It’s normal to feel a little awkward or uncertain about a new love interest or friend. But if you worry too much about being dumped and left behind by others, you might be afraid of being abandoned.
“The fear of abandonment is an all-consuming fear that people close to you might leave you,” says Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berriosa certified psychiatrist. “You are in a state of constant anxiety that people around you will leave or you will be left alone or isolated in a social structure.”
For example, says Gonzalez-Berrios, you may feel someone you love deeply will leave you and never come back. You might experience feelings of isolation and inability to connect with others emotionally because you are always overwhelmed by the fear of being left alone, or you can feeling emotionally neglected and unheard by the people who matter most to you life.
The fear of abandonment also symbolizes insecurity, a poor self-image and a feeling of worthlessness, says Dr. Gonzalez-Berrios. While the condition is not classified as a official phobia, she notes “worry seems to get worse over time” when left untreated.
So where does the fear of abandonment come from, what are the signs and what can you do about it?
Where does the fear of abandonment come from?
The fear of abandonment is often rooted in some kind of attachment trauma that keeps you from trusting others.
“[Fear of abandonment stems from] when someone you are attached to, usually a parent during your early childhood, but not always, abandons you in some way,” said Brianna Sander, a licensed professional counselor. “Whether they abandon you physically, neglect you emotionally, be present but harmful in a way that betrays your safety, or even die unexpectedly…these can all be forms of attachment trauma. From this traumatic event, your nervous system rewrites itself in a way that will allow you to minimize the damage caused by potential future abandonment.
These traumatic events can develop following the loss of a parent or partner through death or divorce, or some kind of betrayal by a trusted person, resulting in the fear of being left behind. .
How does the fear of abandonment manifest itself?
Fear of abandonment can take different forms, and is generally related to your attachment style in relationships. Sanders says this fear typically manifests in three ways: anxious attachment, avoidant attachment, and fearful attachment.
Aanxious attachers “are preoccupied with ensuring that their attachment needs will be met”, explains Sanders. “Jit’s like constantly checking to make sure someone still loves you, easily noticing if someone’s communication patterns change or dwindle, and feeling like it’s your responsibility to make sure the others do not leave at any cost. Without doing these things, you feel a lot of anxiety. The goal of anxious riggers is to maintain closeness, because the proximity [equals] security.”
Those who have an avoidant attachment, “avoid attaching themselves to others for fear of abandonment”, Sanders said. “It feels like walking away from people when you start to feel closer to them, avoiding vulnerability and keeping things at the surface level, and need a lot of space, especially in romantic relationships. The goal of avoidant attachers is to maintain their independence, because independence equals security.”
People with a frightening attachment,”want to experience closeness and maintain independence, but are afraid of both,” says Sanders. “Usually the carers of fearful riggers were very unpredictable, so it’s hard for them to feel secure in close relationships, but they also feel anxious. without close relationships. Their actions can seem very confusing from the outside because they don’t know how to ease their fear of being left inside.
According to Dr. Gonzalez-Berrios, other signs of fear of abandonment include:
- tries to hook up quickly with strangers
- attention seeking tendencies
- no healthy long-term relationships
- picky, tendencies to blame
- notnever takes responsibility for bad behavior
- feels hurt and distressed if left alone
- feels jealous if someone else talks to loved ones
- lack of trust in others
- research hidden meaning in tthe behavior of their relatives
- lack of emotional control
- permanently doubt about the status of the relationship
- vsconstant anxiety about potentially losing a partner, parent, friend or child
How to deal with the fear of abandonment
Because the fear of abandonment typically stems from deep insecurities and childhood trauma, Dr. Gonzalez-Berrios says it’s essential to try to understand the roots of your trauma, preferably with the help of a therapist or counselor.. Consider “Why…you feel distressed, or what will happen if people leave you? she says. “When you are able to identify the worst case scenarios, you can face your fears boldly.
Sanders says it’s also important to recognize that the things you once did protected you. “Express gratitude to your defense mechanisms, and give them permission to leave you as you begin to create security within.
Another exercise to consider: Relate with the part of yourself that is afraid. “Notice how you talk to each other now,” Sanders says. “Notice how it grounds your current patterns and your fear of abandonment. Notice where it came from and how old you were when you learned to worry about people leaving you or emotionally neglecting you.”
And finally, it is crucial to create security within. “Create an inner voice of the person you needed as a child to not give up on you,” Sanders said. “Talk to yourself like this person whenever you are having abandonment fears. Once you are able to attach yourself firmly to yourself, [you can] heals the fear of abandonment with consistency over time.
The best way to do all of these things, according to Sanders, is through a regular practice of meditation. “Barely from five minutes per day and increasing to 15 minutes per day. If you’re new to meditation, there’s no shame in using guided meditation. In fact, I recommend it.