What Is Living With Fear Of Abandonment Like?

Growing up, I always worried about when my parents would come back home. I would ask them what time they will be back when they left. If they didn’t come back at that exact time, I called them until they answered or I heard them coming through the door. I remember questioning them like I was their parents wondering where they were and it took so long.

When they were gone longer than they said, I feared something terrible happened to them. Calling and getting an answer told me they were alright and coming back home. The worry was uncontrollable and caused me a lot of panic. I was constantly looking outside waiting to see them.

This kind of behavior followed me to now when I am in my first relationship. Things were normal for me in the beginning. We would stay up late messaging and spend time together when we could.

After about a year together, my personality changed. I started getting upset and worried something bad happened to him if he took too long to respond to my texts. Just like with my parents, I called him several times in a row to make sure he was okay. I would drive to his place or his families to see if he was there. I wanted to spend every second with him because it helped me feel like he wasn’t going to leave me. There were times when I would try to force him to spend time with me when he couldn’t.

Diagnosis

Fear of abandonment isn’t in the DSM as a mental illness. I haven’t spoken about it with a therapist because it never came up as being something I deal with despite saying it is a fear I have. There are recognized symptoms to tell if this is something you deal with.

  • Sensitive to criticism
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Doing anything you can to avoid being separated from someone
  • Blaming yourself when things go wrong
  • Staying in an unhealthy relationship
  • Difficulty committing to a relationship

Causes

Anybody can have fear of abandonment. There isn’t necessarily a cause but there are common causes. The main cause is having experienced physical or emotional abandonment as a child. Below are some examples.

  • Experiencing death as a child
  • Experiencing neglect as a child
  • Being rejected by your peers
  • A romantic partner cheating on you or leaving you

For me, I believe it was because I was rejected by my peers. I had friends before middle school that left me for a reason I can’t remember making sense. After that, I never had friends anymore. There were neighbors I hung out with sometimes because they wanted to hang out with me.

At school, I was bullied. Every day I went, people would whisper rude things in my ear or say rude things to others in front of me. They would say things like you’re ugly, you don’t belong here and things would be better without you. On the bus, people would throw things at me. It mostly guys that bullied me. The girls would tell me to stand up for myself. I never did. My social anxiety made it hard and made it even harder to talk to anybody at all.

Recovery

There is no right and wrong way to deal with fear of abandonment. The best way is to find right way to help you feel like that person won’t leave you. I do ask him this question more often than I like to admit. Asking it as often as I do isn’t healthy either. I had to come to terms that he would say he is leaving if he was going to. It took a long time and is still fear I have but I don’t express it to him as often.

He can be understanding at times and others time not so much. I do act in not the best way at times and this can cause me to worry about him leaving me. This can come across as me saying it to feel better about myself. It is better to be understanding and talk things through if you ever feel this way.

If the fear is overwhelming, you can see a health professional to help you find ways to reduce the fear.

Have you dealt with fear of abandonment before?

5 thoughts on “What Is Living With Fear Of Abandonment Like?

  1. This hasn’t been too much of an issue for me, I think mostly because I’ve always been very independent, even at a young age. But for people who do struggle with this issue it seems like it can make things really, really hard.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have 3 symptoms, what does that mean Michelle? I’m sensitive to criticism, i trust no one, i blame myself when things go wrong✨😒 i still have issue didn’t i? 🙄 I think i should consult a good mh doc. Thanks for sharing Michelle!

    Liked by 1 person

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