We Are Dependent Personalities Who Are Terrified Of Abandonment And Will Do Anything To Hold Onto A Relationship In Order Not To Experience The Painful Abandonment Feelings We Received From Living With Sick People Who Were Never There Emotionally For Us.
Parents who drink until they are intoxicated are emotionally abandoning not ony themselves but also those close to them. Drunken parents are not rationally present for their own lives and cannot be emotionally present for their children.
Many ACoAs have shared that they would go to great lengths to avoid the terrible feelings of emptiness, loss and rejection that they experienced as children. This gnawing dread and uncertainty usually got converted into self-doubt: “What’s wrong with me?” They felt that there must have been something tragically wrong with them that caused their parents to abandon them.
I think that a child sees abandonment in many forms. I was two years old when my mother died. I clearly felt that as abandonment. Every time my father got into a drunken rage and berated me I sense that he was abandoning me. All were “little murders” of my spirit.
For many years I had trouble being alone. If I was by myself with no excitement around me and no people close by, I felt empty, abandoned and worthless. I needed constant attention and praise. I could not validate myself. I lived for the acceptance and attention of others because I felt that only they could reward me and fill the hollow, empty yearning. I did everything imaginable to shut out the feelings of emptiness. I constantly used people, places and things to distract me. My public behavior was mostly a desperate effort to conceal my inner poverty.
I was terrified of being rejected in romance. At the slightest hint of rejection, I would run. I was blind to my dependency. I desperately tried to control people and situations so that I
Wouldn’t feel abandoned. Even now, when someone close leaves me for a perfectly innocent reason that has noting to do with me, I still feel tremors of the old terror.
Of all the issues that ACoAs must contend with in their recovery, the terror of abandonment and the awful feelings of emptiness are the greatest challenges. For some it’s almost pure torture to have to endure, alone, the painful feelings of rejection, loss or isolation. Unfortunately, there is no simple remedy. Sometimes we have to accept the solitude, the apparent void, and slowly come to understand that we are not empty or unlovable. We will survive and we can have a happy and joyous life without being overly dependent or clinging.
Excerpt from Chapter 4 – The Recovery Process in The Laundry List by Tony A. and Dan F.