I Am Afraid that You Will Leave Me….

I Am Afraid that You Will Leave Me….

“Part of me is afraid to get close to people because I’m afraid that they’re going to leave.”

That is a pretty interesting comment, but I think it is very honest. People are kept at a safe relational distance, because of the fear of abandonment. What can be said to the person who has been terribly damaged relationally? How does a person who has been abandoned by their spouse ever trust someone again? How can a child that has been bounced from one foster home to the next learn to have deep and meaningful friendships? I don’t know the answers to such questions, but I do think that basic loyalty is one of the greatest gifts that we can give another human being.

Dealing with a person that has been abandoned or betrayed is not easy. In some cases, they smother anyone that reaches out to them. That gets complicated. In most situations, that individual is simply afraid to get close.

In responding to people that have been damaged, I simply try to be consistent. I continue to call and continue to make contact. I don’t mean that I push myself on that person. My approach is very low key. I found that is works fairly well. Relationships grow slowly and steadily.

Years ago the police called me to the Emergency Room at Wichita General Hospital in Wichita Falls. A lady in her 20’s had lost her husband, who went into cardiac arrest at their home. He died in the ER a short time later. I will never forget seeing her curled up in the fetal position in the tiny family conference room adjacent to the ER. She was all alone. When I made contact with her, I asked who I could call on her behalf. She had no one. There was no local family to contact, no friends, no church affiliation, and no neighbors. She was truly alone. I was at a loss of what to do. After finally tracking down some out of state relatives, I recall looking her in the eye and saying: I am not going anywhere. I will stay with you until your family arrives.

In dealing with people who fear abandonment, I think that is what we must convey to them. We must communicate that we are not going anywhere. We are not going to leave them. But I think such communication is done primarily non-verbally by our actions and not our words…. Loyalty takes time and patience.

Incidentally the quote about being afraid to get close to people is attributed to a man named Brian Hugh Warner. But you don’t know him by that name. You probably know him by his stage name: Marilyn Manson… Now you know the rest of the story!

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