Being afraid of abandonment is more common than you may think. Based on what happened to us while growing up, a lot of people have severe issues with abandonment. Maybe it’s causing you not to pursue a relationship, or maybe you’re already in a relationship but feeling anxiety over how your partner’s feeling and whether or not they’ll stick around. Abandonment issues can manifest themselves in a lot of ways.
Luckily, if you focus on it, you can improve and get over your fear of abandonment. Just know that like everything, it’ll take time and a lot of patience. Here’s how to start.
Be honest with your fears.
Both with yourself and your partner, if you have one. By explaining your background and where you’re coming from, you’ll be able to communicate why your fear of abandonment is so severe. If your father left when you were young and your family somewhat fell apart afterward, it makes sense that you feel like something similar may happen to you again. Those events are devastating. By being honest with yourself, you’re coming to terms with what happened. In doing so, it’ll be easier to move on.
Remember, everyone is different.
Every single person on this planet is different. Some people are bad seeds, but the majority are good. Just because you were hurt in the past doesn’t mean it’ll happen again. Make sure you really get to know someone before getting serious—talk about morals, life goals, and his or her views on family. If they still have a strong connection to their own, it’s a good sign that they’re good at maintaining meaningful connections with others.
Going to a therapist doesn’t mean you’re broken, or that you don’t know how to take care of yourself. It simply means you need a little help and perspective from someone who’s invested in you and your happiness. It’s healthy to talk to a professional about things like this, and it’s something that a lot of people do—probably more than you think. Make an appointment and see where it takes you.
Find healthy ways to handle your feelings.
Remember, these are your feelings. It’s can be hard to have them, but they were formed based on your own experiences. That means it’s up to you to try and find a good way to cope if you want future relationships to succeed. If you have a thought enter your mind, practice ways to get it out of your head. Maybe a creative outlet, like writing or painting, will also help.
Bad thoughts can get a lot more intense when they’re stuck in your head. Every time you try to doubt yourself or your partner, go and take a short walk around the block. Listen to a podcast—something more lighthearted than serious—and try to reset your mind. You’ll feel a lot better afterward.
Get to know yourself as an individual.
It’s important to have a good idea of who you are, and what helps you thrive. Partnerships are nice, but at the end of the day, you’re still your own person. By spending time getting to know yourself, you’ll be reminded that even if your next relationship goes sour, you’re still you. And you will be fine.
Ask yourself whether or not you trust your current partner.
If you’re in a relationship but have fear built up that he or she may suddenly leave, you need to ask yourself whether or not you find this person to be trustworthy. Have they lied to you before? Is there any suspicious behavior going on? If the answer is yes, you’re creating an unhealthy atmosphere for yourself that’ll make your abandonment issues worse. If the answer is no, take a deep breath and remind yourself that your brain is likely playing tricks on you.
Do something to raise your self-esteem.
Sometimes, a fear of abandonment is linked to anxiety and depression. If someone in your life abandoned you, it’s easy to assume it’s because you’re just “not good enough.” To battle those negatives thoughts find healthy, positive ways to feel better about yourself. Take on a new hobby, book a fun trip, or find a new outfit that makes you feel confident. Work on a skill you wish to improve and remind yourself daily that you’re worthy of love and a happy life.
If your fear of abandonment is scaring you out of potential relationships, then it’s time to address it and make changes. Even though it’s a legitimate phobia, there are ways to conquer and take control of it so that it doesn’t control your life. Talk about it, enlist the help of a professional, and make sure you’re committed to making some big life changes.