Have you heard someone say they suffer from abandonment issues? What does it mean to have abandonment issues? Most people think about adoption or being left on a door step as a child, but abandonment issues can be caused by many more life experiences than those.

Author Susan Anderson says, “Everyday there are people who feel as if life itself has left them on a doorstep or thrown them away. Abandonment is about loss of love itself, that crucial loss of connectedness. It often involves breakup, betrayal, aloneness. People struggling with abandonment issues include those going through the ending of a relationship as well as searching adoptees, recently widowed, and those suffering the woundedness of earlier disconnections.”

What does it mean to have abandonment issues? Here’s the 3 main fears that go along with it:

Fear of Loss

I explain abandonment to my clients as a 3-pronged fear that has proven itself true over and over again through out their lives. The first is the fear of loss– any loss. This could be a loved ones death, your dog dying, parents divorcing, chronic moving, or even your favorite teacher leaving half way through the year on maternity leave. Reoccurring loss in younger ages will strengthen a person’s fear that the abandonments have happened and will happen again and again throughout life.

Fear of Rejection

The second prong is the fear of rejection. This can be from family, friends, not making a team, boyfriends/ girlfriends, or any place you are searching for belonging. If and when these rejections happen, it can cause deep wounds that make you sensitive to any type of rejection and take it personally to mean that you are not loved.

Fear of Physical and/or emotional abandonment

The third prong is the fear of physical and/ or emotional abandonment. The physical abandonment can be divorce, death, adoption, and literal  physically abandoning. The emotional abandonment has to do with emotional needs not being met and a lack of attachment.

When these fears are repeated over time, they are confirmed as true fears throughout your life which creates the abandonment issues. The younger you are when the fears are confirmed and the more chronic they are in your life, the stronger the abandonment issues.

What does it look like when someone is under the influence of abandonment issues?

Here are several traits I have seen my clients show when “under the influence of abandonment”:

  • Fears being alone and has a hard time being alone
  • Loneliness can be a very difficult and uneasy feeling
  • Has trouble trusting others
  • Might ask 20 questions in order to uncover a suspicion or details of a time they are left out
  • Have moved in an out of relationships without much time in between or has a deep longing to always be in a relationship
  • Jumps to conclusions and worst case scenarios that usually end in some kind of loss and believes them as truth; Makes a mountain out of a mole hill
  • Has a sense of urgency to deal with something “right now” even if the timing is horrible due to fearing loss if they don’t
  • Fears and avoids rejection
  • Has trouble being left out
  • Any kind of loss is hard for them- even losing their phone or keys
  • They tend to be jealous- not just of their loved one being with someone else, but also of their time.

If you notice that you struggle with any of these fears and wonder if you need to start the healing process for your abandonment issues, reach out to Renewed Horizon Counseling for help. There is HOPE and a healing process to help you!