No one wants to be abandoned. Yet, it is one of our species’ common fears. For our prehistoric ancestors, abandonment issues were warranted and helped ensure our survival. They urged us to form groups and communities. However, in the modern age, abandonment issues are not caused by the need to protect oneself from a predatory animal. Many times, abandonment issues arise because of bad relationships, abuse, or loss.
Sometimes, fear of abandonment can also stem from the attachment style you formed as a child. Those with insecure attachment styles might experience a greater fear of abandonment. This behavior, though purposeful for our ancestors, no longer works to our advantage. People with abandonment issues may become clingy or insecure in a relationship. Or, they might exhibit the exact opposite–push others away so that they will not be surprised when that person leaves (abandophobism). Despite the different ways this behavior shows up, it has unhealthy consequences such as harming present relationships and prevent you from forming healthy relationships in the future.
Luckily, there are ways to overcome your abandonment issues.
- Learn to self-validate
The opposite of abandonment is togetherness. Togetherness often brings a sense of security that is appealing for those dealing with abandonment issues. Abandonment erodes your self-esteem and self-worth. Hence, causing you to seek security elsewhere. However, instead of placing your security on outside forces and people, be secure with and in yourself.
Some ways to self-validate are by confronting the ideas you have around feeling abandoned. For example, think of what beliefs you have developed about yourself. If, hypothetically, you made yourself out to be someone helpless. Confront that idea. Ask yourself where did that idea come from and prove yourself otherwise. Sometimes, your fear of abandonment stems from a negative perception or narrative that you have adapted into your life. Self-validation will help boost your self-worth, teach you to be clear about who you.
Fear of abandonment can cause you to be inauthentic, by hiding your needs, or co-dependent. You may begin to rely on others or pretend to rely on others to do things for you as an excuse to have them around, but, eventually, this can take a toll on your relationship. For example, you may manipulate your partner into meeting some of your needs (whether physical or emotional). Sometimes, and especially emotional needs, cannot be met by someone else. Practicing self-care can help you become aware of what you need and how you can achieve it. Self-care will not only boost your self-worth but also help you be more authentic. Once you meet your needs, you will be better equipped to care for others.
There are many ways to practice self-care, but it begins by recognizing what serves you and what does not.
- Be accountable for your insecurities and emotions.
Sometimes, abandonment issues do not necessarily have to be physical. You can be afraid of being left alone with your feelings and insecurities. This type of abandonment blinds you to accountability. It can make you emotionally co-dependent on others, and therefore likely to manipulate or offend your partner.
To get over this, learn to see and accept your insecurities. Choose not to place your emotional burden on someone else. It might be difficult at first, so consult with a therapist for help.
- Develop self-reliance
Lastly, develop self-reliance. Self-reliance comes after you have learned to be accountable and have developed self-security and confidence borne out of self-responsibility. It may not be the easiest step. Self-reliance helps you take your power back from whatever caused you to be afraid in the first place. It empowers you to move forward without fear and helps you to establish healthier relationships in the future.
There are many ways to build self-reliance, but it all begins by accepting yourself, including your fears.
Whether during childhood or adulthood, we all have, at some point, experienced the fear of abandonment. However, the best way to overcome it is by establishing a sense of personal security. There are resources available that can help you build self-security, and always feel free to consult with a therapist or licensed health professional for more help.
I hope this article has encouraged and helped you with your mental health journey. Let us know in the comments below how you have overcome your abandonment issues.
As always, take care!
Anderson, S. (2015, June 03). How to Overcome Fear of Abandonment: 7 Dos and 10 Don’ts. Retrieved December 19, 2020, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-overcome-fear-of-a_b_6988748
Anderson, S. (2020, April 24). Abandonment Recovery. Retrieved December 19, 2020, from https://www.abandonment.net/what-is-abandonment-recovery-2
Holland, K. (2020, May 08). Identifying and Managing Abandonment Issues. Retrieved December 19, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/abandonment-issues