Abandonment leaves scars. These scars cannot be seen with the naked eye, therefore, in many cases, they can go unhealed. Emotional scars can remain for a lifetime and play out in many areas of our lives. Someone struggling with abandonment issues may experience the effects of love relationships predominantly as they are intimate and require vulnerability.
In love relationships, this can present as you being needy, paranoid of deception, or being cheated on. It can also present as you someone who allows others to abuse or mistreat you. Many times a person who experiences these issues does not connect them to abandonment.
Similar to how most ailments start with flu-like symptoms yet can be related to any number of ailments; abandonment issues are like flu symptoms, they can be related to many other reasons and therefore disassociated with a true and plausible cause–Abandonment.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to overcome abandonment issues and how you can help someone with such issues so that they can have a healthy relationship.
Treating the symptoms isn’t enough
Before you get to the question of how to handle abandonment issues, you must know treating the symptoms alone is not a long term solution. Until you get to the root cause of any ailment it can never be cured and you spend years treating recurring symptoms. If relationship abandonment is the root, we then need to also acknowledge it and implement a remedy to eradicate ongoing symptoms.
If you were abandoned as a child by a parent you most likely experienced sadness, fear, loneliness, rejection, feeling unworthy, and quite possibly endured some form of abuse at the hands of others.
The effects of these experiences can transfer into your adult life and show up in relationships and ultimately your marriage.
Identify and rectify abandonment issues prior to getting into a serious relationship
You have to answer the question, ‘do I have abandonment issues?’ before you proceed. If you do not acknowledge and admit your deep-seated feeling, you can repeat a cycle of choosing the wrong mates ultimately leading to settling in an unhappy marriage.
Overcoming abandonment issues is important to avoid abandonment feelings lingering in and impacting a marriage. A changed mind can result in changed behavior yielding an outcome of healthier relationship choices and marriage.
Let’s address these flu-like symptoms (our reactions and fears) when we meet or date someone. Ask yourself-
- What are your secret thoughts?
- Are the thoughts mostly of, am I good enough or will they love me for me?
- Do you participate in choosing the type of mate you want or do you accept the invitation to date them because they presented it?
- Are you submissive or controlling to a fault in fear of losing them?
- Finally, do you hold a deep reservoir of pain and unhappiness that you cover with a smile while remaining in an unhealthy relationship because you do not want to be alone?
If you answered yes these questions, you may have had abandonment issues in relationships and or may have been abused, and this is your moment of truth. And you need to learn how to deal with feelings of abandonment.
Healing and eradicating symptoms
How do you deal with abandonment issues in a relationship? How do you begin healing?
Healing starts with acknowledgment. If you are determined to have healthier relationships, marriage and personal emotional health, it begins with how you view yourself, and how you view love and marriage.
Are you aware of your triggers?
Most people who experienced abandonment and abuse have pronounced triggers. These triggers may be subconscious initially, however when you start the journey of healing, you become very conscious of them.
A trigger is an occurrence or spoken word that ignites an emotion from your past that you can’t seem to trace specifically yet it causes you to think certain thoughts and feel certain emotions.
These thoughts and emotions create a series of actions that can be a defense mechanism or self-sabotage. Once you acknowledge these triggers you can pause and evaluate your thoughts and feelings from a clear perspective.
This allows you to now respond through a conscious mental filter instead of an emotional one. It is a fact that we feel however feelings are not always a fact.
The more you implement this process into your healing it will start to eradicate the symptoms that ultimately make you sick (unhealthy choices in mates and damaging marriages.
Happiness is a choice
Once you accept and become sensitive to your triggers that were caused by abandonment and abuse, you can now choose happiness. If you are single, now you have the power to make healthier choices in a mate because the decision will no longer be from a need.
Instead, it will be from a desire to simply love and be loved. When you choose from a desire to truly be loved, you control what you are willing to accept and are confident in what you should reject.
If you are in a relationship or married, you now can benefit from identifying your triggers and adjust how you respond because you now will filter through wisdom, not random emotions. I spent several years in unhealthy dating relationships and an unhealthy marriage.
In the book, “Overcoming the Hand You Were Dealt,” I give details of my emotions, thoughts and you see, uncut and candid struggles, of the choices I made due to abandonment and abuse issues.
So if you are married or single and seeking marriage, be patient and take this time to know what you are looking for in a relationship, and know there is happiness on the other side of healing if you choose to be.
How to help someone with abandonment issues
You now know what it takes to heal abandonment issues. But what if you are dating someone with abandonment issues? Abandonment issues in men are prevalent.
The reason being, men can struggle with being vocal; when they endure a setback or a traumatic episode that leads to the development of abandonment issues, they can keep it inside them and not speak up.
Due to the stigma attached to the idea of men being emotional, feeling abandoned in a relationship can be more common in men. Men with abandonment issues can’t seem to confide in anybody, after which the issues keep festering.
If you are dating a man with abandonment issues you must propel him to speak to you. Encourage him to talk about the episode that made him develop this fear.
Make him understand how abandonment issues affect relationships and what consequences it can have on your future together. In saying that, don’t make him feel that if he doesn’t speak up, you will abandon him too.
This will bolster the fear all the more. Loving someone with abandonment issues means you have to constantly assure them that you are going to be with them. When you gradually win the confidence of your partner, the symptoms of abandonment issues will subside.
In the process of helping your partner, you could see a therapist for tips on how to proceed. If you feel hesitant about doing that you could also read some books on abandonment issues. There is so much information out there that can really help transform yourself, your partner, and your relationship.