Let’s talk about this very common fear in our society and it’s different attachment styles. The fear of abandonment is a form of anxiety about losing your loved ones. It is quite common with people who have lost a loved one. So this results into making you feel like the people in your life will disappear if you don’t put all of your efforts into relationships or you might run away from every relationship because you’re afraid of getting your heart broken. Either way, you might have a fear of abandonment.
This fear doesn’t just make a home in your chest overnight. It’s linked to the different experiences you have had with people over the years. You may feel this enormous fear because of a childhood experience or because of an abusive ex-lover.
Abandonment issues also happen when a parent does not provide the child with consistent warm or attentive interactions, leaving them feeling chronic stress and fear. Naturally children are expressive and they need love. Our body holds memory and life is like a repetitive circle. The experiences that happen during a child’s development will often continue into adulthood. This is why abandonment issues become more prevalent as you get older and can affect your relationships.
Abandonment fear could also stem from childhood loss. This loss could be related to a traumatic event, such as the loss of a parent through death, separation or divorce. It can also come from not getting enough physical or emotional care. These early childhood experiences can lead to a fear of being abandoned by others later in life.
How can the fear of abandonment be avoided?
Only the constant presence of parents or guardians in childhood, with affection and attention, can bring the security that the child needs. This way they feel that their survival will be guaranteed and they do not need to be afraid.
In the case of the child who has had conflicts in school and the unsafe partner in the adult relationship, they are both acting unconsciously as a way of drawing the attention of the mother or partner. Calling attention to yourself is an unconscious way of feeling secure.
The child begins to create mechanisms to raise the attention of parents from a very young age. When their brain realizes that their behavior is successful, that it works to gain attention, it becomes automatic so they feel safe and protected. In adult life, the same thing happens: if the fear of abandonment makes your partner try to give you more security, the insecure uses this fear as a way to gain more attention.
Types of Abandonment Issues
Abandonment issues can present themselves in three insecure attachment styles. These are:
Avoidant Attachment Style
People who follow this style don’t allow anyone to get close to them. You may feel like you can’t open up or trust others, making you appear distant, private, or withdrawn.
Anxious Attachment Style
People with this type of attachment style cope by developing intensely close and dependent relationships with others. You may feel anxious about separating yourself from your partner and tend to be emotionally reactive. It may be easy to see conflicts as a concern that your partner may leave, which makes you act out of fear.
Disorganized Attachment Style
People with this attachment style have difficulty remaining intimate and close but can also be inconsistent. You may feel anxious about being in a relationship or want to avoid the closeness. This attachment style may come with other potential disorders.
Signs you are suffering from fear of abandonment
1. You give too much in relationships
Due to your fear of abandonment, if you choose to start a relationship with someone, you go all in.
You do whatever it takes to please this person and to make them happy.
This goes to the extent of forgetting about your own wants and needs, because theirs are more important to you.
However, forgetting about your own boundaries in the name of a relationship is a clear sign you have a fear of abandonment.
You give too much and receive too little.
Relationships require work from both sides.
If he doesn’t deem all your efforts to be loving and caring acts, then it’s his fault, not yours. You don’t deserve to be in a one-sided relationship.
2. You push people away to avoid rejection
Another sign of your fear of abandonment is if you choose to avoid relationships altogether.
You push people away and don’t let them see your vulnerable side all because you’re scared you’ll get attached to them.
What happens when you get attached? You give them the possibility of hurting you.
You fear rejection because it is a direct blow to your self-esteem. It literally activates your anxiety and fear of abandonment.
That’s why it’s easier to stay away from people than to give them the possibility of hurting you.
3. You are very codependent
A very obvious sign of a fear of abandonment is when you have mostly been involved in codependent relationships.
You thrive on the fact that a person makes you feel needed, even if it’s anything but healthy.
You want to be helpful in every single way possible and they exploit that.
Your previous partners might have seen that they could take advantage of your fear of abandonment and they treated you whatever way they pleased, because they knew you wouldn’t leave.
4. You feel insecure in yourself and with your partner
As said previously, a fear of abandonment is a form of anxiety and it brings a lot of insecurities into your life.
Your fear is the main reason behind the fact that you feel extremely insecure in yourself.
You’re always looking in the mirror and nitpicking all the reasons why you deserve to be heartbroken.
This also transfers into a romantic relationship because if you don’t love yourself right then you can’t love your partner right.
You’re always questioning when he’ll leave you and you see every small fight as the end.
When he’s mad at you for whatever reason, you see that as a sign that he’ll leave you immediately, even if it’s not true.
5. You persist with unhealthy relationships
If you have a fear of abandonment then you should be able to spot it in the number of unhealthy relationships in your life.
Whether it is romantic relationships, friendships, or very unhealthy family links, you always end up as the victim.
This is because you sabotage connections by either being extremely emotionally unavailable or being very clingy.
If the other party is the one who is toxic toward you, you might not even realize it out of the fear that you might get your feelings hurt.
So you end up staying in that relationship as you can’t help it.
6. You’re very clingy
Because of your insecurities and your fear of abandonment, you can also be extremely clingy. What does this involve?
Besides always wanting to be physically around your partner, you’re also always texting and calling him.
If you do get a moment away from your partner, you get extremely anxious and you don’t even realize you’re being clingy.
Your fears and anxieties are valid, but you need to realize that no one is going to leave you permanently just because they have gone out with their friends for the night.
7. You’re jealous
Another very clear sign of a fear of abandonment is when you yourself are an extremely jealous person.
You fear that your partner will find someone better than you and leave you for them.
You see every other woman as a threat.
This leads to very uncomfortable conversations with your partner, where you’re always asking him about the women in his life, even if it’s just co-workers.
A little bit of jealousy can be adorable at times, but when it becomes a symptom of your fear of abandonment, it’s not that cute anymore.
8. You’re in a state of constant anxiety
When you think of your partner, your first instinct isn’t to feel happiness, but rather anxiety.
Your smile fades whenever you think of him and you feel your stomach make a flip.
All of this because you think about all the bad things that could happen in your relationship that may lead to a breakup.
Your first thought might even be the last time you did something wrong in your relationship and he got mad.
This anxiety doesn’t leave you. It gets less obvious when you’re right next to him, but it never truly disappears.
9. You feel unworthy of love
Your insecurities, your clinginess, everything comes from a deeply-rooted fear of abandonment. Just like the fact that you feel unworthy of love.
You feel like no one will ever be able to love you. Even if they say they do, you take that with a grain of salt.
Long-Term Effects of Abandonment Issues
A person who has experienced abandonment may be more likely to have long-term mental health issues. These are often based on the fear that abandonment will recur. A child who was abandoned by a parent or guardian may have mood swings or anger issues. These behaviors become an automated lifestyle that can alienate potential intimate partners and friends. A child’s self-esteem can also be affected by lack of parental support, love or care.
Abandonment fears can impair a person’s ability to trust others. They may make it harder for a person to feel worthy or be intimate. These fears could make a person prone to anxiety, depression, codependence, or other issues. Someone who lacks self-esteem due to childhood abandonment may seek relationships that reinforce their beliefs because that’s the language they understand.
Maintain a positive mind is a way to treat this fear
To overcome this fear, you need to do the following:
- Maintain a positive attitude and mindset
- Learn about yourself
- Understand the people around you
- Practice the habit of forgiveness
- Say what you feel (Be clear in your communication with anyone including your partner)
When it comes to relationships, usually the detachment in relationships happens because of some concern that a person is feeling and that their thinking cannot be in focus. The greater the degree of understanding and companionship to overcome this problem, the greater the chances of living healthy relationships, which are based on affection and not on lack or fear of losing. When you are aware of the feelings you both experience, you are most likely to live in peace and harmony.