The one thing that still triggers the thought of ‘I’m done’
I’ve always struggled with separation, as a child I had awful separation anxiety when leaving my mum, I had to be within sight of her at all times or I’d be a crying, shaking & anxious mess, this remained a thing until 5ish years ago & it still pulls my heart strings if I have to stay away from her for a length of time. So primary school for me was quite difficult as I had to be away from her.
When this separation anxiety turned into a general fear of being abandonded by everyone? No one really knows, there’s theories that leaving me screaming at school every day led to my brain programming that as being abandonded every day. There’s a theory that my mum having to go into hospital
for cancer treatment when I was about 13 contributed to it. Then there’s my times in hospital for anorexia, when visitation wasn’t allowed, I perhaps perceived that as abandonment. My sister moving out, my emotional support assistant from secondary school being off long term sick, pets dying, friends moving away, there’s a whole long list of potential triggers that many therapists have tried to untangle and make sense of over the years. Then, a few months ago I spent time with a therapist that I actually clicked with and made the most progress with me that any professional has ever made. She determined that due to my low self esteem and self confidence that has always been present due to being such an anxious child (I later discovered I have Asperger’s Syndrome which explains the anxious childhood) I can’t see why anyone would want to have me in their life permanently. So for most of my life I have lived with the opinion that I’m not worthy so will be abandonded eventually, if I don’t let myself get close/avoid anything that may result in abandonment then I’ll be fine and much happier.
Obviously living life on your own and without making relationships is near on impossible and as I’ve grown up friends have come and gone for various reasons. Intimate relationships is when I struggle the most with abandonment. On the front of it I seem to cope fine but internally it’s a massive battle & the one thing that really gets to me and brings me down because I hate being like it. The fear of abandonment is present almost always, constantly encouraging you to question most situations. Question why someone would want to be with you, find all the things they may hate about you and come up with little ridiculous scenarios of how or why they might hurt you. It’s horrible but I’ve come to discover I’m stronger than giving in to irrational thought processes. Though I know that’s what they are and recognise that, it doesn’t make them any easier to cope with & they will still often have me in tears.
I have hope that now I’m feeling much more secure in life & once a couple of abandonment provoking events are out of the way, I will be able to overcome this fear and move on with my life. It’s the ‘out of control’ feeling that triggers it all, not knowing what the person you love is doing, where they are or if they are safe. So all I can do is try to have as much information as possible when triggering situations arise to enable me to feel a bit more in control, distraction, be honest & just ride through the emotional outbursts. Having Asperger’s adds difficulty to this fear, as a trigger of feelings abandonded is usually accompanied by a change in the routine you’re used to, for yourself & other people. It also leaves me struggling to ‘see things from another persons shoes’ so I can’t understand/see that a person can still love/think of me when I’m not there. It’s a mine field, it really is.
So yes, I’m in recovery but it’s still a complex & bumpy ride.