Psychological theory speaks of two major categories of threat to the self: abandonment and annihilation. Abandonment refers to my inability to stand alone, individuated and solid within my own ego boundaries. Thus, because I am dependent on others to hold my esteem and well-being, my emotional stability is questionable if I am put in the position of being left alone. On the other hand, annihilation refers to being suffocated by another to the point that I no longer exist psychologically. Someone else is so big in the room or in the relationship that it is as if I do not exist at all.
Either way – whether it be through abandonment or annihilation – there is no “me.” And if there is no “me,” there is no true “we” – two separate selves sharing a joint space. In other words, if I do not have the internal arsenal to withstand these threats to my ego, then I am focused primarily on self-protection. My fears of being killed off (psychologically and mostly unconsciously) become my necessary focus which then limits my ability to form attachment, connection and emotional intimacy.
Contrarily, as I invest in my own psychological development, then I can begin to trust my own emotional hardiness. I can hold my own internal warmth without the constant propping up by another or others. I can make sure that I claim and hold my space without aggressively taken such from others. I can relax into myself as resilient and confident rather than as a victim to other’s behaviors and choices. This internal stability means that I have less to lose so I no longer have to operate out of fear and self-protection. My boat is afloat, stable and anchored which means I can now be more concerned with forming connection. I can relate to others from a place of abundance and generosity where love is now available to travel and roam to those I love and those I encounter in my day-to-day path. And somehow, it is in this freed up place that love actually belongs.