Technical difficulties resulted in my writing two versions of the same post. I include the second version, done in frustrated fury (WordPress is fucking me hard), for your delectation. The first one is here.
Abandonment is a funny word. We think it is an emotion, but in truth, it’s an action. We make this mistake with other words as well. Rejection. Deprivation.
My mother abandoned me three times. This has left me exquisitely sensitive to abandonment. In truth, I am capable of feeling the constellation of feelings I associate with the experience of being abandoned in the presence of nothing more than garden variety unavailability; distraction; or even inconsistent, insufficient, but highly present, attention.
When I imagine that I perceive abandonment, my chest tightens. My breath quickens. My shoulders scrunch up, my neck aches. I also experience feelings in my mind. Feeling such as fear, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, shame, and, inevitably, an infantile fury that makes me want to stomp my feet on the ground and throw a tantrum.
I’m old enough, and have had enough experience with these phenomena that I no longer, for the most part, act in the face of these feelings. I don’t have a temper tantrum. I don’t engage in self-destructive behavior intended to somehow regain power over a situation in which I am powerless.
Instead, I’m stuck with the feelings.