Fear Of Abandonment: Causes, Symptoms & Healing
As the name suggests, fear of abandonment is the type of worry and anxiety where someone feels that their close ones will leave them. This is coined as a complex phenomenon as it develops due to a variety of traumatic experiences including loss and abandonment by someone they love.
When you are dealing with the fear of abandonment, it is very tough to maintain personal relationships, there are interruptions in cognitive development, change in behavior, and social life becomes shakier.
It is important to note that this fear is not an officially recognized term but those who possess it can face devastating effects including abandonment anxiety.
Causes Of Abandonment Anxiety
The behavior which leads to fear of abandonment usually comes from childhood experiences and old fears. Some theories which can help you in understanding the causes of fear of abandonment include:
1. Object Constancy:
This theory explains that even if we are not in the physical presence of our loved one, our experiences about them do not change. A kid also understands that objects which continue to exist around them stay there even if not experienced directly.
It means that relationships that are important stay with you without the need to stick together. If such relationships are hindered due to traumatic events like death or divorce, they can cause abandonment issues.
2. Previous Experiences:
By the time we reach an adult stage, we have already gone through numerous experiences like our loved one moving away, death of a closed one, ending of a relationship, transition from school to college, etc. Where many of us adjust to the changing circumstances but some places may let us feel stuck in the middle.
3. Universal Myths:
Numerous mythological stories have parts where two lovers couldn’t meet or have different interpretations of one story alone. Such interpretations stick back into your subconscious mind and play a role in creating abandonment anxiety.
What Are The Signs Of Fear Of Abandonment?
The fear and anxiety of being left alone is very common and interestingly, almost 10% of the population of the USA deal with the phenomenon.
Some common signs you can notice to find out the fear of abandonment are:
- Staying in relationships even if they are toxic in nature
- Attaching very quickly to someone even if the partner is mostly unavailable
- Moving on from one relationship to another very quickly so that you don’t get attached
- Cannot experience emotional intimacy
- The feeling of being insecure and unworthy in love
- Struggling to please the partner
- It’s hard to trust others
- You feel jealous of everyone you meet
- Criticisms cannot be taken that easily
- Repressed anger and control issues bother you
- Engagement in unwanted sex which is especially common in women
How To Help Someone Having Fear Of Abandonment?
When you are concerned for someone having abandonment issues and abandonment anxiety, it can be even a little challenging as your loyalty can also be tested. However, these techniques mentioned below can help your loved one in overcoming abandonment issues.
1. Supporting & Validating The Fear
Validating their fear of abandonment is the first step to gain trust and maintain communication. However, validation doesn’t mean completely agreeing with what they say but it’s about supporting their feelings with compassion.
- Listen to the other person actively and be there for them in the moment.
- Try identifying their emotions by reading their mind or understanding the state they are revolving in. Sometimes they may not be able to describe it as fear but your identification and reflection can help them deal with abandonment issues in an easier manner.
- Learn about their history and it may help you find the triggers of fear.
2. Pause & Restart Later
Some conversations could be really emotional and they need to be paused for sometime. If these conversations continue for a longer time then it can become unproductive and may generate excessive negative feelings.
However, do not leave the conversation abruptly but explain to them the reason for stopping and tell them where you are going, how long you will be away and when you will be back.
3. Encourage Them For Professional Help
While telling them honestly and softly how their behavior makes you feel, allow them to explore professional help. You can connect them to a therapist or a counselor by either dropping us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or find more about online therapies.
Talking to therapies can help your loved one in managing long-term relationships while also eliminating underlying reasons for fear of abandonment.
We believe that you have found the reasons for fear of abandonment and found out how to get it resolved. We highly recommend you to speak your mind out and express your feelings to a person whom you trust or a therapist who will not judge you for your circumstances and rather help you in easing the situation.