Extreme jealousy, 24/7 monitoring of partner and anxiety over the smallest things: does any of these sound familiar to you? If so, you may have abandonment issues. Abandonment issues may harm one’s relationship, career, or even oneself, so it’s important to learn how to overcome them. Below are 20 telltale signs that you have abandonment issues, and steps you can take in order to overcome them.
1. You’re A Partner Pleaser
While it’s natural to want to please the people around you – especially your romantic partner – it’s good to tread carefully.
If you’re always hyper-focused on pleasing your SO, you will tend to go along with whatever he/she desires: this could make your partner happy, but it will definitely bring you misery. Take some time to think about what you truly want and value in life. Even in seemingly perfect relationships, there will always be instances whereby beliefs, opinions, or values between two parties clash.
2. You Get Attached Too Quickly
Does the length of time before entering an official relationship matter? Some may feel that it doesn’t, but in our (very humble) opinion, it definitely does.
While there have been instances of “love at first sight” translating into blissful unions, those are exceptions and not the norm. You can’t go on a first date and instantly expect it to turn into a committed relationship. Getting to know someone takes times, and true colors are often revealed only after a prolonged period of friendship/courtship, and experiencing various things together.
Buoyed by visions of eternal love, those with abandonment issues tend to fall in love quickly… but crash hard shortly after.
3. You Move On Too Quickly
It’s normal to feel pain and sorrow during breakups: most people usually take time to recover from heartbreak, and try to better themselves before entering their next relationship. Admittedly, this period of “downtime” can differ vastly from individual to individual. If your relationship just ended 5 minutes ago and you’re swiping right on Tinder, though, this could point towards serious abandonment issues.
4. You Actively Look For Flaws In Your Partner
Pardon the cliche, but nobody’s perfect. If your objective is to look for flaws in your partner, it is guaranteed that you will always find something to nitpick on.
Those with abandonment issues focus on the negatives and ignore the positives; if the relationship sours, they’ll convince themselves that the relationship wasn’t right for them anyway. With this mindset, any relationship is doomed to fail right from the start.
5. You Remain In The Relationship Though There’s Nothing Left Of It
Many might be guilty of this kind of emotional abandonment behaviour. You know very well that your relationship is unhealthy, that it brings significantly more harm than good, and yet you stay firmly put. Settling for this kind of unhealthy damaging relationship could be a sign that you have some unresolved trauma/a fear of being abandoned – you’d rather be unhappy together than be alone.
6. You Avoid Emotional Intimacy
While physical intimacy is without a doubt important, emotional intimacy is a core element of interpersonal relationships too. Whether you have a fear of intimacy and/or attachment, this could be an indication that you have abandonment issues. Avoidance of emotional intimacy doesn’t mean an individual doesn’t crave love and affection; he/she does, but has likely been hurt deeply before. Such individuals can be described as “emotionally unavailable” as they seek to maintain distance between themselves and their partners at all times.
7. You Are Hesitant To Invest In A Relationship
Relationships are a huge deal, so it’s natural for there to be hesitation and even fear before a person invests in one. That being said, those with attachment issues tend to be more hesitant and may even feel paralyzed by the prospect of dedicating a portion of their lives to someone else. Even if they’re in a relationship, there’s constant anxiety and uncertainty as to whether they’d made the right choice, or if there’s someone better out there for them.
8. You Feel Insecure All The Time
Modern society says men aren’t allowed to show insecurity, or even be insecure in the first place: males are expected to be super macho and tough, and never shed a tear in public. We say screw that: it’s totally fine to feel insecure from time to time.
The main difference between people with attachment issues and those without is that for the former group, the insecurity never ever fades: it’s constantly in the background, and affects every single aspect of your life, including your relationship. Such insecurity may cause you to overthink every casual remark made by your SO, and lead to many a sleepless night.
9. You Can’t Seem To Trust Your Partner
In a relationship, trust is the single most precious thing: it serves as the foundation for a long-lasting and loving relationship. Granted, building trust takes time, but is imperative if you want to sustain your relationship and make it stronger. Struggling to trust your partner could be a sign that you have abandonment issues.
10. You Can’t Handle Any “Negative” Comments
Months into a relationship, couples grow comfortable with each other and become a fixed part of each other’s routines. The number of “I love you”s may or may not dwindle at this point, with straightforward and blunt comments taking their place. Attachment issues may cloud your judgement and make you take playful, well-intended jibes a tad too seriously.
11. You Bottle Up Your Anger Until It Explodes
Repressed anger could mean you have abandonment issues and this can prove extremely harmful to you and to your partner in the long run. When you’re angry but smile and pretend everything is fine, the anger piles up until it eventually explodes and ends up in an outburst/shouting match, leaving resentment and hurt feelings in its wake.
12. You Control Your Partner
Your partner is entitled to opinions of her own, and should 100% be allowed to make her own choices. While certain things may bother you (say, your girl hanging out with a bunch of guy friends), your SO will definitely appreciate you for giving her the respect and trust she needs.
Those who have abandonment issues may try to control their partner because they’re afraid of losing their relationship. Examples include messaging and calling her constantly, checking her message history without prior permission, and (in extreme cases) secretly installing a GPS app on her phone, so you can track every place she’s been too (a complete invasion of privacy and possibly illegal; please do not try this).
13. You Sabotage Your Own Relationship
Because you’re afraid of being abandoned, you tend to do things that undermine the integrity of your relationship (because things will eventually go wrong anyway… right?) You push your partner away or blame her for every little thing that happens, even if they’re likely non-issues. You may or may not also try to convince her that you’re not good enough for her, and that she deserves someone better. A word of advice: sabotaging a relationship is never healthy for both of you, and won’t make you feel better either.
14. You Always Blame Yourself
Do you always blame yourself for every bad thing that happens in your relationship? If so, that’s a clear sign of underlying attachment issues. While it’s understandable that you want your relationship to last, it’s not good nor healthy if you always blame yourself just because you don’t want any conflict. Constant self-blaming may make your partner feel uncomfortable or even at a loss as to what to do.
15. You Treat Yourself Harshly
It’s okay to feel bad if you’ve made a genuine mistake and hurt the feelings of your SO, but you should also know when to forgive yourself. Because they’re terrified of abandonment, people with abandonment issues tend to treat themselves harshly and think they deserve less than what they actually do.
16. You Overanalyze Every Little Thing
When you’re used to your partner sending you kissey smilies on a regular basis, any message without them can cause you to panic and think she’s fallen out of love with you. It’s impossible to relax and you simmer in anxiety until she sends you the next kissey smiley – that’s when you breathe a small sigh of relief.
17. Even The Shortest Separations Make You Feel Anxious
We’ve all been there: partner goes on holiday with friends, is posted overseas temporarily due to her job, etc. You send her off with a smile, but the moment she’s gone, you begin to worry about x, y and z. Can’t handle being separated with your partner, even for a while? Unfortunately, that’s not a good sign. Separation anxiety isn’t uncommon in relationships, but a suffocating sense of anxiety underlines acute abandonment issues and needs to be addressed immediately.
18. You Always Think Your Partner Will Leave You
Everything seems to be going smoothly, but doubt gnaws at you every single day. You can’t stop imagining your partner leaving you, and do everything you can to prevent that from happening, even if it means forgoing your own needs and wants.
19. You’re Jealous Of Everyone In Her Life
Are you jealous of her colleagues, friends, or even ex-lovers she stopped contacting a long time ago? When jealousy rears its ugly head, things can get really messy (refer to point number 12).
Jealousy can make people possessive and make the sweetest relationships a chore to maintain. People with attachment issues need constant reassurance that they’re important to their partners, and that their SOs love them no matter what.
20. You Feel You’re Not The Right One For Her
No matter what she says or do, your partner is unable to convince you that you’re worthy of her love. You will come to a point that you feel that you don’t deserve someone like her.
It is important to take some time to quietly reflect and ponder upon yourself/your relationship. If 5 or more of the above points resonate with you, it’s likely you have abandonment issues. Here are some things you can try:
1. Stop Beating Yourself Up
Abandonment is not something you signed up for, and beating yourself up will just worsen the situation. Be kind to yourself: what would you say to yourself if you were someone else? Dedicate time to activities you love, and build self-confidence by learning new skills such as cooking and painting.
2. Accept That This Fear Can Occur To You
Sometimes, the best thing that you can do is simply accept how you feel: insecure, fearful, uncertain. Feelings such as fear are mostly involuntary and cannot be controlled. Do not spend your energy and time trying to fake or suppress any emotions. It’s much easier to overcome this fear if you accept it from the very beginning. Find an outlet to vent (an online forum, a good friend etc) or read up on the practice of mindfulness.
3. Be Responsible
Generic as this may sound, this approach could potentially help you overcome your fear of abandonment. Take 100% responsibility for overcoming this fear. Do not wait for others or for your partner to deal with it for you. Do your research, but most importantly, acknowledge and admit that you have a problem that needs to be resolved.
4. Develop Emotional Self Reliance
It is fine to seek advice and help from your friends and family. Sometimes, you also need to stand up on your own and establish emotional self-reliance. This, of course, is no easy feat, and may take plenty of time and patience. But emotional self-reliance will be beneficial not just in the short term, but the long run as well.
5. Approach Your Partner With Confidence
Do not look to your partner for reassurance as this will only trigger fear of abandonment. Be confident and let it be shown to your action and decision. This confidence is naturally earned by self-responsibility.
6. Treat Your Partner As A Separate Individual
First of all, a relationship can really work if you work together as one. But you have to realize that this “one” actually comprises two separate individuals, with different likes, values and beliefs. This oneness will only work if both of you are on it, so you’ll have to play your part. Your partner is not yours, so don’t try to control her life.
7. Seek Professional Help
Fear of abandonment can be a type of emotional anxiety. And like most types of anxiety, each individual experiences them in differing levels. Sometimes, a simple self-care routine won’t be enough and your best option is to seek professional help.
Therapy is available for these issues: a therapist or counselor can help you manage your fears of being abandoned. They can work with you to understand where those fear originates to better face, and how best to overcome them. In most cases, a combination of professional treatment and consistent self-care usually works best.
If you’re currently struggling with abandonment issues, know that you’re not alone – there are people out there who understand you and can empathize. Whether stranger or friend, never hesitate to reach out to someone: sharing your fears is not weakness, but a clear display of strength.