I am so afraid of being left.
By friends. By my spouse. By family. By my therapist.
I’ve often reflected on my own upbringing and marveled at how trusting and loyal I am. I questioned, How is it that, despite how deeply I’ve been hurt by others, I am so willing to give anyone a chance? Why do I not guard my heart more closely?
It has to do with relationships.
I don’t think I’ve had a lot of healthy ones.
In relationships, I am constantly filled with worry and self-doubt.
I never want to mess up. I never want to ruffle feathers. I never want to get into trouble.
Confrontation feels devastating.
So devastating that, when it happens, I have been known to hide–at least, if I can’t smooth it over by blaming the whole thing on myself. I totally end a friendship rather than face the music and deal with someone’s anger or disappointment.
Confrontation steals my breath away. It makes my heart skip a beat and my stomach drop to my toes. When it happens, I immediately begin to cry.
It scares me.
Out of fear, I often totally forgo my own thoughts and opinions. I don’t stand up for myself. I try to be whatever the person wants me to be–just to end the confrontation.
When people don’t like me? That devastates me.
It doesn’t matter if these people are the worst people on earth, or if 25 other people tell me how wonderful I am.
I can’t stop wondering why they don’t like me. What is wrong with me? It must be _____. Or ______.
Naturally, there is always something wrong with ME.
Thanks to my amazing and very patient therapist, I’m starting learn. I’m starting to see what healthy relationships and healthy boundaries actually look like. I’m starting to realize that being honest does not mean there will be a mandatory confrontation and subsequent abandonment.
But, even with these realizations, the fear of abandonment lingers. I am strong enough to have a voice. To find my bravery and talk about my feelings.
But, in the moments and days afterwards, there is immediate regret. Immediate panic and worry. How could I be so stupid? How could I actually have shared those thoughts and feelings?!
I question everything. I lose sense of whatever burgeoning self-worth and value I’ve been developing.
I am desperate, in my life, for real and supportive relationships. How can I have these if I never have the courage to be ME?
….and, I never seem to have the courage, because that fear–of giving my real self over to someone else who has the power to crush me in one fell swoop–is very real and alive within me.