This post was updated on Apr 22, 2023
As children, we all need to feel loved and cared for by our parents and caregivers. We carry these emotional needs into adulthood, too, seeking emotional intimacy and closeness in our relationships. Unfortunately, not everybody receives the love and support they need to form secure attachments and it can have a huge impact throughout their lives.
Even if you feel like you had a decent childhood with both parents present, you may still feel abandoned in one way or another, although you may not be aware of it. For instance, you may struggle to form secure attachments in your adult life, or exhibit obsessive behaviors toward your partners.
If this sounds like you, consider attending a love addiction retreat. Professional relationship coaches may be able to shed some light on the way your childhood and past relationships have affected you. Read on to learn more about emotional abandonment and how it can influence your relationships.
What Does Emotional Abandonment Look Like?
In order to be happy and content in your life, your basic emotional needs need to be met. Unfortunately, many people are not even aware of these needs, although they may feel that something is missing from their life.
Basic Emotional Needs
Here are some of the most important emotional needs that should be fulfilled in your relationships:
- Feeling understood and listened to
- To feel cared for and nurtured
- To be appreciated
- To feel accepted
- To be loved
- To feel connected to others
If these needs are not met in your formative years, you may struggle with symptoms of emotional abandonment later on in life. The abandonment issues may be exacerbated if you were a victim of narcissistic abuse, severe emotional neglect, or various forms of emotional manipulation.
What Are The Symptoms Of Abandonment Issues?
Individuals with abandonment issues may exhibit a wide range of behaviors in their relationships. Some of the most common symptoms associated with emotional abandonment include:
- Engaging in a series of shallow relationships. Your abandonment issues can lead you to cycle through numerous surface-level relationships and find excuses to leave before you can be abandoned by the other person.
- Sabotaging your healthy relationships. You may have a tendency to end healthy relationships when you suspect that your partner might leave you. This may involve various sabotaging behaviors, such as cheating or starting unnecessary arguments.
- A devastating fear of being alone. If you tend to stay in unhealthy relationships despite wanting to leave, you may fear being alone more than you fear being hurt by the other person.
- Seeking constant reassurance: you may have abandonment issues if you often pressure your partner or friends to make promises not to ever leave you or want to hear how much they love and appreciate you every day and get mad if they don’t.
- Obsessive behaviors and jealousy: if you feel like your partner might leave you, you might engage in stalking and express extreme jealousy at the mere thought of them leaving you for somebody else.
How Do Abandonment Issues Affect Relationships?
As we’ve already illustrated, abandonment issues can manifest themselves in a multitude of ways, most of which can impair your ability to create stable relationships. Your self-medicating behaviors may include various compulsions and addictions, whether it’s excessive shopping, alcohol, drugs, sex, or overeating.
Because of your abandonment issues, you may avoid getting close to anybody. Your fear of abandonment may be so debilitating that you build an impenetrable wall around your emotional core, keeping everybody out.
Or you may take a completely different route, attaching yourself to emotionally unavailable persons so strongly that you become clingy, needy, and obsessive. You may do this because such relationships mimic the unhealthy patterns you experienced in childhood.
Regardless of the exact effects you experience, your abandonment issues are likely to significantly impair your ability to create healthy attachments and build long-lasting relationships.
How Do You Deal With Abandonment Issues In A Relationship?
If your abandonment issues have damaged your relationships and made you feel even more vulnerable, it is time to take the reins and face your childhood and adolescent wounds head on. Many people feel unlovable and unworthy sometimes – don’t let it dictate how you live your life. Here’s how you can overcome your abandonment issues through self-compassion and care:
Be Kind To Yourself
Many people have that critical inner voice telling us what a terrible person we are. The sooner you learn to rein in this voice and stop it from dictating your behaviors, the better. It’s good to learn how to see the positive traits in yourself instead of focusing on your flaws. You deserve compassion, and you can start by finding it within yourself.
In order to overcome your fear of abandonment, you can learn how to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings and stop them from carrying you away. Learning to be gentle with yourself and cutting your mean thoughts in the bud will help you build a stronger emotional core and stop you from losing your sense of self.
Your Flaws Are Human
Remember that you are not the only one experiencing these painful thoughts and feelings. Most people struggle with their own issues, and if we could all band together to cultivate self-compassion and emotional strength, it would be much easier to live a life based on acceptance and love. Just keep in mind that you aren’t alone in this – you are worthy of love and compassion, just like everyone else.
Overcome Your Fears In Our Love Addiction Intensive Workshops
Do you feel like it’s time to do away with self-sabotaging behaviors and start practicing self-love? We believe so, too. Here at PIVOT, we offer a variety of intensive love addiction retreats and coaching sessions that may help you overcome your abandonment fears and learn to love yourself for who you are, flaws and all.
You don’t have to heal your emotional wounds on your own. Get in touch with one of our experienced PIVOT advocates today and start working on creating a brighter future for yourself. Give us a call now!