Fear of being left can be intense… And it can strain a perfectly healthy relationship. What can you do?
With Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com and Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com and http://SexGeekSummerCamp.com.
Cathy: How do you deal with major fears of abandonment? He left. The thing is this can bother and be part of a relationship in general. It can be big problem if you have fears of abandonment and they’re difficult to deal with. This is Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com.
Reid: This is Cathy Vartuli from http://www.TheIntimacyDojo.com who’s now holding the arm of my chair.
Cathy: So he can’t leave.
Reid: What do you got?
Cathy: When we have fears of abandonment, if there’s jealousy becomes a big issue. If I’m afraid someone’s going to leave …
Reid: Then you’re jealous of anyone who might take him away.
Cathy: Or anything. Anything that distracts the attention becomes a threat. A lot of the fears of abandonment formed when we are very young. Most of our society teaches you to solve that problem, I’m just actually doing this for the video, is to hold on tighter. You can go away.
Reid: No, no!
Cathy: They teach you to hold on tighter and to blame your partner like, “How did you look at that person? Why did you spend so much time looking at that person or talking with that person?”
Reid: My chair is falling down. I’m short now. This is …
Cathy: Should we start again?
Reid: No, no. They love this stuff. I think you love it, maybe not.
Cathy: Leave comments below. In our society, we blame our partner or blame the other person for not spending more attention and time with us. We can sometimes blame the person or the thing that was distracting them. She should know better than to pull your attention. We’re in a middle of something or working on something. The truth is, our feelings are our own to deal with and there are ways to deal with fears of abandonment. We’re not clean so tight.
Reid: Like what?
Cathy: Instead of turning just to the person we want to hold on to, which is normal, like little kids, see they have one person they want to turn to and our society does teach people to look to one person. That’s like, prince charming or princess charming’s going to come and make everything better. That’s really common, but there’s no way to solve fear of abandonment in a two, in a dual place. Because someone could always go away, they could get sick, they could die. There’s always something that can happen. It really means needing to connect with a bunch of people and learning to have a circle of support. Having people around you, they can be there for you. There’s no way to solve it by holding on tighter. It’s not going to make any difference because you’re always going to still fear losing that person. They could leave and that fear of abandonment is often about feeling like you can’t survive by yourself. Again, that’s almost always started when we were really little.
Reid: Can I jump in here? From my lower position here looking up at Cathy. I think another thing, and again we’re not psychologist nor do we play psychologist on television, what I have noticed is in a situation where you see children who have a healthy amount of independence from their parents versus ones that cling, versus ones that are just fuckin’ [pat-choo 00:03:19] or they have an unhealthy non-attachment. What’s interesting for me is looking at abandonment issues and where they got generated. For most people, it’s usually around early childhood stuff, although you’ll meet people whose abandonment issues happen when they’re in adolescence or as adults because of that first love relationship or something like that. Or somebody basically dies unexpectedly and there’s kind of this PTSD type grieving, abandonment thing that happens. For me, when you look at where things got anchored, and re-parenting yourself, then there starts to become a distinction between I need people because I’m social …
Cathy: Human’s need. People.
Reid: I’m a social creature. I’m a primate, versus I’m going to die if this person takes their attention off of me.
Cathy: Right. I worked with a lot of people on this issue and a lot of them can relate it too when they were very little. Our primitive brain is looking for safety, the part of our survival brain. When we’re really, really little, we can’t survive without the attention of the people around us. We need mom and dad to pay attention or whoever our caregiver is. We need that attention, because if they don’t, we either eaten by hyenas or we starve to death or we choke on something. We literally need that to survive. A lot of us didn’t necessarily get it in the way we want it to happen. Our parents may have done their best but …
Reid: Wanting being from a six months old perspective? Or one year old …
Cathy: Yeah, very small child like our parents didn’t always do the best. They did the best they could but they didn’t necessarily meet all of our needs. Sometimes their parents takes are really low at the time when they were doing-
Reid: Or they were just fucked up parents.
Cathy: Or they didn’t even understand how-
Reid: Or they were hyenas. If your parents were actually hyenas, then that explains a lot.
Cathy: That’s why you get the lock cheque. I was reading a book on boundaries.
Reid: That was funny. That’s why I get the low cheque. All right, continue.
Cathy: I was reading a book on boundaries and he said something made a lot of sense to me and it’s like, “Small children that hadn’t have their support and attachment intention needs met are very adventurous son.” They’re like when they’re first learning to go away from their parents to say no and to set a boundary into like travel around the room without the parent. It’s an adventure, it’s exciting for them. They definitely look back to make sure mom or dad are still there. They go and then check in, but it becomes an adventure. Whereas children that haven’t had that, it’s terrifying. I noticed it myself, sometimes compared to other people like new things are really scary for me sometimes. Whereas for other people it’s like this really exciting adventure.
He can go back and heal those old wounds. Having a circle of people that can be there for us, can help ease the terror. Because if we’re really, really scared of being abandonment, we’re not thinking cognitively. We’re not thinking with our adult brain. We’re thinking with our survival brain who remembers when we were three, and we might have been choking on our thumb or whatever, and no one was there. Letting the adult brain come out.
Reid: What is some of the tools that you would advocate for getting people back into their adult brain, and not suck in some [inaudible 00:07:01] state from being three?
Cathy: Getting support, like especially if it’s a deep trauma like that or you’re really not in feeling present. Getting support is really important because the fear happen in isolation. It’s really hard to heal it in isolation.
Reid: It’s like, what kind of support?
Cathy: Coach or therapist.
Reid: Professional support?
Cathy: Yeah. Getting friends, having more friends who you know that you won’t be alone. Spending the time even when it doesn’t feel, like your primitive brain may be going that person is who you need to have, but it’s not necessarily true. It’s like that’s part of your, that’s early programming. I love meditation, emotional freedom techniques or something. I use a lot, or you can actually tap on the issue and help ease it. Working on the early fear, so you’re not reacting from that six month old. As an adult, if my really good friend who I adore spending time with doesn’t want to spend time with me, I can be disappointed.
Reid: Or just fell in love and is now cocooning with the person, their soul mate and now is not taking your calls.
Cathy: It can be disappointing inside but it doesn’t have to feel life-threatening. When they’re in deep fears of abandonment, it really does feel life-threatening, and I have so much compassion. I understand how terrifying it can feel, so if you can, get some support and start realizing that this is an old, old fear that is no longer true. As an adult, you’re not-
Reid: Because you’re actually an adult now. Got it. Where can people go to find support because I know you do this kind of stuff. Don’t come to me for this. I’m the wrong person, I will send you …
Cathy: Your advice is usually get over it.
Reid: No, like, go to the zoo and pet a hyena.
Cathy: I’m not going to give him the tall chair back.
Reid: That’s why I get the short chair.
Cathy: We do a lot of work on this on http://ThrivingNow.com, where we work with the primitive brain and early childhood traumas. We us emotional freedom techniques and had really, really good successful with a lot of people on them.
Reid: Leave some comments below and go to http://ThrivingNow.com. Trust me on this one, it’s way better than being attack by hyenas. Or getting the short chair.
Cathy: Wow, that’s an amazing testimonial.
Reid: That is, that is. Leave your comments below. Abandonment issues, jealousy, that kind of stuff. It’s human, but it doesn’t have to be your fate.
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