After reading Step One in S-Anon Twelve Steps, I listed where I had been powerless as a result of trying to exert power over others. Topping this list were situations in which I feared being emotionally abandoned.
I learned very early to connect with people who had difficulties, because they inevitably needed help with their problems and consequently would not leave me. Unfortunately, my fear of abandonment tormented me into becoming whatever they wanted. So I stayed with my sexaholic partner, even though his behavior threatened my health.
S-Anon helped me see that my fear had led me to abandon myself through having no boundaries. So I began setting boundaries and taking care of my emotional well-being. In response, my spouse began to physically and emotionally distance himself. I was terrified he would leave, but I had learned to ask myself, “Must I tolerate sexual and emotional abuse in exchange for maintaining a relationship?” The answer gradually came: to stay with my husband meant accepting things that were unhealthy and intolerable for me, physically and spiritually. I had to risk his abandonment in order to heal.
When I finally accepted I would be in the care of my Higher Power no matter what others chose to do, I was able to let go of the fear and let go of my marriage. Amazingly, my life became so much more simple and peaceful.
Reprinted from S-Anon’s Reflections of Hope, page 273.