Fear of abandonment frequently manifests as apprehension about people close to us abandoning or rejecting us, but things aren’t always that simple. We may not even realise that our behaviour is motivated by a fear of abandonment. A fear of abandonment can be caused by a variety of factors, including trauma, anxiety, childhood neglect, low self esteem or self worth, and personality disorders, and determining the underlying cause can help us manage our fears.
Here are some subtle things you might do when you fear abandonment
– You could become possessive or controlling, or you could act as if you don’t care and leave them before they can leave you.
– You may try to make yourself as small and convenient as possible by over-apologizing, failing to set boundaries, or failing to speak up about issues that bother you.
– You could close yourself off and share nothing about yourself, or you could overshare in an attempt to create a sense of intimacy.
– You could ‘test’ people by doing something extreme and watching how they react.
– You may end relationships after minor issues and move on quickly, or you may stay in unhealthy relationships for far too long.
– You’re probably constantly looking for evidence that you’ll be dumped or that they don’t like you.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, a mental health professional can help you figure out what’s going on and teach you new tools and skills to deal with it. Self-reflection, self-awareness, and clear communication in your relationships can all help you manage your abandonment fear.
How does abandonment show up in your life?