Unpicking the Fear of AbandonmentAug 10, 2020
by Dr Shuna Marr
I've been diving into some of my old journals, looking at some of the entries from early in my awakening to see what I can share to help those just starting out on their journey too.
Maybe that's you?
One of the first things I learned, after I awoke, is that the awakening path begins by realising that you have spent much of your life unconsciously operating programmes that you picked up in childhood, and that the journey is about starting to unpick them.
This awakening chronicles extract I'm sharing is from just a few months into my awakening.
It explores some conditioning I discovered, showing itself to me as an inability to say 'no' to doing things for my mum, without feeling guilty.
I recognised that at its base was a fear of abandonment.
I want to make clear up front that, at the time of this extract, my relationship with my mother was somewhat cool, but that I am in no way laying any blame or criticism on her for this.
My mother and I have been probably each other's biggest antagonists in this lifetime, and I now understand that this was perfect at that time, because we were always reflecting back that which we most needed to see on our soul journey. This has been a tremendous service she has offered me and for which I am now truly grateful.
We have since built a loving relationship, based on acceptance of the other as we are. As I became more true to myself, the less she needed to reflect back to me that which I needed to see.
However, at the time of writing this extract, we were in an uncomfortable phase.
Here is me, at the earliest stages of my awakening, starting to try to unpick the roots of this behaviour.
Journal Entry: 01 May 2017
Today my mum text me and asked me to take her to the supermarket. It is only the third time she has contacted me this year (any other time it has been me who has contacted her - usually getting a cold reception or being rebuffed) and each time she's contacted me it's been because she wanted me to do something for her.
At first I started to juggle in my head how I could do this for her, even though I was busy doing something else and didn't want to. However, now that I am learning about running programmes, I suddenly recognised that I was being manipulated and running some conditioned programming.
The programme is that mum asks me to do something and I have to reorganise my day to do what she asks. Sometimes I offer a compromise, but, as much as I can, I try to do it. I am realising that I have been programmed to obey her commands. If I do what she asks, she may give me brownie points. If I don't, she will try to make me feel guilty.
I felt into the guilt and told myself that it was okay to feel these feelings - I sent myself love and compassion - but these feelings indicate that something is out of alignment with reality.
Any negative feeling shows that I have a belief that is untrue.
I sat with the emotion a bit longer and realised that the root of the emotion was that I was constantly trying (unconsciously) to gain my mother's approval. There are parts of me that I have rejected - the parts of me that my mother didn't approve of. Unless I did what my mother wanted, I'd be punished. When I was a child that would have been with a skelp to the legs, or a promise of one, and later, as I became an adult, with disapproval or coldness.
I reminded myself that I don't need external approval. It is enough that I approve of myself and my own choices. I don't need to feel guilty that I don't want to drop everything and that I want to put my own needs first.
I watched Ali, of Perception Trainers', video on shame, because this felt associated with guilt.
She suggests that when I was a child, my parents, and in this case it would be my mother as the primary caregiver, will have shamed me for not behaving in a way that pleased her. They would make me feel I was wrong or bad for saying or doing something (probably not obeying, as this was the trigger).
Our caretakers have shame inside them and they pass on that shame. I've written about shame before, in this blog post.
In that moment, as a child, when I did not obey, and love was withdrawn, it activated a visceral survival fear that caused me to believe that there was something fundamentally wrong with me.
It made me believe (or realise) that love could be cut off - and for me, at that time, love and survival were inextricably interrelated.
So if my mum was being cold to me, or not loving, I feared for my survival. If my mum did not love me, then I could be abandoned and die, and my small mind did what it thought it needed to do, to keep that love there - because therein lay my safety.
So having learned that as a small child, ever since, whenever my mother is disapproving, it triggers this survival instinct and 'runs the programme'.
In our household when I was growing up, the common mantras were: "don't upset your mum"; "do as your mother tells you"; "go please your mum"; "don't set your mother off", as even my dad feared my mother's anger and withdrawal of love, and so he taught us to fear her withdrawing love too.
The giving and withdrawing of love was wielded as a control tool.
This led me to cut off parts of my personality because they were unacceptable. Often, I wasn't even sure what they were. I had no idea where or when the love was going to go away, because mum constantly changed the goalposts. What was acceptable on one day, was not okay on another. It made me constantly on alert, constantly unsure of whether I was going to do something 'wrong'. And I was blamed by my father if I 'set her off', as I was made to feel that I was the one at fault for her anger.
This made me feel that I was the one who had something fundamentally wrong with me. So I have gone through much of my life blaming myself and taking on the responsibility for other people's emotions and believing that I am the one that needed to fix my behaviour or thoughts, so that I would make myself 'good enough' for love not to go anywhere.
And, if I behave in a way that I think is 'bad', and worthy of shame, then I shame myself and take away love from myself. If I shame myself enough, then I will shame away those behaviours, so I will be worthy of love. And love will not come to me as long as I still behave in certain ways that are deemed unacceptable by others.
Thus I treat myself badly to try to stop these behaviours, to 'protect' myself from abandonment.
This behaviour is obviously not going to bring the love back, because, in that moment of self shaming, we abandon ourselves.
In trying to please others, because we fear abandonment, we bend ourselves out of shape and push parts of ourself away. To keep the love from going away externally, we cut ourselves off from the love inside.
However, when others, external to us, do turn away, this is the time we need to love ourselves the most. Tell ourselves "it's okay - I still love myself, even though I did that. I am not going to shame and blame myself. I have to love it inside myself. Love myself inside that behaviour".
I need to ask myself "Where is the wound that caused me to do that? How can I love it?" I must take responsibility for my behaviour, but not the blame. I need to love the child inside me that took on that behaviour in an attempt to keep herself safe. And realise that a huge amount of the behaviour wasn't bad in the first place. Just because it wasn't acceptable in our 'tribe', doesn't mean it was wrong.
End of extract
Looking back a this extract from today's perspective, I see that this was one of the first deep dives I made into the fear of abandonment, to get to the root trigger. I've been through many experiences of abandonment in my life and, over time, I had learned to give to myself that which I had previously sought outside of myself. I had suffered when it disappeared or was taken away, so I had learned to give it to myself.
However, this was the first time I started to heal this inner child that was stuck in that place of fearing her survival was threatened if she didn't obey.
Looking back at this extract, I see that I was still using the language of the victim, which was the role I was playing in the earlier stages of my life. Phrases jump out at me now, like, "she will try to make me feel guilty" or "I was made to feel that I was the one at fault" or "They made me feel...".
I now know that no one can 'make' you feel anything. Your emotions are your own and are triggered in response to thoughts inside your own head, based on beliefs you have about yourself. I can only feel guilty if I accept that I have done something that I perceive to be worth feeling guilty of. I have to buy into the false belief for this to work.
These triggers are there to reflect back to you that which you are being invited to see. Where you give away your power. Where you abandon yourself.
Over the past few years, this little chestnut has come round again a few times. Our learning comes in spirals, and each time it turned up it was more subtle, and I was able to see it from a higher perspective.
I was drawn to write this blogpost today, because this same fear reared its head again just 2 days ago.
I was invited by Spirit to look into my deepest and darkest fear, that of being left alone and abandoned by everyone, even my own children. It was a very intense experience. I was in a guided meditation and towards the end, I was in the body of myself as my inner child. We were taking part in a ceremony where we had to set intentions for moving forward, which I did. Then we were told to turn round and celebrate with all the family and friends who had gathered there to celebrate with us - and I turned round and there was nobody there for me.
No one who loved me. Everyone else was surrounded by family and friends and I was alone. The small child inside me felt totally panic. I heard all the old false beliefs pushing up: I had got it wrong, I hadn't got it perfect and so nobody loved me. I would be punished for getting it wrong by the love going away. I was all alone.
I heard and felt it all from the child's perspective.
It was indeed an extremely visceral experience, as I was experiencing it as that small child part of me who felt the fear of abandonment and first formed those false beliefs.
However, now I knew that, as my awakened adult self, I could step up and be the one who was there for 'inner child' me. I could be the one to comfort her and give her love. Keep her safe.
I have learned to turn up for myself in every situation. Recognising that even if everyone in the world turned their back on me, I would be okay, because I had that inner love and could always give it to myself, even if no one else did.
Of course, we all have others who love us, and our spirit team is always with us. We are all part of the oneness of everything, so that feeling of separation and total abandonment is an illusion that we entertain as humans. However, as my human self, I looked into that deepest fear and found myself equal to stepping up and being there for and with myself.
It was uncomfortable, and there were lots of tears as the emotions were released, but I felt it clear out of my cells to the very deepest level. I had to be pretty gentle with myself for the rest of the day.
So what I wanted to share, as the bottom line of this blogpost, is that examining your triggers can be an intense and sometimes rough journey.
To look inside and recognise these things about yourself, and let them go, is not a cake walk.
However, on the other side of these intense emotional releases (that we often have spent so much of our life numbing out and running away from), is a freedom and happiness that we never knew existed.
A connection to our inner love and compassion.
Often people are attracted to the 'fancy' stuff of awakening. The manifesting and travelling to other dimensions - and that has its place, of course - but at its heart, at its core, awakening is about reuniting ourselves with all the lost and abandoned parts of ourselves (that we rejected, to keep the love from going away and keep ourselves safe) and bringing them back to love.
The beautiful thing is that this love is already there inside ourselves, we just need to break through the layers of conditioning and connect with it.
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