I don’t know when it started or when it will end, but I fear abandonment so much that I think about it every day. Sometimes I sit at work, wondering when they’ll fire me. I frequently glance at my phone, worrying that I’ve lost yet another friend. I even cry myself to sleep some nights because I believe even my sweet children will eventually hate me and leave. In addition to having little time or space for much else when the fear settles in for an extended stay, I also start feeling all the ways that my fear of abandonment actually drains me.
My fear of abandonment physically drains me.
I spend most of my waking hours stepping on pins and needles. I fear that eventually the moment will come when I say something wrong or make an incorrect choice. My fear of upsetting my loved ones and coworkers turns me into a “yes man,” meaning I take on extra physical labor in order to maintain harmonious relationships in my life.
But, this fear leads to extra work, which leads to extra physical strain. I push myself to my physical limits (and often even beyond). I lose sleep, forget to eat, and battle frequent migraines. While it may not be the only source, it’s clear that my fear of abandonment drives me to these points of physical pain and exhaustion.
My fear of abandonment financially drains me.
Although I genuinely love helping people, sometimes I overextend myself because of that constant fear that everyone will leave. I often take on the caretaker role, and do anything in my power to provide for my friends, but also complete strangers. This sometimes leads to impulsive choices that come from my emotional mind.
But, this fear leads to making promises I really shouldn’t, which ultimately ends in spending money I often can’t afford. I shell out money for those in need, or those I even perceive may benefit from cheering up. So, I offer loans to friends or pick up the tab during dinners out. While it may not be the only time that I make poor financial decisions, it’s important that I recognize how often my fear of abandonment actually drains my bank account, too.
My fear of abandonment mentally drains me.
I quickly become absorbed in overthinking conversations and interactions on a daily basis. What’s more, I second guess each word I say and any movement that I make. I question everything from my clothing to meal choices when I’m going to be around others. I’ve somehow convinced myself that if I breathe at the wrong time, everyone will leave.
But, this fear leads to lots of thinking, which causes additional stress. My brain can only process so much in any given day, so eventually it just shuts down. There are days when I come home from work and my body simply goes into sleep mode without any control, or if it remains upright, my brain quickly turns to mush. While many things can strain our brains, I know that my fear of abandonment often mentally drains me.
And, most of all, my fear of abandonment emotionally drains me.
Although I seriously love people, they cause me tons of anxiety and fear. What’s more, I personalize everything and often take on the weight of others’ struggles. I heavily invest myself in others and make it my personal mission to reduce their pain. I want to make sure that everyone knows that I will never leave their side while I simultaneously fear they’ll eventually walk away.
But all of this leaves me living in my feelings, which often consume me completely. I drown in a sea of fear while a twinge of loneliness takes my breath away. I feel that I can never share the pain of these powerful emotions with anyone else, because they will likely flee in terror or disgust. So instead I give myself entirely over to others, and let the world emotionally drain me until I can finally sleep.
I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining, because I know in many ways I am blessed. I can’t help but wonder, though, if maybe I’m doing something wrong.
Should every moment of my life drain me in so many ways? Does anyone else out there feel themselves draining, too?