I’ve received thousands of letters from people telling me how abandonment trauma has wrecked their lives. Anxiety overwhelms them when they attempt a new relationship. They feel a painful lack of trust toward any potential partner which caused them to panic and withdraw. Their abandonment fear is just too intense to cope with. They also feel distrustful toward themselves, fearful that their insecurity will cause them to sabotage yet another chance to love. They just don’t want to risk freaking out and scaring someone away again. It’s too demoralizing!
They hate their anxiety, hyper-sensitivity, and neediness for the way it’s ruined their lives. Hating this about themselves means that on this level they hate themselves. They beat themselves up, feel something is fundamentally wrong with them, remain rejection-sensitive and hyper-vigilant when they’re with people, can’t get out of their heads, cant go with the flow and be themselves.
Can you identify with any of this? My work of over 30 years has shown me that no matter how much you may hate yourself, no matter how alone or isolated, no matter how long you’ve suffered, no matter how abjectly hopeless and desperate, no matter how intense your panic or insecurity, no matter how extreme your self-sabotage, I’m here to tell you two things. 1) You are not alone. 2) There is a way out of isolation and into connection.
There are millions of abandonment survivors in our very midst who have run out of hope and feel condemned to loneliness and helplessness forever. Outwardly many lead normal lives, but inwardly they struggle with abandonment’s post traumatic anxiety and insecurity. Abandonment fear intrudes into their lives, cripples their attempts to form primary relationships, and sabotages their goals. These millions range from glamorous celebrities to everyday people who mask their desperation socially due to pride and shame. Ah, the vicious cycle of shame!
But if you were to meet a roomful of these people (you’d meet many at an abandonment workshop), you would see there is nothing wrong with them. They are loveable, attractive, interesting and entirely attachment-worthy folks. You would see that what they are going through is not their fault, has nothing to do with some inherent loophole inside of them, though they think it does. It is largely circumstantial. Yet they blame it on themselves and on their past (in which many of them remain stuck).
You would also see that each of them is capable of turning their lives around. You actually watch this process begin during a workshop. Gaining a sense of hope, inspiration, and direction is what abandonment recovery is all about. The group provides the motivation needed to get on program – through the power of example and positive peer pressure. This is why I go to the effort of running workshops.
There is no magic bullet for the abandonment syndrome – just a lot of work to change your patterns. But the work is worth it because the program works.
So no matter how helpless and devastated you feel – even if you’re 60 and still struggling to find a relationship and you’re completely isolated from friends and family due to a lack of positive energy – the message is: Commence a new relationship with yourself and get on program. You’ll find your way out.
Indeed many of you have been stuck in your past because you haven’t had enough in your current life to pull you into the present and out of your head. As for the future? It’s terrified you with a dread of crippling loneliness. No matter. Take heart. Join a community of abandonmates on the path to connection.
© Susan Anderson May 11, 2013
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