Have You Abandoned Yourself?By Dr. Margaret Paul
December 31, 2006
Do you often feel alone and empty inside? Do you want love but find yourself resisting others who want to love you? You might be abandoning yourself.
Kathy walked into my 5-Day Inner Bonding Intensive workshop looking like a lost little girl. 42 years old, her large green eyes had the frightened look of a deer in the headlights.
Kathy had decided to attend the Intensive to work on her inability to sustain a relationship. A physically attractive woman, she had no trouble attracting men. Yet her relationships rarely lasted more than a few months.
As I worked with Kathy, it quickly became apparent that she expected anyone she was with to validate her and attend to her needs, yet when they did, she would withdraw and resist. She would easily become irritated and blaming when I didn't give her the attention and approval that she wanted from me and from whomever she was with. Yet even when I did give her kindness and attention, she resisted opening to it.
I asked Kathy to imagine the little girl in her who was so needy of attention. As she closed her eyes and imagined her inner child, she started to cry.
"I see her sitting all alone on the stairs in our house. Everyone is having a good time but I'm waiting for someone to pay attention to me and see how hurt I am from the abuse from my father. I want my mother to care about me and protect me, but all she ever does is try to coax me into joining the family. So I just stay on the stairs."
"It sounds like your little girl is on the stairs wanting someone to come along and save her."
"Yes, someone needs to save her."
"So why to you think that she resists anyone who does try to save her? What does she want? Please ask her what she wants and who she wants to save her."
Kathy goes inside and asks the questions. "She wants love. She wants someone to love her."
"......Oh my God! It's me! She wants me to love her! She feels angry and abandoned when I leave her on the stairs and keep trying to get someone else to love her. She's telling me she is going to push everyone away until I love her. I always thought it was everyone else who was abandoning her, but it is me who has been abandoning her, just like my parents abandoned me when I was little. I can't believe it - I'm treating her just like my parents treated her!"
I asked Kathy to imagine going to her inner child who was on the stairs and picking her up and holding her with love. For the first time since I'd met Kathy, her body relaxed as she gave her inner child the love that she had longed for her whole life.
Then I worked with Brad, who had completely identified with Kathy.
"When you asked her to visualize her inner child, I saw my little boy all alone in a vast desert, so terrified. I can see that I have been the one abandoning him. I am always trying to get a woman to love him the way he wants to be loved. Even though I was married to wonderful women in both of my marriages, the marriages fell apart. Until now I thought that I had married the wrong women, but now I see that no matter how wonderful and loving a woman is, I have always been resistant to her love. She could never do it right enough for me. I ended up having lots of affairs, always looking for the woman who could get me out of that desert. I can see from Kathy's work that I need to be the one to take him out of that desert and love him. I need to give him the valuing and attention that I have always been trying to get from a woman."
I worked with both Brad and Kathy on developing a connection with the highest part of themselves, their higher selves. By connecting with this loving part of themselves, they began to develop their loving adult self - the part of them capable of giving themselves the love that they had always sought from others. Both Brad and Kathy left the Inner Bonding Intensive without the life-long deep aloneness that was the result of having abandoned themselves.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.
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Your emotions are a great gift, letting you know when you are on track or off track in your thinking and behavior, or when you need to attend to what is happening with a person or situation. Today, practice learning what your painful emotions are telling you, rather than avoiding them with your various addictions.
By Dr. Margaret Paul