how to overcome the fear of abandonment from others
Updated: Apr 21
Abandonment from others is a deep underlying wound. If you have this fear you are afraid others are going to leave you. You might further believe you are not going to be safe if that happens. With this wound, it usually feels like you struggle to relax are waiting for the next thing to go wrong around others. Because of this, it often creates anxiety with others, especially those who you care most about because they are important in your life. You don't know how your actions will come across, so you likely refrain from upsetting others. Abandonment from others can affect many relationships in your life and maybe an underlying struggle within those relationships. It can feel like you can't move past this.
Abandonment from others is easiest to understand when it's examined further. So, if you are deeply afraid others will leave you and often struggle with the thought of this, it likely comes from your childhood. It means you believe if someone leaves you then that means something about yourself. Probably that you won't be safe if that happens. That infers you need others to make you feel a certain way. That belief can make you avoid situations where you might upset another person as that may result in them leaving you. This fear likely has you dodging confrontation at all costs. You likely feel love is conditional rather than unconditional.
Situations usually avoided by those with this wounding are speaking up for yourself, addressing others' behavior that does not work for you, and saying no. This is especially challenging with perceived authority figures and people you deeply care for, like family members and romantic partners. It might not be prevalent for people you are not close to or those who don't matter so much, like acquaintances, your car mechanic, or your neighbor. Because you can sidestep confrontations, your needs are likely not being addressed by others. You may want changes in relationships, but are too afraid to ask in fear of retribution. The fear of losing that person outweighs your needs, so you shove your needs aside.
Fear of abandonment from others used to rule my life. One way it would show up is in my bartending job. When I worked with my manager I was on high alert. I was too nervous to say what I wanted. I would let her take breaks but I was too scared to take a break myself. I didn't want to give her a reason to get upset with me. I was terrified every time she was unhappy because I thought I was the cause and was going to get fired. I didn't address the reason she was upset with her. Instead, I reasoned I needed to show I was valuable to keep my job. I worked extra hard, cleaned furiously, and made it so she didn't need to work. Meanwhile, I was running myself ragged and she probably didn't notice my extra effort.
That example shows how the fear of abandonment can affect your relationships. You interpret others' actions to mean something about your lack of worth. You are terrified you might lose the relationship with every move you make. You feel like you're on shaky ground and you can't get a solid footing with the other person. You can feel like you can't say no to them or you are begging them to stay in the relationship with you. This can happen even when part of you is ready to move on. The fear of abandonment keeps you locked in the relationship, whether it is healthy or unhealthy.
How to overcome this is with inner parenting. Deep wounding is normally held in the 3-year-old inner child (read my blogs about the Four People Within to understand who that person is). The first step is to teach your 3-year-old inner child that they are worthy of unconditional love and acceptance. You need to reassure your 3-year-old inner child that you aren't going to leave. This part of you is looking to feel safe from others, so you need to turn their focus towards you not leaving. You can't control other people, but you can control yourself. You will always be with yourself while others are unpredictable. Life happens. So that is the person your 3-year-old needs to realize will never leave.
The second step is you need to write something like 'I am worthy of unconditional love and acceptance every day. Additionally, when you feel anxious about another person leaving you, recognize it is your 3-year-old inner child's fear. When you recognize this part of you feeling scared, that part needs some comforting. Say to that 3-year-old inner child something like "I see you are scared. I am not going to leave, and will always be with you".
This will take time. If it doesn't work with the first ten, twenty, or thirty tries, keep trying. You can heal this wound but it takes effort from your end. Reading this blog and not doing the work won't help heal this wound. Without effort, there won't be any progress. The effort also needs to be consistent. Consistency pays off and your 3-year-old inner child needs to know they can trust you.
Learning this lesson was a transformational part of my self-development journey. I'm incredibly calmer with others. I'm not expecting others to leave me with every move I make, and if they do leave then I'll be ok. I have my own back. If others love me, great. If not there are others out there who will do the job. I own my self-worth and know that there is a tribe for me to fit into, even if I don't see it yet.
If I could give what I've learned here as a gift to those who have this wound I would. However, we can't just give other people these lessons. That is one reason I became a mentor. To teach other people how to overcome these wounds on their own, one step at a time. You can do this! Just remember to do the steps and put the work to use.
To work more on the fear of abandonment, join the Facebook group here. You deserve a life where you can find deep fulfillment and freedom!
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