“Jealousy is nothing more than a fear of abandonment.” ~Unknown
My biggest relationship fear used to be getting dumped for another woman.
If it actually happened, it was going to be the ultimate proof of my worthlessness.
It wasn’t easy to live with that fear. When it came to conjuring up scenarios of loss and pain, I was like a rag doll in the hands of my imagination.
Even if my partner did not leave me or intend to cheat on me, the fear of being abandoned turned me into a person the man I was with no longer recognized.
It was almost as if the woman he’d met and was attracted to, who’d responded to him with passion, interest, and adoration, had turned into the nightmare girlfriend that he had read about in men’s community forums.
My fear, hiding in the closet like an imaginary monster, made me extremely jealous, paranoid, manipulative, and controlling.
It was limiting my experience of life and preventing me from truly opening my heart to my partner.
I didn’t like who I had become, and the less I liked myself the more I would depend on my partner to feel good about myself. He would energetically feel this pressure and withdraw, which then would trigger my fear of abandonment even more. It was a vicious cycle that I could not end.
I was aware of these side effects but I didn’t have the courage to face it. I had underestimated the magnetic energy of my fear.
I was a walking self-fulfilling prophecy. Maybe it was just dumb luck that I attracted men who would help me work through my biggest fear. Or we can call it perfect divine timing and order. I personally choose the latter.
The men I attracted were intelligent, creative, talented, fun, and sexy. I wasn’t the only one who saw those qualities. Other women were drawn to them like bees to honey.
It would not have been a problem if these men had confidence and didn’t feed off the energy coming from these women. I was tortured with suspicion. I cried, screamed, yelled, threatened, and did whatever I could, but I was unable to change the men.
These relationships turned into a huge source of stress—for me and for them.
I knew I couldn’t live like that anymore. I wanted to stare the fear in the eye and feel its cold breath on my face so that it would not have control over me anymore.
Once I recognized what I was doing, I began identifying outdated perspectives and beliefs that didn’t contribute to healthy relationships. Reviewing this short list may lead you to your own a-ha moments.
1. Be willing to be honest with yourself.
I could have avoided so much stress if I was willing to face my fear of abandonment. Instead, I shoved it into the back of my subconscious and pretended it was all my partner’s fault.
Eventually, it got too big to keep it under wraps. What we don’t know—or don’t want to know—can actually hurt us.
2. Recognize your love script.
We all have a love script ingrained in us that we unconsciously follow. If this script keeps bringing us pain and disappointment, we may have to pay more attention to what we’re doing and why.
Do you always go for women who have a lingering interest in another person?
Do you pick the guy who has a fun personality but still lives with his parents and can’t take care of himself financially?
Now look for other constants and pull from your family history to make connections. Your love script will reveal itself. Once you see it, it will all make sense.
3. Know that your expectations, not other people, cause disappointment.
Some of our expectations are not realistic, and in some cases, it isn’t our partner’s job to meet them.
Not knowing our expectations is a deadly trap that creates tension and resentment.
I felt shame when I tried to say, “But you didn’t call me after work before you went off to have drinks with your co-workers.” So instead, I would do the same to him in order to give him a taste of his own medicine.
He had no idea that I expected that from him. He would have, if I had known it myself and communicated it. But I didn’t. Instead, I reacted. Deep inside I knew that it was an act of control and it was childish. My hidden expectations slowly pulled us apart.
4. Realize you’re not the center of your partner’s world.
It sucks to find out that the world doesn’t revolve around you, doesn’t it? I used to think, “You mean, you don’t think of me all the time, fantasize about me, hang onto my every word, and see eye to eye with me on all areas of life? Wow, I thought you loved me.”
The truth is, they are their own person and they are having their own life experience. No matter how much they love us, we are still playing a role in their life, and aren’t their whole life.
For how long and how well we play that role is up to how each person does the relationship and lets the other person be themselves without trying to control or change them.
If we are unable to look at ourselves and be honest about our pain and how that fuels our behavior, we will keep repeating the same patterns.
I don’t know about you, but that got old for me, and I had to own my own fear of abandonment in order to untangle myself from this pattern. I am glad that I did.
Now, if I feel insecure in a relationship, I just think, “Oh, it’s that old fear again” and stay present. Now I feel like an adult most of the time instead of like a child who fears abandonment. It has made a whole world of difference for me, and it could for you as well.
Unhappy couple image via Shutterstock