Do you greatly fear being abandoned? In your relationships do you seem to do everything to keep your partner happy, but find yourself over-giving to a point of frustration? Abandonment issues stem from a distorted perception of self. If you’re struggling with abandonment issues the first thing I will tell you is: you are not alone.
Although you fear being alone and seem to end up alone, I’m here for you. And today, we’ll go into why these 7 insights will help you be there for you, too.
1. Abandonment Issues Stem From Childhood
Our earliest experiences with caregivers influence our perception of self. In fact, these earlier years set up the foundation of how you view yourself and more importantly, how you relate to others.
This is the deepest foundation of who you are. Hardly do we ever question it, or want to do the work of understanding, analyzing, exploring, and approaching this truth.
It’s hard work. Eventually, our early childhood experiences begin to show their effects once we open our lives up to another person as an adult. Especially in intimate relationships, we quickly discover how many wounds we actually have. At first, it appears it’s always the other person hurting and disappointing us. But later we find out a lot has to do with our specific, unique, and individualized framing of a person’s actions that are most detrimental.
Attachment Theory is the study of how our relationship with our caregivers leads to 3 general types of attachment styles: secure, anxious, and avoidant. Abandonment issues plague specifically the insecure attachment styles—anxious and avoidant.
2. Anxious & Avoidant Attachment Styles Lead to Abandonment
Anxious attachment styles operate their relationships heavily weighted by anxiety: the anxiety that their partner doesn’t love them enough will easily leave them and emphasizes the constant longing for closeness. There’s nothing wrong with this if a partner is willing to understand their anxious partner, exhibits reliability, adheres to loving boundaries, and consistent communication (reassurance).
Avoidant attachment styles operate by distancing themselves from their partner. In an attempt to exhibit false control of being “in control”. They instinctively believe if they are in control then they lessen their chance of being hurt. Their childhood occurs from inconsistent caregiving and they learned to self-soothe. They learned that when it comes to emotion it’s a dangerous realm, so their approach is to shut off, shut down, and put up walls. Avoidant attachment styles emphasize their autonomy and independence—so greatly they leave no room for another person or their needs.
Whether you are pushing towards or pulling away from your partner, these insecure attachment styles continuously lead to abandonment.
3. Abandonment Issues Can Be Physical AND/OR Mental
Abandonment is classically portrayed as someone who is physically left and alone. Iconic imagery of being cowered into a ball in the fetal position, rocking themselves, and possibly crying. I use to adhere to this visual and the shortsightedness of this would lead to overlooking times I was abandoned in other ways.
Because abandonment issues aren’t always physical. There is emotional abandonment as well.
You can have someone in your life who holds a significant title: best friend; family member; brother/sister; parent; boyfriend/girlfriend; husband/wife; etc. And yet, even if they are physically with you—if their emotional and mental vibe towards you is non-existent—this becomes the most insidious form of abandonment.
It creates cognitive dissonance. Which is where an opposing belief or fact, greatly contrasts a limited previously held belief—and shows inconsistency in our actions or behaviors.
Having someone physically present confuses your unconscious mind that you “have” closeness and intimacy. But closeness and intimacy always involve emotional closeness too. Period.
4. Abandonment Issues Come From Our Perceived Value Of Something
Here’s a useful trick that I don’t find most self-help gurus explain: we can’t be abandoned by something that has neutral or nonexistent importance to us.
We are only abandoned by the people or things that have great meaning in our life. The things we pedestal. But who do you think builds the degree of importance to anything: people, experiences, places, or things?
This is where self-love comes in. When we put the goals we desire onto other people, it selfishly puts pressure on them to live up to an ideal we have in our minds. Instead of allowing them the permission to reveal who they are…we get upset when they don’t fit into the mold we held them in.
“I can always depend on him”; “he would never cheat”; “she loves me for me, not my wallet”; “she is happy and forever will be happy with our sex life”; “he would never leave me”; “they could never hurt me in that way”…
Sound familiar to you?
People are whole by nature. They have the power to impress and disappoint. And it all falls simply on who they choose to be in every situation.
5. Abandonment Issues Come Not From Someone Or Something Leaving
The abandonment from a person or thing pales in comparison to the hurt of when we abandon ourselves. It’s not the person, place, or thing you miss—it’s the realization of how far off your center you’ve gotten.
You miss the softness and gentleness of you before the truth was revealed. This has nothing to do about what the other person did. It’s about a longing for a time that had its place, but no longer serves a purpose. It’s no longer tied to the present as reality.
You’ve lost yourself. Where? In a massive ocean of doubt, self-pity, self-directed anger, depression, unhealthy behaviors, low self-esteem, self-hatred, addiction, rumination, and everything you have come to despise in the person or thing that “left”.
People leave…but people always reveal to you who they are. Time is the ingredient that reveals truth—of others, and especially of yourself.
6. People Leave
People will always leave in some way, shape, or form. Some leave us physically when they pass on. Others leave when they no longer show up for us emotionally. And some leave naturally as we grow apart.
I’ve seen couples who have been married 60+ years into their elder years and one partner had passed on. While the other was left behind.
We truly are on a temporary journey. And in this together. Affecting each other’s stories and experiences of life in large and small ways. Essentially, we can help each other experience the best parts of life, reaching new experiences and understanding who we are as a whole human being.
Or bringing out our most low frequency and vibe, until we become something so full of hurt and pain—that we pass on that hurt and pain like a game of “hot potato”.
7. Abandonment Issues Hack: You Can’t Leave Yourself
No matter how much you get off your center, despite how hard some will throw the most vitriol offenses towards you, you will always be with you. You go to bed every night with yourself.
Thus, while it may feel like you’ve abandoned yourself, in essence, you’ve abandoned the person you’ve been wanting to be—and needed to be—for you.
It’s not just about waking up saying affirmations or leaving notes for ourselves in the bathroom mirror (if it helps definitely do so). But affirmations remain affirmations until we put action behind them.
Life is about the actions you do. You can’t lie to yourself. You can lie to others, but you can’t lie to yourself. You will always bear witness to your actions.
Vibe with the quote: “Character is what you do when no one is watching.”
Guilt is the most toxic thing to the human body, mind, and spirit. Do your absolute best to reduce guilt, by living an honest and more sincere life. The things we do repeatedly get stronger like a muscle.
We can’t change our past or childhood, though many of us would like to if granted the opportunity to do so. Whether you’ve found yourself falling more on the Anxious or Avoidant attachment styles, they are helpful tools to help you understand your inner world—but they aren’t meant to be identifiers for life.
They offer you an understanding of where you are now, so you have a better direction of where you are going and how to get there.
We will always carry some degree of fear of abandonment. Even after years of therapy and professional help, the feeling never really goes away. Instead, we manage these feelings enough that we grant them permission to be experienced…and allowed to pass.
Like the moments of a cloudy day where the sun’s light and warmth are blocked momentarily. Only to return again.
This is why movement is the key to life. Embrace your process of growth and change. It’s not going to be linear, “perfect”, or fully spelled out for you. You uncover it with every choice you make.
Choices are never meant to be easy. We simply fall into habitual patterns. When we try something new it’s usually going to feel uncomfortable. It’s the price we pay for growth.
Lastly, appreciate the constant change of life. In Buddhism, we know this as samsara. Life is constantly unfolding: bringing life, death, and rebirth. Rebirth might be a farfetched idea, but see it that we are part of natural cycles: water cycle; carbon cycle; nitrogen cycle; photosynthesis. We are more connected than we think.
Our rebirth of ourselves, through the shift of perspective, is the ultimate goal. And to do so in this lifetime, while we still can.
We have the power to change the world—and our life—if we intentionally focus our energy to do so. You aren’t ever abandoned or alone. You have yourself, and all of the memories that make you…you.
Give yourself the gift of beautiful memories to look back on. Your memories influence who you are, today. The greatest gift you can give yourself, which forever triumphs abandonment, is your complete presence.
Stay Well & Vibe Well,