Do you have abandonment issues? Fear of abandonment? It’s a common thing. In this post, we’re going to share some of the key signs of abandonment issues – because if you can identify it, you can work through it. And that’s what it’s all about. This doesn’t have to beat you.
What Is Fear Of Abandonment?
Before we dig deeper into the signs of abandonment issues, let’s just first clarify what fear of abandonment is.
Fear of abandonment is the overwhelming worry that people close to you will leave.
Anyone can develop a fear of abandonment. It can be deeply rooted in a traumatic experience you had as a child, or a distressing relationship in adulthood.
If you fear abandonment, it can be almost impossible to maintain healthy relationships. This paralysing fear can lead you to wall yourself off to avoid getting hurt, or you might be inadvertently sabotaging relationships. Because that’s the thing…
Your biggest fear is losing the person you’re close to, and yet your behaviour is actually what – in most cases – drives them away, making the fear of abandonment become a reality. Oh the pain!
Let Me Ask You Some Questions…
- Do you feel like you have to be perfect, otherwise you will be rejected?
- Do you tolerate the things you shouldn’t to avoid being alone?
- Are you hiding your true self because you fear you will be found not good enough?
- Do you panic when you don’t receive an immediate response to a text, email or voicemail?
- And what about clinginess? Do you become clingy or demanding when you feel someone pulling away?
- Or do you leave before you can be left?
- Do you try to avoid your profound fear of abandonment by focusing on work, or numbing out with food, alcohol and drugs?
- Do others unexplained absences send you into a tailspin?
- Do you stay in unhealthy relationships because it’s better than being alone?
- Or do you avoid relationships completely – because you fear the ultimate outcome of being left?
These questions should start to get you thinking. So now you’ve started to get a feel for it, let’s dig a little deeper into some of the key signs of abandonment issues.
Signs Of Abandonment Issues
What are the signs are abandonment issues? How do you know if you have fear of abandonment? Have a read through this list and see how many things sound familiar.
1) You Attach Quickly
You develop feelings for people quickly. You’re emotionally invested from day one – from the moment you meet and you click.
But you don’t always give yourself the time and mental space you need to properly assess how the relationship is going, how you truly feel and whether this person is who you actually want to spend the rest of your life with.
2) You Try To Rush Relationships
You feel like you have to “secure” the person you’re dating – like the end goal has to be that “official” label, because if you don’t get that, you risk them dating other people and liking someone else more.
You’re scared of losing them, right from the start. All you can think about is that you like them, you want them and you don’t want to lose them… So you have to progress things to the next level as quickly as possible.
3) You Constantly Worry In a Relationship
The problem is, even when you’re in a relationship, even when you get the “security” you think you need – it’s not enough. Then you’re worrying…
- Do they feel the same way? Feel as strongly as me?
- Are they happy? Is this really what they want?
- Are they still talking to other people? Are they going behind my back?
- Can I trust them? Are they going to leave me? Walk away?
What should be an exciting time, quickly becomes tainted by the doubt and uncertainty, the excessive worrying, the over-analysing. It can be paralysing and stops you from both appreciating and enjoying what you actually have.
4) You Move on Too Quickly
If one relationship ends, your immediate thought is – okay, how can I find someone else now? You think that’s the fix, that’s the solution. You’re still hung up on it, you’re still hurt, your feelings haven’t actually gone away so it’s not like you don’t care.
But this is all about survival. You need that connection again. You can’t stand feeling alone and unloved. So instead of allowing yourself to breath – and grieve – you jump onto the next person to distract yourself and try to replace them.
5) When You’re Single, You Really Struggle
You feel like you can’t be fully happy being single. You feel alone, incomplete, lost, unloved. That’s why if you are single, you have to be constantly talking to someone, regularly dating people, just to have someone there.
6) You Can Be Pretty Selfish
Because you don’t see relationships as a want, but a need – you can start to become pretty selfish when you’re in them, as a way of trying to protect yourself.
To you, you need to feel a certain way, so instead of focusing on what you can give, at times, all you can think about is what you’re getting (or in most cases, aren’t getting.)
Now it’s important to highlight that this isn’t necessarily because all you care about is yourself, but more so because – if you don’t feel the love or your partner isn’t behaving in the way that you think they should – you start to worry about what that means.
You start to panic that you’re going to lose them – so you demand more, you put unrealistic expectations on them, you push and push and push. You think it will show you they do care, but instead, it drives them away.
7) You Also Give A Lot
One of the signs of abandonment issues is giving A LOT in a relationship, giving too much in fact.
See, your relationship becomes your world, your everything. This person is your safety net, they make you feel the way you want to feel (well, most of the time anyway.) This means that you throw everything into your relationship, you give it your all.
You think about it more than most, you do more than most, in many cases. You want your partner to be happy, need your partner to be happy even. Eventually, you give so much – you start to burn out.
You can also begin to resent your partner because you feel like they’re not giving the same back. This then spirals the excessive worrying, the irrational thinking and the demands. So it’s a toxic cycle and you struggle to get the right balance.
8) You Tolerate The Things You Shouldn’t
Rather than being alone, you are willing to remain in a situation that you know deep down isn’t good for you. You stay in unhealthy relationships, knowing that you’re settling, knowing that things aren’t quite right – but being unable to leave.
Maybe you kid yourself that things will get better. Maybe you make up excuses in your head or try to justify why you need to stay, why it’s worth staying. But ultimately – you’re hiding away from the truth because you’re too afraid to leave and have to start over.
9) You Nit-Pick and Are Overly Critical
One of the less obvious signs of abandonment issues is nitpicking. After all, you may not be in a rush to leave the relationship, but – like we said – you still put unrealistic expectations on your partner at times. You’re also usually too hard on them.
You notice their flaws, are fast to make judgements, often seem to have a dig. This could either be because you’re not really happy with them, but just feel unable to leave.
Or it could be your mind looking out for “warning signs” and making small things into big things so that – if it does break down – you have even just a thin layer of protection where you at least “saw it coming.”
10) You Find It Hard To Trust People
It doesn’t matter what your partner says, what your partner does, how much they try to reassure you – you struggle to feel settled and happy, you struggle to fully trust them and not worry that they’re going to hurt you or walk away.
Your mind conjures up images of infidelity. You scrutinise over what “could” happen, live the things you don’t want to happen – before they’ve even happened.
It’s absolutely exhausting. You don’t want to be this way. You want to just let go – to love and love freely, but to you, it’s not that simple. Everything is a threat, everything is a worry and you can’t just relax.
This also then puts strain on your relationship as your partner feels like they’re constantly being questioned and they begin to feel like nothing they do is enough. They trust you and they want that to be returned.
11) You Put Your Guard Up
Yes, you rush the relationship, yes you have strong feelings fast – but you still have a bit of a guard up. You’re still trying to protect yourself. This means that you may…
- Not fully open up.
- Struggle to form an emotional connection.
- Be resistant to big steps – like meeting the parents, moving in together.
- Get anxious discussing a “future” together.
These are just a few examples, but you’re likely to hold back in some areas of your relationship. You’re afraid of certain areas of progression, you’re afraid of connecting even further and becoming more vulnerable.
12) You Feel Unworthy of Love
As much as you push, as hard as you try, as much as you think about everything – underneath it all is this sense of never feeling truly loved and being unworthy of being loved, to a degree anyway.
You may know your strengths, you may know you should be worthy of it deep down, but you’re embarrassed of your behaviour, ashamed even. You know you’re not always the best partner that you can be, you don’t always act how you would want to and you feel bad about it.
You also take negative past experiences to heart, and really feel them. These all compile all the times someone showed you that they didn’t love you or didn’t want you and you feel like you’ve never been fully loved and consequently are unworthy or love.
13) You Constantly Question How Your Partner Feels
You need constant reassurance. You may think you already know the answer, you may not listen to what they say anyway – but you still want them to say it.
You push to hear how they feel, you push for them to confirm that they love you and their feelings haven’t changed from one day to the next.
If they’re having an “off day”, you instantly worry that it’s something to do with you – this is a constant fear. But you end up coming across as needy, demanding and actually pretty smothering.
14) You Get Jealous and Feel Easily Threatened
It could be friends, family members, work colleagues even – you’re not just worried about your partner finding someone else and leaving you for them. You’re even threatened by anyone else who could take them away.
And you know it’s ridiculous, you know it’s too much, but you can’t seem to help it. It’s like you want your partner all to yourself – like you think you have to have them all to yourself, to keep them there, with you.
15) You’re Insecure
You don’t fully back yourself. You don’t fully know your own worth. You can’t. Otherwise you wouldn’t act the way you do.
And it doesn’t matter how many affirmations you tell yourself, ultimately, you don’t truly love yourself which is another reason why it makes it more difficult for someone to love you to the degree that you deserve.
16) You Really Miss Them When You’re Not Together
You like to spend as much time with your partner as possible. When you’re together, you treasure it. It’s when you feel safest. The problem is – it can rip you apart when you’re apart.
As soon as they leave, you feel this emptiness coming over you. You could be apart for hours or days, but it resurfaces your abandonment issues. You start to panic, you ruminate about where they are, who they’re with, what they’re doing. Your mind just runs wild.
You start to obsess over them. You start to act irrationally. This can lead to excessive texts, a stream of calls, if you don’t know what’s going on – when usually, there’s nothing going on at all.
And let’s say you’re not panicking. Let’s say you do feel okay. But you’ll still miss them. You’ll still be waiting for them to come back so you can feel whole again, so you can fully relax again, feel fully happy. It’s just like this constant waiting game.
17) You Overanalyse Everything
Another one of the key signs of abandonment issues is the fact that you probably overanalyse everything – read into all the small things and blow them up into this massive threat or theory.
We all have gut instincts, and often they’re right. But this isn’t quite that. This is picking up on every single little thing and piecing it into a story that’s probably not accurate or true.
And these theories… they all tie into your fears that they’re going to leave, they’re doing something wrong, they don’t feel the same way. It’s pretty soul-destroying.
18) You’re Over-Sensitive
You’re scared, like we said. You’re scared of your partner leaving, and so you become hyper-sensitive – you remember the little things they say and you worry about them.
It could be a passing comment, a little criticism but to you – it means more than that. The problem is, your self-worth is also very low, so all these little things feed into confirm the negative things that you feel about yourself and your relationship anyway.
It leaves your partner feeling like they can’t say anything at all, or have to be really careful around you. And that’s no way to live – treading on eggshells and constantly having to reassure you.
19) You’re Controlling
Being controlling in a relationship is also another sign of abandonment issues. See, your intentions aren’t bad. You’re just driven by the fear – and the care. You still love this person, you still want them to be happy, you just can’t think rationally.
Your abandonment issues likely stem from past experiences where you had no control over the outcome. You fear the unpredictability of letting go – and what will happen if you do.
The result is that you seek to micromanage your life and your relationship to try to avoid similar situations and the same outcome. You think if you can just control the situation, the relationship – if you can just control them even, you’ll keep it safe. You’ll keep it well. But you actually only end up doing the opposite.
20) You Have a Past
Most often than not, the fear of abandonment comes from things that have happened in your past. It could be a trauma, it could be a significant event – or it could be a string of crappy events and crappy relationships which all piled up and up.
So if you’re looking for the signs of abandonment issues, it’s also worth asking you –
What times in my life have people left me? What times in my life did I not feel safe or secure? And what impact could this have had on me? When have the issues cropped up? And am I ever brought back to that same place, feeling those same feelings?
The Impact of Fear of Abandonment
Fear of abandonment has devastating effects – not only on your mental wellbeing (experiencing intense periods of depression and anxiety), but on your relationships.
You push people away, live in this constant state of fear & uncertainty, you drain your happiness and drain the person that you’re with – ultimately, often sabotaging your relationship and ruining what you have.
I honestly can’t stress enough that if you have abandonment issues – you have to tackle them. There really is no place for them in a healthy relationship.
What To Do If You Have Abandonment Issues
If you’re recognising these signs of abandonment issues in yourself, the first thing I want to say is that it’s okay. Everything is going to be okay. You’re not crazy, you’re not broken. You can remove your fear of abandonment and free yourself for good.
Wherever it came from, whatever the cause, whatever the impact has been to date – I want you to know that it doesn’t have to stay like this forever. You can beat it. This can be the turning point.
I know it’s hard, but now that you’ve recognised the signs – you have a decision to make.
- To read, to acknowledge, to see that you have a problem – but to choose to ignore it. To not act and to therefore keep feeling the effects, to not let it go away.
- To decide today, to decide right now that you’re going to work through it.
Stop allowing your abandonment issues to sabotage your relationships and steal your happiness.
You’re here for a reason. You’ve read this far and you KNOW what you want to do. You know you’re not prepared to settle for living a life like this.
So when you’re ready, I want you to reach out. I want you to first get in touch here and I’m going to point you in the right direction. Whether that’s through additional reading, recommended physiotherapists or coaching with me – you’re no longer on your own with this one. Okay?
Browse the Abandonment Series:
- The Signs Of Abandonment Issues (just read)
- Where Your Abandonment Issues Come From
- How You React To Your Fear of Abandonment
I feel you. I understand you. And I care about you. So let’s start making the change today.
All my love,