PART 1 - What does it look like?
Fear of abandonment…. Just the words can send a shiver of discomfort through the body.
For far too long, the term has been attached to images of “clingy” or “needy“ partners, BUT, fear of abandonment affects many of us in varied ways.
The problem rarely truly starts in adulthood, although this may well be when it first seems to manifest, often, but not always, in romantic relationships. Hence, the widely shared preconceptions so many share. So how does it start?
This can be as simple as 30 seconds of panic when a child can’t see their parent in a supermarket, or a rough first day at school experience after being dropped off. It’s also not unusual for kids who have struggled with family grief or divorce to develop some fear of abandonment which has the capacity to be a bit of an irritation in relation to love and relationships or hugely challenging across multiple aspects of your life.
The truth is, it isn’t simply a rational fear of someone you value getting up and leaving you. It’s born from a “sense of abandonment “, often in the formative years, when we didn’t have the full context of events. Fear of abandonment can affect not only love relationships, but friendships, work relationship and family relationships too.
So what does it look like?
Well there are numerous ways this can play out in life, but the following are some of the more familiar ways it might be experienced by someone struggling in this space.
1) you attach very quickly in friendships and relationships
2) you’re an avid people pleaser despite wishing you could say what you were really want
3) you find it hard to trust people, regardless of how well they present themselves
4) your insecurities repeatedly creep into situations snd relationships
5) you cling onto unhealthy relationships against your gut feeling
6) you feel unworthy of true love and find ways to test or sabotage it
7) you experience regular feelings of jealousy of others, whoever they are
8) you need excessive contact and time with someone, feeling anxious otherwise
9) you find you can easily be controlling, angry or overly sensitive with a partner
10) you’re quick to blame yourself for relationships that go wrong
Now if any (or all) of this feels familiar, then firstly be aware that things can change. Maybe you’d like to find some strategies to challenge your thoughts and behaviours? If do, part 2, next week will hopefully help!
If you’d like some support to get started, just get in touch. I’m here to help :-)