Do you suspect you have a fear of abandonment?
People who struggle with a fear of abandonment often deal with
being overly concerned with what others think of them
enabling others to avoid rejection and criticism
feeling unworthy of love.
Does this sound like you?
If it does, you might have a fear of being abandoned.
We are not always consciously aware of our fear of abandonment. Let me share with you a personal experience…
When I was a child, I felt emotionally abandoned and often lived in fear that one of my parents would leave me. This of course led to anxiety and fear on my part as a child.
As an adult, I often struggled with the “separation” that inevitably came in my adult relationships; for example, saying goodbye at the end of a date, having my husband leave for work, and certainly when my husband would travel for work without me. But I did not understand the cause. I believed that it was because I loved them and wanted to be with them, or that I was simply uncomfortable being left alone.
This manifested in ways where I would get irritated or even argumentative as we would be saying our goodbyes, whether it was just for a few hours or an extended business trip and after he would leave, I would feel “down” or sad until I distracted myself with an activity or jumped on the phone to call a friend or relative in an effort to soothe myself for feeling alone.
Then one day I was sitting at the kitchen table when I heard my husband grab his keys to leave to go to the gym. At that moment, I had the realization I was afraid he was leaving me. The fact that my husband went to the gym almost daily and always returned hours later had absolutely no bearing on my reaction because it wasn’t conscious and like most negative emotional reactions, was certainly not logical.
In that moment, I had that sudden and unexpected awareness and everything shifted for me. As soon as I recognized what had been happening, I made the connection that was rooted in my lifelong fear of being abandoned. This created an immediate shift and I was able to easily say goodbye and today, I sometimes even look forward to those goodbyes to enjoy time to myself.
That is the power of discovering what you don’t know that you don’t know.
The good news is that the right tools, techniques, and strategies based in Brain Science and Emotional Intelligence will help you discover what you don’t know that you don’t know that is holding you back or leading to suffering. Once you uncover the source, you can move past your fear of abandonment and start living your life based on your greatest hopes not your worst fears.
Here are some proven techniques to help you begin to overcome the fear of abandonment:
Accept that your fear of abandonment is part of the human experience
The fear of abandonment is something many of us experience as human beings, rooted in the Four Core Universal Reasons for Emotional Struggle:
The Belief I Am Not Enough
The Belief What I Want Isn’t Available To Me Even If Others Can Have It
The Fear of Rejection
The Need for Connection
If you have the belief that you are not enough, that could explain why you have a fear of abandonment.
You may feel that you are not worthy or deserving of people’s love, whether it be your friends, family, or partner, and that you are not enough for them as you are.
The truth is, you are enough, you always have been, and you always will be.
Whether other people realize that or not is on them, but you always have the power to reframe your own thoughts and beliefs to think more positively about yourself.
The Fear of Rejection and the Need for Connection are rooted deep within our primal brains. In the grand scheme of things, the human species is still very young. Many of the beliefs and instincts we had tens of thousands of years ago remain deeply ingrained in our DNA.
Not very long ago, being rejected (from your tribe) meant you were likely to perish. Being rejected from a mate meant you were unlikely to produce offspring. So having the fear of rejection is really something all of us experience, especially when we are living in “survival mode”, which is often a result of trauma.
The Need for Connection is an essential part of our happiness and success in life. We all need deep human connection and positive relationships. If you are struggling with the fear of abandonment, you are likely also living with the fear of rejection. In this case, it is likely that your relationships are struggling. It can be extremely hard to maintain and nurture relationships because everything you do is out of fear.
The first step to overcoming your fear of abandonment is to accept that it is normal to feel this way as a human. The reason our species has survived this long is because our brains are wired with these fears that help keep us alive. So remember, you are not the only one struggling with this fear and with the right tools, techniques, and strategies, you can overcome it once and for all.
Nurture the relationships you already have
Because it is so important for our happiness and success (whatever success means to you) to develop healthy relationships and connections, focus on the relationships you already have. Think about things you have been doing to help your relationships thrive and continue doing more of those things.
For example, spend more quality time with your loved ones, tell them how much you care about them, make a meal for them, or whatever else you think they would appreciate most.
By doing this, you will strengthen those relationships and build confidence in yourself that you are capable of maintaining healthy connections and that you deserve to have those close connections.
Make sure you take care of yourself
The fear of abandonment can lead to the fear of being alone. If you are afraid of being alone, you will tolerate people and circumstances that can be extremely uncomfortable and that are in opposition to your values, and can sometimes even be dangerous.
For example, having a cheating spouse but staying in the relationship because of the fear of being alone.
You might be doing everything in your power to make other people happy so they don’t leave you, while neglecting your own happiness. Make sure you are doing things that bring YOU joy. Prioritize self-care and putting yourself first.
“Fill your own cup and let them fall in love with the overflow.” You will be so happy you did.
Process and heal your own trauma
If your fear of abandonment is wreaking havoc on your life, there are deeper issues that need to be addressed. There is no magic way to heal trauma, but the process doesn’t always have to be long and painful. Once you are able to identify which deeply-held beliefs (that you may currently be aware of) are causing you to have the fear of abandonment, you can then address those beliefs and overcome them.
Investing in targeted, customized, Emotional Intelligence-based coaching that utilizes tools, techniques, and solutions rooted in Brain Science is an effective way to overcome trauma. In Brain Science-based coaching, the goal is to discover what has been outside of your conscious reach, oftentimes stretching back decades and even to early childhood.
A source of abandonment I've seen many times in my practice is rooted in a common parenting strategy. Oftentimes when children are little and fuss when parents leave them, the parent will have someone else direct the child’s attention to a toy or activity and then quickly leave so as to not have the child scream and get upset.
When this is done repeatedly as part of a regular practice, it doesn’t allow children to recognize the parent is leaving. It may make them scared or sad to see their parents leave, but then mommy or daddy always comes back. That gives a direct connection between leaving and returning. The child thereby becomes confident, firmly anchored to the parent, and becomes comfortable with their own emotions.
Most of us recognize or relate to major or even moderate traumas but as a young child, everything is magnified. What might seem like an irrelevant event or a convenient and harmless way of saying goodbye, in a child’s mind, can feel and be interpreted as a big, scary thing.
For many clients I've worked with who have a fear of abandonment, when we dig deep that is often the source or a contributing factor to their fear of abandonment, not feeling secure in their relationships, and feeling uncomfortable with the comings and goings of relationships.
As parents, we are all busy and no one enjoys hearing or dealing with a young child who is screaming and hanging onto your leg as you try to walk out the door. Taking time to “separate”, while it takes more time in the present moment, will help your child to become more independent, anchored in safety and security, and have increased confidence within their relationships, making it well worth a few tantrums.
Rewire your mind to think more positive, productive thoughts
If you are constantly thinking about how everyone is going to abandon you and it is only a matter of time, then chances are you will (unintentionally) seek out people and situations that may actually lead to abandonment, which only solidifies your fear even more.
Like I said before, you most likely have deep-seated beliefs about yourself and your ability to maintain relationships that are causing you to have a fear of abandonment. By rewiring your brain to think more positive and productive thoughts, you can slowly begin to change those negative beliefs and have a healthier outlook on life.
Overall, the fear of abandonment can have serious consequences on your happiness and your relationships. By applying these tips, you can begin to overcome this fear and start living your life in healthier and brighter ways.
If you are in need of more targeted coaching, schedule a Complimentary Discovery Call and let’s chat about how my Coaching Programs can help you.
About Coach Monique
Coach Monique has nearly 20 years of experience as an internationally-trained ICF Certified Professional Coach and Change Management Expert who has developed over a dozen trademarked Brain Science and Emotional Intelligence-based tools, techniques, and solutions that help her clients experience RAPID RESULTS.
Coach Monique has worked with thousands of clients in her Pittsburgh based office, as well as nationally and internationally. Her clients range from stay-at-home parents who may be struggling with stress, anxiety, and depression, to women business owners and leaders and overcoming the unique challenges they face, to C-Suite executives looking to increase their leadership influence, increase team buy-in, and learn to manage their own emotions and the emotions of others to work for them rather than against them.