The fear of abandonment is often seeded in childhood trauma. Children are bribed, manipulated and deceived into doing things and thinking about things in a way that does not serve them. If they allow this touch, they will be loved. If they don’t tell someone, they won’t be hurt. If they keep their mouths shut, no one in their family will get hurt. If they hit back, they will be crushed. When there is no language used, the trickery is devious because the child is left to her own devices as to how to make sense of what is happening. I am not lovable. No one really cares or wants me. How do I survive the unspeakable?
The emotion of fear sends a message to the limbic system of the brain: "Take appropriate action!" Do we run or do we freeze? As children, most cases of trauma happen in our own homes and we cannot run. We freeze. We disassociate. It is experienced as a painful sensation in the body. A friend explained it as – “it’s like the house is on fire and no one is doing anything about it and I am going to die painfully.”
Even when the traumatic situation ends, we relive it in our memories and our thoughts. We turn our thoughts into our beliefs and our beliefs into facts. We can end up with a twisted, painful experience of the world.
Fearing abandonment, we abandon ourselves.
How? We are not friendly to ourselves when we need a friend. We don’t stand by and help ourselves when we are sad, mad, or make mistakes. We are unconscious about our reactions and repeat the same painful behaviors again and again and then bully ourselves the more for it. We beat ourselves up before anyone else has a chance to do it.
How do we accompany ourselves?
We spend time alone.
We look at our thoughts.
We don’t accept our beliefs but question them with curiosity and openness.
We learn mindfulness.
We become revolutionaries in our lives. Not reactionaries.
We find loving friends.
This is relationship building; trust building. This is to accompany ourselves on our journey. Be the loving parent, the good friend, the spiritual director. Then, when we meet kind souls on the outside, we can recognize them and trust them and give them a place in our lives.
How can we trust ourselves today?
By showing up, over and over until we know we can rely upon it.
If I can stay with myself – watching in a loving, fascinated and interested way, I have a chance to be happy.