It seems that plenty of folks deal with the existential fear of abandonment to some extent. I base this statement upon the anecdotal evidence of conversations I’ve had with acquaintances, friends, and other loved ones. In too many instances their fear was based upon childhood experiences of living in severely dysfunctional families. In other cases, some of my friends suffered the heartbreak of fiancés or lovers who left them for someone else.
My own past abandonment issues recently came to mind after experiencing a lucid dream about my ex. In the dream, he apologized for leaving me and everyone else behind without any notice whatsoever. Perhaps the dream was a manifestation of wishful thinking or perhaps unresolved questions bubbling up to the surface from my subconscious. In either case, the dream triggered a few hours of contemplation about abandonment.
The abandonment happened in the spring of 1999. Our relationship seemed to be very healthy. We got along nicely; disagreements and quarrels were discussed with any negotiations happening promptly. We were not only lovers but close friends to each other. One morning, I received a phone call from his employer to ask if Steve was planning to come to work. The boss had been unable to reach him at his home phone. I told the supervisor that I did not know.
I drove to Steve’s apartment, only to discover that it was locked. His landlady said that Steve had given notice that he was moving and that he had left the apartment for good the previous night. The landlady did not have a forwarding address. I soon checked with Steve’s other friends; yet none of them had clues about the disappearance. For all intents and purposes, my BF had vanished from the face of the Earth.
As you might imagine, this was a traumatic experience for me. Not knowing what had happened to Steve, my imagination conjured up many possible scenarios along with much overthinking and worry. It took the better part of two years to accept the abandonment.
A few years later, one of our mutual friends said she learned that he had been seen in eastern Colorado. This was only a rumor, so she could not provide further details. At least we could assume that Steve was still alive. It was clear that for whatever reasons, he simply up and left town without notifying his employer, his friends, and me. He was never much of a letter writer nor someone who liked to use a telephone, so none of us was ever notified as to his whereabouts. Meanwhile, my recent lucid dream reawakened this issue.
A common problem in one on one relationships, is that some people seek aid and comfort when times get rough. They befriend those who are able to provide some type of support. After they have become fulfilled, they drift away towards others. I imagine them behaving like bees who go from flower to flower to gather pollen and nectar. It was after this realization that I was able to sharpen my perception and become more discerning about people’s possible motives. That said, I still feel compassion towards people who have fallen upon hard times.
People have had to face abandonment issues since the dawn of time. For any number of reasons, it happens to the best of us. Sometimes absences are resolved and other instances the abandonments remain a mystery. Regarding Steve, I have forgiven, but will probably never forget. These many years later, all I can do is accept what has happened and cheerfully go on with normal, everyday life.
I hope this post has been of benefit in some way to you.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes the late David Bowie. “I’m not one of those guys that has a great worldview. I kind of deal with terror and fear and isolation and abandonment.”
Abandonment really messes with the mind!
And the terrifying thoughts that result. You deserved the assurance of his welfare and safety.
The lack of any verifiable closure is haunting.
No one deserves to have their mind tortured. I knowcofca lady who left her 4 little daughters and one of the daughters never stopped searching for her mother’s face in the public, in crowds and everywhere that she went in life. The girls never got their mommy back but they did get closure. She went and remarried and started a new family.
I feel for those poor daughters. To have this happen in childhood can cause severe psychological problems.
Very true. The little girl who constantly searched for her mom was scarred badly. Then there are people who just go missing. What a head trip. Life can be a monster when we encounter so many horrifying situations.
The sense of abandonment comes in many forms, sadly. Several years ago, here in California, a little girl lost her mother, who died. The little girl was so bereft and inconsolable that, as she told her family, she “just wanted to be with Mommy in Heaven”. The next day, she went out and lay on the commuter train tracks and was killed. Over the years, I have thought of that poor baby, and I have wept every time. Time has lessened the pain, but not the memory.
That is so deeply tragic.
What a heartbreaking story, but you have survived.
At the time, it felt like an existential crisis. Meditation and philosophical study were key ingredients to transcend the void.
I’m sorry, that sounds like a horrible experience. If only he had had more courage to deal with his issues, he could have left his loved ones in a much better place rather than with these unresolved questions. judgemental? yes, probably…..!!
The scenario basically boils down to the lack of courage. It seems that he did not intend to harm anyone, but ultimately he caused profound distress.
Absolutely. Ghosting is a very hurtful behaviour.
We never really know what is going on in someone else’s mind and heart.
Even though we’ve been very close to them for nearly two decades, they remain enigmatic.
I’m fine thanks and you