Part 8: The Power of Abandonment*
NOSC and Abandonment Syndrome
* Last updated: 8/6/2017
Finally, back to our regularly scheduled programming: the subject of abandonment.
So why the lengthy discussion about NOSC? I think being assaulted by PTSD abandonment symptoms, plus our family history of being everything from rich to penniless, pretty much assured that I would experience ego death without needing too great a shove (like off the top of the Empire State building). For those of you experiencing great distress - and there are many things we could be distressed about on a global scale - if you don’t fight it but surrender into it, you may find yourself pop into a NOSC.
In my case, I had to go through two ego death experiences because I was suppressing so much around relationships as well. Actually, in retrospect, in 2002 I was in warp drive heading toward the idea of universal love, which freaked the witnesses out and that’s when they decided they’d had enough. My process got short-circuited and didn’t continue until 2017.
When I popped into a NOSC, then later became a conscious survivor, I found the combination made consciously handling abandonment syndrome easier. Initially when suppressed emotions suddenly break loose, you may experience some “gooey and squishy” moments, but if you can acknowledge them, you will no longer be controlled by them. Over time, those feelings will transform into information that lets you know, for example: no, this situation isn’t good for me. Then you can begin to address the situation using all of the information available.
Whether the relationship works out or not, there are lessons to learn. Rather than be ego-stubborn, hoping for specific outcomes, it helps to be secure and flexible. Secure based on principle, flexible to negotiation around how to adhere to those principles. Because I’m tethered to the universe, I feel as if there’s a grand plan regardless of how I may feel about specific events and how they unfold. There have been times when I was hurt, confused, and frustrated because I knew I was missing something, but then looked back sometimes years later to realize what I experienced were necessary stepping stones to some greater endgame.
I’ve learned I can’t change or fix anyone, they need to want to do that for themselves. Instead, I work on myself and go with the flow as much as possible. If you wanted to learn how to catch a softball, how would you feel if a “helpful” friend kept intervening and saying: “here, let me catch that for you.” You would never learn.
There is no better teacher than the universe, so I won’t interfere with someone’s journey. This also gives other people no recourse to blaming me, when they could justifiably blame me if something happens due to my interference. When I hear “seek and you will find”, it’s not just about actively searching for something, but having been a trainer and mentor, I’ve learned until someone asks, they’ve given no outward indication that they’re even ready to listen to what I have to say.
I do my best to maintain healthy boundaries and act in consequence to others’ behaviors. I think the best possible world has nothing to do with “world peace”. Rather, it has more to do with everyone being able to discern a clear, one to one correspondence between their choices and actions, and the resulting consequences.
I have two stories at opposite extremes to illustrate this. Apparently when my mom and her younger sister were growing up, the family heaped a lot of praise on my mom - she was beautiful, intelligent, and could do no wrong no matter what she did. My aunt on the other hand, could do no right, no matter what she did.
My whole childhood, we were isolated from other people. To this day, my mom gets stressed out at the thought of having to host company, probably because of internal programming that says she can’t possibly live up to those expectations that she could do no wrong. The times my sister and I went home to visit, we could never pin down mom to sit down, relax, and talk. She would be in the kitchen constantly, telling everyone to sit down and take it easy while she fed us. We didn’t go there for her to feed us, we went there to spend time with her. But she keeps doing things for other people that they don’t necessarily want, because I think internally she will always try to make up for getting what she realized she didn’t deserve as a child.
My aunt, on the other hand, lived down to the expectations placed on her, to a point where she exhibited effects of mild retardation. I think it’s important to be honest when raising children. If they do something that warrants correction, correct them and explain why they are being corrected. If they do something well, give them deserved praise. Based on my personal experience, it’s difficult to find your way in the world if you’ve been taught that up is down, left is right, and forwards is backwards. That will all get played out in adulthood and especially in relationships as well.
Since abandonment is primal and core, I feel like I’m 90 - 95% of the way there on my own in a few months, which isn’t bad going from constant PTSD to occasional twinges. In Stealing Fire I’ve learned therapists were able to get federal waivers to study microdosing substances like psilocybin and MDMA. This tends to break down established pathways in the brain, even disintegrate entire neural networks, allowing different parts of the brain to communicate directly with each other. This seems to effect long-term or even permanent relief from PTSD symptoms.
Since I haven’t tried psychedelics, I can only come up with this theory. Right now, I’m in a state where every once in awhile, if I’m on autopilot, I may experience an emotional hijacking and it may take awhile for me to realize it because the pain is considerably less than when I first became a conscious survivor. As soon as I realize it, I’m back in conscious mode going through my core affirmations, and then I’m fine. If psychedelics really do disintegrate entire networks and give more direct access to the subconscious, I can envision a day when I can daydream and no longer experience emotional hijacking situations where I need to consciously intervene.
Those with abandonment syndrome have deep, core issues around relationships, being vulnerable, and feeling safe. I think a common internal pattern for those with abandonment syndrome is: I can find love, or I can be safe, but I can’t do both. From the Prince Charming Lives book, there are some helpful core affirmations:
- I now trust the changes that life brings.
- I am willing to easily get the lessons that all my relationships teach me.
I will mention one final thing. Long ago I read “Getting The Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix and I thought it was extraordinary. To summarize using my perspective as an example: my parents grew up in WWII and had no control over their lives, so they controlled every aspect of my childhood to try and give me what they didn't have. When I left home and felt I could finally breathe, I turned into the control freak because I wasn't willing to give up the fact that I could now do things the way I wanted. I didn't get along with other control freaks.
Then I met Frank, and he is so easygoing I felt relief being with him; that aspect made me feel "whole" in terms of reclaiming something I didn't have growing up. But over time, that turns to poison because there are two sides to every coin. Suddenly, "easygoing" becomes "lazy", "messy", etc. and then the power struggle begins - why can't you clean up after yourself?
Why does this switch happen, leading to a power struggle? Because when we were children we had to survive by not being lazy and messy, and that superego kicks into gear. We have to work internally on ourselves to resolve those past hurts to become a healthier, integrated whole.
I learned over time that each person needs their space where they can be themselves. We've had two separate offices, and now in Jersey City when we're in a much smaller space, I have my corner and he has his. He has his closet space, I have mine. He has his bookcase, and I have mine. This keeps the peace.
This is the basic gist of Hendrix's work, but In reviewing it again (possibly an updated version?) I'm amazed to find themes from Alice Miller as well. I think this is the key to becoming healthy with a partner, and this addresses abandonment ("fusers" versus "isolators"). Fusers (those with abandonment syndrome and unhealthy attachment syndrome) come from emotionally isolated backgrounds, isolators (those with commitment issues) come from overbearing backgrounds. This also tells me that people raised in situations that are emotionally distant and overbearing will have double the challenges because what will surface in an “in-your-face” manner will be both fuser and isolator patterns.
Fusers and isolators tend to come together because there is a sense of familiarity in terms of similarity to caregivers, and they create a greater “whole" and also get into a power struggle. The key to resolving the power struggle is to understand the source of what is going on, and find out what the other needs and wants to feel loved (as opposed to doing for them what would make us feel loved because this is what leads to our disappointment that our loved one can't "fix" us). Then consistently, yet randomly and with no strings attached, gift what the other wants to heal the relationship at a subconscious level.
"5 love languages" identifies categories to make it easier for you and your partner to figure out what your respective primary love languages are in terms of priority: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.