I often hear the term “fear of abandonment” used, especially in my profession, and often it is a very valid fear. Most of us have been raised by human beings, and therefore, fallible and imperfect beings. The nature of the small child is to be ego-centric, and so if needs are not met, then we feel abandoned – even if Mummy just had to zip to the loo. So, this little part of us who felt as though they were abandoned may have right to feel such a way. Then, perhaps through an internalisation process, we believe that if Mummy abandoned us, then everyone else will do the same. With the only reliable aspect of life being change, we re-experience that abandonment again and again – friends come and go, lovers come and go, employment may be unstable, and so on. But every time we have those experiences, we access that little part of ourselves which felt ignored or dismissed by our caregiver. Sometimes it can have a snowball effect to the point where we become so rigid in the fear of that painful experience, that we shut ourselves down to all our feelings – understandably so, as they are very sore!
What perhaps we don’t realise is that each time we shut ourselves down to those feelings, using whatever measures we choose – thoughts, work, television, food, alcohol – we are effectually re-abandoning ourselves once again. So now, this small person who resides inside of us not only experiences external abandonment, but internal abandonment too. So time and time again, we send ourselves the message “my feelings are not worthy of being met.” And the sad part of this experience is that when we shut down our feelings, we shut down ALL the feelings – positive, negative, transformational, challenging, pleasure, pain, and joy. Perhaps that is why we may tend to have a drive towards pleasure seeking activities?
Maybe it might be time to tend to that little person inside – showing them that we do care for what they are going through, and that we are prepared to become present to their experiences. Imagine, in those painful moments, allowing yourself to feel what you are feeling, without judgement or rejection. Imagine experiencing the full gamut of emotions internally, without moving away and creating distraction. Imagine giving yourself an internal hug, reassuring yourself that it is okay to feel and allowing yourself to be human. It isn’t always easy, and not many people can live in this way all the time, however, perhaps show yourself (and your inner child) that you are available to be present. You never know, maybe that fear of abandonment might slowly subside, leaving a bigger space internally to give and receive love fully.