The Fear of Abandonment (Part 2)
Welcome to our MoodMe Channel. I’m Dr. Nicole Lunan, a specialist in emotional intelligence and CEO and co-founder of a new app called MoodMe. And today, we are going to be learning about one of the Moods featured on the app – the fear of abandonment.
This is video two in a three-part video series. If you haven’t watched the first video, circle back to it because it can provide a deeper understanding of the information in this video. This video features a real-life example of how the fear of abandonment can tear apart relationships.
Kylie's traumatic event: Dad left her and her mother when she was nine years old for another woman and started a brand-new family. Therefore, she has the self-limiting belief that anybody she opens her heart will abandon and her.
Stage 1. The urge
The urge is a trickster feeling. You may think that you are over dating and opening yourself up to people, only to be pulled into the urge’s powerful gravitational force. A little attention goes a long way, especially if you’ve just gotten out of a relationship lacking attention and kindness. You may think, why not engage with flirtation, it’s fun, and it makes me feel good. It won’t go further than that. And that’s where many of us are terribly wrong.
Kylie just got out of a bad relationship.
Swore that she didn’t want to date anymore.
Relationships were bad news.
Being vulnerable and opening her heart has always resulted in being hurt, so why invest in another person again?
Then the urge came. She was out at a bar with her friends. She went to get a round of drinks, and as she turned around, another bumped directly into her, thus spilling the drinks on her jacket and the floor.
Frustrated, she looked up and saw a good-looking man staring back at her with an apologetic look on his face.
“I’m so sorry,” he said while calling the bartender over to gather napkins.
“Please let me replace your round,” it’s the least I can do.
“I don’t usually let strangers buy me drinks,” Kylie said while discarding her soaked jacket.
“Understandable, my name is Ryan. There we aren’t strangers anymore”, as he held out his hand, a smile filled with assurance spread across his face.
Kylie looked up from cleaning to see Ryan with an outstretched hand.
“Kylie,” she said with a soft smile.
Stage 2. Casual dating
Kylie and Ryan began casually dating. Dating wasn’t something Kylie was fond of as it could be awkward, but everything appeared to flow naturally with Ryan. When Ryan would accidentally brush Kylie’s arm, goosebumps would erupt, and she would feel a surge of energy originating from deep within. Kylie and Ryan’s sexual chemistry was undeniable. Kylie decided to ignore her friends’ warnings. “Take it slow, ky.” “I thought you said you were done dating for a while.”
“I just want to have fun, and I haven’t gotten laid in a while” “Let me,” she pleaded with her friends. After all, her last relationship was so serious. Ryan was the opposite of that. He was lighthearted and seemed to find the silver lining in each situation.
It was on the second date that she tumbled into Ryan’s bed. Drunkenly making out with each other, they made love for the first time. Ryan was a gentleman, even asked permission, said he would wait. But Kylie knew what she wanted. The last thing she wanted to do was wait.
Flirtation + Focused attention + High physical attraction can lead you into the next phase = the honeymoon phase.
Stage 3. The Honeymoon Phase
Kylie felt like she was on a natural high. Ryan had this ability to bring this goddess energy out of her. Her hair was more wild and free-flowing. She felt as if she was glowing from the inside out. Kylie and Ryan couldn’t keep their hands off each other. Even in public, they would find themselves sneaking kisses at dinner, in the movies, on the sidewalk for the world to see. Kylie began seeing Ryan every other day, spending the night at his downtown loft with floor-to-ceiling windows. In the mornings, she would wake up to the beautiful sight of clouds, golden sunshine, and a kiss on the back of her neck.
One night Kylie and Ryan were tucked under the covers and eating Chinese food takeout. They spoke about their past relationships.
“My dad left my mom and me for another woman when I was 9.”
“I just couldn’t trust any of my past partners. In one way or another, they always managed to let me down.” Kylie explained.
Many of my exes were very controlling. I felt like I had to do everything I could to please them like I was walking on eggshells.” Ryan explained
They took turns diving into their relationship history while simultaneously agreeing that their relationship would be different this time. That it had already started much differently than the others. They vowed to be open with each other about their feelings.
Stage 4. Reality Check
Three months down the road, Kylie and Ryan began to spend most of their days together. Phrases like “I love you” and “You are my soulmate” were being thrown around. Kylie even had most of her important belongings in Ryan’s loft. Ryan’s boss, who was going through a divorce, had become very demanding and requesting that he work longer hours and prove that he deserves his place at the company. At his boss’s request, Ryan was to attend a work conference in Miami. Ryan being away for a week secretly made Kylie worried. Miami was a party town, and they had never been apart for that long since they’ve met. “It will be ok”, Ryan said. “I’ll call you every night.”
While Ryan was away, Kylie began to develop a tight feeling in her chest. Even though she would hang out with her friends, who had been complaining that Kylie had just disappeared for another guy, Kylie’s mind was elsewhere. She was wondering what Ryan was doing. Although he had been calling at the end of the night, their conversations were short, and Ryan was drunk from work dinners. Now that they couldn’t touch each other, Kylie began questioning how much she really knew him. As if she was coming out of a fog, she was shocked about how the relationship had progressed so quickly when she originally wanted to take some time to heal herself.
On the third night, Kylie waited for Ryan’s call. Each hour passed that passed by without hearing from Ryan, make Kylie’s panic worsen. She attempted to go to sleep, only to find herself staring at the ceiling. Whipping out her phone, she looked at his Instagram. Nothing was posted after 7 pm. Investigating each of the likes on his recent pictures, she checked out the Instagram of a strikingly beautiful woman named Noelle, who worked at the same company as Ryan. She tapped on her stories only to find drunkenly shot stories of Ryan and his co-workers out at dinner, karaoke bar, then something that looked like a club. She paused the story on a snapshot of Ryan taking a shot. “That asshole,” she thought as a cloud of anger swarmed her mind.
Here’s the thing. Nobody is perfect, and if you expect people to be perfect every second of their lives, you are in for a very disappointing future. People you love are going to make mistakes. You are going to make mistakes. These triggers will happen in relationships. I compare relationships to walking blindly in a field where there are hidden bombs. You don’t know where these triggers are hidden, but you’ll know when they react.
It’s easy to think that Ryan should have told Kylie about Noelle, but realistically many wouldn’t have bothered. If he was truly over Noelle, the thought would have been less likely to cross his mind because he looks at her as a real friend.
The Reaction + Sabotage
Kylie woke up to three phone calls and a slew of “I’m sorry” text messages from Ryan. “I completely blacked out,” he tried to explain.
“What were you doing out so late? Aren’t you supposed to be there for work? And who were you with?” she texted. She didn’t want him to know that she snooped on him.
“Listen, I know I failed you by not calling. But I’ve called every other night, and why does it matter who I’m with? You’re the one I’m crazy about. These work trips can get a little crazy. Most of the deals happen when we are out,” Ryan responded.
Kylie didn’t like the way Ryan answered her question. She decided to ignore him for a while. Teach him a lesson. If he were going to forget her, then she would do the same to him. And who was that Noelle girl? Ryan never told her that he worked closely with another woman, especially one that looked like that.
Filled with insecurity and dark thoughts, Kylie went back to Noelle’s Instagram and went through all her pictures. About thirty min later and five years down the timeline, she found a picture of Noelle and Ryan hugging each other on a beach in some exotic place. “Vacation with bae,” the caption read. Kylie felt like she was going to explode. “Why didn’t he tell me that he had dated somebody that he works with?”
Kylie’s reaction to Ryan dropping the ball was to immediately not trust him and assume malicious intent. If we think about it, did he deserve this type of response to a first-time misstep? He hadn’t treated Kylie wrong in the past and hadn’t shown her that he couldn’t be trusted. Would you want to be treated this way if you made a mistake?
Kylie moved quickly into sabotaging by not giving Ryan a full chance to explain himself before she went snooping on social media. Social media = drama in relationships. If you want to start some drama in a relationship, go snoop on there, and you will surely find something to be upset about. She acted passive-aggressive by ignoring Ryan. Then Kylie found a picture to instigate a fight about and then demanded that Ryan prove his trustworthiness.
When Ryan returned from his trip, it was like he came back to a completely different girlfriend. Even though he apologized relentlessly for his lack of communication, he felt like Kylie didn’t forgive him. On the contrary, she felt like he was paying for it. She would make little paper cut comments about his character and meaningless things like the likes on his Instagram and asked that he posts her more. Kylie had become more demanding in general. She wanted to be with him 24/7, and with the pressure of work, he didn’t have much energy left for himself. What used to be a fun and carefree relationship was starting to feel heavy. Ryan was getting frustrated. He didn’t cheat on Kylie; however, he was getting punished as he had. All her negative comments + criticism made Ryan not want to be around Kylie as much, let alone engage in deep physical intimacy.
After Ryan returned from his trip, Kylie felt like she couldn’t trust him. Resentment replaced kindness and vulnerability in her heart. She couldn’t let go of the fact that he worked so closely with a beautiful woman that he used to be with. She often compared herself to Noelle. She wanted more assurance from him, so she nudged him to post pics of them on his Instagram. But even that felt like it wasn’t enough.
On top of that, she felt like Ryan was pulling away from her. They used to have a wild sex life, and nowadays, he barely touched her. She began to think that he must be having sex with someone else, Noelle possibly. So, she made sure to spend many of her nights at Ryan’s loft.
Ryan ended up breaking things off with Kylie. Everything had changed after his work trip, and he realized that no matter what he did, he couldn’t make Kylie trust him again. He felt like he was falling back into his people-pleasing tactics and allowing another person to rule his life.
Kylie was devasted when Ryan broke up with her. She still assumed that he had cheated on her in Miami and told all her friends that’s why they broke up. “I just couldn’t trust him,” she would say. “If he would have just been more honest with me, none of this would have happened.” Her friends would nod and add fuel to the fire by agreeing with her. “He’s a freaking jerk. He’s hiding something for sure. You guys were doing so good.”
Does any of this sound familiar to you?
Do you recognize a pattern like this in your relationships?
It is much easier to see it in a story outside of yourself than to recognize the fear of abandonment playing out in your life.
Stay tuned for the following video, which will cover coaching tips and strategies about stopping the fear of abandonment!
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