I have always thought as a kid I was strong. I grew up in a community where I was the only white kid and I was bullied on a regular basis at school but I never told my parents and I knew telling the woman in the school yard at recess was futile, ultimately my bullies would find me whether after school or a part of the playground where no one was watching. So although I was small I fought back I learned to rely on myself for protection. I learned to be strategic. I was strong. I never thought of myself as anxious or scared. One day recently my mom said something to me that set in motion some light bulb moments for me. She said “you always had a hard time with your father leaving”. I inquired further. She said “you became anxious and sad.”
Let me explain further, my father never abandoned us; my parents were married for 38 years until his death in 2008. I don’t even remember those feeling or times she speaks of. I know he often left on business trips all over Canada. He was involved in suicide prevention for Canadian aboriginals. He pioneered the group home system for the Crees and intervention plans. My father’s clients needed him and he worked very hard for the betterment of others. Yes, he wasn’t very present as a father but I understand he had a calling and he was very good at what he did.
But when I assess some of the feelings I have today I realize I have always had a hard time saying goodbye. Example whenever I have gone to visit my best friend or my mom when I leave to go home, I get anxious and I become very saddened as if this was the last time i would see them. In romantic relationships I have always felt abandoned and my fear of abandonment negatively infiltrates itself into daily interactions. It’s bizarre to make the connection but I equate leaving with abandonment. It’s a hurt that I think has played a role in the demise and dysfunction of many of my relationships
This pain or hurt whatever you want to call it has affected my life in a very direct way. Why is separation anxiety such a difficulty for me? Why does it play a role in my interpersonal relationships? Why does it cause me to become fearful? I don’t have the answers yet.