I am absolutely terrified of “loss”.
Most things in life I can accept with a degree of equanimity. At least I can face the prospect of them with a fatalistic composure. Loss / Ending, especially of relationships, fills me with fear. Actually its not the loss, its the intense grieving reaction that I have afterwards.
I think this dates back to when I was 18, and my first serious boyfriend dumped me. I grieved for several years, for the loss of a 6 month relationship. I was literally broken hearted. I told NO-ONE how desperately unhappy I was, because I was ashamed that I loved someone who didn’t love me, and I don’t think it occurred to me that this lengthy, intense grieving was abnormal. I was literally consumed with the loss. I couldn’t enjoy anything, I thought about HIM every single minute of every single day. My first thought on waking and my last before sleeping. Of course my thoughts and yearning were for what I thought I had lost – my image of a stability, a happy relationship, rather than the reality – I made lists of things about him that had annoyed and upset me (and there were quite a few !! )- but this made absolutely no difference whatsoever to the depth of my suffering. I could not rationalise or think myself out of the enormous well of pain. My yearning continued through my initial university years, probably until I was 22 and fell in love again. I can still remember vividly the aching void and the pain of the loss.
This happened again when I separated form a more serious boyfriend in my early 30’s. Although we were clearly unsuited for each other, I was not at all happy with him, and I ended the relationship, once it was over I entered another protracted period of intense grief. Same thing. Intellectually I knew it was best that the relationship was over, that I could move on, that it was going nowhere and giving me nothing … by the end I didn’t even LIKE him much. But I was stuck grieving, keening, yearning for something that I felt I had lost. Bonkers. This time I DID recognise that the depth of my despair was a) ridiculous and b) not ‘normal’ ; but , possibly because I still couldn’t bring myself to speak of it to anyone, I never worked out why I reacted like this, or how I could respond more healthily in the future.
This intense aversion to loss, or fear of going through THAT disconsolate mourning process again, keeps me in situations I would be better off leaving. Or would I ? How much effort do others put into maintain relationships that are not making them happy ? With adult children? partners ? friends? How long do you go on trying to fix things ? when do you know that things just will not work out in a way that you can find acceptable, when and how do you walk away ? Or does everyone hate loss this much? does everyone else compromise and bury what they need in order to ” keep the peace”.
These feeling too I drank to avoid. These hard questions are easier avoided, ignored and not aired….buried in a fuzzy head full of wine … But they are still there, and one day, somehow they need resolving