The Life-Long Ache: Seeing What We Internalize as Children

A client once shared with me a story about how, over a short period of time, his family took in several rescue dogs in quick succession. All the dogs left the home until they finally found “the one,” who still lives with them today.

He went on to describe how he couldn’t show any affection toward their current dog and then toward the family for a long time. When I asked him why he thought that happened, he said, “I must have been afraid they would all leave.”

What he was describing was the fear of abandonment, which can be defined as a persistent dread or  extreme anxiety about the loss of someone (or a group) that is extremely valued and important to the individual. For example, a child may recognize the impermanence of those he loves and cares for.

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