As an adult, I assumed my issues with abandonment and attachment stemmed from being an only child growing up. Biologically, I’m the baby of 4, however I came to the world about 18 years after my next youngest sister. They were all grown before I was there! So I lived as an only child, which I felt must be why I had such attachment issues. I had separation anxiety about all kinds of things – I had very few successful sleepovers at friends’ houses because before my parents walked out the door the bubble of fear welled up inside me and I cried for them to take me home.
The older I got, the more I felt the strain of abandonment. The ebb and flow of relationships befuddled me; I assumed consistency that others could not provide. My expectations were high which resulted in my disappointments being very numerous. Basically, I forgot that other people are human too. Still, I needed constant reassurance that the people in my life truly wanted me around. I let Satan use my anxiety to convince me I was unloved, unwanted, unneeded if someone wasn’t paying attention to me constantly. Imagine how exhausting that was on my romantic partners?! In the really messy part of my life, I’ll be honest and own up to the fact that I hadn’t chosen the best boyfriend to date. We clearly wanted different things, but, at the time, I was too distracted by my messiness to be honest with myself. All you can do is learn from it!
If I’m honest here, this is still an issue at times. I have trouble reaching out even to my closest friends. Satan isolates me using my anxiety and insecurities. One thing that has helped me recently is considering the real situations Jesus went through. If I earnestly believe Jesus was real and lived a real life for 30-some years, then I must believe He did indeed go through the same hurts we all will endure.
As a fledgling Christian, I didn’t get this. I probably said it, probably agreed that ‘yes of course Jesus knows my pain’. The reality of that statement only sank in quite recently. Jesus understands abandonment, loneliness, rejection. His very closest friends abandoned him, rejected him, and left him to die alone. Pretty sure that trumps being dumped via text message by your boyfriend. Admittedly, being dumped via text IS sucktastic. I survived though. Jesus literally died after being betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and judged by people who he had probably healed, blessed, and definitely loved. He absolutely knows what I’m feeling when I feel alone.
Now it took me 25.5 years to understand this. I wasn’t blessed with immediate knowledge of how Jesus’ life related directly to my own struggles. But the comfort I’ve found in this new knowledge was something I wanted to share. I know this time of year can be lonely for some of us, but know, as always, you’re not alone!
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. – Deuteronomy 31:6