Your Abandonment Issues Are Showing
I notice for me I battle a lot with fear and doubt when it comes to relationships and
even break ups. I feel as though if someone rejects me, maybe I am not good
enough. Maybe because he can’t see my worth, it isn’t there. Or maybe he sees
my worth but decides it isn’t enough for him or maybe it is too much for him. It
stings. I can replay scenarios in my head—trying to figure out what I could have
done differently, if anything at all to keep him around. I doubt myself. I spend so
much time second guessing and doubting myself that I don’t let myself entertain
the truth—the reality is he just isn’t right for me. No matter how great he or the
relationship seems to be, in the end, God has another plan. He has someone else
in mind for me...possibly even at another time. Maybe what I truly need is a season
of singleness before that other person can come into my life.
I can remember in relationships past, I spent a lot of time living in this fear I would
be dumped-as if it was the worst thing that could happen to me. I glorified the
relationship. I let it take up so much of my time and I let fear live in my mind rent
free when it should have been evicted a long time ago. I spent so much time
worrying about the demise of the relationship and concocting things in my mind
that would keep him interested in me that I didn’t let myself enjoy the newness of
the relationship. I wasn’t in love with anyone. I was in fear of losing someone. Can
we confuse fear for love? I think so.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Fear tells us we are failing as partners. Fear tells us if
he doesn’t ask us to be his girlfriend quickly or if he doesn’t tell us he loves us on
our timeline then the relationship is doomed. We are unlovable. Fear will have us
over compensating to keep someone around. Fear will have us compromise our
morals, our relationships with other people, and our values to keep an unhealthy
relationship. Love is being accepted for who we are without having to prove
ourselves to someone.
I remember being a virginal youth and being raised in the Church, I wanted to wait
until marriage for sex, but all it took was my older boyfriend’s coercing and my
raging hormones to get me to compromise. I thought if I gave him everything he
wanted, he wouldn’t ever leave me, but that wasn’t the case. He eventually did
leave me....for another girl. I drove by his house everyday consumed with anger
and filled with a deep feeling of rejection I had never felt before the breakup.
Eventually, my emotions needed an outlet and I chose to take it out on his new
girlfriend’s car with a carton of eggs. To my surprise, my attempt at a woman
scorned didn’t patch up our relationship. It just left me feeling filled with regret
Later in my twenties, I believed my sexuality would keep men interested in me, but
unfortunately that was all they were really interested in and frankly, they could get
that anywhere. I even let myself smoke black tar heroin on a date with a guy I
wasn’t interested in just so he would be happy and the date wouldn’t have been
awkward. As if my dry heaving all night made the date romantic and endearing. I
could have just left. That is always an option. I could have ended the date, but fear
wouldn’t let me. Fear had me convinced that maybe this drug addict was a really
nice guy and I needed to give him a chance. After all, a mutual friend had set us
up. Maybe she saw something in him I didn’t and I, being the people pleaser that I
was, didn’t want to let her down.
Sometimes this confusion of fear for love will keep us attached to people we
should have let go months, if not years ago. Just because we are attached to
someone doesn’t make them the one. Sometimes it’s just an attachment. If we
dissect the relationship, we can see we are just hanging onto the idea of someone
or what the relationship can bring us. We are afraid of being alone so we project
that fear onto this other person. “Surely, I love him. I can’t be without him!” But the
reality is, you believe you can’t be without anyone and he’s conveniently the
person in your life. And when he is gone, you can replace him with someone else
and in six months you’ll be saying the same thing until hopefully your friends point
out to you that you’ve confused fear for love.
The truth is you can live without someone. People do it all the time. Sure, sometimes people die from a broken heart, but this guy whose been in your life for 6 months, two years...his absence
ain’t gonna kill you, girl. Get a hobby. Find something to do outside the
relationship. He isn’t your whole world. You’ve just let your world become very
small. Call up your girlfriends and get brunch. Get you some eggs, just keep them
on your plate. You need perspective. You’re addicted to your relationship. There’s
no love in addiction. There’s only obsession and a fear of loss.
But what about when everything is going right and fear sets in? How do we battle
that? Fear will say, “it’s too good to be true. He’s going to leave you soon.” “Don’t
let yourself get too attached. Nothing lasts forever.” “Don’t make it public. You’ll
jinx it.” Anything that goes through our heads that insinuates we will be left is fear.
It’s a lie and we have to get real with ourselves. There is no room for fear in love.
No one wants to be with someone who is insecure all the time, afraid they will be
abandoned. No one wants to schedule consoling you every day, assuring you of
their undying love and affection for you. This is something you have to work on
yourself. We have to let ourselves enjoy the moments we have in a relationship and
chase those thoughts out of our mind. The right person will stay and if they don’t
stay, they weren’t meant to stay forever and that’s ok. Life is full of seasons. Allow
yourself to get comfortable with the idea that the relationship may be seasonal
and not evergreen.
If you’re noticing a trend in yourself that you are consumed with the idea of being
left by every partner or if every break up feels like the world is collapsing on you,
do yourself a favor. Let yourself be single! Get used to it being just you and your
friends and family. No one can complete you. It’s a great line from a movie, but
that’s all it is. No matter how great your relationship may be, I promise you that
you are complete without your partner. We have to get to a place where we love
ourselves enough to not let someone else’s presence or absence define who we
are or how we feel. Once we can get to a place where we are happy with ourselves
THEN we are ready for a relationship. THEN we can get to a place where we don’t
want to see our partner go, that the idea of losing them doesn’t consume us. We
have been on our own before and we did just fine. We can do it again. It may be
hard for awhile, but being dumped is only a season and seasons change.