Fear of abandonment

Having a fear of abandonment is a common pattern within unhealthy relationships. This could stem from childhood loss, a traumatic event such as a loss of a parent through death, divorce/separation, emotionally unavailable parents, or the physical absence of one or both parent/s.

A child’s early years are highly significant since this is a period when children learn patterns of behaviour that could shape their adulthood. As result, a child that has experienced some form of loss in their early years is likely to have the following attachment when choosing their spouse:

  • Avoidant attachment.
  • Ambivalent attachment.
  • Disorganised attachment.

When a person has lost a loved one, they are always in fear of being abandoned, while no evidence confirms their suspicions.

Although fear of abandonment is very common, it is also difficult to recognise since the learnt behaviour is subconscious, so you may be unaware of it until it becomes out control.

Often, people who suffer from fear of abandonment experience anxiety, they become so afraid that their partner will leave them. This creates significant trust issues within relationships because you find yourself over-thinking or analysing what your partner says or does - to the extent that you can’t stop thinking whether he or she is cheating, speaking to other people outside the relationship or exploring their whereabouts. This level of insecurity can be very unsettling and addictive, even when there is nothing to worry about, you look for signs or things to worry about.

Stop trying to control your partner

When you feel highly insecure in a relationship, you often have a strong tendency to control your partner as you are so afraid of losing them. Consequently, you do everything to please them, secretly hoping that they will not leave you. As result of this, you give too much and over compromise. Though it seems that you have the power to control your partner. The truth is that it would make you powerless within the relationship, as you cannot control anyone. The only person that you can control is yourself. It is highly essential to comprise within a relationship, however, over-comprising and doing things to keep another person will never work. This will only make you a doormat and deflate your self-esteem.

Rather than trying to control your partner, learn help to manage your insecurities. There are many support groups and counsellors for most emotional issues.

Identity where the trust issues stem from

Although you may feel insecure within your relationship, it’s essential to identify how and when these emotions manifested. For instance, did something happen during your early years which led you not trusting people? It’s essential to begin to trust yourself. After all, how can you trust anyone if you don’t trust yourself? Begin to develop a relationship within yourself. By engaging in more activities with friends and family so you’re not fixated on your spouse.

Avoid searching through your spouse's phone

When two individuals are within a relationship, each individual has to respect one's privacy. Searching through your spouse's phone or trying to track him/her will only cause you to feel more insecure and create further trust issues, so it’s imperative to stop this behaviour because it’s not going to help you.

Unfortunately, if a person wants to cheat on you there is nothing that you can do to stop it. So it’s best to use your energy to make yourself happy instead of making yourself miserable. Even God has given us free will. Accusing or continually assuming your spouse is cheating can also be emotionally draining for them and could push them away (mainly if there is no evidence to support your negative assumptions), instead try and enjoy the relationship as best as you can.

Stop acting out

Often, people with a fear of abandonment create unnecessary negative drama by creating situations that could cause them to want to end the relationship with no valid reason. They fear that their partner could leave them, so they want to hurt or leave their spouse before they get abandoned. This is a form of self-sabotaging behaviour and could cause you to look silly as you always say you will leave but don’t. It would make your partner not take you seriously when say you want to end the relationship.

Identity behaviours that could push others away.

Calling or texting your partner too much or asking them to spend their free time with you because you are afraid, only creates further anxiety and could make people not want to spend time with you.

Examine the types of relationship you attract.

People with issues of fear of abandonment habitually attract spouses that are emotionally unavailable or emotionally unbalanced. Begin to seek partners that are emotionally available to enable you to break the cycle of the anxiety of abandonment.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Croydon CR9 & London SW9
Written by Kate Megase, Accred, Couples, Individuals, Psychotherapist & Supervisor
Croydon CR9 & London SW9

I am a counsellor, coach and motivational speaker. I specialise in issues associated with relationships, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

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