What it Feels Like to Have a Fear of Abandonment

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

Many factors are involved when it comes to a fear of abandonment and bpd. It can be very helpful to understand it and be able to identify the signs and symptoms of the fear.

One of the first indications of a fear of abandonment is that the person does not want to be alone. They have intense anxiety about the prospect of being alone. 

There is an underlying negative feeling about themselves. Often it involves a judgment call based on whether they are good enough or better than who they are with. It is a self-esteem issue that is usually present.

Someone suffering from the fear of abandonment will likely have frequent panic attacks about being alone.

A big indication, often not spoken about much, is that when we look at abandonment, we look at unhealthy attachments. Unhealthy attachments are unhealthy relationships. These are relationships that are not healthy and surrounded by red flags. There is a lot of acceptance of things, that otherwise would not be tolerated, because of the fear of being alone. These unhealthy attachments could be love relationships or friend relationships. 

Another indication of the fear of abandonment is the frantic holding onto relationships. The tendency to hold on to the relationship as long as possible even though all the problems are present. 

When someone fears abandonment, there can be intense and erratic behaviors. These behaviors can push people away. There can be extreme behaviors and outbursts toward the person they care about. Even when this is a healthy relationship, the other person may walk away or be pushed away. The fear of abandonment causes them to do the opposite of what they need to do. This creates the reality of pushing the other person away. 

Being sensitive to criticism or rejection is another indication of the fear of abandonment. Rejection is very difficult to take and almost impossible to get over. Being ghosted is a devastating blow for someone with the fear of being abandoned. They are left with so many unanswered questions and no closure whatsoever. Criticism gets blown out of control in these situations. The fear causes them to believe the person who criticizes them will leave them. They fear that criticism will turn into rejection which will end up with them being left 

Sometimes there can be a fear of intimacy and closeness. The person with the fear does not want to get hurt or abandoned again like they may have been in the past. The fear of getting close to anyone can come from a previous relationship or from when they were growing up and a parent may have left. 

The use of food, alcohol, or drugs to cope with stress may be another sign that someone has a fear of abandonment.

Putting the needs of others before themselves often is an indication that someone has the fear of being alone. They want to take care of someone else in hopes that they will stay and not leave them.  

There may be a history of relationships that do not support mental or emotional health. The person with the fear may have a long track record of relationships that have not been healthy or beneficial. Often, we know we are in a relationship that may not be right for us, but we do not want to be alone so we stay in it out of fear.  

Becoming attached very quickly in a relationship is often a sign of the fear of being abandoned. We hope that the new person will come into our lives and eliminate our fear for us. Often, we wake up and see that we have chosen someone based on our fears. 

Another indication is the use of manipulation and control. They may lie or manipulate others to prevent the other person from leaving them. It is an attempt to control a situation that feels so out of control.

Extreme loneliness, even when surrounded by other people is another indication of the fear of abandonment.

Lack of sleep and sleep issues can be a sign of abandonment fears. The person is so focused on being left, it interferes with their sleep.

Sometimes people with abandonment issues pursue emotionally unavailable people. They also try to connect with people on the other side of the world. This is because they want a connection, not necessarily a relationship. 

Finally, monkey branching. Monkey branching is going from relationship to relationship, checking out what works. This allows for the possibility of having another relationship in the wings to go back to. To the person with the fear, there is always someone else waiting in the wings.

The fear of abandonment presents itself in many ways. Being able to identify and understand it will help us to see it in ourselves, friends, or family members.

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