Are Abandonment Fears Wrecking Your Relationship?
Fear of abandonment is the constant and nagging feeling that someone significant in your life is going to leave you. To a certain extent, this is a normal feeling for a human being to have occasionally. However, constant abandonment fears may affect many aspects of your life, including the stability of your marriage. When you need to overcome a fear of abandonment and establish a fulfilling and healthy relationship with your partner, couples counseling can help.
Causes of Abandonment Fears
Several things can lead to the development of the fear of abandonment. Being physically abandoned by a parent or guardian when you were young is a key contributor. This can lead to recurrent programming in the brain that triggers the feeling that it could happen again, unexpectedly, and with anybody you know or love.
Parents can physically “leave” in numerous ways, including:
– Debilitating illness or addiction
– Depression or trauma
– Physically abandoning the family
You may have been forced to leave the family as well—being sent off to school, being sent to live with a relative, or other forms of involuntary separation.
One unfavorable aspect of abandonment fears is that they can prevent you from developing healthy self-esteem. People with low self-esteem may seek out others who reinforce their beliefs, and the cycle of abandonment may repeat, reinforcing those fears. Couples counseling may be a helpful way to identify your relationship fears and attachment patterns, so they don’t put a burden on your marriage.
Even if you didn’t have a parent or guardian physically leave you, they might not have provided you an emotionally safe place. Or, perhaps they subjected you to or allowed you to be physically or sexually abused. They also may have established a dynamic of emotional neglect or ridiculed you for not meeting their expectations.
When parents are emotionally distant, children can long for a connection that goes unfulfilled. When parents or guardians don’t create a safe place for a child to grow up physically and emotionally, a fear of abandonment can develop.
It’s not just events in your childhood that can cause abandonment fears, it can also happen in adulthood if you lose an intimate partner from a break-up, divorce, or death. This is especially true if you relied heavily on this person or the relationship was significant to you.
Overcoming Abandonment Fears
Many people who suffer from abandonment fears think themselves weak or undeserving of love. You may want to provide yourself with some understanding, compassion, and unconditional love or let a companion animal or religious belief support and comfort you.
Fear of abandonment can create roadblocks in your loving interpersonal relationships. It’s not reasonable to lean heavily on or cling to your partner or other loved ones. Nor is it healthy to try to avoid the pain of loss by keeping others at arm’s length to avoid abandonment.
Couples counseling Palatine, IL offers can provide therapy sessions to help revisit your own history and identify reasons for your abandonment fears and help you establish the appropriate dynamic in your marriage or partnership.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Lotus Wellness Center for their insight into couples counseling and overcoming fears of abandonment.