PREVIOUS: Fear of Commitment – general (#2)
QUOTE: “If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It’s tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his life jacket on.” Lou Holtz, football coach
1. ORIGIN – the basis for this fear (FoC) is the fear of intimacy, ie. “in-to-me-see”.
• In general, INTIMACY is the mental & emotional closeness between 2 people which allows each to know the other person behind their defenses or socially acceptable mask. Sexual intimacy may or may not include this.
a. But initially, it’s the intimacy between a child & it’s mother. From the very beginning of life, each child is totally dependent on its primary caretaker(s), & therefore totally vulnerable to their plusses & minuses.
If the mother (or substitute) is an active addict, controlling, cruel or crazy, depressed, ill, distracted, insensitive, manipulative, raging, scared, (usually some combination) – the child will be in an intimacy double bind:
— on the one hand, desperately needing the adult(s) to love it, protect it & take care of all its needs
— on the other, emotionally & intuitively aware that the connection with that person is totally unsafe & therefore terrifying.
➼ The child is trapped in this most intimate of all relationships which is truly dangerous to its well-being, but inescapable. Being raised with unreliability & chaos inevitably creates a lack of trust, which then becomes the model for all future relationships, creating a deep terror of intimacy.
b. In most cases we witnessed one or both of our parents:
— be unable to make a commitment – to each other, to their children, to work, to personal growth…. OR
— be committed to work instead of relationships (us), to their spouse not their children, to their addiction & nothing else!……
…… so we didn’t have a role-model for the emotional & spiritual requirements needed for consistent reliability
• Sometimes a child has another parent, older sibling or other relative who is more available & attentive than the primary. But if they are part of the same family, they too will have narcissistic damage & be limited in how much emotional safety & love they can provide. Often this ‘better’ person will either leave, die or turn on the child at some point – multiplying the abandonment pain.
“All roads lead to Rome” was a familiar statement to the ancient Romans, & still is to modern-day History students. The ACoAs version is: “All roads lead to Abandonment!”. This fear is the bottom line for us, governing all our responses to the world. So much so that we can even feel abandoned by the end of a book or movie we intensely connected to!
• Whenever we obsess, beat ourselves up, feel distrustful or hopeless, are terrified something bad will happen to us – we are tapping into old abandonment pain (E). Given how much abuse & neglect we experienced as children, it makes sense that the WIC would believe (T) that Ab. is the only possible outcome for us. SO – why bother committing to anything, if we’re always going to mess it up or have it taken away??
➼ Making a commitment to something or someone means showing up regularly, being self-motivated, taking risks, not knowing everything, asking for help along the way, having rights…. all the things we’re not allowed!
• The ACoA’s WIC has a whole trunk-full of reasons for FoC, even when we don’t have words for it or are aware of the WHY. As adults, this fear is perpetuated by Self-Hate & weak or missing Boundaries. We can apply the following issues to PPT (people-places-things), even tho the focus here is mainly on relationships. It shows up as:
— Confusion (I don’t know what I want, who I am)
— Indecisiveness (should I or shouldn’t I?)
— Perfectionism (I have to know it all & do it right – the first time!)
— Procrastination (maybe later, but secretly – maybe never)
Some REASONS for FoC
a. Fear of abandonment (FoA) – our most basic fear. A = not getting enough of our legitimate childhood PMES needs met, AND being abused in each of those 4 categories. It created the belief that we will always lose what we need & love, so there’s no point in setting ourselves up for more pain by committing (C) to something we care about. This is one reason ACoAs are ‘best’ at what we like or love to do – the least. It’s inevitable that FoA would create lack of trust. SO – if our parents & other important caretakers neglected & assaulted us, how can we possible believe anyone else would be dependable or care for us?
NEXT: FoC – Part 2