Need for abandonment

Old 12-27-2006, 04:55 AM
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Need for abandonment

Hi everyone,

Is it true that ACOA's often feel a sick need for abandonment and will seek this out in their relationships?? I find this idea terrifying and wonder if it applies to me.

I've been seeing my current boyf for a few months... the first couple of which were amazing and intense, and i felt really close to him. Though the last month he has been distant and withdrawn. A week ago he told me he wanted to have some space and didn't know if he should be in a relationship.

So I was really understanding and agreed to give him space and this seemed to make him more affectionate towards me for a couple of days.

Now he's gone away for a bit and I know I agreed to not ring him and was not expecting him to call me, but it has been 5 days incl. xmas day with only a couple of texts.

He has a lot of emotional baggage and has admitted from the beginning he has some small mental health problems and would go a bit wierd sometimes and need space. I thought we were doing well though and that we could relate to each other and support each other (without becoming co-dependant)

Now I am terrified that he is going to leave me and feel totally out of control. Reading about the need for abandonment scares the hell out of me, is this the reason I was so attracted to him?

Another worrying thing is that I've spent the whole of the christmas shut off from everyone, feeling really depressed, drinking a lot & now all I want to do is go home and lie in bed with a bottle of something and knock myself out. I've done this sort of thing occasionally in the past and this behaviour seems to be increasing lately.

Thanks for listening.

Lucy xx
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Old 12-27-2006, 01:35 PM
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Hello Lucy.....

I’m not sure what you mean? Are you asking if ACOA's seek out people that are emotionally unavailable because we have issues with being abandoned?

I do have a tendency to choose emotionally unavailable men or men that have issues because If feel important when I can “fix” them. In therapy and Al-anon I’m learning how to spot red flags on the fixer uppers and avoid those relationships. I had and still have to do a lot of work on my issues of abandonment … When I start to feel scared and get that “crazy” feeling because a relationship is ending I know that I should let it go and start working on myself.

When I work from the inside out I don’t have those feelings so much because #1 I will not abandon myself and #2 I never give that much power to another human being.

I hope this helps some….
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Old 12-27-2006, 05:30 PM
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I'd say that you could be correct, as I have experienced similar situations, except from the guy's perspective. If it's any resolution to you, then what your boyfriend may be going through is his own abandonment need, perhaps brought on by something similar than what you or the rest of us had dealt with growing up under alcoholic parent(s).

If he's withdrawing, it's not a great sign, but it's not your fault either. I wish you luck with this, and I hope it turns out to be just something minor and that you will both continue on, happy as can be.
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Old 12-27-2006, 09:13 PM
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Wooooow Lucy, the lying about with a bottle drinking reminds me way too much of me.... depressed, bottle in hand... up to my bedroom, drank til I was numb and passed out.... repeat as necessary... a year later decided to sober up... not good, really not good.

In terms of the question you posed, I am both an alcoholic (recovering) and an ACOA. My childhood was extremely traumatic. I am in a new relationship, the first in five years... it has proved trying for me and for my signif. other... I find that I do feel like pushing her away, wanting my "space" ... wanting to be "alone" because that is safe and known... can't have a fight or be abused if you are alone... oh wait, you can abuse yourself by drinking heavily...

So, in short, yes my experience as an ACOA is that I have sought out partners in the past that are emotionally unavailable ... take the woman I was engaged too... she would give me the silent treatment at will ... while it drove me nuts, I stayed because either that was what I felt I deserved or that at least I knew what I was getting and I could control her reactions by preempting it in some way.... then when I get into a relationship with a woman that isn't emotionally cold I have trouble because I don't trust easily... I am always testing to see if she really loves me... seeing if she will leave.... then feeling guilty that she has to deal with me and my baggage... which there is apparently a lot of... But I am trying, I am serious about her and she is aware of my own usual desire to push people away when they get close and she just calls me on it... I have to work at it to trust, but I am learning to and opening up to her isn't really scary, trusting is the scary part for me...

Not sure this helps, but yes.... Levi
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Old 12-31-2006, 07:49 PM
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we tend to recreate the relationships we grew up with and feel most comfortable with what's familiar, however dysfunctional that is. So ACOAs do tend to be attracted to people who aren't going to give them a committed, open, mature relationship. Women especially tend to end up with men who are emotionally unavailable, probably because that's what our dads were like. I know my dad was completely withdrawn from us and basically ignored me, and all my relationships with men have turned out to be with men who didn't connect emotionally for whatever reason - workaholics, alcoholics, clinically depressed, whatever.

It's ok to have baggage, and it's ok to need space, but you shouldn't be looking for an intense, committed, dependable relationship from someone like that. That's what we call shopping for bread at the hardware store - it's not there and you're looking in the wrong place. Nothing wrong with wanting bread, and nothing wrong with being a hardware store, just the two do not go together!

FWIW, amazing intensity at the very beginning of a relationship is probably not a good sign. Real emotional connection takes time to develop. There was an article in National Geographic not too long ago about the hormones that cause us to feel the emotion of love, and apparently those hormones wear out after just a few months. A real relationship has to be built on something other than immediate attraction. And with ACOAs, that immedate attraction all too often is just an alcoholic's radar picking out someone who's a codependent, and vice versa ... been there done that over and over! I don't know how they do it.

Don't be so terrified of him leaving you! you did fine without him before you met him, you'll do fine without him after wards too. As for feeling out of control, well, you are out of control over him. You never can control another person, never, and every relationship can end at any time over anything. One or the other of you could grow out of the relationship, or one of you could die. Life happens, and not how we want it to. Part of recovering from codependency is getting comfortable with being out of control. If he needs so much space that he leaves you, what have you lost? nothing. His leaving would have been inevitable. Better sooner rather than later.

At any rate it's only been five days with no contact from him when you posted this. 5 days is nothing. Don't be waiting by the phone for him. If you keep busy with your own stuff, the time will pass much faster and happier. Thing is, you don't need him. You got by without him before and you can again. Maybe things will work out for you two together but life won't end if they don't. There's what, 3 billion men in the world?? last I heard. Not that I've found one I like out of that bunch, but I'd much rather not be in a relationship than in one that's stressing me.
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:23 PM
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i think if im in a state of dis-ease about my situation i need to up my recovery. i had started a new job and dating someone recently and noticed my meetings go down due to these new committments. i however began to slip into unhealthy behaviour without even realising it.

i dont think i seek abandonment but i am drawn to the familiar, thats human nature and i believe if we feel a similarity to another we can love them more than if we are indifferent to them. sometimes....i seek too much from relationships. my best friend was explaining how its not usually this big psychic connection....what! what a rip off!! but its true. and for me, i knew that by wanting committment and feeling quite jealous of other guys my date was seeing as we were "dating" i got confused and panicked, partly i think that was a fear of not being good enough and that if not good enough, he will leave me and i will die. thats why recovery is so important!!! i will not die, i will get to a meeting, review a step, call my sponsor or a trusted friend, i will pray on it, journal out my excess of obsessive thoughts. its not a good idea for me to just sit around and pretend im not getting antsy. also i think that i need to learn how to experience anxiety, sadness, anger, passion etc any stong emotion and remember that its a human emotion and not a sign that im going insane.
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