When you are struggling with abandonment fear, chances are there is at least a little bit of a people pleaser in you. You either struggle saying no to people or try to do your best not anger them. Before I started my therapy I was almost unable to confront anyone. I would still get mad at people, but I would usually talk about “how awful someone was” with some other person. I had no courage to confront my ex-boyfriends either, instead I chose much more “proactive” solution- I just assumed that they should know things. When they did not behave the way I wanted them to behave, although I never communicated my wishes, I just assumed that they were not right for me. The right guy would obviously know my wishes, so that I would not have to really express myself and risk with rejection. Sounds reasonable, does it not?
One of my big advancements is that I have learned to say “Fuck you” to people. Sounds awful? Well for me it sounds like an achievement. I get an immense feeling of empowerment out of this. Couple of years ago I would have never imagined that I could actually confront people about their less than perfect behavior towards me. Of course people notice it and they start testing your borders. The more you allow them to do, the more they actually do. I struggled with colleagues that turned to me only when they needed some favors but ignored me the rest of the time, I struggled with renters that thought they could just scare me into ending their contract etc etc. The more volatile people are, the more they will sense your helplessness. Psychological theory puts abusers together with those that are helpless and scared. So chances are that as a pleaser you will naturally attract people that take advantage of you.
Most abuse victims report that their friendship circles have change after the therapy. Well my friends circle has not changed that much neither have I actually yet experienced that I attract “healthier” people, but I do notice that I interact with people in a different way. Nevertheless the initial reaction to take the blame and apologize is still very strong. I had a situation at work today where someone was accusing me of missing the deadline. My first reaction was of course to apologize and feel very guilty. Only couple of hours later when I analyzed the situation and actually recognized that no one had communicated with me about the deadline, was I able to react in a more constructive way. Even though I know I had a point about the deadline, I am scared to open my email to check what the other person has answered. I am still scared of yelling, blaming and abandonment. However, now, my reactions are not as strong and I am able to observe the whole situation from a neutral viewpoint.