Abandonment and Being Hurt – Pushing People Away, Yet Wanting Closeness
Posted on August 9, 2018
“I’d found out that if you pushed people away hard enough, they tended to go.”
― Morgan Matson
I looked into the caring eyes of Randy. He hadn’t done anything wrong. In fact, he had done everything right.
However, for a reason that I couldn’t admit to myself, I was pushing him away. The long-term pattern of pushing people away had begun.
He asked me why. I desperately searched my mind to find someone or something to blame. Randy dried my tears. I said I didn’t have feelings for him the way he did for me, yet my voice wouldn’t stop shaking and he knew I was lying. I knew I was lying too.
I couldn’t tell him the truth. The truth was ugly.
I pushed people away because I was a coward. I was certifiably, wholeheartedly and completely afraid.
I wanted a boyfriend. I got a boyfriend.
I wanted to feel important to someone. He gave me respect and I felt important to him.
I wanted Randy to be my hero. And then I pushed him away. I hated it. I couldn’t stop.
Pushing people away is so much easier than letting them in and allowing them the potential to destroy you.
I began tearing up as I started writing this because I know how many relationships and people I have ruined by pushing people away.
One of the most terrifying aspects of life is allowing someone to tear down the walls I have surrounded myself with. I build walls to protect myself from harm or destruction. My walls keep me safe, my walls keep me secure, my walls are the only thing preventing me from a full-out war.
The war will be with myself, my own mind, after I willingly let someone in and they end up destroying me from the inside out. I have been destroyed too many times. I have had to rebuild my walls countless times and honestly it is getting exhausting. My walls have become a curtain of steel, a force to be reckoned with. It is so hard for me to let someone in even today.
Most people like things that are just quick and easy.
I want someone to show me I do not need these walls to protect me anymore.
I want someone to give me safety and security in my heart and ensure me my heart will not tear apart at the seams ever again.
I do not want these walls up anymore.
It can be so lonely.
There are so many different reasons why I push people away, out of fear, lack of trust, insecurities, and pessimistic perceptions. I did not recognize on a conscious level that I was doing this to others until I was much older, and instead I was caught in a cycle of diminished self-esteem.
There are a variety of reasons we push others away. Some of which being fear, not feeling deserving, and even emotional problems.
Overcoming this obstacle mostly has to do with building confidence, overcoming past traumas, and learning from your mistakes.
A lot of research on attachment has involved children, as it is a pattern that develops as an infant that we are wired to have in order to survive.
The term “attachment theory” was first coined by British Psychologist John Bowlby in the 60s.
His work established the idea that how a child develops depends heavily on their ability to form a strong relationship with at least one caregiver — usually a parent.
Humans are very slow to develop.
Compared to something like a foal, which is walking within a few minutes, it takes us over a year to get to that stage. We can barely do anything on our own as an infant, which is why we have evolved attachment behaviours in order to survive. This attachment to the person who cared for us influences our attachment behaviours once we have grown up. It took me a long time to rebuild myself and my life after all the traumas, and this means my outlook on life shifted to one that was scary and uncertain.
Whenever I met someone new, I was always looking out for something to go wrong. As I got older I would push my friends and partners away by saying that I was busy with work or other activities, so I didn’t have the time needed to invest in getting close to others. I also knew how to create unnecessary tension by starting arguments or not putting in any effort, meaning the other person eventually gave up the pursuit. A self-fulfilling prophecy.
Navigating the space between ourselves and others is one of the great tasks in life.
For many people, looking back on the difficulties that caused an end to a relationship, it is easy to see how insignificant things really were. Unfortunately, and far too often the end of a relationship comes with so many events and feelings that cannot be undone after the fact.
Of course everyone has some sort of trust issues.
Trust is the most fragile things in life that exists.
Trust is one of the most difficult things to build and one of the easiest things to break.
I am now able to trust a few people. I have trusted many times before. At times the trust was honored.
Too many times the trust was betrayed. It was so tiring being betrayed and broken over and over again.
I needed someone to show me how to trust without the fear of complete devastation.
I needed something different, someone different who was willing to help me believe in trust when I no longer thought I could.
People spend their whole lives looking for someone to love them, and when it happened to me, I had the overwhelming urge to run away.
As soon as I felt myself slipping into that sweet intoxicating feeling of reciprocal love, I immediately shut down.
It’s not rose-colored bliss for me. It’s a tangled knot of anxiety, an endless battle between my head and my heart. The undeniable truth about getting close to someone is that you give them part of your heart.
It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, you give part of it away. Once you do that, the person who holds your heart controls some part of your happiness.
All of a sudden, you can’t help but feel butterflies when they look at you or quiet the pounding in your chest when they say your name. You wish you could make it stop, to gain back some of the control of your emotions, thoughts, sanity, yet you can’t. You hate that they can make you more joyful that you could even imagine or the fact that in a second, they could break you. And that’s the beautiful, messy and truly terrifying part of it. The thought of giving someone else a piece of our hearts is scary, and it’s probably one of the most vulnerable things we can do.
When we keep pushing people away out of fear, we’ll always end up alone.
That’s why it’s OK to take that leap of faith because one day there will be someone who will always catch you.
I’m still waiting.
“Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” ― Maya Angelou
What do you want? What do you need?