Fear of Abandonment

Written by Karyn Hall

May 25, 2021

Do you fear being abandoned? Many individuals who fear abandonment are anxious in relationships. You may struggle to express your feelings in an accurate way because of your fear of others’ reactions. In fact, expressing love and caring for others may be scary, because you don’t feel safe–you are never sure where you stand with others.

When you fear abandonment, you are hyper-alert to any signs that others don’t care for you or are pulling away. You may see slights where none are intended, because of your heightened awareness. For example, if your partner is late coming home because he or she spent time talking with a friend,  you may see it as his or her not wanting to be with you. 

When you express your feelings, you probably do not do so in a positive way or a constructive way. When you fear abandonment, you are most likely to blame your partner for treating you poorly instead of problem solving or seeking alternative explanations, or looking for the bigger picture of how he or she treats you most of the time.

Because of the intense fears of abandonment you feel, forgiving can be very difficult. Whatever mistake or error a loved one makes, you see it as a threat to the relationship. Does he or she still care about you? It’s difficult to see behaviors as unintentional or as a mistake. When you see the behavior as meaning that the other person doesn’t care, then that behavior is a threat to you. 

Your reaction is likely to be intense. Your focus becomes razor sharp on what wrong was done. You may be attempting to get reassurance that the other person is sorry, you may be trying to make amends or apologizing. But if their behavior means they don’t care about you, well, you don’t even see that as something to forgive, that’s just something that shows how they feel about you. Forgiveness becomes very difficult as your focus is on your fear of not being cared for.

So, when people make mistakes, you are so scared that they don’t care about you that you don’t even think about forgiving, or think that it’s normal for people to make mistakes. Yet, not forgiving may be pushing others away and creating the very result that you fear.

Today, consider whether your focus on your fear of abandonment gets in your way of forgiving others.  Live a skill-full life

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