Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fear of Abandonment, Again

So my dog sitter doesn't return my phone call. I've known her for years. We have a warm relationship. So I call her the next day. And the next. And then, because our family trip is looming, I'm beginning to panic. She agreed to take care of my dog. She just has to call to confirm. So why isn't she calling me back?

That's when I start "looping." I can't stop thinking about why she's not calling. Did I do or say something? Maybe she doesn't want me as a client anymore. Suddenly, I'm wandering around wringing my hands. The house is a mess. I can't focus long enough to make a bed, empty the dishwasher or fold the laundry.

I call my husband at work. "Why do you think she's not calling me back?" I ask, near tears.

"Because she's a lousy businessperson?" he says, then has to go.

Five hours after leaving a message on her cell, she still hasn't called and my hands are practically shaking. This is ridiculous, I tell myself. She's your dog sitter, not your best friend or, like, a relative.

Last year, my sister-in-law stopped returning my phone calls and that freaked me out. My S.I.L. had called all hours of the day and night crying and asking for marital advice. I spent endless hours with her as she talked through her problems - her new best friends for life! - and then she disappeared. Later, she told my husband that she was too embarrassed to tell me she'd decided to stay with her husband after she vowed to leave him.

I was an absolute wreak. I felt confused, bereaved, abandoned. And then I was furious with her. I still haven't forgiven her for pulling such a fade.

And now, again, the same feelings of panic and terror. Triggered by my dog sitter not calling me back. Except she did. Later that night with a perfectly reasonable explanation. I immediately calmed down with her reappearance. Once again, I was able to focus and concentrate.

I used to think I was a well adjusted adult adoptee who never grieved or felt loss. Turns out I did and do. That people inexplicably pulling away or leaving is perceived as an abandonment. That Nancy Verrier had something right. That we suffered a trauma as infants separated from our birthmothers. That this trauma is expressed in ways that may look like something else. That fear of abandonment is hard-wired in our brains. At least mine. That grief is real and is, as Joy pointed out in a comment the other day, distracting.

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2 Comments:

Blogger LeRoy Dissing said...

Hopefully those feelings and need for them will subside over time Nina. It is residue from all the "crap" you went through as a child and have to sort through now as an adult. Take deep breaths, then go for a walk or take a warm bath. Tis easy for me to ask you to say to yourself, "what's the worse thing that can happen if your dog sitter doesn't call you back?" You get another one?

4:06 AM  
Blogger elizabeth said...

I deal with this abandonment crap ALL the time. Urrgh. I can totally relate.

12:26 AM  

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