During our counseling session, Kayla, 35, reflected on her trust issues with her boyfriend, Tim, 38, who loves her deeply but is growing tired of her suspicious comments and can’t seem to reassure her enough.
Kayla put it like this is: “I know Tim loves me but I’m always worried that the other shoe is going drop and he’ll leave me like my father did when I was ten. There was nothing I could do to stop him and he never looked back.”
Abandonment is our earliest fear and Kayla’s experience left her mistrustful. It’s primal and universal to all human beings. Abandonment is the unique element of our existence that makes the loss of a job, separation, death of a loved one, and breakup or divorce so painful.
Kayla is sabotaging her relationship with Tim and pushing him away, even though she loves him. Often fear of abandonment is so frightening that it remains buried for years until an intimate relationship awakens fears of being left on the doorstep – of feeling left behind. Fear of abandonment can easily lead to mistrust and irrational beliefs that can sabotage a relationship. These include:
- Love is easily broken, and despite everything I try, it may disappear.
- I can’t ask for what I need, because my partner will likely reject me.
- If I show how much I want to be loved, it will scare my partner.
- If my relationship fails, I am unlovable.
- All relationships end.
- Marriages and relationships may work for a while, but they always end up souring.
- Everyone I love eventually leaves.
- I always pick the wrong partners, or the wrong partners always pick me.
All of the above statements reflect a lack of confidence. If you truly want to have a lasting and satisfying relationship, you must first acknowledge and work to overcome your fear of abandonment, self-doubt and lack of self-acceptance.
Many women, such as Kayla, have fear of abandonment from the past that causes her to feel mistrustful of Tim even though he is faithful and dependable. To trust someone, you must have faith in them. You must have a strong belief and conviction that you won’t be hurt by your partner. You must believe your partner is honest and dependable, and that you are his or her first priority. Can you say that you are truly confident in your partner? Are you confident that your partner is truthful, faithful, and in every way present in your relationship?
Trust is built day by day by believing in yourself and extending trust to others. The most important thing to consider is whether your partner is worthy of trust. Have his or her actions matched their words? Does your partner treat you with respect? Is your partner reliable? Is your partner faithful and truthful? If the answer to these questions is yes, you must choose to trust.
Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter, Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Her book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-Lasting Relationship is available on her website. Feel free to ask a question here.
Terry’s forthcoming book, The Remarriage Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around, will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020.