Separation Anxiety Around Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Why do you experience separation anxiety when you’re about to leave an abusive relationship?

You truly dread leaving the relationship, even though the abuser may be the one initiating this separation or the divorce. Logically, you understand that the relationship has not been good for you; you’ve endured mistreatment, boundary violations, and overall unhappiness. Yet, you experience this deep dread instead of celebrating the separation, as you should.

Instead of calling your friends to celebrate you leaving the relationship, you feel heightened anxiety. The main reason for this is because the separation brings to light some of the coping mechanisms the relationship provided.

An abusive relationship, despite its toxicity, does serve as a coping strategy. When you’re fully dependent on someone emotionally for validation and acceptance, they become your comfort and stability. So, when that source of stability is threatened, even if it’s harmful, it triggers fear because it exposes your inner instability and discomfort, emotions the relationship shielded you from.

This heightened sense of separation anxiety doesn’t arise simply because it’s a new situation; it’s because it surfaces fears and worries you’ve never confronted before.

It’s a time for self-reflection, for standing up for yourself and acknowledging your boundaries. Perhaps you lacked emotional resilience due to past abuse or manipulation, or because of your upbringing.

In the relationship, you were so focused on seeking validation that you neglected yourself. The thought of separation or divorce brings these neglected aspects to the surface, much like removing a band-aid which exposes a forgotten unhealed wound. Your relationship was a dirty-band aid but it still did a good job of ‘protection’ you from seeing your inner discomfort.

This realization can feel overwhelming, leading you to believe you lack the capacity to handle the anxiety that comes with leaving. This fear of the consequences of leaving, or fear of the unknown, often leads people to stay in such relationships. However, experiencing separation anxiety is a crucial part of the healing journey. It indicates that the unmanageable anxiety was always present, waiting for the right trigger to reveal itself.

Rather than ignoring or distracting yourself from it, confronting this anxiety head-on is the best way to address it and move forward in your healing process.

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, 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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