Home > abandonment, Outer Child > Addicted to Chasing Unavailable Lovers: Outer Child is a Notorious Abandoholic – Part 2

Addicted to Chasing Unavailable Lovers: Outer Child is a Notorious Abandoholic – Part 2

Outer Child is a Notorious Abandoholic

© Susan Anderson 2010

The emotional pendulum swing

Abandoholism is driven by both fear of abandonment and its correlate fear of engulfment.

Fear of abandonment: When you’re attracted to someone, it arouses a fear of losing that person. This fear causes you to become clingy and needy. You try to hide your insecurity, but your desperation shows through, causing your partners to lose romantic interest in you. They sense your emotional suction cups[1] aiming straight toward them and it they run to avoid getting trapped (engulfed).

Fear of engulfment: at the opposite end of the spectrum. It occurs when someone is pursuing you and now you’re the one pulling back. You feel engulfed by that person’s desire to be with you. When fear of engulfment kicks in, your sexual and romantic feelings shut down. You no longer feel the connection. You panic – it’s about your fear of being engulfed by the other person’s emotional expectations of you. You fear that the other person’s feelings will pressure you to abandon other potential romantic options.

Fear of engulfment is one of the most common causes for the demise of new relationships, but it is carefully disguised in excuses like: “He just doesn’t turn me on.” Or “I don’t feel any chemistry.” Or “S/he’s too nice to hold my interest.” Or “I need more of a challenge.”

Abandoholics tend to swing back and forth between fear of abandonment and fear of engulfment. You’re either pursuing hard-to-get-lovers, or you’re feeling turned off by someone who IS interested in you.

What is Abandophobism?

Abandophobics are so afraid of rejection that they avoid relationships altogether.

Abandophobics act out their fear of abandonment by remaining socially isolated, or by appearing to search for someone, when in fact they are pursuing people who are truly unattainable, all to avoid the risk of getting attached to a real prospect – someone who might abandon them sooner or later.

There is a little abandophobism in every abandoholic; the two outer child patterns can be interchangeable.

For both abandoholics and abandophobics, a negative attraction is more compelling than a positive one.

You only feel attracted when you’re in pursuit. You wouldn’t join any club who would have you as a member, so you’re always reaching for someone out of reach.

How do abandoholism and abandophobism set in?

These patterns may have been cast in childhood. You struggled to get more attention from your parents but you were left feeling unfulfilled, which caused you to doubt your self-worth. Over time, you internalized this craving for approval and you learned to idealize others at your own expense. This became a pattern in your love-relationships.

Now as an adult, you recreate this scenario by giving your love-partners all your power, elevating them above yourself, recreating those old familiar yearnings you grew accustomed to as a child. Feeling emotionally deprived and “less-than” is what you’ve come to expect.

Why does the insecurity linger?

Recent scientific research shows that rather than dissipate, fear tends to incubate, gaining intensity over time. Insecurity increases with each romantic rejection, causing you to look to others for something you’ve become too powerless to give yourself: esteem. When you seek acceptance from a withholding partner, you place yourself in a one-down position, recreating the unequal dynamics you had with your parents or peers. You choreograph this scenario over and over.  It becomes a repetition compulsion, otherwise known as an ‘Outer Child Pattern.’

Conversely, you are unable to feel anything when someone freely admires or appreciates you. For more about abandonment, go to www.abandonment.net For more about abandoholism, read Taming Your Outer Child (2010) and WORKBOOK: Journey from Heartbreak to Connection (2003).

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Categories: abandonment, Outer Child
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