Abandonment with a side of imperfection and dependence

Pattern painting by Claude Viallat

Pattern painting by Claude Viallat

Ah, the joy of post break-up soul-searching… Wailing why, Why, WHY at your indifferent bedroom walls  wondering what happened, where you went wrong, and what you should to do better next time. Stopping to retch a bit at the mere suggestion that there may be a next time. Vowing to remain celibate for the next 20 years…

In come friends and well-meaning people, flooding you with looks of pity, advice and self-help books. You smile weakly, and wish they’d opted for strong alcohol instead.

One lonely evening, as sleep eludes you once more, you reach out for the nearest book: Reinventing your life by Jeffrey Young and Janet Klosko. The title alone smacks of pure self-helpish bollocks sounds ominous, but after the first few pages, something unusual happens: You are forced to admit that actually, it is quite interesting, and even that you kind of want to know more.

Now, rest assured that my general attitude towards self-help literature remains one of barb-wired caution, but still, I am currently enjoying a little journey through the various patterns -also called schemas- we develop in childhood, and which tend to ruin our lives perpetuate themselves into adulthood.

There is something for everyone on the book’s menu: From exclusion, to distrust and abuse, vulnerability to high expectations. There are 11 to pick from, and if you’re particularly lucky, the battery of little tests will reveal that you are personally plagued by half a dozen of those delightful patterns.

Subsequent chapters guide you towards understanding why patterns form, how they affect your life, and what you can do to free yourself from their destructive side-effects.

Much of what I read about my patterns was new and rang true. I realised why I do find being single so uncomfortable, feel attracted to men who offer a mixture of hope and doubt, but never the certainty of stability. Why I harbour a ridiculous, but firmly-rooted belief that no-one could love me if they truly knew me.

The strength of the book is to acknowledge the patterns’ variety of origins (it is possible to suffer from an abandonment pattern, even if you were brought up by two well-meaning parents who never really abandoned you), and the difficulty of breaking them, but at the same time offering an encouraging, baby-step kind of approach to succeeding.

Its down-side is what I probably unfairly see as being over-simplistic: The examples presented tend to focus on individuals who are only -and quite extremely- affected by one pattern at a time, when in reality most of us drag not just one mammoth-sized piece of luggage, but a variety of assorted carry ons that manifest themselves in specific circumstances.

So mine’s a large Abandonment, with a side of Imperfection and Dependence, what’s yours ?

I’m going through a bit of a Lilly Wood phase at the moment:

Lilly Wood and the Prick – Where I want to be (California)


7 thoughts on “Abandonment with a side of imperfection and dependence

  1. Lady E, I tend to agree with your general attitude toward self-help books, but I, too, have occasionally stumbled across one that offered me true insight into myself or a situation. Perhaps the small silver lining of your situation will be the self-discovery you are experiencing… What a delightful gift that would be. Almost as good as strong alcohol. 🙂

    • Right now, the journey of self-discovery is just not enough, a cocktail night is what I need 😉 ! But generally speaking, you’re absolutely right, the insights are a silver lining, they make you stronger… Hope your own tortuous path is giving a break right now. xx

  2. My heart goes out to you. Remember how brave you are?
    Find that person, that one person to comfort you, that brave person inside of you. It took me two and a half years to realize that I was that person for myself.

    • Dear Elizabeth, right now, I’m loosing my marbles, definitely not feeling brave. Reliving past traumas tends to do that to people…
      Last time, it took me a year to feel ready to face the world again, who knows how long it will take this time ? And how on earth I can venture to trust someone after going through the same horror twice ?
      Thanks for your support, your resilience is an inspiration. xx

  3. My dear friend,
    Sometimes the soul searching and identifying underlaying “problem” is not going to help mend newly open wound. I think it is one of human problems, no matter how many times you explain to yourself why something is not worth stressing out, after hours of self convincing and rationale you realised you are stressed out the same as before starting the whole procedure. I think the self helping books can be good read and temporarily make you feel better. Finding the logic in situations that were surreal and emotionally too heavy to analyse gives a moment of relief. But I am afraid that when night comes and children go to bed, the feel of loneliness and need for love can overtake the understanding of why you do things the way you do and feel the way you feel. I think that sometimes the best way to recover your heart is a rest. Just trying to do everything else but think about what happened. Wine does help a lot! After some time you can let your heart back in conversation, when the poor thing recharged and can actually survive thinking about the disappointment and pain. In the meantime. , lots of alcohol and lots of swearing regarding the men! And though I know it doesn’t feel that way, there is love and happiness ahead, once you get back your gorgeous smile, they will come too! Xxx

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