It’s a painful truth that I have ruined every one of my long term relationships, including my marriage, by trying to hand over the job of ‘never letting me feel insecure or abandoned’ onto my partner as if they’d made a silent agreement that it was now their job to comfort me, be present with me and stay with me and certainly never trigger me into insecurity by placing their love and attention elsewhere.
I now realise that it had always been my very definition of ‘abandonment’, which was based in the idea of ‘someone else abandoning me’, that was the root of my repeated stuckness and pain here. While this was my idea of abandonment, ‘never being left by someone else’, then my sense of well-being was always at the mercy of whichever external person I’d assigned my ‘not being abandoned’ responsibility to. If they chose to leave me then I suffered horribly.
But I now see that the very act of assigning the job of ‘being with me’ to someone else was always me abandoning myself. It’s no one else’s job or responsibility to be dependable in that area, only mine. If I try and get someone else to do it they will inevitably be inconsistent and my misguided expectation of their consistency is what will hurt me.
It makes people feel weighed down when we try and foist this job, which is not theirs, upon them. It makes them feel claustrophobic and ironically usually creates the very rejection that we’re trying so desperately to avoid.
It also makes us cultivate the bad habit of absolving ourselves of a primary life challenge: To love ourselves, to be present with ourselves even when we feel depressed or lonely or insecure. To not escape our feelings and experiences in those moments is not as impossibly traumatic as we may imagine.
This is the time to soothe ourselves, talk to ourselves, remind ourselves that we, the steadfast adult, are still here, and are never leaving. This is the time to remind ourselves that we have always been here and survived every tough time, all the challenging emotional periods. We are here and always will be no matter what anyone else does or wherever anyone else goes.
I abandon myself when I try and get another person to do that job for me. Breaking that habit saves me from ever feeling abandoned again.
Next time that emptiness or insecurity arises in us let’s not anaesthetise ourselves by immediately running to the distracting comfort of another, or Facebook or food or drugs. Let’s become our own best friends or even parents, dependable, steadfast and safe.
What do you need to remind yourself in those moments?
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