Abandonment and Intimate Relationships
If you have the Abandonment lifetrap, your romantic relationships are seldom calm and steady. Rather, they often feel like roller coaster rides. This is because you experience the relationship as perpetually on the brink of catastrophe.
Danger Signals in the Early Stages of Dating
You probably feel drawn to lovers who hold some potential for abandoning you. Here are some warning signs. They are signs that your relationship is triggering your Abandonment lifetrap
1. Your partner is unlikely to make a long-term commitment because he/she is married or involved in another relationship.
2. Your partner is not consistently available for you to spend time together (e.g., he/she travels a lot, lives far away, is a workaholic).
3. Your partner is emotionally unstable (e.g., he/she drinks, uses drugs, is depressed, cannot hold down a regular job) and cannot be there for you emotionally on a consistent basis.
4. Your partner is Peter Pan, who insists on his/her freedom to come and go, does not want to settle down, or wants the freedom to have many lovers.
5. Your partner is ambivalent about you––he/she wants you but holds back emotionally; or one moment acts deeply in love with you and the next moment acts as though you do not exist.
Undermining Good Relationships
Even if you choose a partner who is stable, there are still pitfalls to avoid. There are still ways for you to reinforce your Abandonment lifetrap.
1. You avoid intimate relationships even with appropriate partners because you are afraid of losing the person or getting close.
2. You worry excessively about the possibility that your partner will die or otherwise be lost, and what you would do.
3. You overreact to minor things your partner says or does, and interpret them as signs that he/she wants to leave you.
4. You are excessively jealous and possessive.
5. You cling to your partner. Your whole life becomes obsessed with keeping him/her
6. You cannot stand to be away from your partner, even for a few days.
7. You are never fully convinced that your partner will stay with you.
8. You get angry and accuse your partner of not being loyal or faithful.
9. You sometimes detach, leave, or withdraw to punish your partner for leaving you alone.
It is possible that you are in a stable, healthy relationship, yet continue to feel that the relationship is unstable.
Whenever the relationship feels threatened in any way, you have a strong emotional reaction. It could be anything that breaks the connection with your partner––a momentary separation, the mention of someone who incites your jealousy, an argument, or a change in your partner’s mood. Your partner almost invariably feels you are overreacting, and might well express bewilderment.
It feels like a tremendous overreaction to a partner who does not share the lifetrap.
You usually do not feel good when you are alone: you probably feel anxious, depressed, or detached. You need the feeling of connection to your partner. As soon as your partner leaves, you feel disconnected. Usually this feeling of abandonment does not go away until your partner returns. You can distract yourself from it, but the feeling of being disconnected is always there. It lurks in the background waiting to engulf you. Almost everyone who has the lifetrap has a limit to the amount of time they can distract themselves, and then they cannot do it anymore.
The better you are at distraction, the longer you can be alone. The worse you are at distraction, the quicker you experience the wanting, the sense of loss, and the need to reconnect.
If your abandonment lifetrap is strong, it probably affects other intimate relationships such as close friendships. The same issues come up in a close friendship as in a romantic relationship, although not as intensely.
You have an underlying view of friendships as unstable. You cannot count on them to last. People come and go in your life. You are hypersensitive to anything that might threaten the connection with a friend––the person moving away, separations, the person not returning phone calls or invitations, disagreements, or the person developing other interests or preferring someone else.