One of the consequences of experiencing any kind of abandonment is fear. Fear of trying again, fear of starting over, fear of being left behind, or fear of being abandoned all over again. Or my personal favorite is the possible fear of the emotional pain you may feel if in fact you are possibly hurt and abandoned perhaps in the future again.
Sometimes this fear only manifests if an opportunity comes your way where you may have to take a risk. The fear is so ingrained in your being, you don’t even know it’s there. Other times, you know it’s there and there is nothing you can do about it, well, except be afraid. The fear is so paralyzing, it sometimes produces anxiety to the point that you cannot move.
This is what happened to me after my last relationship ended. I wanted to move on, but there were times and are still times that I couldn’t emotionally or physically move. The fear of the same thing happening to me again paralyzed me. When anyone mentioned trying to date again, or “putting myself out there” (whatever that means), or participating in social events where I didn’t know anyone, well…
“Some of my feelings have been stored so long they have freezer burn.” -Melody Beattie
It felt better to isolate myself at home, or hang around my mom who has to love me, or being with friends that I knew wouldn’t reject me. This kind of support is an important part of the healing process, but it is also very safe. Venturing out into unknown territory filled me with so much anxiety. I am happy to say that I’ve recently been easing out of this anxiety. But I first had to deal with my feelings…
Huh? What does that mean? The concept of feelings and actually feeling them was foreign to me until I began working the 12 steps. I didn’t know that it was okay to feel feelings. Especially negative feelings like fear. I didn’t know how.
“Feelings are not acts; feeling homicidal rage is entirely different from committing homicide. Feelings shouldn’t be judged as either good or bad. Feelings are emotional energy; they are not personality traits (Beattie, 1992).”
Really? So it’s okay for me to feel these feelings of fear and it not mean that I’m pathetic or a loser? Yes.
Giving yourself permission to feel feelings sets you AND me on a path to emotional freedom.
- Beattie, Melody (2009-06-10). Codependent No More (Kindle Location 2152). BookMobile. Kindle Edition.