Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer of Fear: Kiss or Wave Goodbye

I've written about some very typical and sometimes ridiculous fears so far in this series, so the tone of this entry will be a shift. But I never intended Summer of Fear to be all fun and spider stories.

Something about me that often goes unspoken, but likely not unnoticed by my friends, is how badly I take it when people I care about move away. I would go so far as to say I am sometimes traumatized by it, depending on who it is. I lash out in weird ways. It's very strange, but it's a sort of fear of abandonment that grips me when I hear news of a move. "They're leaving me! I'll be alone!"

As far as I can remember, I wasn't abandoned or lost as a child. My parents kept an extremely close eye on my sister and I, and we were both such shy children that we wouldn't have wandered far from them in public anyway. I'm accustomed to being alone as an adult, and while I cherish and absolutely need physical social interaction with friends, I'm also fairly self-reliant and independent, and appreciate time alone. So why is this such a big deal?

I've only been able to trace this fear back to my early school experiences. It's true, there were several times, especially early in grade school, when friends of mine ended up moving away, never to be seen again. Some I was very attached to. Maybe that in combination with other negative social experiences made me feel left behind, alone to face every confusing and painful interaction that marked off my school years. It's the best explanation I have, although I don't understand the magnitude of it without a significantly traumatic beginning.

As an adult, this deep-seated, knee-jerk reaction has to be reconciled with rationality, an objective and realistic understanding of people's needs, and an appreciation for new adventures in life. It doesn't reflect anything about me, and with so many technological tools at hand it definitely doesn't mean the end of a friendship. So what's the problem?

I don't have a good way to wrap this post up, because I don't have this fear figured out. All I know is that it's deep and cutting and occasionally leaves me with an incredible urge to pick up and run away from everyone first. My only tactic has been my old go-to for anything I don't know how to deal with: Suffer quietly.

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