Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – Abandonment Trauma

First I’d like to say Hello to all the new followers that have joined me recently! ::waves:: I hope you like it here, or at least find it interesting here. Say hi, leave me comments, or yanno, keep lurking. Friday is my on-going series that I call Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy. I discuss and dissect the things that I have been going over in therapy. That said, let’s get to it.
Yesterday I saw Psychiatrist and Therapist. No new developments in my meds. I’m happy with the Pristiq. Still going. I told her I had a meltdown the night before. It hasn’t happened in a very long time though. She said things like that will occasionally happen along the road to recovery. It doesn’t negate the progress I’ve made so far.
Therapy. I don’t know how to describe how I felt going in to therapy.   Resigned, I guess. I was so exhausted and so emotionally drained that I don’t think I had room for the anxiety or worry about disappointment.
She asked how things with me and Tech Boy were going. I told her about my meltdown Wednesday night. I told her how he told me he was going out of state this weekend and that I snapped (not at him). I was frustrated and disappointed and just broke down and cried. She asked me why I got so upset. I told her I guess it was because I was more attached to him than I thought and for once I’d like someone I invest in to invest something in me.
Then I told her how I finally yelled at Friend.
When I was done she clearly had an “Ah, ha” moment.
What Tech Boy did triggered me, but who my real anger was directed at is Friend.
Trigger. I have abandonment issues. Surprise!
Therapist said that she’s been wondering where my anger has been for a few weeks now. I’ve been avoiding, I’ve been repressing, I’ve been bottling and trying to not let anyone see what really bothers me.
Last week when I was at Friends’ house. After his wife went to bed, we were sitting on the couch watching bad movies like we always do. I stretched out as is usual for me. He started rubbing my leg. Running his hands up on down my calves. Gave me a foot massage. It got late and I sat up to leave, he leaned his head into my neck and just hugged me. I haven’t let this happen in months. I’ve very purposely been maintaining this boundary between us. I was lonely. For an hour it felt good to have someone pay attention to me. To be close to me. I wanted that again. But it brought back all the pain of the last year from the ending of the more intimate aspects of our relationship. And how ultimately, he abandoned me emotionally when I was in a very vulnerable place. With no warning. With no regard for how devastating it would be to me. Instead of talking to me about what was going on, explaining, he dropped off the Earth, quit talking to everyone, including me, for a week. No texts, no communication, nothing. While I was extraordinarily confused and in pain. He just left me like that with no consideration.
Yes. I am angry at him. I’m pissed. And then on top of that, afterwards while I’m working on trying to maintain our friendship and heal, every week after week he rubs it in my face that he’s working on his failed marriage. In front of me he acts all cuddly and kissy and ‘I love you’ with his wife. Rubbing it in my face is tactless and not okay. Especially when the utter indifference is so clearly written all over her face and body language. Not to mention she’s told me directly that she is traditionally a very selfish person with no regard for how anyone else feels, including her husband. So yes, that hurts. I finally told him so.
Therapist thinks it was about damn time too.
I’m so afraid of hurting him, and losing my friend, that I’m hurting myself and losing my mind (ok maybe a little exaggeration there).
I have a lifetime of abandonment trauma. From my parents not being there, from moving, from friends moving, from people dying, from friends that I thought I could trust doing unspeakable things to me, to losing people that I cared for and loved deeply.
None of this has anything to do with Tech Boy. He’s just a guy. A guy I like and is fun to hang out with, but he’s not the love of my life or anything like that. The problem with triggers though, is anyone can set them off. He doesn’t know my issues and did so accidentally. Hell, I’m still working on how to sort through and connect all my issues. None of this really has anything to do with him though. It has to do with my fears and my trauma… and a lot of anger that I have towards Friend and the people that have abandoned me in my life.
Therapist introduced me to a new concept this week. It’s the concept of having a Healthy Adult, an Inner Child, and an Outer Child. We all know the Healthy Adult is the fully functioning, responsible person that we are supposed to be. The Inner Child is the part of you that is vulnerable, that is all about feelings, and craves safety, security and wholesome, loving relationships. The Outer child is the self-sabotaging nemesis of your personality. Therapist gave me a book to read called “A Journey from Abandonment to Healing” by Susan Anderson.
Imagine a parent leads a child into the woods. In the woods there’s a rock. The abandoning parent tells the child to sit on the rock and wait until they come back and get them. The parent never returns. The Inner Child does as she’s told, waits and waits and waits, vulnerable and exposed to the elements. Scared. Feeling. Alone. The Outer Child, however, refuses to stay on the rock. Outer climbs down, picks up a hatchet, and goes on the warpath.
Here’s a blurb from her website about the Outer Child.
Outer Child acts out your inner child’s feelings – especially your abandonment feelings – without giving you, the adult, a chance to intervene. When you feel hurt, angry, or insecure, Outer acts out these feelings in ways that sabotage your relationships. Outer works like a bungling undercover agent in trying to protect (overprotect) you from abandonment. Stealthy, quick, and misguided, it intercepts love before you ever know what happened.
Outer is the impulsive, obstinate, self-centered ten-year old within all of us. Outer wants what Outer wants NOW, and overrules you, the adult, in getting it. Outer prefers to binge on candy when you are steadfastly sticking to a diet (or so you thought). Outer says yes to a third glass of wine when you, the Adult, had decided on a two drink minimum.

Outer child is born of unresolved abandonment. It wreaks havoc in your relationships when it acts out your inner child’s primal fear of abandonment. For example, it aims its emotional suction cups at our prospective partners and scares them away.

Outer fights change – especially change initiated by you, the adult. Outer balks at doing the right thing and only wants things that are bad for your health, figure, or bank account. By bringing Outer out of the bunkers and into the daylight, you get to subvert its mission, rather than let it subvert yours.
Outer is fueled by emotion. Take anger. Outer either overreacts or under-reacts to your anger. For example, abandonment survivors tend to be too insecure to risk expressing anger or assertiveness to someone because they fear it might break the connection. Outer takes advantage of this fear and gets you to take your anger out on yourself, damaging your self-esteem. Conversely, Outer takes your anger out on innocent bystanders and makes you look like a monster.

Outer is the “yes but” of the personality. If you let it, Outer ties your life up in knots.

Outer child likes to play games, especially in relationships. It wears many disguises including “hard to get” and “Florence Nightingale” (where Outer panders for ‘love-insurance’ by over-caretaking). It poses as your ally, but is really your gatekeeper. Its covert agenda is to maintain your patterns – albeit your most self-defeating ones. By deconstructing your Outer Child defenses, your Adult Self has the opportunity to guide your behavior, rather than remain driven by your hidden nemesis.  

For the past few weeks, maybe month or two, I’ve been rooting pretty firmly in my Outer Child. I’m indulging my Outer Child with Tech Boy. He likes to drink, and gamble, and is all about in the moment gratification. I’m letting myself get swept along with these things, rushing physical intimacy, doing what feels good RIGHT NOW, instead of what is healthy for me in the long run.
Surprisingly she doesn’t think I need to stop seeing him. But I do need to change my approach with him. Start over in a sense. Really take time to get to know each other. Do healthy, adult things, not just uncontrolled indulgences. Make healthier choices and base my actions off of those. I won’t see him this weekend, I won’t see him next weekend (It’s Christmas, I’ll be going out of state to see my family). It’ll give me time to take a break and figure out what it is I want to do.
I love my Therapist. I’m starting to believe she really does know me.
Homework: I’ll be reading this book this weekend. You’ll be getting a book review when I’m done as well. I’ll post the Outer Child Inventory a little later. I find it enlightening.
We didn’t talk about what I should do about Friend. I have no intentions of talking to him right now though.  
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4 comments on “Lucid Analysis: Trials in Therapy – Abandonment Trauma

  1. Wait wait… you are still friends with a married man you had an affair with? I missed this part.And he's still using you for his own emotional comfort? Yikes, woman.Above being offended by his displays of PDA, I would think you would be even more offended that you even choose to be around him to see it! It's pure masochism.Stay pissed!

  2. It wasn't really an affair. They have an open marriage. His wife knew the whole time. Unfortunately she's even crazier than I am. But yeah, I'm still his one and only emotional support, because his wife doesn't actually give a fuck. I'm bad at letting go of people =(What also pisses me off, is he just apologized to me. Sort of. Passive-aggressively? With a hint of guilt on the side.

  3. NOT to defend Friend because I seriously do NOT agree with his behavior and considering he is an adult and therefore should handle it like an adult.. but I would say his wife knows how connected the two of you were.. and that part of the reason for her wanting to end the "open" part of the marriage was because for the first time she was threatened by you.. there was a real chance she could lose him to you and so she closed things.. so his over affectionate PDA in front of you is his way of reassuring her that he is with her and there is no chance with you.. however I think it is rather cruel on his part knowing how hurt it makes you feel.. I say all of this based upon my similar situation..so while it might not make it hurt less know that part of the PDA is her insecurity around you..

  4. I don't know. They've been on the verge of divorce for years < —- Her choice. He still claims to love her. She'd just come out of the psych ward a couple months prior and is incredibly selfish and self centered. This is relevent because she's also very insecure. Since she's not getting any on the side (b/c she's a troll), she doesn't feel he should be either. Actually, you may be right to a point. Friend and I are very close. But even my Roommate will attest to the fact that she's been looking for a reason to divorce him for YEARS. I think she just doesn't want him to be happy if she's not happy. Or, in another way, if she's miserable, he should be miserable too. idk, I had a request to give an in depth look at my relationship with Friend. I may do that tomorrow.

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