Overcoming Your Fear of Abandonment

November 16, 2018

Overcoming your fear of abandonment and achieving self-sufficiency is no easy task. However, it’s possible as long as you recognize how valuable you are. You have to convince yourself that you’re brilliant, important, and strong and that you don’t have to depend on anyone. The moment you’re able to give yourself the love that you deserve, everything changes.

Early abandonment

Some people have had to face abandonment at a very early age. This is an extremely difficult experience. However, we aren’t just talking about growing up without parents. Sometimes, the most evident pain is caused by emotional abandonment. Growing up with parents who are physically there but emotionally absent is also traumatic. These are the kinds of parents who never provide emotional support nor provide solid foundations based on secure attachment.

Early abandonment experiences leave their mark. This sense of chronic and continued loss leads to shame, helplessness, and anxiety. This abandonment makes you feel like you were never loved, that solitude is your only refuge, and that no one is trustworthy.

Neglect and abandonment distort reality and your thoughts. It’s important to understand that being scared that the people you love will abandon you is understandable (especially if you’ve suffered in the past). What’s pathological is constantly being anxious and having obsessive thoughts about being abandoned. The silver lining is that it’s possible to overcome your fear of abandonment.

“Fear is my most loyal companion, it’s never cheated on me.”

-Woody Allen-

A sad girl who fears abandonment.

Fear of abandonment is a prison

Fear of abandonment is a closed and asphyxiating space that ruins relationships. That being said, you shouldn’t torture yourself for what you’re going through. Instead, learning to understand the roots of your fear can help you manage it better. The first thing you should be aware of is that fear of abandonment is very primal and human.

What does that mean? As a species, there’s basically nothing more important for development and survival than having supportive caregivers from an early age. Whether it’s your parents or someone else, you need caregivers who are warm and loving and make you feel safeIf you don’t have that from an early age, your brain feels a terrible emptiness. That makes you more vulnerable to developing certain mood disorders.

The Journal of Youth and Adolescence published an interesting study in 2011. Researchers at the Arizona State University found that everyone who has experienced the death of a parent also shows fear of abandonment. It’s a primal fear, something we can’t get rid of easily.

However, once you learn to deal with it and once you heal the open wound, everything changes. You finally become able to leave your emotional prison and live a happier and fuller life.

A guy looking at a lightbulb at night.

How to overcome a fear of abandonment

If you have one or more experiences of traumatic abandonment, you start to believe you’re worthless. This leads to low self-esteem. Not only that, but you fear that it’ll happen again, which causes anxiety and difficulty in dealing with relationships. You find yourself in toxic situations where you’re overly needy. In your obsession with making sure you’re loved and validated, you lose your authenticity.

Love based on obsessive need will only cause suffering. No one deserves to live in this kind of situation. Thus, it’s crucial to learn to overcome your fear of abandonment. Let’s look at some strategies that can help you do just that.

Emotional self-sufficiency for overcoming your fear of abandonment

  • Accept your fear for what it is: completely normal. Fear is innate in all human beings. In your case, it’s intensified because of past experiences. Fear is completely natural, but you can’t allow it to take control of your life.
  • If you want to overcome your fear of abandonment, you have to be 100% responsible for yourself. No one has to save you. Your partner isn’t obligated to be responsible for you or be the sole source of emotional support. Self-love is the only love that can truly heal. You have to love yourself unconditionally.
  • You need to change your internal dialogue. Selling yourself short and believing that no one loves you is absolutely prohibited. Stop thinking that you’re going to be abandoned again. Don’t let yourself think the worst about yourself or about your partner. If you find yourself down the rabbit hole of “She did this because she’s not interested anymore…” or “He doesn’t really love me…” recognize it and try to stop. A calm mind is a happier mind. Focus on building trust and you’ll have stronger and more meaningful relationships.
  • Work on your emotional self-sufficiency. This is a slow process that requires you to be observant and identify your needs. You’re the only one who can heal your emotional vacuum. It’s your responsibility and you can’t put it on anyone else’s shoulders.
A person walking among feathers.

Healing is a slow process

Lastly, we want to point out once again that this process isn’t simple. Abandonment leaves a deep and lasting impression. Overcoming it can be a long and arduous journey that you might not be able to complete by yourself.

If you feel like your fear of abandonment is getting in the way of having fulfilling and stable relationships, don’t hesitate to get professional help. You deserve to be self-sufficient and fearless.