The dating scene can be difficult to navigate. Once you’ve finally found someone to go on a date with, you have to impress her enough to want to stick around.
After that, you have to get to know her. Then, if you’ve come to realize that you’re dating someone with abandonment issues, you’ll need to know a few things.
Below you’ll find everything that you need to know about abandonment issues, like how to tell if she has them and what to do about it.
Abandonment issues affect everyone differently, too, so there are also some helpful hints to help you navigate your relationship together.
Table of Contents
What Are Abandonment Issues and What Causes Them?
When someone has a fear of losing a loved one, they may have abandonment issues. These issues are just a type of anxiety. In general, these feelings begin to develop at a young age.
Typically,it is because a child has experienced a loss of someone very close to them, like a parent or sibling.
Abandonment issues that stem from childhood trauma can last a lifetime without proper treatment or therapy.
These types of issues can also develop as a person grows older and experiences abandonment in their adult relationships.
This can be abandonment from a significant relationship, or it could be from multiple less significant relationships.
You are at a higher risk level of being effected by abandonment issues if:
- You suffer a traumatic event. This can be the loss of a parent or sibling early in life or the loss of a spouse in your adulthood. Crime victims or someone who has survived a tragic injury are also at risk.
- You have experienced neglect. Neglect can come from actual abandonment as a child, such as being an orphan or growing up in the foster system. It can also come from abuse, either as a child or as an adult.
- You experience high stress levels. Increased stress can lead to anxiety. Because abandonment issues are a form of anxiety, you could be at a higher risk of developing a fear of abandonment.
There are different signs and symptoms that can lead you to the conclusion that your or someone suffers from abandonment issues or abandonment anxiety.
What Does Abandonment Do To A Person?
The signs and symptoms of abandonment issues vary from child to adult. Adult symptoms of fears of abandonment include, but are not limited to:
- A desire to please others
- Lack of general trust in others
- Rejection avoidance or relationship avoidance
- Insecurity and/or codependency
- Bouncing from relationship to relationship
- Self-sabotage or maintaining unhealthy relationships
- A need for total control in a relationship
- A need for constant reassurance and lack of confidence
- A need to get into a relationship as soon as the previous one ends
Unfortunately, people with abandonment issues tend to seek out relationships that they know will not succeed.
They will also find unhealthy relationships or relationships that they know will not make them happy. These actions continue the cycle and only create more fear of abandonment.
Children experience fear abandonment a little differently. They may be super clingy or have intense panic when a parent leaves, or they are left alone.
In turn, this causes self-isolation, a lack of self-esteem, and intense fear. Over time, adults tend to coddle children who have a fear of abandonment.
People with abandonment issues eventually yearn for the attention that they receive from people trying to soothe the fear created by abandonment.
The attention does not necessarily fix the underlying issues, but because it feels good, a cycle develops.
This attention cycle starts with causing the loss of a relationship, then needing attention from others. It can come from family, friends, or even strangers.
Once that person has received the attention they crave, they typically jump right back into another relationship that is doomed from the beginning.
This is not to say that all people with abandonment issues will have doomed relationships. A person must first realize that they have abandonment issues then seek out help.
Once a person makes a choice to get treatment or therapy for their issues, they will be able to make better relationship decisions.
Are you someone with abandonment issues, or have you just hit a run of terrible relationships? It can be hard to self-diagnose anxiety and abandonment issues.
If you think that you are someone with abandonment issues, you should first evaluate yourself then your feelings towards relationships. If you still think ‘yes,’ then seek professional advice.
How Do You Know If You Have Abandonment Issues?
Before you jump to any conclusions about your potential abandonment issues, you should make a list of your potential symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms could look very similar to abandonment issues, but do not actually indicate them.
For example, are you constantly trying to be a “people pleaser,” or do you just need to do a better job setting boundaries? If you just have a hard time saying ‘no’ or setting and keeping boundaries, then you may not have this problem.
On the other hand, if you are constantly seeking out ways to please people, even with boundaries in place, and have some of the other symptoms, you may need help.
If you have a long list of symptoms that correspond with the symptom list of abandonment fear, then you should think about treatment. The two best forms of treatment are going to therapy and practicing self-care.
As with other mental and emotional issues, there can be consequences if you let yourself go untreated.
When left untreated, you run the risk of ruining positive relationships with family or friends. This can cause isolation, which is not a good thing.
As humans, we need interaction with others to stay emotionally healthy. Isolation is a leading cause of depression. Fear of abandonment, even when not followed by isolation, can cause depression, too.
The longer you refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem or delay treatment, the more harm you could cause yourself. These emotional blocks do not resolve themselves overnight. It will take time and practice to overcome trauma.
The good news is that you will be able to feel like you are worthy of love and feel like yourself again.
How Do You Know If She Has Abandonment Issues?
You may not be concerned with abandonment issues when you do not suffer from them, but your partner may experience them.
If you start to date someone with abandonment issues for the first time, you may want to understand more about the causes and effects.
First, don’t jump to conclusions, especially if it is early in your relationship. You don’t want to alienate her by suggesting or accusing her of having a fear of abandonment.
After all, this is a new relationship, and you should get to know the person you are dating.
If, after time, you believe there may be some issues that are causing fear of abandonment, then try to get her to open up about her fear.
Some signs that you may want to look for to see if you are in a relationship with a person who has abandonment issues include:
- She is always agreeable even when you know she doesn’t like something or doesn’t want to agree to it
- She is jealous of a partnership that someone else is in even though she is in a successful one
- She doesn’t trust you or the people who love her and/or feels like the people in her life don’t have trust in her
- She lacks the ability to be emotionally intimate with you, even if you’ve been together for long enough
- She needs to be in control of your relationship, or she needs you to be in total control of all the decision making
- She is quick to leave your relationship or has been quick to leave relationships that she’s had in the past
- She seeks out friendships that are not healthy or mutually beneficial to one another
If you recognize that she has some signs listed above and has experienced a trauma, the chances are higher that you are dating someone that has abandonment issues. There are things that you can to make sure that your relationship is healthy and support a person with this type of anxiety and fears.
How Do You Deal With Abandonment Issues In A Relationship?
Fear and anxiety of the person you love leaving, you can be exhausting – for both people in the partnership. If she feels like you always want to leave, you should reassure her.
Likewise, if she constantly suggests that she should leave the relationship, there are things you can do to better the partnership.
Here are some of the things that you can do to make the most positive experience in your situation:
- Keep your lines of communication open. One of the absolute best things that you can do to make her comfortable is to listen whenever she needs to talk and talk when she needs help feeling secure.
- You don’t want to pressure her. Sometimes she will need space to process her emotions while other times, she will need to lean on you. One way to accomplish this is to listen to her needs and step in when needed.
- Don’t be an enabler. It may be hard to resist, but you will want to steer clear of reinforcing existing and unhealthy behaviors.
- Resist getting into losing arguments. Your woman may want to pick a fight or get into an argument that has no point.
Do your best not to play into these types of arguments; hey won’t help anyone. The best way to stop this from happening is to set boundaries with each other.
She should know that you love her but that you don’t want to fight a pointless, never-ending fight.
- Don’t blame yourself for her past trauma and current anxiety. One way that you may be tempted to help her is to place some blame on yourself.
Maybe you two took a break at one point. Do your best to remember that her condition as a result of something that happened in the past does not stem from your actions.
How Does Fear Of Abandonment Affect Relationships?
Just because you love each other does not guarantee success and longevity. There are a few different outcomes that could happen if you are in a relationship.
- You work together to make the best of a bad situation and support each in order to have a successful, long-lasting, love-filled relationship.
- No matter how much you love her, she wants to self-sabotage and leave you, or she does her best to push you away so that you leave. You either find a way to make it work, or she becomes successful in her self sabotage.
- You realize that she’s truly not the right person for you, and you need to move on and find someone different.
How do you know which outcome you will get? You will have to find a way to evaluate if this person is someone that you cannot live without, or if they are someone you can get on with your life without.
Frequently Asked Questions
When do abandonment issues develop?
This is a two-part answer, simply because there is no limit to when these fears can develop. They can develop in childhood as well as adulthood, depending on when trauma is experienced.
Typically, a person develops abandonment issues that stem from childhood trauma. This could be a direct result of the death of a loved one, such as a parent or sibling.
It can also be the result of being abandoned, growing up in foster care, or experiencing prolonged neglect.
Abandonment issues can also develop in adulthood. This could be a result of the loss of a loved one, such as the death of a spouse or other close person. It can also be the result of the ending of a long term romance and/or divorce.
What are some of the signs of abandonment issues?
Each person experiences this form of anxiety differently; however, there a few common signs. Common and sometimes subtle signs include:
- Clinging to a few, a long time trusted people
- General lack of trust and inability to form new bonds
- Inability to feel love or reject love
- Need to be in control of one’s self and other
- Being isolated and detached from others
- Being overly emotional or over-sensitive
- A constant need to change or leave relationships
Do abandonment issues last forever?
Not necessarily. If a person chooses to seek treatment, they will be able to overcome their anxiety and fears. The best way to treat this type of anxiety is to get a trusted therapist and practice good self-care.
A trusted therapist is someone that you can speak honestly and freely. If you make an appointment with someone and feel that they are not the right fit for you, then you can change as needed.
Just be sure that you are not continuing the cycle of leaving someone over and over again. Find someone you like and stick with them.
Good self-care includes taking care of your hygiene, exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating well. It can also include meditation, positive self-talk, or practicing your religion.
What are the ways to break the cycle of feeling abandoned?
Thankfully, these issues and fears do not have to last forever. Once you, or your loved one, have decided to get help, the cycle can be broken. Many times this is done with a therapist, but it is possible to break the cycle outside of a therapist’s office.
The first step is to accept your past and separate your self-identity from the trauma or series of events. Accepting your past doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to like it or agree with it, just that you have to be at peace.
Next, develop a mantra to create and develop self-love. There are great mantras that can help you overcome fear and anxiety. You may want to choose an “I am…” statement. For example, I am enough, I am capable, or I am worthy of love.
Finally, be good to yourself. Being good to yourself means that you are actively practicing self-care, you seek out positive and beneficial relationships, and you do not self-sabotage.
This may mean that you need to purge a few things in your life that bring you down. It also means that you quit repeating the cycle that has caused you pain.