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You're Afraid of Being Abandoned by Your Friends, Too

Your friendships can still be a place of refuge, but they cannot be the place of refuge. You must have more power over your peace than any other being outside of yourself and God.

As adults, we do not often reflect on why we are the way we are. We sort of just accept that we are the way we are, and we expect everyone else to fall in line and accept it too. I’ve made it a habit to reflect on why I am the way I am. Through self-reflection and therapy, I have realized that I have real life abandonment issues. Like most traumas, these are rooted in my childhood. Through having to move out of and into over twenty different places, losing my best friend/ grandad in second grade, then abruptly losing my dad temporarily (but for a long time) to jail when I was in third grade, and never feeling like I fit in – I brought those pains and beliefs into my adulthood. I’ve grown to accept that I have these abandonment issues, and for me, they aren’t just some humorous trendy relationship term – it’s my real life. I thought I’d only have to worry about the fear of being abandoned in my romantic relationships, but I’m starting to realize these fears are present in my friendships also.

I always felt a sting of rejection inside when I saw friends at outings that I wasn’t invited to. I never really understood why I felt like this. I did some reflecting, and it dawned on me. As a child, my friendships were a place of refuge for me. I felt like I finally belonged somewhere. My friendships were a place of peace and joy in the midst of the hostility and stress in my life as a child (going through things that children weren’t mentally or emotionally equipped to go through). When I wanted to escape, I fled to a friend’s house: Tiffany, Kenitha, Diamond, Desi’Rae, Bri and Tri. When I felt abandoned as a child, it was like they saved me from having to completely face what I felt. As an adult, my inner child still screams for that comfort – especially being that I’m still friends with many of my childhood friends. When I’m stressed, sad, angry, disappointed, unsure – I need my friends. That is why I feel so overly hurt and angry when I’m not invited. They are my refuge.

My abandonment traumas provoke panic and I begin to wonder is the friendship over, did I do something wrong to not be invited, did I say something, am I not as important of a friend to them as they are to me, am I not "cool" enough. However, I had to realize, this is no fault of my friends. Nor is it their responsibility to stabilize my emotions. As I am still healing, it is unfair to place the burden of my healing process on my friends. I must do the work myself to work through these feelings. I have to understand that I may not be invited to everything – and that is okay, and that does not determine the fate of my friendships. I also have to realize that I don’t have to overcompensate in friendship building by inviting everyone to everything. This is derived from the idea that the more friends I have, the less I’ll have to worry about being abandoned and the safer I’ll be. So, I created an “abandonment trigger plan” which is composed of three areas that I can focus on in my life when I feel left out or when I’m not invited. These can be applied to romantic relationships as well. The idea is to find peace in alone moments and to gravitate away from negative emotions that may provoke negative responses from you. Impulsive negative responses can damage genuine healthy friendships. Your friendships (and relationships) can still be a place of refuge, but they cannot be the place of refuge. You must have more power over your inner peace than any other being outside of yourself and God. So take a moment to reflect on the advice below of things you can focus on in times when you're alone.

Focus On Your Spirit

Moments alone are the best times to look within. Our spirit needs renewal daily. If we are always in the mix and never have any time to just be still, how can we repair our spirit from the injury that it endures daily. Take these moments alone to dive into your bible or life-guiding text of your choice. Take a moment to meditate and tap into the pain that you’ve suppressed. Give those areas some attention and care. Do yoga and take control back over your emotions. Journal: get those confusing emotions down on paper and address them. You will be surprised how much a renewed spirit can create balance in your life and help you heal deeper wounds of abandonment.

Focus On Your Creativity

Some of us have no idea what we like to do or what our natural gifts in which we’ve been blessed with. Time alone can be used to explore all that we are. Try new things alone to discover your gifts. If you already do know your creative likes and gifts, start a new project. Oftentimes, we allow our gifts and talents to go to waste as we try to be everything and everywhere at every time. Save some of that energy and put it towards creating something. Reignite the fire within and create something impactful and life changing.

Focus On Your Physical Health

We can always be healthier. Use your time alone to do things that make you stronger. Find workout routines or physically empowering activities that you enjoy. Train for a marathon. Try new healthy recipes. Put effort towards creating the best version of yourself and making your life better, so that your life will be so much more worth living. So much worth living, that you won’t feel like you have to be included in someone else’s life, for life to be worth living.



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