The paralyzing fear of abandonment



The day my mother chose to stand by my abuser was the day I lost all feeling of being loved, of belonging. The day she chose my stepfather was the day she chose to abandon me. At 13 years old I was left to face a monster alone. Her betrayal damaged me.

I was not nurtured or raised. I was not taught how to handle my emotions. Instead I was made to believe that showing my emotions was bad. It was punishable. Cutting was better. Cutting was safe. Cutting kept me contained. It is the only way I have ever known how to deal with my emotions.

My whole life I have lived with the fear that I am going to be abandoned. For as long as I can remember I have craved love, craved acceptance. An acceptance I have never felt. An acceptance I may never feel.

I have spent my whole life begging people to love me. Yet at the same time, I fear getting close to people because I think that they will eventually just walk out of my life no matter how close we are.

Once you have been hurt as badly as I have, you are scared to get attached again. You have this fear that every person you start to trust is going to break your heart.
To be abandoned, to be given up on when you most need to be loved, is the most devastating thing.

Abandonment is a wound that never truly heals. Something I am beginning to learn.

I have always known that I am afraid of losing people I love and trust. One moment I am clingy, too attached, annoying you. The next I feel too close, too vulnerable, I push you away. This process, that I repeat often, frustrates you.

It is only recently that I have learnt why I do this. Why I go through this cycle. A psychiatrist recently diagnosed me with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) caused by my mothers neglect.

Sufferers of BPD try to avoid abandonment at all costs. This can have a serious effect on our self image and behaviour, as well as our ability to maintain relationships.
Intense fear of abandonment can result in inappropriate anger, even when faced with a realistic short-term separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans.

When this happens logic and reason go out the window. We believe we are being abandoned because we have done something wrong. We believe that we are bad, that the person no longer wants to see us and no longer cares about us.
When this happens the scared, fragile little child who was abandoned and unloved takes over the adult part of me. I cannot control it. How I wish I could control it.

It is frustrating for you. I pull you in, then push you away. You cannot understand why. You grow tired of telling me you will not leave. You are upset, agitated, confused.

What you do not see is that I too am upset, agitated and confused. Why can I not stay in control? Am I a freak? A failure? You do not see me punish myself for letting you all down once again.
You do not see how unbelievably scared I am of losing you. Why? Because deep down I trust you, I care for you, I believe in you, but that leaves me vulnerable. That leaves me open to being hurt again. My own mother abandoned me. Why wouldn’t you?

The fear of abandonment paralyzes me.

My first response to feeling abandoned is to abandon myself.
I push you all away. My mothers abandonment rings through my body; I am not worth fighting for. I am worthless. I do not deserve love or support. You are better off without me.

I close myself off. Go into my little bubble of self-hatred and self-harm. Unsure who will leave and who will stay, it is easier to push you all away. I try to say “don’t leave me” but the words won’t leave my mouth. For now I am too scared, believing you are angry with me.

By now the girl that once cared way too much about everything and everyone no longer cares at all. I am stuck. Paralyzed by fear of abandonment. Convinced you are angry, I tell you to leave. I am too scared to ask you to stay. Secretly, deep down, I am hoping that you will keep your promise. Hoping you won’t leave me.

Gradually, as the days pass, I begin to see reason and logic once more. The adult part of me begins to take over from the child once more.
I reach out to you, terrified that you have already left, yet hoping you haven’t given up on me.
Ashamed of my behaviour I am embarrassed, frightened, unsure. What if you hate me now? What if you no longer believe in me? What if you no longer see the true me but are blinded by the BPD?

I need you. I need you to not leave me and to believe in me. I need you to not give up on me. I know I am frustrating. I know my BPD cycles anger and upset you. They do the same to me. I need you to know I am trying. I am trying so damn hard to let you all in. I am trying to ignore my mothers voice telling me I am not worth your time and that you will leave. I try to ignore her voice telling me I am not worthy of your help.

I am trying. I am really trying to work through this.
I need you to believe in me because I don’t know how to believe in myself.

Caring for and helping someone with BPD will be frustrating. It will be hard work. There will be good times and bad times. But helping someone through BPD to the other side will be one of the noblest things you ever do. As much as we can hate and be angry, we also care deeply. Once you see that side, that will be when you are rewarded. That will be when you see the true me. That will be when you see me succeed.

But right now I am paralyzed. I am isolated in the abandonment of my childhood. After all abandonment is a wound that never truly heals.


Thanks for reading
** Image courtesy of Google Images **

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