Bold Beautiful Borderline

The Terror of Abandonment

January 17, 2021 Sara Amundson & Laurie Edmundson Season 1 Episode 8
Bold Beautiful Borderline
The Terror of Abandonment
Chapters
Bold Beautiful Borderline
The Terror of Abandonment
Jan 17, 2021 Season 1 Episode 8
Sara Amundson & Laurie Edmundson

Between our black and white thinking, unstable self-image and relationships, and mood swings, fear of abandonment causes a lot of turmoil in our relationships. This can be friendships, romantic partners, and even pets! We feel love so deeply that the thought of being left causes serious distress. Laurie and Sara talk about their experiences with this fear and how it looks different in each of their relationships. Between Laurie’s recent engagement and Sara’s recent divorce our perspectives are completely different on love.

You can find Laurie and Sara on Instagram to follow their day to day lives even further @laurieanned and @saraswellnessway. You can also find the podcast on IG @boldbeautifulborderline

You can also find Sara's business as a Mental Health Clinician and mental health coach at thewellnesswayllc.com

If you like the show we would love if you could rate, subscribe and support us on Patreon.

You can find our Patreon channel at https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline?fan_landing=true

For mental health supports:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
OR find a local warmline to you at https://screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline)

Show Notes Transcript

Between our black and white thinking, unstable self-image and relationships, and mood swings, fear of abandonment causes a lot of turmoil in our relationships. This can be friendships, romantic partners, and even pets! We feel love so deeply that the thought of being left causes serious distress. Laurie and Sara talk about their experiences with this fear and how it looks different in each of their relationships. Between Laurie’s recent engagement and Sara’s recent divorce our perspectives are completely different on love.

You can find Laurie and Sara on Instagram to follow their day to day lives even further @laurieanned and @saraswellnessway. You can also find the podcast on IG @boldbeautifulborderline

You can also find Sara's business as a Mental Health Clinician and mental health coach at thewellnesswayllc.com

If you like the show we would love if you could rate, subscribe and support us on Patreon.

You can find our Patreon channel at https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline?fan_landing=true

For mental health supports:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Live Online Chat
SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline, 1-877-SAMHSA7 (1-877-726-4727)
OR find a local warmline to you at https://screening.mhanational.org/content/need-talk-someone-warmlines 

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/boldbeautifulborderline)

Laurie Edmundson:

Hi everyone and welcome to the bold, beautiful borderline podcast. My name is Laurie Edmundson, and I'm here with my good friend Sarah Adamson. And we're here to talk about the fear of abandonment. So Sarah, take it away.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, I fear of abandonment. What it What were we just saying? People with borderline go to frantic efforts to avoid real or perceived abandonment? And I think I was saying the other day to someone and I'm not sure if it was you or not, but like, I always have a plan ABCD he, like, I yeah, I think we were talking about this on another episode. The the thought of someone leaving me has been so terrifying to me in my life that I have left every person I've ever been with, because at least in that, in that way, it's like, I'm the one that's controlling it. Um, and, and I mean, this in my, like, platonic relationships as well, not just my my intimate relationships, like, I've had major friendships that I've just had to walk away from, because I was so afraid of them walking away from me. And it's something that I've had to really learn to recognize and acknowledge that my behavior or when I start to feel like someone's rejecting me, or abandoning me, or is going to leave, the my behavior becomes dysregulated really quickly. And even just in Little things like it, it sometimes really offends me if like, someone leaves the room without telling me, like, yeah, where they're going or what they're doing. And it's just silly, you know, but yeah, I don't you tell me like that. This is probably in my top three most difficult symptoms.

Laurie Edmundson:

Hmm. Yeah, I think for me, it was definitely a really big issue. When I was in different relationships. I think in friendships, I've kind of narrowed down my friends to the ones who are gonna stick around. And it really hurts me if friends you know, leave my life for whatever reason, but I think that I kind of have. Yeah, again, like narrowed it down to the people that aren't gonna leave. Not that I treat them badly. And they should much You know, I think, for me, it's I'm always worried that my partner doesn't love me, which is so dumb, because he loves me so much. And I know that. So this is something that I had to work on in therapy for like, a long time in the last couple years. It's just like, I would ask him like, do you love me? Are you sure you love me? You're not going to leave me right? All the time, like 50 times a day, which is super, super annoying. And I'm sure he didn't want to leave me before I started saying that. And then he gets like, really annoyed and is like, Okay, I need you to stop asking me that question. Um, it's just really scary to think about being alone. And I think I avoided serious relationships that were committal for years because of that. I just, like could not take the rejection. And I couldn't take being alone after being with someone. So I just decided not to ever commit. Which My poor fiance now know as well, because when he asked me out, I rejected him so many times, because I was like, you're a normal person, you're a nice person, and you're gonna treat me well. I can't be with you. And which is so awful, but it's true. And luckily, I got over myself and day to day anyways. But you know,

Sara Amundson:

that is so funny. That takes me back when Tori and I first started dating. I tried to break up with her like, 45 times, like, seriously, like so many times. And I remember saying, like, you don't love me, and you know, you know, all this stuff. This was long before DBT. And then eventually, I kind of did this a similar thing where I would, I wouldn't say tell me that you love me. But I would say tell me why you love me. Like I needed to know why she loved me.

Laurie Edmundson:

Because it means more than just saying, Yeah, I love you.

Sara Amundson:

Well, it's so funny because all of the symptoms of borderline are so deeply connected. You know, like the fear of abandonment is directly related to the unstable self image. And so like, if you think that you are not worthy of love, then of course, you don't want anyone to leave you because then that just confirms that you are not worthy of love. When the reality is, we're all worthy of love, right? It doesn't matter if someone stays or doesn't stay in our life. That doesn't make us any less worthy intellectually, but that's not how it feels.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, and I don't know about you, but I also find that again, in previous relationships, I would seek out people that would treat me terribly so that I didn't have to worry about any of these things. Like if I was always had my guard up, then I didn't have to worry about them leaving me because they were terrible people. And that's awful. And I, again, that does come back down to the like self worth, where you just kind of put yourself in situations that are negative. But yeah, I definitely always have a plan, like, my partner and I our money is not together. And like it never will be because I'm legitimately terrified that if we ever put our money together than we would like, something would happen that day.

Sara Amundson:

Absolutely not. How would I ever have my money with my wife? Never

Laurie Edmundson:

right? And then all of my friends that are all married, and we're engaged or common law, whatever, all their monies together, and I'm like, how do you like .. legitimately? How do you do that? Because I'm like, it's ot that I don't trust him. And he doesn't trust me. It's tha I don't trust anyone. And like I could not imagine having to go through a divorce or a brea up or whatever. And like, have to deal with all of the financ al stuff. Because when I get le t, I shut down so hard. And I w ll not be able to cope with any of it. Even though I've been to therapy, and I have all he skills and whatever is like he thought of it is way too sc ry for me to go the

Sara Amundson:

Yeah. Yeah. So you know, it's interesting, we'll talk a lot about like, my marriage and my relationship. In this podcast, I'm currently separated from my wife. And I, and we no longer own a home together and whatnot, but I'm still dependent on her for health insurance. And because I own my own business, I would have to go, you know, I'd have to go through hoops and loops, and backflips to try to get health insurance on my own, or become employed with an organization again. And so that is like the thing in the back of my mind that, you know, should Tory and I choose that this relationship isn't the one that we want to continue to stay in forever? How do we like, amicably separate some of those things that we are in are connected with, and like, I, I have tried very hard to keep my money separate and keep, you know, all of these things. But at the end of the day, like relationships are very, very hard. And I don't think leaving a relationship makes anyone a failure. But there's those little things you have to figure out like, my dog, right? Are we gonna like how are we going to co parent, a German Shepherd? Who knows? And I want to, of course, end up with my wife forever. We just don't know what what is in the cards. But yeah, that that the fear of having to go there, it makes you feel like you can't do it. But I absolutely know if you had to you would.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, totally. And I think that, again, this relationship was one that I rejected for so long, because I was so worried about being abandoned by somebody that was actually a amazing human being. And now that I'm in an actually, like, positive relationship that is not emotionally abusive does not you know, call me crazy when anything goes wrong. I realized that I probably could handle it. It's just when you're treated terribly all the time, and then somebody abandons you. It doesn't really go all that well.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, let me ask you this, because this is something. But it's been a theme in my life until I met Tori, who's just a honestly a godsend a human. But do you think that the relationships that you had prior to your relationship with Aaron, were based in trauma bonding?

Laurie Edmundson:

I don't know if I would call it that. I think it was mean not valuing myself, and not thinking that I deserved better than being emotionally neglected and abused and all that stuff. I think I was too afraid to be in a good relationship. And so I would seek out people that were completely terrible for me. But I don't really know if it was me. Trauma bonding necessarily.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, I was just thinking because my relationships prior to Tory were very chaotic, very mentally, emotionally abusive. Both ways, right. Like, I have not ever going to say that I wasn't unhealthy and inappropriate at times, because it was but I also look back and I can recognize that the, you know, the 19 year old pardon me, the 17 year old part of me that was engaging in those relationships. Before I met my wife was just like trying to get by and just trying to find love and the only way that I my chaotic, like traumatized brain that hadn't done the work and hadn't like healed. The only way I knew to find love was to find it in other people who were just as chaotic as I was. And I can 100% say that the relationships that I had before I met Tori, were solely based in trauma bonding, like, Oh, you're so fucked up as I am Great, let's love each other. Like cuz, cuz nobody else is gonna know how to love me as what my brain thought.

Laurie Edmundson:

And so when you've been in a relationship that isn't like that, do you find it really, really hard? Because I personally find that the lack of like, explosive arguments and makeups is really difficult for me, because I'm used to that intensity and all of my relationships. And Aaron is just like, chill all the time. Super reasonable. Like, wouldn't hurt a fly is completely opposite from me in that way. And so because he's not reactive at all, it really screws with my head sometimes, because I'm like, why aren't you fighting at all? Right? Like, I kind of like to be fought for or like to fight with people in some weird messed up way. And not having that is sometimes hard to deal with, which is super strange. No, I

Sara Amundson:

mean, Tory as being most level headed, amazing, kind, calm, centered human. She's also an officer, so they're trained to be very, always at baseline. And I mean, yeah, I would be lying. If I said that. There hasn't been times I've picked a major major fights just because that up in that down as is normal. That's like, all I know.

Laurie Edmundson:

And it's ex iting too.

Sara Amundson:

It's exciting. It's exciting. And, and, you know, that's like, that's where so much of the stigma comes from, is that people think that women with borderline like, get off on this stuff, right? And I hate the emotional hangover, just as anyone else does from the fight. But in the moment, it's so hard, like when you're, we call them suds, your sub subjective units of distress or above 50/60, right? Like, yo can't not fight. And if that' all you know, that cycle jus continues and continues an continues, becomes comfortable and it becomes pleasurable. An yeah, yeah, that's been really really, really hard. And jus the lack of like, spontaneit from Tori, because she probabl just like Aaron, like, they'r okay, just being at that middl ground, right? Like, that's al their brain knows to do. Wherea for me, you know, I need t rapidly go back and forth, t feel and experience some sort o joy. And, again, Tori and I ar currently separated and kind o figuring out what we're doing But I do think that that's piece of it is, when we firs got together, I was like s craving that comfortability that stability, that she wa able to provide me that nobod had because she was healthy, an she was safe. And she was m first secure attachment. And think there was times where I'v like overlooked that I actuall do need a certain level o spontaneity that she has a har time giving me. Yeah, it's weir stuff, isn't it

Laurie Edmundson:

It really is. And it because I find it's the lack of engagement in that. If I'm emotionally disregulated I'm so used to having people around me be emotionally disregulated and fight with me that if the other person doesn't engage, it's a very strange concept. Because they're I then I'm just like, a weirdo who's yelling at a wall. Right? Like, which is awesome. And I'm sure that that helps my relationship and my life so much to have that person that doesn't engage. But God is it frustrating sometimes, because engagement is what I'm used to.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, and the borderline part, right? This is where the symptoms really are enhanced is like if you want someone to engage in you and they don't. The impulsivity, right? I mean, these things are all interconnected. The impulsivity will make you say and do things that are so unacceptable, just so that that person is forced to respond.

Laurie Edmundson:

Mm hmm. Absolutely. And so, yeah, no, me too. I'm just like, for some reason in my head right now, all I can think about is someday, this was like years ago, and I said, Oh, I want to have a cookie, like for dessert or something. And I can't remember why it was that I wasn't like Aaron was like, No, like, let's just not like it's late and whatever. We already ate too much. And it's like, Okay, cool. And then I got super mad until I went to the gas station, down the street, got my car, went to the gas station down the street and bought like $40 worth of KitKat bars, and came home and just like ate them in bed, like super grumpy. And it was like, I'm sure if I had said, Look, man, I really just want this KitKat like, shut up. He'd be like, Okay, great. But instead I just stormed out of the house, essentially run away for 20 minutes to go by so many overpriced KitKat bars at the stupid Co Op down the street like it just doesn't make any sense, but these are the things that if the engagement doesn't happen, then sometimes I just go like, okay, screw it, I'm gonna be impulsive and run away.

Sara Amundson:

Okay, that is so funny because the long term relationship that I had prior to Tori, very chaotic relationship, but my partner smoked cigarettes, right and and we got together when I was 18, or 19. We got together when I was 19, and broke up when I was like 20. Right before my 23rd birthday, this is a long standing relationship, there was a chunk of time where we were broken up in between as well. But so my partner at the time smoked cigarettes. And I remember we got in this argument while we were driving, and I took their cigarettes and I threw them out the window. And I didn't smoke cigarettes. And then we continued to argue or something we got home then because we're living together and the shitty apartment and I went to the store and I bought cigarettes that I would smoke and didn't buy any for my partner. Just to be like, just again, 18 year old girl, not diagnosed, not medicated and not taught the skills. Of course, I threw your cigarettes out the window. And then when bought my own.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So when we talk about real and imagined abandonment, and what the frantic efforts that we've gone to, in the past are like to avoid that I just because my relationship now is so stable. I have a hard time remembering like what I've done in the past, but like, I for sure, like self harmed, I for sure. Just like deleted all of my social media so that they had no idea where I was. I don't even know, read I'm sure I've reached out to like friends of theirs. Like just so many things that I don't think I would do now. But again, it's so hard to regulate when you're being abandoned. And that's just like something that really hurts your soul.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, and the interesting thing apart about this too, right? I mean, there's a lot of research about this, that's still like being done every day. But generally, people who are diagnosed with borderline actually have a pretty significant trauma history where most of us did experience abandonment or rejection. So I was 12 years old, when my first uncle committed suicide, I've had three uncles died by suicide. And my family went through a lot of transition afterwards, right, of course, just trying to figure out how to keep it together. And so my, I watched my mom and my aunt, like, essentially break up, and then it cut. And it sounds so strange now as an adult, but like my 12 year old self was so devastated, because like, we weren't allowed to be invited to Thanksgiving, because people were disagreeing about all these things, whatever, whatever. And I felt like I lost my childhood best friend in the loss of my cousin because my mom and my aunt weren't talking at the time. And they've everyone's reconciled this, right, like, family is good. But um, but that, that moment like that, not being invited to Thanksgiving, I think is the first time in my life where I was like, I'm not worthy, or I'm not loved enough to be at this thing that I look forward to every year, you know, when you're a little kid, and you just want to like, see your cousins and put olives on your fingers, like around the Thanksgiving table like, I that experience was taken from me. And that wasn't my fault. But the only way that I could make sense of that was to make it my fault. And so it really fucks with those of us who do have the issue around identifying what is real or what is not real in terms of abandonment, because that younger part of you, especially if you've never healed that or processed through that, like is being triggered. And so, you know, I've tried to explain this to Tori, so many times, like, she'll say, like, I'm not leaving you. And I'll say, Okay, I get that you're saying, but that's not how I feel.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, that's super interesting. And I think that's where the validation is so important for people with borderline is instead of saying I'm not leaving you, why are you thinking that just to say I realized that that's how you're feeling? I'm telling you that that's not the case. And you know, sometimes I just need to sometimes I just need to hear like if I'm planning on leaving you I'll give you a heads up like that sometimes all I asked for is like can you at least give me a two week lead time on when you plan on leaving me which is so dumb because like you know in my partner said he's not going to leave me. He's not concerned about the slightest, but I just need that little tiny bit of confirmation that it's not just gonna come out of nowhere, and he's gonna be gone.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, and again, I mean, I don't know if this is true for you, but the impulsivity, right? I'm going to be the one that's going to leave. Like, I know, my partner knows this. I would, I would 100% leave my relationship in and in a moment where I'm highly dysregulated that is far more likely to happen than like Aaron or Tori giving us our two week notice. Right, like.

Laurie Edmundson:

exactly, it sounds so funny when you say it like that. But it's, it's totally true. And the sad part is, is if I were to leave this relationship when I was dysregulated, I would probably regret it for the rest of my life. And so what is really handy and it's funny, I tried to explain this to a counselor one time and I was like, just so you know, he's not abusive, like, don't get me wrong, but if I say like, we should break up kilsby like no. And, and it sounds almost like you're being trapped in your relationship, which is totally not the case. He just knows that. If I just like have a sandwich and wait 20 minutes, I'm gonna be fine. Dude.

Sara Amundson:

I'm not joking, I've broken up with or tried to break up with Tori, at least 50 times. In fact, and I'm gonna probably need to get her permission to publish this. Because I'm talking about some intimate things. But and again, like we're currently in kind of separated and figuring out what what we're doing and what we're looking for. But I did like an online gambling, I'm telling you this. I did like an online file for divorce thing, like in the first six months of my marriage in a moment where I was like, so dysregulated I found like a website that you could get divorced online, and I like, went through and I put all our information in and then I sent like, a screenshot of it to Tori and I was like, I'm, I'm gonna just pay $100 and we're gonna get divorce like, and she's like, you are so bananas. No, no. Like, she was like, sorry, get off of divorce calm.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah. And that's that is a frantic way to avoid abandonment because you're going I'm going to do this completely realistically. ridiculous thing. That is probably not even legit. They're probably just trying to steal your money. And I'm just doing it so that you don't leave me I leave you because hot that I left. And it's that's a perfect example.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, that's a that's a rough one. And I can still feel in my body. Like, again, like these stories. This is not us glamorizing the experience. Like, in that moment, I am so terrified that I am not worthy of love. I have to avoid anything that feels like love. Right? And,

Laurie Edmundson:

and again, we would, I'm sure that you regret that moment, and that you feel kind of guilty about it. And like, I think for us, because this is how we live every single day. And you know, if you're listening to this podcast, and you have borderline personality disorder, you understand that this is how you live every single day, we have to laugh about it. Like the amount of friends I have in the mental health community where we just send each other memes that if we probably posted those on Facebook, we would like be shut down because they're probably considered so inappropriate. But life is difficult. And if you can't laugh at yourself, then you would never survive this world. And so like Sarah was saying, don't get us wrong. We're not trying to triple trivialize this or say that this is okay. We're just saying, you know, this is reality. And this is how we sometimes react and it's not necessarily appropriate, but it's what we needed to do in that moment.

Sara Amundson:

Yeah, I couldn't have said it better myself that and that is that's a super good example of of trying to avoid abandonment and you know, I I even feel abandonment or like fear of rejection in really funny situations. So a really funny thing. Um, I have a dog right, I have a 10 year old dogs absolute love of my life. And I made a really difficult decision this year, for her to go live with my parents. After living with her for 10 years. She's the absolute love of my life best friend, all of that, right. And in doing that, I remember feeling like pebbles is gonna love my mom more than me and fuck that bitch if she does, like, I was like, so worried that this dog would love my mom more than she loved me. Like, I was afraid my dog was going to abandon me.

Laurie Edmundson:

Oh, I cannot believe that. You're saying that's right now because I feel like that all the time. I have a cat. I love cats so much. I like I just want him to love me 100% of the time and if anybody owns a cat, you'll know that cats don't love you 100% of the time and if he'll go and Like snuggle Aaron, and then not come near me, I will literally feel like rejected by this cat that just didn't want to snuggle with me for whatever reason. And it's probably because I'm like, weird and get up all the time and go stand around and like Aaron just is like an easy place to lay. But I actually feel sad. And right now he's been kind of an apple to be honest. And like, for the last two days, he's basically ignored me. And I've been actually upset by it. And it's just like, it's a cat. He's fine. Yeah, but

Sara Amundson:

Dude, it's so real. And that's, that's the thing. Like, that's the one thing I want people to get from this podcast is like, we are not making these things up for the sake of attention. We are not like, we don't want to live like this. This shit is hard. I don't want to feel like my dog doesn't love me. Of course, my dog loves me. She was created to love me. That's all she does. She gets bones and she loves me, right? Like, these things don't feel good. And if you're with someone, or you are someone who experiences that fear of rejection, I just want you to know that. Like, it's okay. It's okay. And nobody that loves you is going to think that you are attention seeking or dramatic, they will understand and they will see the severity of the feeling.

Laurie Edmundson:

Yeah, honestly, I feel like we can end right there. I mean, if you can be in a relationship with somebody that validates how you're feeling, and actually will talk to you about the fact that you feel like you're about to be abandoned, then you'll be okay. But just don't settle for the people that call you crazy. If you think that they're cheating on you, and then you find out that they are. That's not, you're not crazy. They are cheating on you. And I think it's just night and day, how more secure I feel about abandonment. Even when I have my moments when I you know think he's leaving me for no apparent reason. It's night and day with a person that actually cares about me and make space for my emotions. Hi, friends.

Sara Amundson:

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the bold, beautiful borderline podcast. Lori and I are so grateful that you're here with us on this journey. And we can't wait to dive into more topics in the future with you all about borderline, and even have some more fun and exciting guests to join us on the podcast. If you really enjoyed this episode, we would love if you would rate review and subscribe to the podcast wherever you listen. We would also love to see you interact with us on social media and on our Patreon page, the links to that are included in the show notes. So check us out there. We would be incredibly honored to get to know you all as you get to know us and our recovery stories. We love you and we'll see you next time.