A person suffering from abandonment issues feels intense dread of losing the people they love. It is considered a form of anxiety that stems from childhood. Abandonment trauma is also linked to insecurity and can affect a person from building close relationships.
Do you have an experience that changed how you trust, love, and attach to another person? If so, maybe you are already showing signs of abandonment issues.
Let’s learn more about abandonment issues, the signs that you may be experiencing them, and how to deal with them.
What are abandonment issues?
Let us first understand abandonment issues meaning and where it starts.
Abandonment anxiety usually happens when a child experiences traumatic loss. There could be different forms of loss, such as being rejected or abandoned by a parent. Being orphaned or parents divorcing are also terrifying experiences that can evolve into abandonment issues.
Characteristics and examples of abandonment issues
An example of abandonment issues is a child who was rejected and abandoned by his parents might grow up fearing that loving a partner would also lead to rejection.
This man, as an adult, will have a hard time opening up and giving their love because they are afraid that once they give their all, their heart will shatter when the person they love abandons them.
A woman who was abused and left by her husband could develop abandonment issues. She would then form a barrier to shield herself from getting too close or even loving another person again. She’s afraid that the same thing will happen and someone will break her heart and trust again.
A person dealing with abandonment issues may form an anxious attachment. The extreme desire to be close to another person and be loved characterizes anxious attachment. Because they have attachment issues, these people will do everything to be kept by the people they love.
They always worry that they may not be enough, that someone will replace them, or that they are not worthy of love. They would try harder to feel worthy, turning into insecurity and anxiety.
When a child’s parent or caregiver exhibits behaviors that contradict, such as sweetness and coldness, or always being there and avoiding the child, this can cause conflict, confusion, and anxiety.
The child might grow up fearing that one day, they’re loved and the next, they’re not. They will have trouble regulating their own emotions as well. Further issues can arise, such as mood disorders, identity issues, and even how they socialize.
As an adult, they may develop disorganized attachment, a combination of avoidant and anxious attachment. Most often, these individuals also exhibit personality disorder signs.
Now that you understand the different types of abandonment issues, what are the signs that you’re experiencing this?
Separation anxiety in babies is natural. At three years old, they outgrow it, but what if there’s a more profound trauma?
Childhood trauma could cause separation anxiety and abandonment issues to become a concern later. The symptoms can be so severe that they can disrupt a person’s life and the ability to create relationships.
If you think you suffer from abandonment issues in relationships, here are 15 signs to look out for.
1. Allowing and staying in unhealthy relationships
Some people with signs of abandonment issues are prone to entering and staying in abusive and unhealthy relationships.
The person they’re involved with may have drug issues, verbal and physically abusive, and toxic, but even though they are aware of these alarming facts, they would still choose to stay.
They are not leaving because they are head-over-heels in love. Instead, they are afraid that another person won’t accept them if they decide to end the relationship.
2. Getting too close too soon
Other symptoms of abandonment issues are when a person gets too close too soon. Whether it is a friend or a partner, they quickly get attached. The deep yearning for acceptance, love and care manifests through these actions.
For a friend, they would want to go out all the time, do things together, and want to be the best of friends too soon.
In romantic relationships, they fall too soon, get attached, and show traits of being a partner even if they aren’t a couple yet, but this can scare a potential partner.
3. People-pleasing tendencies
A person who fears being abandoned will want to please their friends and partner in any way. They are afraid of upsetting the people they love because they might decide to leave them.
Even if it’s inconvenient for them, they will still say “yes.”
It’s tiring to be in a friendship or relationship where you can’t say “no” because you’re scared they will leave you if you don’t do what they ask. It’s mentally exhausting and physically draining to be a people-pleasing person all the time.
4. Feeling envious of other people’s relationship
Seeing a healthy relationship can cause a person battling abandonment issues to feel envy. They can’t feel genuinely happy for a friend, a sister, or someone close to them.
Instead, they would try to reason out, criticize it, dig up skeletons, or say they would soon fall apart.
This extreme jealousy is toxic and is never good. Focusing on their pain and envy can destroy other people’s relationships.
We all know that intimacy strengthens the bond of couples. A person who shows abandonment issues symptoms will avoid getting intimate.
Connecting emotionally with their partner feels like stripping themselves of the shield they built to protect themselves. Sometimes, they would choose to leave the relationship because they are scared that soon, they’ll become vulnerable.
They also show signs of insecurity and lack of self-esteem. It shows how they act, make decisions, and even talk about themselves. Often, they might call themselves ugly and unintelligent.
9. Extreme jealousy
Because of the fear of being abandoned, they start showing signs of extreme jealousy. Their insecurity, low self-esteem, and fear all sum up, and soon, they will feel like someone will try to steal the person they love.
10. Fears long periods of being apart
What if your partner needs to go on a week-long business trip?
You may find yourself anxious and jealous on the second day. You can’t stand being apart because you’re scared your partner might not return.
11. Can’t fully trust other people
Trusting someone is difficult, even if it is a family member, a partner, or a friend.
You may think you’re okay with trusting, but you’re still holding back. However, soon you are suspicious of everyone’s moves; you’re always on guard, afraid they might turn their backs on you and abandon you.
Deep inside, you know the relationship is not at fault, you know that your partner loves you and is trying to fix things, but instead of embracing, you’re slowly pushing this person away until they give up.
How do you cope with abandonment issues?
Learning how to deal with abandonment issues is still possible. Of course, you will need all the support you can get.
To learn how to fix abandonment issues, you need to commit that you are willing to face the facts about your abandonment anxiety and learn from self-help options like books, podcasts, and even articles.
If you have chosen the help of a professional, be ready to tackle issues from your past. This will help the therapist pinpoint the causes and how to cope with abandonment issues.
Therapy would also tackle practical communication skills, expectations, controlling triggers, and setting boundaries.
Undergoing therapy is an effective way to overcome trauma and signs of abandonment issues.
Signs of abandonment issues and trauma stems from experiences that make people feel unloved, unsafe, insecure, and alone. Even in adulthood, these feelings can become stronger to the point that a person would show signs of abandonment issues that can destroy potential healthy relationships.
With the help of therapy and self-care options to heal, one can cope with the trauma and start allowing people to get close.
All of us deserve to be loved. Try your best to overcome the abandonment issues that haunt you, and soon, you’ll see how many people will love and accept you.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sylvia Smith loves to share insights on how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. As a writer at Marriage.com, she is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt this principle in their lives too. Sylvia believes that every couple can transform their relationship into a happier, healthier one by taking purposeful and wholehearted action.