Charles A. Mackenzie (cleanhead42) wrote,
Charles A. Mackenzie

Abandonment Anxiety

As far back as I remember, I have had some fear of being abandoned. I noticed this fear seems to go hand in hand with the fear of people getting too close to me. When I was in my twenties, I dismissed this fear as an occupational hazard of human existence. Humans (actually primates in general) being a tribal species, such a fear is, to an extent, natural. On the other hand, I knew deep down that my abandonment fear was more acute than I was willing to admit; it became a shameful secret for me.

There are some factors that may well have contributed to this fear. When I was a child, I was polite and likable but socially awkward. This left me open to being bullied. There were also
several incidents of emotional and sexual abuse (a subject for another discussion). I was something of a misfit. There were a number of times when I was rejected and sometimes cast out of social circles. That said, I always did have a few friends. Later, I would romanticise my role of loner/odd man out. I don’t feel my parents ever abandoned me even if there were a few times when it felt like I was thrown to the wolves but that’s another story.

There have been a number of events over the past eleven years that have amplified my abandonment fears threefold. Some of what happened was my fault. They are too long to go into here but they had to do with roommate situations, having to move a number of times, job loss, friends and relatives not seeming to be available and financial woes (i.e. debt). The last one triggered a nervous breakdown. This put a considerable strain on my roommate at the time and alienated her from me.

At times I even wondered if I had some "borderline personality disorder". After some thought, I realised I do not. There there are factors that bear this out. First, I have a pretty strong sense of myself. In fact, I can be an egotistical bastard. Second, I do get concerned about how my actions affect others. And thirdly, I am not afraid to be alone.

In fact, I enjoy and need a certain amount of solitude. It is when I feel alone in a crowd that I have difficulty. The main problem with spending too much time alone is that one's psyches eats in of itself.

It appears that my fear of abandonment has become a full blown phobia and it has put a bit of a damper on my social life. It has gotten to the point where picking up the phone to call a friend has become difficult. I worry that I am going to tongue-tied and/or make an ass of myself. There have a been a some times when I was in a crisis and I asked for help in rather inappropriate ways (of which are too embarrassing to recount here). Sometimes it got to the point where my "being abandoned" would become self-fulfilling prophecy.

I mentioned earlier my fear of people getting too close to me. The first part is the fear of being hurt again. I am aware that any social interaction and intimacy naturally carries that risk. The second part is the possibility that person will leave me because s/he has "gotten wise to me" or that I'm too "needy".

I have caught myself abandoning people before before they can abandon me or just shutting them out emotionally. In doing so, I have hurt some terrific people that I have grown very fond of. This is the point where it has to stop.

To those of you who know me who have been hurt in this regard, please accept my apologies.
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