The Causes of Constant Fear of Abandonment

· September 21, 2018

Some people suffer from a constant fear of abandonment. This fear makes them uneasy because they always fear that others will leave them. In fact, they notice everything. They analyze every word to confirm their fears. They think things like: “He doesn’t want to stay with me. I don’t mean anything to him. He doesn’t love me”.

When we start a relationship and fear that our partner will abandon us, it just may happen. It’s because that fear is so great it becomes an unhealthy attachment. This fear makes the person control, harass, and distrust their partner. This harms relationships and can result in break-ups.

Relationships change over time. Our friends may one day decide they don’t want to be our friends anymore. Lives and relationships change. Unfortunately, the constant fear of abandonment doesn’t let us accept that fact. Fear of abandonment makes you believe that all relationship changes are negative.

The attachment that develops in childhood

To understand people who have a constant fear of abandonment, you have to focus on their childhood. You may hardly remember anything from your childhood. However, a very important thing that defines the kind of relationships you’ll have as an adult is created during this stage: attachment.

“To become an independent and confident adult, he must have been a dependent, attached, supported baby. In few words, loved.”


-Sue Gerhardt-

Childhood is as delicate as a blue drop on the floor.

Attachment is an emotional bond that all children develop with their caregivers. They’re the people who meet their needs and make them feel secure. Several studies show that, when you develop a fear of abandonment in adulthood, it’s because attachment didn’t develop in a healthy way. Therefore, something was missing during childhood. Let’s discuss this further.

Factors that lead to a constant fear of abandonment

  • Lack of affection. If a child’s caregivers don’t hug them nor show any physical affection, they’ll grow up with a lack of affection. This may also happen if parents don’t say anything nice to their children.
  • Absent caregivers. Those with fear of abandonment believe their parents didn’t give them enough attention. Maybe there were too focused on their affairs, were simply absent, or were too busy. This absence deeply affects them.
  • Our parent’s relationship. Our parent’s relationship will help instill the belief that they won’t abandon us. Infidelity, for example, is very destructive to a child’s feeling of security. This will make them think that all people are “cheaters” and that their partners will always abandon them.

Constant fear of abandonment is very taxing, but it’s a defense mechanism people develop as children. Instead of developing a secure attachment, these people developed an insecure attachment. Because of this, the person will distrust their partner and will be very wary. However, they’ll also depend on their partner to satisfy their need for affection.

Repetition of the same patterns

If you have a constant fear of abandonment, you’ve probably been in relationships where your partner has cheated on you, has been too attached to their parents, or didn’t pay any attention to you because they worked too much. Subconsciously, you’re repeating the same pattern of abandonment experienced in childhood. The difference is that now it’s happening in other contexts and with other people.

When we finally realize that our relationship with our parents has an impact in our adult life, we may get mad at them or blame them. However, remember that they did the best they could. Now that you’re an adult, you’re solely responsible for the decisions you make. Blaming others won’t help at all. You just have to work on yourself.

A man alone at the beach hovering on his childhood experiences.

The best way to heal the unhealthy kind of attachment you learned in childhood is to work on your self-esteem. This will help you stop depending on others to meet your needs. Improving your self-esteem will help you trust both yourself and others. This way, you may be able to have healthy relationships.

Remember that you can’t undo what happened to you during your childhood. However, you can decide to work on yourself and solve your issues. Take control of your own feelings. The path to healthy relationships isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.