I have uttered those words at various times throughout my life.
Please! Don’t leave me…
Each and every time this has happened, I have been filled with absolute panic–absolute desperation.
I can’t help but wonder…where does this fear of abandonment come from?
I have been filled with a great fear of losing my therapist lately. The result of this fear is that I cling even tighter, need even more–reassurance, contact, etc.–and fear even more because of my increased needs. It spirals quickly out of control.
Over and over again, she has reassured me that she isn’t going anywhere. Yet, I cannot help but believe that I will go too far, mess up too much…need too much.
I have always felt that people like me until they really get to know me. I feel, for some reason, defective as I truly am…too dramatic. Too clingy. Too needy. Too sensitive. Too whiny. Too controlling. Too smart. Too…whatever.
For a long time, this meant that I simply hid who I really was and morphed into the version of the person my potential friend wanted. I learned not to discuss politics or religion. I pretended to like things that I did not really like.
…I lost my sense of self.
Over the last year, I have begun to find the courage to seek out the real me. I am doing better–I am becoming, at times, more confident, more assertive, more ME.
However, the fear of loss is always there. Always.
Loss, in the form of abandonment, is especially painful for me when I have spent time being vulnerable with the person who leaves. I will never forget the time when, at the age of 18, the love of my life (up to this point), decided to leave me. He was my first experience in complete and total vulnerability. I gave my whole self to him–my secrets, my love, my body, my trust–things I had not given to anybody since childhood, when I learned that it was never a safe thing to do.
When he left, my world was absolutely rocked. I was desperate. I begged, pleaded, and cried for him to not leave me.
It didn’t work.
He left. And he took big pieces of me with him.
When I was 8, my grandma took me back to live with my mother and I panicked and desperately pleaded with her in a similar way.
Each time, I would call out, pleading in anguish, “Please! Don’t leave me!!”
Each time? They did.
There have been other moments in life. Less traumatic, but with a similar outcome. Lost friends, lost mentors, lost relationships.
Each and every time? I believed–and still believe–that I was the cause.
So, I can understand then, in a way, why I am so terrified that my therapist will leave in the same fashion, even when she tells me otherwise. The fear runs deep. It is built into me.
And, it is especially strong because of the level of vulnerability that I have with her.
…How does one go about changing that fear of abandonment? And why is it there to begin with?
It has something, I know, to do with being alone in the world. Maybe it is dependency. I just don’t know.
But, I do know two things: 1) I don’t want to be left again, and 2) I want to learn how to overcome the complete desperation and panic that comes over me when I begin to worry about being left.
…I suppose that that will be the next part of the journey.