My abandonment issues can come about as swiftly and inconspicuously as a pesky fruit fly infestation. Just like fruit flies hitch a ride into our homes on fruits or vegetables, my fear of abandonment clings on to me for dear life. There isn’t much that has to be done to set it off. A friend doesn’t invite me to an event and, BAM, I feel excluded and discarded when trolling through her Facebook profile.
She looks like she’s having so much fun without me! I think.
Why didn’t she ask me to come along? I whine.
I want to cut her off like she’s my lover. And I’m not even a lesbian.
So, you can imagine the damage my abandonment issues can cause when I’m in a romantic relationship. Any sign of detachment is duly noted. Changes in behavior lay seeds of doubt. Or, in the fruit flies case, lay eggs carrying hundred of babies. Soon, I analyze. And worry. And sometimes I wail like a telenovela star – one hand clutching my chest and the other resting on my forehead. I am consumed with what it all means instead of discussing the issue at hand – my fear of abandonment – with my partner. Negative thoughts swirl in my head, like fruit flies hovering over a banana.
Unfortunately, I can’t just swat my fears away or toss them in the trash. I can’t throw myself away. But I can work through my feelings of abandonment. I can help the man in my life understand its cause and effect. This is what I did with Paco. For the first time in the history of my romantic relationships, I felt comfortable expressing my fear of abandonment and how certain behaviors trigger it. I began the conversation days after experiencing an internal freak out.
I remember looking at the calender on my iPhone. It was Saturday. The last time I had communicated with Paco was on Thursday. He hasn’t text or called, I thought. He hasn’t liked any of my updates on Facebook, I realized. Oh my God, he hasn’t even tweeted me! I panicked.
Just like that I was beset with fear. Infested with “what ifs” and overrun with flashes of the past. When Luke stopped contacting me, it was the beginning of the end. Same with Johnny. Was this the case with Paco? I tried to relax, but it was practically impossible. I can’t ignore my feelings. Doing so would be like trying to ignore a fruit fly that is THIS close to flying into my mouth. By Sunday, I was ready to hop in the shower and recreate my telenovela sob.
Monday he called. I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t ready to. I’ve been there before, distraught over my fear of abandonment and terrified of rejection. I’ve ruined relationships because of it. I didn’t want to ruin this. So, we spoke as if nothing was wrong. The next day, Tuesday, I sorted out my feelings and gave him a call.
Having this conversation was new for me. Still, I expressed myself logically and clearly. I told Paco how concerned I was because I hadn’t heard from him in three days. He reassured me there was nothing to worry about. And there really wasn’t. From the start of our relationship, Paco has been attentive. He’s called instead of texted. He’s listened, which is great because I talk…A LOT. He’s confided in me and shared childhood experiences. He’s made me laugh. Paco has been amazing. To top it off, he said the one thing this gal needed to hear:
“I promise I will never last 3 days without communicating with you.”
Just like that my fear began to fade. I believed him. I felt reassured. My mind cleared of pesky thoughts. What was initially planted didn’t hatch a new breed of issues. My abandonment issues, and although not entirely discarded, had loosened their grip.