their partner away, they will suddenly cling to the relationship like a drowning person clings to a piece of flotsam.
But initially the abandoned person’s standoffishness attracts the enmeshed person. The enmeshed person desire for closeness attracts the abandoned person. And initially they do a dance of just close enough to become a couple.
But then the overdeveloped “stuff” comes into play. When threatened or feeling insecure (any threat, real or perceived, can trigger this) the abandoned person will automatically cling and try to control. The enmeshed person will sense suffocation and pull away…and the abandoned person will pull them closer and that will send the enmeshed person fleeing even further.
And so they both are now in the struggle they need to resolve but because of who they have chosen, never will. This struggle and the issues that are triggering them, can be seen on Day One of the relationship by a trained bystander but the couple cannot see it. They are too lost in the draw of new love.
It’s up to each person to resolve the particular issues that draw them to a person who is only going to create the issues they need to look at. Once we resolve our own issues, these intimacy struggles disappear.
You can’t become intimate when you’re really at war with someone. Picking people we are going to be at war with keeps the struggle going and keeps intimacy at bay.
The key to loving relationships are people who are not afraid of intimacy and to be not afraid it is important to address and work on the fear and to work on that which keeps us locked into our fear.
In the GPYB book, the Life Inventory and the Parent Inventories are there for you to look at your relationship history and the way your family of origin has affected you.
If you have abandonment issues you have to go back through your history and find the times when you were abandoned and self-soothe and validate the hurt and the fear that the child you were suffered. You have to acknowledge your parents were not there for you when they should have been. You have to acknowledge that you have anger and hurt about that. Look at it, acknowledge it, and explore it. Allow yourself the grief and the anger and the hurt and the pain. LET IT OUT.
From the beginning of your journey, you should be doing elf-soothing and self-caring things for yourself. Write affirmations that target the abandonment. Make sure you do nice things for you and for the child in you who was abandoned.
Through the Relationship Inventory, Life Inventory and Parent Inventories, you can explore the dynamics in your relationships. Explore the role you take on and others take on. Look at your fear of intimacy. What is it really a fear of? Where does it come from?
You can heal from this whether you think you can or not. You have to start with your self-care and then work on your historical stew a little bit at a time. It takes a while but once you become aware of what you need to do, it puts you on the road to healing and takes you out of the push-me-pull-me insanity of the relationships you’ve had.
Think about what you can do for you today. The first step is taking care of you and being there for you in a way no one else ever was.