This morning I had to wrench myself from an abandonment nightmare. I knew I was inside a nightmare but couldn’t get myself to wake up. I felt trapped, locked into place by my motionless body in bed while I ran crying through the dream.
I’m 48 years old and I still struggle with abandonment issues. My mother used to tell me “I wish you had never been born”, my father was emotionally unavailable, and I walked away from my siblings 20 years ago to escape their poison. I have worked on myself through self-help books, years of therapy, learning to find the positive in the worst situations or memories, and that has helped make me a happier person, but the fear of abandonment still permeates my soul.
The nightmare started out at a company event. I sat down next to a friend and was suddenly pushed by another person who said “That’s my seat!”. I looked around at everyone and they turned away from me, shunning me. I got up and walked away, furious for caring and hating my colleagues for abandoning me.
I moved to a booth by myself, only to discover the floor was packed with luggage, car seats and other bags that belonged to others. I was asked to move from the table, but don’t forget to take my own baggage (even in my dream I’m sarcastic to myself), which turned out to be a carry-on bag that fell apart when I lifted it, and another bag that I stuffed with trash. I struggled to get up, as now in the dream I had a plane to catch, and I suddenly was overloaded with four bags to take with me.
As is the way of nightmares, I found myself next on a deserted stretch of road. Wild animals grazed on the other side of a barbed wire fence, and one came over to me and asked me where I was going. Okaaayyyy. I told him I was looking for my husband to come pick me up and he suggested I call him on my cell phone. I dug out my cell phone, bags scattered all around me…to find the battery had died. A wave of fear and desolation overcame me and I started sobbing. I felt so alone.
I started running towards some buildings and a female jogger passed me. As she passed me she wiped sweat off herself and smeared my shirt front with it. I yelled after her as she faded into the distance. Two businessmen stood nearby, laughing and pointing at me.
Segue to a drum circle held by another friend of mine. But this wasn’t a loving, supportive drum circle. Apparently I had the wrong drum. I tried banging on some square drums and the entire circle stopped and looked at me. Once again I was the odd person out. Another person brought me a piece of paper and folded it up and said I needed to make banging sounds with this. Surreal. I was asked if I had brought my tribal mask for the ceremony. When I said “No” the entire group disappeared, and I was left alone in a dry riverbed.
Off in the distance a man trained a Lipizzaner stallion to jump and pirouette. I walked towards him, only to find him chasing someone else off and shooting at them! I hid but he found me and oddly was very kind, and asked me if I’d like to see the horse. I went to look at the beautiful white stallion, and it came towards me. He was huge, and I backed away, but he kept coming, and the man said “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite”….except that instead of a soft, velvety nose to pet, this horse had bloody teeth and fangs like a warthog. I ran off into the riverbed, past well-dressed families having picnics with homeless men. The man said as he chased me “See, even these bums have families who love them.” More abandonment and pain.
Suddenly I was at the airport, with all that luggage, but I discovered I didn’t have my ID card (my husband had it, wherever he was), and I learned that my father had waited for me at the airport for 20 minutes and then finally boarded the plane without me. The flight attendant told me he told her to tell me he was very disappointed in me. More pain and remembered abandonment.
I screamed at myself “This is just a dream!” and I finally woke up, bathed in sweat and drenched in tears. The pain of abandonment squeezed my heart and my entire body felt like it was lashed to the bed. I was unable to move at first, until my sobs shook my body loose.
I have read that abused children have abandonment issues. The people who ‘should’ have loved us and cared for us, didn’t. So we grow up not trusting the world, looking for monsters, afraid and alone. As I said, I have done much work on myself, and these issues do not pop up as often, but apparently they are deeply imbedded in my psyche. There must be more work to do.
I wish you the best on your own healing journey, and may your fears of abandonment not control your life.