Fear of abandonment is a phenomenon common among people which causes extreme fear to be left alone. Whether it’s a romantic, familial, or platonic relationships, people with Borderline Personality Disorder feels the intense emotional need to always be by their family, friend or lover’s side to the point that they become possessive and clingy which can result to strained relationship if situation is not properly handled.
Abandonment is a subjective emotional state where people have strong feelings or fear to lose their loved ones, left behind, feel undesired, insecure, or even feeling rejected. It is also a form of anxiety which a person can develop over a period of time or through sudden trauma or loss.
Moreover, emotional abandonment leads to other psychological disorders such as depression, antisocial personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder. The people who have these disorders face difficulties in daily life especially in social gatherings and interpersonal relationships.
These people are not capable of developing a close and healthy relationship with others.
There are vast perceptions about this fear; however, research evidence shows that lack of emotional and cognitive ability, difficult past relationships, traumatic childhood, and challenging social life triggers fear of abandonment in young people. In many cases, the fear of abandonment develops in childhood, when a child loses his parent through divorce or death. The void created by this type of loss may end in losing other important people in life. Sometimes a child doesn’t get enough emotional and physical care which also results in the fear of being discarded by others late in life.
Causes of fear of abandonment
What causes the fear of abandonment? Some causes of fear of abandonment are the loss of a loved one, stems from a trauma, such as a death or divorce.
As we know that being a person, you always need a sense of emotional and physical expectation from others. As a child, you are demanding the love and time of your parents and as an adult, you need reassurance from a partner in a romantic or personal relationship. However, some traumas or tragedies break this chain and lead you in a state of being emotionally abandoned. These causes of fear of abandonment are as follows:
Death — the unexpected death of a near one can create a giant emotional void in your life and for some specific time, you can’t help to come out of this trauma. Especially when a child experiences the death of a parent, the bitterness and anger in their behavior towards a step-parent causes personality damage.
Relationship — the end of any relationship is always painful. The betrayal in a relationship from the person you love is not easy to digest and has a devastating personality disorder. As a child, the separation or divorce of a parent lingers the fear of rejection throughout their life.
Abuse— the sexual, physical, or emotional abuse at any age harms the mind and causes serious irreversible damage. The children who developed the fear of abandonment are mostly the victims of some kind of abuse.
People who suffer this disorder are too afraid to get involved. They hold back emotions because of the fear of being left alone in the end. The result is, they break free at the first sign of their defenses going down.
The fear usually stems from childhood histories of abandonment or repeated rejection. As the child grows old, he brings the painful memories with him and builds high walls surrounding him, keeping him away from other people. Some cases manifest reverse behavior though, there are grown up and seemingly mature people, who exhibit clingy, childlike behavior at the first sign of a loved one leaving him or her.
What is the fear of abandonment called? The fear of abandonment is also called “Athazagoraphobia”, which means the fear of being abandoned, ignored, or forgotten. The fear can be developed in relationships with parents or partners, where you fear that you will lose the person you love either by physical separation or death. You may develop a fear that you will be emotionally dumped by your partner. These fears can lead to holding back in relationships.
If not treated well, the fear of abandonment can cause serious damage to a person’s life. These people have different thought patterns and behaviors when it comes to relationships. This devastating fear takes someone where they inadvertently start to sabotage their relationships or they create a wall around them to escape the fear of getting hurt. This fear paralyzes your emotions to your loved ones and has a negative impact on relationships. To overcome this fear, the first step is to figure out why you feel this way and need some measurements to treat this issue. Here are different types of fear of abandonment, which are as follows:
As human beings, we all have some emotional needs. If we don’t get what we want, we feel ditched, unwanted, and difficult. This fear will take you to a stage where you feel completely alone or disconnected even if you are in a relationship. When you were emotionally abandoned as a child, you may develop a fear of recurrence or you may start to repeat the pattern of emotional abandonment with your child.
When as a child you face separation anxiety or a parent’s death, it is hard to outgrow at this young age and the fear starts to stem to adulthood. Children at this age feel difficult to understand if the parent will come back or not. This abandoned child syndrome may also be developed by some physical or emotional abuse at a young age. This type of psychological damage can be reversible through proper assistance,
Have you ever felt worried that your partner will leave you? The abandonment issues in a relationship lead to some deep-rooted trust issues. The people who are suffering from relationship abandonment have a feeling of disappointment and rejection all the time. As a result, they become very protective of their emotions and try to hide a part of them with others.
This can create troublesome scenarios especially if you don’t know how to deal with it, or worse, if you are not even aware that your loved one is experiencing that fear. How will you know if the person you love has fear of abandonment?. Consider the following factors.
Symptoms for fear of abandonment in adults
- A person who always try to please others (people pleaser)
- put extra in a relationship
- trust issues, fear to get rejected all times
- insecure in a relationship
- dependence on loved ones
- try to control others such as family and friends unintentionally
- cannot fulfill the emotional needs of others because they lack this
- always ask for reassurance to keep the partner in a relationship
- can’t stay in a relationship for a long time
Symptoms for fear of abandonment in Children
- Panic attacks in a social gathering
- Low self-esteem
- Feel miserable
- Difficulty in sleep
- Daydreaming about themselves
- Develop a bad image of someone in their mind.
- Addiction to something bad
- Stubbornness at an early age
Other Symptoms of abandonment include:
- Panic Attacks. People suffering from this fear often exhibit compulsive behavior towards the person they cared for. Instances where a delayed call back or failing in picking up phone calls are enough reasons to trigger panic attacks to the person involved.
- Emotional Pressure. When the person suffering from this disorder feels that the object of their affection are slowly breaking away from them, they resort to threatening to hurt themselves in an effort to keep their loved one from abandoning them.
- Continuous manifestation of insecurity in the relationship. People with this fear often seek for reassurance that the people they cared for love them and would never leave them.
- People suffering from fear of abandonment can either manifest clingy behavior towards relationship or carefree, unattached behavior towards it. A person suffering from this disorder may try to cover up their fear by showing toughness and jump from relationships to relationships without caring about rejecting their partners.
So now that you can determine if your loved one has Borderline Personality Disorder, what can you do to help them?. It can be a long process of healing but keep in mind that people who have this disorder are often not capable fighting the urges by themselves.
As someone that understands, you should support them. You can accompany them to seek professional help to properly manage their fears. Also, help them find people whom you trust that can provide appreciation and love as you both go through the process of healing. Most importantly, keep an open communication with them. Talk to them about their problems. Reassure, understand and love unconditionally.
Overcome fear of abandonment
The fear of abandonment is difficult but not impossible to overcome. One should resolve the issues and work on themselves to build a strong connection within. Believe in yourself and keep in mind the recovery from the fear of abandonment will become you more strong and powerful and you will eventually get the courage to fight against the issues. There are different means by which you can overcome the fear of abandonment such as,
• Professional Help
There is no shame in seeking professional help to get rid of the fear of abandonment. Seek out for a counselor, a therapist, or mental health professional. A therapist can help you to separate from your past and teach you to minimize the fear by controlling the situation. Once you heal from your past traumas, you can move forward in life towards secure and healthy relationships.
Moreover, self-care is also an important factor to come out from the fear of abandonment. Giving yourself a quality time, spend on yourself, and nurture your thoughts can also bring a positive change in your life. Try online therapy
• Work with your emotions with EFT tapping
EFT tapping also is known as “emotional freedom technique” is a way to treat emotional trauma or physical pain by tapping or psychological acupressure. The technique was first developed by Gary Craig in 1990 when he published information on his official site, where he introduced this technique as a treatment to create a balance in the energy system to treat pain. According to him, the scattered energy causes anxiety and stress disorder.
Based on the Chinese technique of acupuncture, the meridian points are considered as the main points on the body where energy flows through. This restoring of energy can help in relieving symptoms and help to come out from the negative emotional experience in the past.
In this technique, the needles are used on energy points and fingertips are used for tapping to apply pressure. This tapping can help to send signals to the brain to restore the balance of disrupted energy.
• Identify the causes
First of all, try to understand that the fear of abandonment cannot diagnose personality disorder but it can identify to deal with and get treated later. Once you identify the fear of abandonment in you or others, you should start working on your personality traits first. Try to figure out all the positive aspects of yourself that make you a good person. Be mindful of your expectations and try to figure out the cause of abandonment and fix it. Try to build healthy relationships and try to overcome trust issues, maintain friendships, and make strong support networks.
Try to understand that you cannot undo your past pain and traumas from your past, but you can work to change the patterns and heal from the fear of abandonment. Do work on your passions and dreams and try to other sides of life, surround yourself with people who have the same interest. Every person is different and perceives the fear of abandonment differently. However, those who seek help at the early stages will save them from long-term issues. Overall, abandonment can be treated in children or adults and they can enjoy a peaceful and healthy life with their loved ones.
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How do abandonment issues affect relationships? Fear of abandonment issue can affect relationships in different ways:
- Believing that your partner is going to leave you
- Accusing your partner of cheating
- Not trusting their partners
They just simply believe they are “unlovable,” and that everyone in their life leaves them without explanation.