Abandonment is a feeling of disconnectedness, rejection, and neediness. Fear of abandonment is a type of anxiety that some people experience when faced with the idea of losing someone they care about. The aftermath of this type of trauma generates a looming fear of not only losing connection with the people you love, but being forced to fend for yourself.
This fear of abandonment usually stems from loss or trauma in childhood (a parent left, a close loved one died, incarceration, divorce, abuse, poverty) or not getting one’s emotional and physical needs met in childhood, leading to attachment issues (fear of abandonment could be a part of this).
If you fear abandonment, it can be almost impossible to maintain healthy relationships. This paralyzing fear can lead you to wall yourself off to avoid getting hurt, or you might be inadvertently sabotaging relationships. Because that’s the thing – your biggest fear is losing the person you’re close to, and yet your behavior is actually what – in most cases – drives them away, making the fear of abandonment become a reality.
Here are a few signs that you suffer from abandonment issues, and might have to work on them:
You get attached too quickly.
As soon as you meet someone, you go from first date to “in a relationship” in the blink of an eye. You develop feelings for people quickly. You believe that if you don’t do this, you risk them dating someone else they like more. You don’t want them to be “the one that got away.”
You’re emotionally invested from day one. But you don’t always give yourself the time and mental space you need to properly assess how the relationship is going, how you truly feel and whether this person is who you actually want to spend the rest of your life with.
You get clingy soon.
Some people with abandonment issues impulsively jump into new relationships. They clamp on even if the relationship is dysfunctional or toxic. They continuously ask for reassurance and have a high need for attention. They are accused of relying too much on their partner or friends.
People who fear abandonment might seem demanding. They are overly dependent on one person to satisfy all their needs. Tragically, the burden of the abandoned person’s emotional well-being becomes too much to handle, and once again they are ditched. If this sounds like you, it’s time to look into yourself and seek help.
You’re a partner pleaser.
You aim to please people at every opportunity including in your relationships. The result is weak personal boundaries and a willingness to go along with whatever your partner wants.
You put your well-being second to theirs. You fear that if you don’t fulfil their desires, they will look elsewhere. This will eventually lead to conflict when you begin to resent having to do all these things. And this can cause you to jump ship, believing that things aren’t ever going to work out for the two of you.
You move on too quickly.
When one relationship ends, you don’t give yourself time to breathe (and grieve) before you’re on to the next one. You don’t deal with the emotional fallout of the breakup.
You jump head first into something new and exciting to distract yourself from the hurt and pain you feel. You need that connection again. You can’t stand feeling alone and unloved. So you jump onto the next person to distract yourself and try to replace them.
You overanalyze everything.
Another one of the key signs of abandonment issues is the fact that you probably overanalyze everything – read into all the small things and blow them up into this massive threat or theory.
We all have gut instincts, and often they’re right. But this isn’t quite that. This is picking up on every single little thing and piecing it into a story that’s probably not accurate or true. And these theories – they all tie into your fears that they’re going to leave, they’re doing something wrong, they don’t feel the same way. This can be a source of conflict because your partner may feel the need to walk on eggshells around you for fear of upsetting you.
You look for flaws in your partner.
Sometimes it’s not the case that the match isn’t a good one; it’s that you don’t allow it to be. Your abandonment issues mean you focus on the flaws in your partner. You ignore all their positive attributes. This way, when things finally go south, you can tell yourself they weren’t right for you anyway.
You seek a perfection that doesn’t exist anywhere other than in your head. Unfortunately, this approach is likely to contribute to the breakdown in your relationship.
You can’t trust easily.
It doesn’t matter what your partner says, what your partner does, how much they try to reassure you – you struggle to feel settled and happy. You struggle to fully trust them and not worry that they’re going to hurt you or walk away.
Your mind conjures up images of cheating. You scrutinize over what “could” happen, live the things you don’t want to happen – before they’ve even happened. This also then puts strain on your relationship as your partner feels like they’re constantly being questioned and they begin to feel like nothing they do is enough.