At least that has been my experience. I have huge issues surrounding abandonment. When my parents divorced when I was 11 years old, my dad moved back to our house in New Hampshire and my mom went to work full-time and was dating a married man which left us alone more often than not. While my dad hadn't been around all that much while we were growing up to this point, having him leave altogether was tough. My mom, on the other hand, took the brunt of our hurt and anger when she was around. She was always the "bad guy" in every situation because she was all we had.
For me, the aftermath of their divorce meant becoming the caretaker of my sisters and brother. My older sister was gone much of the time with her friends; that was her method of coping. My coping mechanism came in the form of controlling the outcomes of whatever I could. At 11, I was taking care of my siblings, cleaning a woman's house on the weekends to make money, babysitting for family and a family friend and cleaning the convent because my brother and I were going to school at St. Clements for free. In reality, this is where I found my worth in work.
I needed someone to praise me and to feel loved. I got this from the nuns. I felt proud of myself and what I could do. I always worked from that point forward because I NEEDED to feel worthwhile and valued. My success in the workplace made that a good and safe place for me. But, I digress. Maybe another day I will share more about my worth and the workplace, but back to the people who leave.
During my senior year in high school, my mom took my younger brother and sister and moved in with her boyfriend leaving me in a 3-story, 4-bedroom house on the west side of my hometown all alone. First off, my high school years SUCKED to begin with. I could have graduated the year before as I had enough credits; I just would have had to add my final English credit. People told me I would be sorry to miss my senior year and prom and all that. I'd not gone to a single dance before so I don't know why I let that stop me, but it did. Everyone was wrong. My senior year was horrible because of things going on at home. I finally had a melt down in my AP English class with Ms. Denicola and it was through that event, that I was able to talk to my House Principal and get permission to graduate early. With my Drama course and the AP English that first half of the year, I had met my English needs. I graduated in January of 1990. I never walked the stage for my diploma. I never went to prom. I did get accepted to Ohio University and its College of Communication which was top 10 in the U.S. I was in the top 10% of my class, too. Rich in accomplishment, poor in spirit...
In February, my dad and brother moved into the big house with me. I was trying to work full-time, but I wasn't really interested in life at this point. All I wanted was to leave for OU. To escape this thing that had become my life. Finally, come fall, I did leave for OU with my 'M' who's in AZ. Again, away from all the things tearing me apart from the inside out, I thrived. I had tons of friends, a rich social life, was on the East Green Council, worked for the Provost's Office. I was happy! Unfortunately, in 1991, the Gulf War broke out and I spent more time watching CNN, playing spades and failing the classes I had chosen (I had changed my major to Zoology after deciding what I really wanted to be when I grow up was a Marine Biologist...another story for another time!). Note to self...if you can't do Chemistry in high school, you DEFINITELY can't do it in college!
In order to avoid going home for the summer, I worked at Cedar Point and met my second 'M'; the one who lives one exit away from me. She was one of my roomies and I introduced her to her husband who was friends with the guy I was dating at the time. When the summer was over, I found out I didn't get the financial aid I needed to go back to OU. So, I was stuck at home and got a job as a Shift Supervisor at Mr. Hero. I lived with my dad and brother. Then, I met with a recruiter for the Navy. I just kept running. I needed to get away from all of the things that had made up my past. The things that I had let define me and engulf me for far too long.
I signed up in December 1991 and left January 21, 1992. The day I left, my dad took me to the airport and my two 'M's joined me. My mom didn't make it to the airport to say good-bye to me, though. My heart was broken again. This is where the "not enough" or "not worthy" stuff starts to set in as well. Again, for another time. I was set free and really came into my own in the Navy. Still, though, everyone leaves.
I dated a Marine I met in Aircrew school. He left. I got a the "Dear John" call. I dated an E-5 going to recruiting school. He left for his recruiting station in Port St. Lucie. We still stayed in touch for a while even though he'd told me to move on. Then, I met my "forever"; the man I would marry. For me, it was love at first sight--or, at least I knew he was something I wanted immediately. He and I broke up a number of times throughout the two years we dated before getting married. One of the times, I met a Marine who I fell head over heels for. Just before my ex came back from his first WestPac, my new love left on his. I didn't hear from him again until a few years ago when we reconnected on Facebook. I did get closure with him which was nice...even 12 years later.
Then, in 2001, after almost 7 years of marriage and the birth of our second child, my husband told me he didn't love me anymore. He left in mind before he left in body 9 months later. When he left, it made me want him back. I wasn't logical in my desire to keep him. It was purely emotional. I really didn't want him. We'd had a very rocky marriage to this point other than the time leading up to my youngest son's birth when it seemed we'd finally turned the corner and were getting things right--together! This revelation was hard on many different fronts. First, he told me he didn't love me anymore. How could you just stop loving someone you loved deeply 4 months ago all of a sudden?! What did I do wrong? Can I fix this? What's wrong with ME? Which lead to the second part, HE LEFT ME. PANIC ENSUES. Really. That is how I felt. PANICKED. The controlling side of me wanted to be able to stop this, fix it, put it back in place. It is the worst feeling in the world to have your Fight or Flight engaged in this way. My fight was ON!
Then, when I was ready to love again, I met someone who enabled me to glow from the inside out. He turned my light switch on to the highest setting. And before it could even really get started, he left. At first, I was ok. I knew he would be back at some point. Maybe not back where I was, but I had hope. I am the eternal optimist when it comes to love. I can't say why specifically other than that I BELIEVE that it's the one things that is possible above all else. Then, he started to say that we shouldn't talk anymore and the PANIC button got pushed. Even now, just writing that, I feel my anxiety peaking. My eyes blur, my neck gets tight, my vision narrows...it's horrible. I talked myself down from that as I waited for him to explain more. He said we needed to distance ourselves because the likelihood of our future was slim to none and how we feel about one another was holding both of us back from living in the here and now and letting the other opportunities around us never get off the ground. It wasn't good-bye. He wasn't leaving. He was staying...just at a distance. Close enough to reach out and touch. Close enough to know that I still need him. Still love him. Still think he's the most amazing man I have yet to meet, but also reminding me to live. Reminding me that as much as he may want to be my someone, he can't right now and maybe never. He was treating me with love, kindness and his strength was far greater than mine.
The fact that my truth has been that everyone leaves is still in the back of my mind. I know that he may leave forever at some point. But for now, he is still my forever friend!