Normally I consider myself to be an open book. I don’t really keep my own secrets because I see no point to it. Ask me a question and unless it involves someone else I’ll probably answer it.
But there’s one thing I’ve been struggling with, in reality for as long as I can remember, and I don’t talk about it.
I didn’t want to write it down, I suppose by sharing it it makes it real.
Fear of abandonment.
Fear of abandonment is the overwhelming worry that people close to you will leave.
It’s no mystery to me where this comes from. The fact is people close to me have left to me and it’s happened more than once.
Although it’s common in children who lose a parent at a young age, my thoughts tend to go back to what was meant to be a fun weekend on the Gold Coast with six of my closest friends.
These friends, one in particular who I’d been friends with since I was eight-years-old, had been my rocks through some serious transitional changes. I’d chosen to go to a new school to pursue my artistic dreams and was thrust into a new and scary world. Mix in the typical developmental changes of between 14-18 plus the onset of some pretty bad and undiagnosed depression and times get pretty tough. But these friends were there for me despite the separation and times were great.
But going back to that night on the Gold Coast, having too much to drink followed by what I can now identify is a “low” caused for a sudden upset and aggression from all of these friends. I needed to escape the hotel room so I ran off to the beach to be alone and try and deal with this horrid headspace that at the time I didn’t know how to deal with. I wasn’t welcome back into that hotel, I was told to pack my bags and leave. I was told by the people who I called my closest friends for the past 6 years how horrible my actions were and like that they wanted nothing to do with me. After all, I’d ruined their weekend. Some of those people I have a polite acquaintance with now. Others still haven’t spoken to me since that night.
Fast forward a few years and I met someone who I really thought would be my best friend forever. I’d never met someone I gelled with so quickly and so harmoniously before. We were inseparable. People joke about how you’re not really best friends unless people ask if you’re gay together, and that literally did happen after professing how they were the most important person in my life at a speech at my 21st. One week they even sat in on a university lecture with me, despite not being a student, just because it was my birthday and we obviously had to go get drinks at uni bar afterwards. Our friendship was so solid, travelling to another state and getting matching tattoos didn’t take a second thought. We’d really be friends forever.
But sure enough in this case I was wrong too. Something unfortunate happened in their life which took over and pushed me out. No matter how hard I fought to stay in the end it wasn’t enough. A lot of the time I feel guilt for not doing more. I’ve attempting to make contact and at one stage thought we would reunite. I think about making contact occasionally even now at the very least to check if things got better.
These are probably the two key factors in what’s created this debilitating demon in my mind. Because when this stuff happens it really hurts. And it’s really hard to forgive yourself because what’s the common factor in all of this? Me. Therefore I must be at fault. At least that’s what my mind tells me.
But it’s now gotten to the point where I don’t know how to maintain healthy relationships. I can’t let things just be. Every single word is micro-analysed as a potential sign that this person might leave me. It comes back to doing anything to make that person stay, even if my life would be better without them. It means crossing my own moral boundaries to make someone stay. But it also appears as self-sabotaging and pushing away people who could actually be good for me. It’s taking small criticisms to heart and constantly being on high alert for red flags.
It’s having them walk out the door then locking it from the inside so I can say I locked them out instead of they left.
This fear isn’t a new insight. But what is new is knowing I want to change it and I need to change it.
Otherwise an even bigger fear of dying alone will become my reality.