Fear of Abandonment

167 QUESTION: It seems that in the cycle of life, abandonment plays a big role. You are abandoned by your parents. Then, in your turn, you abandon life when you die. I am very involved with abandonment.

ANSWER: Wherever the inner shock reaction has frozen the life center, this must be experienced. With you, the emphasis is on abandonment. Each human being has a specific point that is the trauma. The shock reaction in the soul may in one case exist in the feeling of not being loved; in another, in the fear of being left alone; in still another, in the negation of personal value. There are many variations of this experience.

Each of you must find the particular emphasis that triggered off most strongly your soul’s shock reaction. In the last analysis it is always the fear of pain, and the pain of not being loved and protected, warmed and accepted. The conditions are different for each individual and therefore the personal, specific way varies. In your case, abandonment is the key, as it were.

Therefore, you must learn to transcend the fear of being abandoned, to no longer shrink from the feeling of, “I am being abandoned. Here is the experience.” The words are, of course, too limited to adequately describe the inner attitude necessary to change the dynamics of soul movements, but if you try to listen with your inner antennae, you will know what I mean.

You have been threatened by abandonment every day since your childhood. Until recently you have denied and ignored this fear. Now you begin to be conscious of it. Go through it. When you see the phantom of abandonment, you must observe your inner reactions to it. No mental process, no conceptualizing, can help you transcend this fear. Rather, you have to first see “what it does in you,” which states more correctly the process than “what you do.”

It is nothing you do volitionally in a direct way. Something does it in you when abandonment threatens you, and it cramps up in you. As you observe this, you already gain a different and healing perspective. You can then see yourself cramping up, numbing yourself, denying the experience of abandonment. As you see yourself doing this, you know that in this denial you increase the fear. You make the experience inevitable. You constantly live in the shadow of it, because of this inner way of handling it.

Now you may be able to experiment with the new way and say, “All right, I shall try. I would like to react differently. Instead of tensing up against it and freezing myself, I will endure what I feel. I will stop fighting against emotions that are vital life energy and that can be used in a more constructive way.” As you do this, you will first truly experience the pain of abandonment, even if only the threat of it is being repeated.

As you experience it in this way, the threat is already much less painful. As you do this, some new strength will begin to gather in you; you will suddenly see different ways of avoiding abandonment. A new initiative will reveal itself to you quite naturally. A new and productive way of fighting for love and closeness will come to you – no longer a cramping and shrinking, but a relaxed activity that leads to fulfillment.

The old way is freezing the life energies in order not to feel, which creates weak dependency and prevents finding the resources for meaningful action. The defensive attitude cripples vitality and joy, and exudes negating attitudes that are bound to bring the very thing one fears most – in your case, abandonment.

 

QA192 QUESTION: When I find myself in situations where I’m being left or rejected, I always link it to the first feeling of abandonment with my own parents. I know that there’s the child in me that gets angry, but more than that, I have a tremendous fear of being left alone. {Yes} And I don’t know how to cope with that.

ANSWER: The way you can first approach it in this work of this Path is to fully let yourself experience the feeling – to learn to cope with the feeling, to learn that a negative feeling is a tunnel and it must not be pushed away. It must be gone through. And at the same time, while you do so, you have to also test whether your mental concepts are according to truth or according to illusion.

Because if you hang on to illusory ideas in connection with it, then you cannot come out of it. So you have to walk on three fronts simultaneously. The body level is just as important as the feelings and ideas. So as far as this particular thing is concerned, you have to fully feel the feeling, and in that sense, you have to learn – with the help of others – to prepare your body so that the body becomes capable of sustaining the feeling.

And you have to work on the mental level to test the misconceptions that make the feeling unbearable or dangerous. When you do bring all these three levels into a wholeness that will sustain one another, the negative feeling will be a tunnel and will be the energy that revitalizes you positively because you have dissolved the energy block.

The energy block of your fear of abandonment creates a visible life pattern, such as not daring to go into certain situations which are the only possibility for fulfillment. The fear would make you avoid that, so that you are then truly abandoned. You then truly believe your fear of abandonment is justified, because you do not see that it is your fear of it that makes you act and react in certain ways. All of this must be brought together.

QUESTION: I recently came to the beginning of a realization involving abandonment – my father died when I was nine months old – and rejection, because my mother was rejecting towards me. Deep inside, I believe, in relation to my father, that if anyone loves me, they will die. I don’t know that I believe I killed him, but I took on some of the blame. Because I had been his favorite, my mother became even more rejecting of me, inculcating in me that no one can love me, after all.

ANSWER: You see, that is really one and the same in the mind of the child. In the first place, it is quite credible – and I would say natural – that a child would believe such a thing, since a child is intrinsically incapable of not bringing every event back to itself. You know that. Everything that happens seems to be in relation to or caused by the child.

By the same token, when parents are divorced, the child believes it is because of him or her that the divorce took place. Or if anything happens, the child believes it is because “I was not good enough.”

So it would not be at all hard to believe that losing your father would have very early instilled in you “he did not love me” – not so much that you killed him but “he went away; he is no longer near me; he is not there, because had he really loved me, he would have stayed with me.”

So in that sense this is not so different from what you believe your mother inculcated in you. The important thing however is once you bring this out into the open and you are completely aware of it and really allow yourself to feel this irrationality, then and only then can you realize what you are doing with your life in relationship to this belief.

Your belief that you are unlovable makes you at the same time insist, “I must prove to myself and the world that I am lovable.” And that becomes such a burden. That you may not succeed becomes such a threat that you stay enclosed within yourself, not daring to move out, not daring to take chances.

The risk is not so much that you may be hurt – hurt is bearable – but of the connotation of the hurt: namely, that any hurt, any failure would immediately imply again your original suspicion – that you are unlovable – has proven right.

And therefore you’d rather stay alone, although at the same time you want to prove yourself so badly. You make impossible demands on other people, which cannot be fulfilled and which stand in the way between your really wanting fulfillment for its own sake, and not in order to prove that you are lovable. Do you understand?

QUESTION: Yeah. What are the impossible demands I make on others?

ANSWER: Well, that the other person must always love you at all times, must never hurt you, must completely approve of you, must be so developed and understanding that they could not be affected by your negativity. Because if they did anything like that, you would immediately interpret it as proof once again that you are not lovable. All of that you have to work through in your work.

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