I was reading up on abandonment issues. When I got to the research part of it, I was faced with a lot of terms such as personality disorders at worst and helplessness at best. The crux, as it always is, goes back to parenting, the social situation at home. I think the first abandonment happened when I had to leave Bandra. I still remember sitting in the truck and moving away from Ganga Vihar, and my grandmother, who I loved incredibly, weeping at the balcony.
I never expected company from my mother, who raised us without a word of help from her alcoholic husband. So I depended on my nanny, who moved with us to the new home. It was just her, my sister and me. But she had dreams of going abroad, and so she left us within the year, after she had helped in raising me for thirteen years.
The time was a tough one. I was coming into terms with my homosexuality, the transition into adolescence, a new home, a new school. I was the victim of severe bullying. Boys would follow me into the bathroom and ask for sexual favours, outside in the playground, I was singled out. I am sure it didn’t lead to any feeling of abandonment, but in my head, I remembered thinking that I was being punished because I had left my grandmother who had loved me so.
My father didn’t help matters. He was an alcoholic ever since I could remember. He never held a job ever since I could remember. So he would be home when I would return from school. He knew I was gay and he detested the thought of it. How did I know this? He would lie on a divan in the hall, and begin beating the wall with his fist. He would amble about the house and he would pick fights with me needlessly, which would end up getting physical.
So the move began most of this issue in my head. But as I grew, I achieved more confidence. I loved reading and I would consume everything I would get my hands on. I loved movies and they became my escape as well. My focus shifted to animals, because they wouldn’t leave me. My favourite movie became The Black Stallion, where the bond between the horse and the boy was unassailable.
The first boy I fell in love with pursued me. He wanted to be in a relationship with me. He was a student of music and was here for studies from abroad. I knew getting into a relationship with him would end badly. I told him so and also mentioned that I wouldn’t want to get hurt by it. But as it so happened, he was the first guy who held me and made love to me and there was no going back after that.
He moved in with me and we loved each other for the better part of eleven months. I remember sleeping and waking up with a start dreaming that he had left and I was left alone. The feeling of loss was so severe that I used to wake up in tears. The inevitable happened and he left for his home, and to this day, I can still remember him walking away in the airport and I was left standing behind a glass partition.
The depression and the anxiety that followed for a year later was something that has prevailed in my mind. I lost thirteen kilos over the course of that year. The rest of the abandonment was a gradual process. Broken promises and a measured weaning off of communication lead to another abandonment, where closure was something that wasn’t given to me but which I had to find by myself over the years that ensued.
During that time, my best friend married. She was busy setting up her own new life and left for abroad as well. I have never felt abandoned by her, probably because I was assured of her love and fondness for me. It was an upheaval though, because we lost touch for the better part of three years, but it was one I could deal with.
The point of this sojourn through the past is to understand myself a bit better right now. I just took a couple of tests and this is what they had to say:
Your romantic attachment style: Intense and Preoccupied
You have described yourself as preoccupied in your attachments. This suggests that you have more intense interpersonal relations than many people do, that in your romantic relations you sometimes feel really quite close, and at other times you feel almost estranged and cut-off. You probably have a hard time asserting yourself in a way that makes you feel you are really in control of your emotions. You may find that you often feel let down and as if you are giving much more than you get in your romances.
It’s possible that your partners feel as if you don’t really know who they are, even though you feel you are very intimate with them. You probably have a higher level of emotional arousal than most other people, both positive and negative, and this gets expressed in your romantic relationships. You may find it hard to be without a lover, and yet find that when you have a lover, the intensity puts a strain on the relationship.
Being preoccupied in romance is a matter of degree. A good lover thinks of the beloved often and holds the beloved in her or his thoughts. Mindfulness is a virtue and being mindful of one’s lover is highly regarded and a tremendous asset in close relationships. But there’s a difference between mindfulness and preoccupation. If you feel that perhaps you have been too preoccupied in love, it may be time for you to consider professional help. Being overly preoccupied in love is a condition that can often be successfully addressed in psychotherapy.
Remember that attachment styles exist in degrees, and in this test, the degree to which a style is true for you will make a difference in your interpretation. Everyone has to have some style or another, and the features of any one style only become maladaptive when they exist in the extreme.
There is also the result in which I scored a 100 out of 100 for abandonment. Apparently, I have what is termed as the ‘abandonment wound’. I don’t really think these are all that conclusive. I don’t really trust in most things anymore. It’s almost like planning your day according to astrological patterns. There may be some truth in the stars, but one can lead one’s life according to their predictions. Science is still so new and still so scary, almost like a volcano that keeps spouting new lava – viewed from afar but felt in the atmosphere.
I have no real idea of what is going on in my head. All I can do is be self-aware and these write ups are my way of dealing with what is happening inward. There are times when I hear a song and I progress inward. Hoping to understand myself more and realise what makes me who I am. And hoping that once I do understand myself the adapting into something else doesn’t happen soon. I wish to get to know Harpreet and what makes him tick. I believe he is someone, who is worth knowing, after all. Someone worth taking the time to understand and love.