So you know when you have these traumatic experiences, you tend to push them to the darkest corners of your subconsciousness in hopes of never thinking of them again?
Or perhaps you justify other people’s actions with “they didn’t know it was going to make me feel this way” or “they had no other choice!” and you beat your feelings down with logic because rationally speaking – it’s not a big deal. Downplay it as much as possible.
My adult behavior comes straight down to my childhood and teenage experiences, as it does with all of you. Abandonment isn’t really an issue I have a problem with, but I had a talk with a person that brought up things which lead me to believe otherwise. Behavioral patterns appear with everyone and it’s hilarious to think we don’t notice them but we really don’t.
I had pushed this memory completely out of my mind, for all I knew it pretty much didn’t exist anymore. Yet it swam up out of nowhere today while talking with that person.
So I’m 7 years old, fresh out of first grade and I’m looking at my mom packing a suitcase. I can’t tell you what I was saying to her, but I remember the feeling – utter dread and fear of her not taking me with her. It was an easier time back then because I had no problem identifying the exact feelings I had and my coping mechanisms were pretty much non-existent at such a young age… I laid in the suitcase and started taking some of her clothes away so there would be more space for me in there. I was fine with leaving everyone, all my friends, my family, my toys, in my itty-bitty brain I was ready to give up food and live in a cardboard box as long as I got to be with my mom – my ONLY safe person on this planet. I didn’t care for anything else, I just wanted to be with her.
Suddenly as she dragged me out of the suitcase and put her clothes back in, a daunting thought started to cloud my mind, what if she wasn’t taking me with her? I knew the entire time that she was going to Portugal for an unidentified period of time and that the plan was for me to stay with my grandma, but I had hoped and BELIEVED that my love for her was so strong that it would make her stay. There was not a doubt in my mind that she couldn’t just go and she would either take me with her or stay. After I saw the suitcase I started to panic and I grabbed her leg and held onto it for dear life crying and crying and barely having the capacity to speak, I begged her as much as my little voice could allow – not to go, not to leave me.
Still, she went.
It wasn’t easy for her either, but I’m not here to speak about that. My heart sank in for the first time in my life as I got to experience the disappointment, anger, and sadness. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to see her again (even though of course I would, but my tiny mind just couldn’t imagine it). It was as if she had died on purpose. I couldn’t stop crying for her for an entire year. Every single goddamn night. I didn’t sleep or eat right at first because in my perception of the world, without my mom I didn’t exist, I couldn’t be happy. I was abandoned. (Again, she had her reasons, but I’m not focusing on them right now) All of my other family members were still there, but I couldn’t care less – I just wanted her.
The thing about breaking a connection so strong all of a sudden is that it can really fuck up a child. After this, I’ve never allowed myself to tell anyone that I want them to stay if I knew they were going somewhere. Admitting that it would make you feel alone and neglected is not going to change anything and being emotionally strong (or appear to be at least) is a big deal for me. If people want to go, they do it for their own reasons and I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. Especially now, when what people are feeling is being downplayed to “oh come on, it’s not a big deal!” or “you’re not the only one that feels this way!” or “stop overreacting!”. I think it’s not ok for me to fully express how I feel because no one else is doing it.
I have noticed now a behavioral pattern with myself, every time I feel disappointed or sad because of someone neglecting me (purposely or not), I never make it into a big deal because now I expect it to happen. It still feels the same, it’s not nice but I’ve learned to not show it as much as I did as a child. If you distance yourself from me, I will do the same as a protective measure. I won’t ask where you are or what you are doing because I assume that if you wanted to tell me – you would. I’ve started to live in fear of being clingy and annoying, so I do the exact opposite of what a clingy person would do. It could be that I want to see you so much and nothing would make me happier than to have a conversation with you, but I won’t text and I won’t let you know because I don’t want to be TOO MUCH.
I felt abandoned by Sophie when she said she wanted to go to France because she became a person I truly truly care for and I felt like I would miss my partner in crime so much that it would actually physically hurt. And I did miss her. But I had time to bathe in the thought of her being gone while she was still here and it was easier to handle because we spoke a lot and I understood why she went and I was happy for her. And now I have her back and it feels better.
I feel abandoned by Joel cause we haven’t spoken in months and he lives a tram ride away from me. But I think he doesn’t care, so I will definitely not bring it up as I’ve tried everything in my power to save the situation. I miss him a lot and I keep talking about him every day but he did abandon this relationship. And that sucks.
One of my biggest fears is caring for someone so much that I would lose all rational thinking if they would leave and become the little 7 year old again. Or even worse – have to pretend that everything is okay when really I’m so fucking hurt that I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve adopted this new thinking that nothing really matters in the grand scale of things – not my feelings or the ones of others, including their actions or their outcome. Nothing we do really has a point and we are just “being”. However pointless everything really is, though – it still is real. That’s so fucked up. There’s no point of me feeling disappointed when someone exits my life, but I still feel it. And I don’t know how to change it.
I just wanna go away and do something fun to forget about all this, but it comes down to the fact that I just don’t want to be alone. Not alone as in physically or romantically, but just…I want to have the special connection with someone and the thought of security and reassurance that they won’t leave and I won’t be by myself in this world. But that’s impossible to have, isn’t it? Life just happens and making promises for the future is the stupidest thing one can do.
The more I grow up, the more I understand that being alone as a concept is pretty scary especially if you feel isolated and in a bubble that doesn’t allow others in. Learning how to deal with it and be happy takes a lot of effort to try and forget how shitty it really is. I often want to escape from myself by having other people over, making travel plans, getting lost in annoying everyday issues and pushing the thought of loneliness as far back as possible. But no matter where I go (and trust me, I will travel), I can never really escape from myself and sometimes I just need a break from me. No thinking, no boredom, just existing. No tropical island can make my mind clear up if I don’t just accept things for what they are.
My current life is a constant stream of Netflix, thesis writing, coffee, sleepless nights which kind of blur the days together and a crippling anxiety which just won’t go away. I’ve had it with everyday life, I really have. I haven’t been this bored with things in a really long time and I feel trapped in my own mind with an attitude that needs to get changed. No amount of partying or working can make me feel fulfilled and I have the nagging belief that my time is running out and I’m stalling here not reaching my full potential. It’s an everyday mindfuck and struggle. Most of my other friends are okay with their lives and it’s great that they are, but it’s also more difficult to explain to them what I want. Also because I don’t know myself. But it’s definitely not this.
Getting lost in day to day activities is the best way to waste my life. The more I think about it, the more anxious I get, how ironic is that? I have the capacity of feeling the full spectrum of emotions (as pointless as they are) from euphoria, excitement, and contempt to satisfaction, inspiration and awe – and I choose anxiety, sadness and sometimes resentment. It’s so stupid.
I need to do something that feeds my soul with joy.