Fear of Abandonment in Relationships — Cause of Abandonment Issues and How to Fix Them

Fear of Abandonment in Relationships — Cause of Abandonment Issues and How to Fix Them fear of abandonment in relationships — cause of abandonment issues and how to fix them
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Fear of abandonment is an overwhelming concern that those close to you will depart. Sometimes known as abandonment issues, it is primarily rooted in a past event where you were abandoned, either emotionally or physically, by someone you held dear.

These issues can manifest on a physical level, leading you to believe that those you’re close to might leave and never return, or on an emotional level, where you anticipate abandonment or disregard of your emotional needs, resulting in feelings of being unloved, isolated, uncared for, and alone (even if there’s no evidence of such behavior).

This fear can be so debilitating that it hampers your ability to cultivate healthy relationships as an adult and might even keep you trapped in a toxic relationship for longer than necessary. Most of us encounter this intense fear of abandonment at various points in our lives as we fret about potential rejection by peers, partners, colleagues, or even entire social circles. The fear of abandonment generates deep insecurity and, if unaddressed, can lead to undesirable behaviors and unhealthy coping mechanisms in adult relationships.


What Causes Abandonment Issues?

Our early childhood experiences are the primary cause of our fear of abandonment in adulthood. Childhood incidents like abuse, neglect, or a traumatic loss of a loved one contribute to the formation of negative self-perceptions and perceptions of others.

These beliefs form the basis for insecure attachments and fear of abandonment. Some of these beliefs might involve seeing oneself as unlovable or unworthy, or believing that people close to you will always leave. Feelings of abandonment arise when a caregiver fails to provide reliable emotional support and warmth, leaving children feeling stressed, fearful, and low in self-esteem. This can manifest in various ways, such as:

Discouraging self-expression in children.

Imposing excessive pressure for perfection by setting high standards.

Ridiculing children.

Enforcing personal beliefs upon them.

Other experiences in adulthood, like being involved in a toxic relationship, experiencing divorce, losing a loved one, or being betrayed by someone close, can also reinforce these fears of abandonment.

What Are the Symptoms of Abandonment Issues in Relationships?

The fear of abandonment has negative consequences for how we interact with ourselves and others in our adult lives. Some common signs of abandonment issues include:

i. Hypervigilance in Your Relationship: Constant worry about your partner’s actions, constantly watching for signs of their dissatisfaction or unhappiness to avoid causing issues. You may interpret minor emotional reactions as indicators that your partner is losing interest in you.

ii. Obsessive Overthinking & Excessive Suspicion: You may lack concrete evidence, yet you feel your partner is being unfaithful. This might lead you to constantly monitor their activities or repeatedly pass by their workplace to confirm your suspicions. All your thoughts when they’re not answering calls or messages or when they’re away might be generalized as them being with someone else.

iii. Extreme Clinginess: A strong desire to be with your partner at all times, accompanied by an inability to give them any personal space. You feel helpless when they’re not with you, fearing that if you let them go, they might not return. This could result in possessiveness and the need for constant reassurance. Clinginess may be expressed through frequent calls, social media stalking, checking up on them through their friends, and insisting on joining them everywhere. With this level of clinginess, you wish it was just you and your partner in the universe.

iv. Intense Jealousy: Your fear of abandonment could lead to intense jealousy when your partner spends time with others. This could be coworkers or even family members, and you might feel threatened in your relationship. You might even attempt to limit their interactions with others out of insecurity, fearing they’ll leave you for someone else. You could even keep your friends away from your partner because you fear they’ll steal them away.


v. Quick Emotional Attachment: You might attach to someone very quickly due to the belief that there’s no need to build a deep connection since they’ll eventually leave anyway. This attachment intensifies because you fear that if you don’t act quickly, you’ll lose them and never find another partner.

vi. Overly Sensitive to Criticism & Disagreements: The slightest criticism, even if constructive, is hard to tolerate. Criticism makes you feel rejected, and you might react defensively. This hypersensitivity could make you avoid voicing your opinions. You might agree to everything just to avoid conflict, fearing that disagreement will lead to abandonment.

vii. Prolonging Toxic Relationships: The fear of abandonment might keep you in a toxic relationship longer than necessary. The thought of being abandoned again is so painful that you’ll strive to make the relationship work, even if your partner shows little interest in doing so. You might compromise your boundaries, rationalize abuse, and tolerate a partner’s neglect. This is why people may endure abusive relationships, sticking around even when the partner’s behavior is hurtful, simply because they’re not being left. Experiencing abandonment again is deeply painful, evoking emotions felt when caregivers abandoned you during childhood.

How Can Abandonment Issues Be Resolved?

Resolving abandonment issues involves cultivating more inner security and self-awareness. The critical “inner voice” exacerbates the fear of abandonment by providing negative guidance. It might say things like, “They’re probably with someone else; that’s why they’re late,” or “They’re going to leave you just like everyone else did.” To tackle this inner voice, recognize it as an exaggeration and focus on actual facts. Allow yourself time before making hasty decisions or taking action based on intrusive thoughts. For instance, instead of incessantly calling your partner if they’re not answering, set a limit on the number of calls you’ll make.

Seeking help to address past painful experiences is the most effective way to delve into the root of the problem and process negative emotions. This enables you to separate past fears from present realities. Healing involves bringing these unconscious fears to light and realizing that they’re part of the past, no longer controlling your current reality.

When these core abandonment wounds are left unaddressed, they can hinder healthy relationships by allowing your wounded inner child to run the show behind the scenes. When you free yourself from the past’s grip, you can say no, acknowledge your worth, and embrace your wholeness.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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