Let’s Talk Self Love and Abandonment
Can you love someone else if you do not love yourself? I see that question tossed around a lot on the internet. The consensus is no, that one must love themselves in order to love someone else. But my therapist perplexed me when she flipped that question. She asked me if I love myself, I told her no one loves me more than I love me. Further into our session I mentioned that I find it extremely difficult to accept love from other humans. She stopped me “but you just told me that you love yourself, if that was the case you would not have such difficulty accepting that love from the outside”. I see her point and it really made me stop and get to thinking (this is not hard to do I overthink quite literally everything). I came to the conclusion that as humans we have trouble accepting love for an array of reasons but I think it boils down to two main ones. Either we do not think we are deserving of the love or we fear losing the love once we have it. I think if you are the former, there is room for improvement on your self love, why do you think you don’t deserve the love you so openly give? For myself, I am the latter, I am overcome with fear that the person will change their mind and leave.
I have abandonment issues, I have a lot of issues, but let’s start with abandonment. I think a great deal of my other issues stem from this one. This started when my uncle died unexpectedly in a car crash. By no means did he mean to abandon me, but he did. Ever since I have suffered from severe panic attacks over leaving and being left. I will stay in something even when it adds nothing to my life. I don’t want anyone to feel like I am abandoning them. I have continued to work at places, maintained relationships of all kinds, kept cars, and so on, simply because I don’t want to quit on them. I’ve had breakdowns over coworkers leaving, when friends move away I sob uncontrollably. In my mind they are leaving ME, I do not see it as them doing something good for themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always happy for them and I cheer them on but internally I am screaming and asking why are you leaving me?
I bet you’re wondering how I maintain romantic relationships. I’ll put it simply, I don’t. For a long time after I lost my virginity I had one night stands and that was it. I did not trust myself not to get attached and I did not trust the other person not to leave. To me that would be the ultimate abandonment, I give you every single inch of who I am as a human and you can still walk away? That sounded like something you don’t ever get over, I didn’t want to know. I also know how I am, remember how I said I stay in things for too long? That’s exactly what happened to me. I allowed abuse, cheating, lying, everything bad you can imagine, because I didn’t want to abandon him. It took a really long time but when I got out I swore never again. And I haven’t. I will love the devil out of anyone and everyone but I do not allow someone to love me in return. Because if they don’t love me then I have an excuse for the abandonment. It hurts still and I will cry and beg them not to go. But when it comes time to look in the mirror I can say “it’s okay, they just didn’t love you, but you love you”.
Hyper independent people did not choose to live this way, this lifestyle was created for them. At one point in time they needed someone and no one was there. It is easier to show up for ourselves than risk being let down by others. Self love is so important but I am finding it can also hinder the ability to let another love you too. Because when you have abandonment issues it’s so much easier to love yourself than risk giving that responsibility to someone else.