Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.
Last update: 15 November 2021
Overcoming the fear of abandonment and achieving a certain emotional self-sufficiency is not easy. However, it's not impossible either. We can all do it as long as we realize our worth. How important we are, how brilliant we are and how high we can reach without depending on anyone else. Only when we are able to give ourselves the love we deserve will things change.
There are people who from an early age find themselves having to overcome the fear of abandonment. Feeling abandoned doesn't just mean having a parent actually absent while growing up. Sometimes, this is a more painful scenario: emotional abandonment. There is nothing worse than having parents who are physically present but emotionally absent; that is, parents who are not concerned with providing a solid foundation for the development of a healthy attachment.
Being abandoned as a child is a scoring experience. As well as the continuous emotional failures that, little by little, lead us to feel a sense of shame, helplessness and anguish. The anguish of having the perennial feeling of having lost something. That feeling of abandonment that somehow leads us to believe that we will never be loved, that loneliness is our only refuge and that we cannot trust anyone.
Being abandoned repeatedly leads us to develop a distorted view of reality. However, we must understand that the fear that the people we love may abandon us at any moment is understandable (even more so if this happens as a result of a previous experience). On the other hand, the feeling of anxiety that follows is not at all healthy. We cannot let the constant thought of being abandoned torment us.
Overcoming the fear of abandonment is possible. Let's see how.
Fear is my most faithful companion, it has never betrayed me to leave with others.
The fear of abandonment is primal
The fear of abandonment is like a cage. A limited, suffocating space that undermines any relationship. Instead of pining and letting this reality limit us, we should understand the origin of this feeling in order to better manage it. First, it is good to know that the fear of abandonment is primal.
What does it mean? To develop, the human being he needs to be able to count on his own peers from the first days of life, who become a sort of point of reference. Usually it is the parents or in any case people who can transmit affection, trust and a feeling of security. If this reference figure is missing at birth and during childhood, the human brain does not develop as it should. In this case, there is an increased predisposition to the development of certain emotional disorders.
In this regard, in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, an interesting study conducted by the psychology department of the Arizona State University was published, the results of which support this hypothesis. It has been noted that people who have lost a parent prematurely have a greater predisposition to abandonment syndrome. It is a primal fear, so getting rid of it is not easy.
However, if we understand how to overcome the fear of abandonment, everything becomes easier. Once this open wound is healed, we will be able to get out of the cage that holds us prisoner along with our wounds, our shortcomings and our needs, and live more peacefully.
How to overcome the fear of abandonment
Suffering the trauma of one or more abandonments leads us to think that we are worth nothing. To the low self-esteem is added not only the fear of further abandonment, but also the anxiety and the inability to manage new relationships. We end up instilling toxic dynamics such as the excessive need for the other person, even going so far as to give up our authenticity in order to feel loved, satisfied and appreciated despite our shortcomings.
However, loves based on the obsessive need of the other only cause suffering. Nobody deserves to have such a relationship and to prevent it we must learn to overcome the fear of abandonment. Let's see some strategies to do this.
-Accept your fear for what it is: an absolutely normal condition. It is an innate feeling typical of every human being which in some cases is amplified due to a past experience. Fears are part of our nature, but don't allow them to take over.
-Be independent. No one has the task of saving us, the partner is not required to take care of us as if we were children nor can he represent our only "source of affection". The only love that can really do us good is self-love. Unconditional love for ourselves.
- Intervening on the inner dialogue. Just underestimate ourselves, we must stop leaving room for the anguish that leads us to think that we could be abandoned again. We can no longer let the lack of trust ruin our relationships by making us think that the partner doesn't love us or that they behave in a certain way because they no longer care. Being at peace with yourself means living better. But to achieve calm it is necessary to work first of all on self-confidence, which allows us to forge stronger and meaningful relationships.
- Work on your own emotional self-reliance. It is a long process that requires full awareness of one's needs. Only we can fill each of the gaps we feel inside. It is our personal responsibility, we cannot expect someone to take it on in our place. It is ours and ours alone.
It seems appropriate to remember that the process of healing from the fear of abandonment is far from simple. It is a long and tortuous path that many times we cannot face alone. Any abandonment, physical or mental, leaves a deep and persistent wound.
If we realize that this feeling prevents us from establishing solid and satisfying relationships, it is advisable to consult a specialist. We all deserve to be independent, free from the fears that bind us.