What makes someone an abandoholic?
Abandoholism sets in when
you’ve been hurt so many times that you’ve come to equate insecurity with love. Unless you’re pursuing someone
you’re insecure about, you don’t feel in love.
Conversely, when someone comes
along who wants to be with you, that person’s availability fails to arouse the required
level of insecurity. If you can’t feel those yearning, lovesick feelings, then you don’t feel attracted, so you
keep pursuing unavailable partners.
You become psychobiologically
addicted to the high stakes drama of an emotional challenge and the love-chemicals that go with it.
Abandoholism is driven by both fear of abandonment and
fear of engulfment.
When you’re attracted
to someone, it arouses a fear of losing that person. This fear causes you to become clingy and needy. You try to hide your
insecurity, but your desperation shows through, causing your partners to lose romantic interest in you. They sense your emotional
suction cups aiming straight toward them and it scares them away.
Fear of engulfment is at the
opposite end of the spectrum. It occurs when someone is pursuing you and now you’re the one pulling back. You feel engulfed
by that person’s desire to be with you. When fear of engulfment kicks in, you panic. Your feelings shut down. You no
longer feel the connection. The panic is about your fear of being engulfed by the other person’s emotional expectations
of you. You fear that the other person’s feelings will pressure you to abandon your own romantic needs.
Fear of engulfment is one
of the most common causes for the demise of new relationships, but it is carefully disguised in excuses like: "He just doesn’t
turn me on." Or "I don’t feel any chemistry." Or "She’s too nice to hold my interest." Or "I need more of a challenge."
Abandoholics tend to swing back and forth between fear of abandonment and fear of engulfment. You’re either pursuing hard-to-get-lovers, or you’re feeling turned off by someone who IS interested
What is Abando-phobism?
Abandophobics are so afraid
of rejection that they avoid relationships altogether.
Abandophobics act out their
fear of abandonment by remaining socially isolated, or by appearing to search for someone, when in fact they are pursuing
people who are unattainable, all to avoid the risk of getting attached to a real prospect – someone who might abandon
them sooner or later.
There is a little abandophobism in every abandoholic.
For both abandoholics and abandophobics, a negative attraction is more compelling than a positive
You only feel attracted when you’re in pursuit. You wouldn’t join
any club who would have you as a member, so you’re always reaching for someone out of reach.
How do abandoholism and
abandophobism set in?
These patterns may have been cast in childhood. You struggled to get more attention from your parents but you
were left feeling unfulfilled, which caused you to doubt your self-worth. Over time, you internalized this craving for approval
and you learned to idealize others at your own expense. This became a pattern in your love-relationships.
Now as an adult, you recreate this scenario by giving your love-partners all of your power, elevating them above
yourself, recreating those old familiar yearnings you grew accustomed to as a child. Feeling emotionally deprived and "less-than"
is what you’ve come to expect.
Why does the insecurity linger?
Recent scientific research shows that rather
than dissipate, fear tends to incubate, gaining intensity over time. Insecurity increases with each romantic rejection, causing
you to look to others for something you’ve become too powerless to give yourself:
When you seek acceptance from a withholding
partner, you place yourself in a one-down position, recreating the unequal dynamics you had with your parents or peers. You
choreograph this scenario over and over.
Conversely, you are unable to feel anything
when someone freely admires or appreciates you.
This abandonment compulsion is insidious.
You didn’t know it was developing. Until now you didn’t have a name for it: Abandoholism is a new concept.
Insecurity is an aphrodisiac.
If you are a hard-core abandoholic, you’re
drawn to a kind of love that is highly combustible. The hottest sex is when you’re trying to seduce a hard-to-get lover.
Insecurity becomes your favorite aphrodisiac. These intoxicated states are produced when you sense emotional danger –
the danger of your lover’s propensity to abandon you the minute you get attached.
the other end of the seesaw, you turn off and shut down when you happen to successfully win someone’s love. If your
lover succumbs to your charms – heaven forbid – you suddenly feel too comfortable, too sure of him to stay interested.
There’s not enough challenge to sustain your sexual energy. You interpret your turn-off as his not being right for you.
How about following your gut?
an abandoholic, following your gut is probably what got you into these patterns in the first place. Your gut gets you to pursue
someone who makes your heart go pitter pat, not because he’s the right one, but because he arouses fear of abandonment.
And your gut gets you to avoid someone who is truly trustworthy, because he doesn’t press the right insecurity buttons.
Enrich your mind. Follow your wisdom. But until you overcome your abandonment compulsion,
don’t follow your gut – it will only get you into trouble – because your gut tells you that unavailable
people are attractive.
Profile of an Abandoner
Abandoners come in every possible
size, shape, shade, age, social form & disposition. Parents, friends, employers & lovers can become abandoners, usually without realizing the pain they cause.
Abandonment recovery is dedicated
to raising public awareness about the pain & trauma of being abandoned & to foster deeper commitment, sensitivity
& responsibility within relationships.
In searching for connections, it's often difficult to tell who is safe
to attach to & who isn't capable of being emotionally responsible - who is worthy of trust & who is an abandoner.
What complicates the picture even more is that one person's abandoner
might be another's permanent partner.
Also, many abandonment
victims, depending on certain conditions, go on to become abandoners themselves.
surrounding relationships are so complex and variable, that it is neither wise nor fair to make moral judgments, point fingers,
or draw generalizations. Most of us can be both abandonees and abandoners - it just depends on the context.
HOWEVER, there are serial abandoners - abandoners who get secondary gain from inflicting emotional
pain on someone who loves them. For them, creating devastation is their way of demonstrating power, power, and sometimes anger.
But even abandoners who are not motivated by power, might
experience a heightened sense of self-importance as an unintentional by-product. As regretful as they may feel about hurting
you, they can't help but go on an ego trip as they witness the intensity of your agonized desire for them.
Although their heads might be slightly swelled, your exes will not admit openly to these feelings of triumph.
This would make them seem like cads. Instead they tend to speak about their more humble feelings, like their regret over having
caused you "disappointment" or "inconvenience" (note the understatements!). They are usually easily distracted from their
guilt and remorse, because they get caught up in their new lives (and new loves) with greater sense of freedom, newness, and
an enlarged ego.
Many abandoners, however, are able to
bypass regret by remaining oblivious to the emotional crisis they have caused. This obliviousness seems callous and self centered
to the one who has been left behind - the one who was thrust into the torment of abandonment.
Ironically, this puts them in a one-up position to you, and you tend to idealize them, making it that much harder
to let go of your abandoners, even when they have treated you badly.
abandoners also attempt to BLAME you for the break up. It's because you were too "needy" or "dependent" or "angry,"
they might say. Meanwhile, if you have become "needy" or "dependent" or "angry" it is not because you ARE these things, but
because you were REACTING to their gradually pulling away. None-the-less, you will beat yourself up for these things anyway.
The reason they blame you is to justify their actions and avoid feeling guilty.
Their agenda is to sustain their positive self- image at all costs - even if it has to be at your expense. So they take as
little responsibility as possible for hurting you. Their denial and blame add insult to injury. As the abandonee, you must
grapple alone with the pieces of a broken relationship, feeling rejected and "kicked while your down" by their blame, criticism,
betrayal, and rejection.
Then you turn the rage over being rejected against yourself,
and you blame yourself, causing your self-esteem to plummet and your spirit to sink into a major depression. In this way,
you abandon yourself.
Soul searching is an inevitable and necessary part of surviving
abandonment. It's a time to take personal responsibility for the extent to which you contributed to the difficulties within
your relationship. It's a painful and humbling process, and if done constructively, leads to deep personal growth. During
the soul-searching, you tend to be even more vulnerable (and gullible) to your abandoner's blame than usual. What you are
looking for is honest, accurate, constructive feedback so that you can learn from this experience. But what you often get
are your abandoners' "blaming excuses" for his/her own commitment problem.
are love-challenged. They only feel "love" for you when they are pursuing you. But as soon as you become attached to them,
their love feelings subside. They don't realize they're "love-challenged." They convince themselves and everyone else (including
their friends and therapists) that they "just haven't met the right person." Sound familiar? If you're an abandonoholic, you've
most likely been drawn to someone who is love-challenged -and you may have this issue yourself. More about Abandoholism.
Let it be said that
many abandoners don't set out to abandon. They don't hurt-by-intention. Many are just human
beings struggling to find the answers to life's difficult challenges along with everyone else.
to the extent that abandoners are able to blame, remain oblivious, or stay in denial of
the other person's pain, abandonment recovery reaches out to them to increase their awareness as well. The program
is devoted to the growth and development of all of those who struggle to sustain relationships - - abandoners & abandonees
alike. Journey from Abandonment, the workbook, Journey from Heartbreak, and Black Swan are designed to
enhance this awareness.
Go to Contact us &/or Survey Board to add your own personal impressions of your abandoner to add to our "Profile of an Abandoner."
PROFILE OF AN ABANDONER
usually don’t like to stereotype, but I can’t help but wonder if “abandoners”
can be identified, stamped, and catalogued. Someone suffering through an abandonment – after being left by someone s/he loves – spends a great deal of time analyzing the abandoner. It’s called obsession.
It’s the mind’s attempt to “understand” what has caused the dense tissues of one’s love-attachment to rip apart. So we “study” the abandoner’s putative
“pathologies” and character traits – searching for clues is an effort to feel sane again.
So, based upon hundreds of
emails filled with such obsessive analysis, not to mention my own personal experiences, I have tried to come up with a profile
of an abandoner.
Abandoners come in every possible
size, shape, shade, age, social form, and disposition. Parents, friends, employers, and lovers can become abandoners, usually without realizing the pain they cause.
out there looking for new relationships might not be able to tell who is safe to attach to and who is liable to abandon you. Even those who are incapable of being emotionally responsible, look like ideal partners in the beginning when
they are trying to win you over with their charms. Unless you know their M.O. (that
they’ve dumped a lot of people before), it’s impossible to know for sure just who is trustworthy
and who is an abandoner.
What complicates the picture
even more is that one person's abandoner is another's permanent partner. Also, many
abandonment victims go on to become abandoners themselves. The circumstances surrounding relationships
are so complex, that no one of us is really in a position to point the finger. Most of us can swing back and forth –
sometimes we’re abandonees and sometimes abandoners.
But everyone knows that are
serial abandoners – you know, the ones who get off on inflicting emotional pain on
the other person. They create devastation to show their power and sometimes, to express their anger – anger pent up from some dark corner of own abandonment history, perhaps.
But even abandoners who are not power-driven, can get a swelled head as an unintentional by-product of hurting you. They might feel badly about it, but they can't help but go on an ego trip as they witness the intensity of your
agonized desire for them. They’re not, however, about to openly admit to feelings of triumph. This would make
them seem like cads. Instead they try to show their humble feelings of regret over having caused you “disappointment” or “inconvenience” (note the understatements!).
They are usually easily distracted from their guilt, because they get caught up in their new lives (and new loves).
Yes, many abandoners seem oblivious to the emotional crisis they have caused by leaving you. This obliviousness seems
callous and self centered to the one who was thrust into the torment of abandonment.
Ironically, this somehow puts
them in a one-up position to you, and what do you do? You idealize THEM. This makes it that much harder to let go. The more they hurt you, the deeper their hook sunk into your heart.
attempt to BLAME the one they left behind – for the break up. “It’s because you were too needy and
dependent” or “angry,” they might say.
Meanwhile, yeah, okay, you
became “needy,” “dependent,” “angry,” but not because you ARE these things, but because you were REACTING to their gradually
pulling away. None-the-less, you will beat yourself up anyway.
The reason abandoners blame the other person is to justify their actions and avoid feeling guilty. They want to keep their
positive self- image at all costs – at your expense. They take as little responsibility as possible, and this just adds insult to injury. Now, as the abandonee, you’re
left to grapple with the pieces of a broken relationship, feeling rejected and “kicked while your down” by their
blame, criticism, betrayal, and rejection.
Then, of course, you turn
the rage over being rejected against yourself, and you blame yourself, causing your self-esteem to plummet and your spirit to sink into a major depression.
Not that you don’t have
some of your own soul searching to do. It’s really important to take personal responsibility for your side of
the difficulties in the relationship. This self-evaluation process is painful and necessary. If you do it constructively,
you’ll grow. But during the soul-searching, you’re even more vulnerable (and gullible) to your abandoner’s
blame than usual. Instead of getting honest feedback, what you usually get is your abandoners’ “excuses” for his/her
own commitment problem.
But wait a minute, let’s
be honest. Most abandoners (don’t forget, we have
all been abandoners at one time or other) do not set out to abandon. They aren’t tying to hurt you. Most are just human beings struggling to find the answers to life's difficult challenges along with everyone else.
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