Self-Work: Abandonment Issues
Updated: Sep 14
Have you ever felt that lingering fear of being abandoned or rejected? It's a topic that has been weighing on my mind lately, and I believe many of us can relate. Abandonment issues, though common, have a profound impact on our lives, affecting our relationships with others and ourselves.
In this heartfelt blog post, I want to delve into the depths of abandonment issues. It's a subject that hits close to home for me, as I have struggled with it for a long time. Together, let's explore what abandonment issues truly entail, how they have influenced my life, and most importantly, the steps I've taken to overcome them.
What are abandonment issues?
Abandonment issues refer to the fear of being abandoned or rejected by someone you care about. They often stem from childhood experiences of neglect, abuse, or the loss of a loved one, leaving deep emotional wounds that shape how we perceive ourselves and our relationships.
Recognizing my abandonment issues
Recently, during a chat with my girlfriends, I had a significant realization. I noticed that I constantly apologized for and compromised my own boundaries. Interestingly, when it came to people I didn't have a relationship with, my boundaries were strong, and I rarely apologized unless I was genuinely wrong. Through this conversation, I discovered that I dropped boundaries and over-apologized out of fear of losing someone.
It's disheartening that the impact of having a father who is alive but absent from my life is often overlooked or dismissed. My entire perception of the first man who was supposed to care for me was tainted by his absence, and it continues to affect my ability to maintain boundaries with friends and romantic partners. Even in minor arguments, my anxiety intensifies because I fear it may lead to the end of the relationship or friendship. However, I've come to realize that if the people in my life truly deserve to be there, they won't leave after a disagreement unless there is disrespect involved. If they do leave, then it's not meant to be, and it's better to move on to someone who genuinely values me and my boundaries.
Monitoring and Checking Myself
Coming to terms with my abandonment issues was a tough realization, but I knew that I needed to address them. To begin, I started monitoring my thoughts and feelings, consciously recognizing when I started feeling anxious or insecure. I also began questioning whether these thoughts and feelings were based on reality or my own fears. I discovered that not everything was personal and learned to love myself and respect my boundaries. If the people in my life truly value our relationship, they won't abandon me over a disagreement or an argument. This self-awareness has been crucial in reclaiming my sense of self-worth and building healthier connections.
Overcoming Abandonment Issues Through Self-Love and Self-Care
To overcome my abandonment issues, I embarked on a journey of self-love and self-care. I started prioritizing activities that brought me joy, nurturing my self-esteem, and focusing on my passions and hobbies. One technique that proved particularly helpful was writing down my boundaries and categorizing them as red and green.
Red boundaries: These are non-negotiable boundaries that are essential for my physical and mental well-being. If they are crossed, I have no hesitation in enforcing them and terminating the relationship.
Green boundaries*: These boundaries protect my happiness, personal space, and mental well-being. If they are crossed, I assertively communicate, saying, "No, this is a boundary," but it doesn't necessarily lead to the immediate termination of the relationship.
*Why green? "Green boundaries" are boundaries that are in place to protect one's happiness, personal space, and mental capacity. These boundaries are flexible and allow for a certain amount of interaction with others, but they also have limits that should not be crossed. When someone crosses these boundaries, the person setting the boundaries will respond by asserting their limits, but the relationship itself does not necessarily have to end immediately.
By establishing these boundaries, I've come to understand that self-love is an integral part of self-respect. By prioritizing my own well-being and putting myself first, I no longer tolerate anything less from others. It's a continuous journey of learning to value and care for myself.
How Abandonment Issues Have Affected My Romantic Relationships
The fear of abandonment has made building romantic relationships a challenging endeavor for me. Every disagreement or argument would escalate in my mind, turning into a life-or-death situation. This led to over-communication and discomfort within the relationship. I often found myself either pushing my partners away or becoming overly clingy, creating tension and conflict.
However, through introspection, I've learned that if someone exhibits inconsistent behavior or shows a reluctance to address my needs, it's better to move on. Recently, I had an experience where a guy and I were talking every day for two months and even went on a trip together. However, when we faced our first uncomfortable conversation, he abruptly left. His actions made it clear that he wasn't a good fit for someone dealing with abandonment issues like myself.
Learning to show up as my best self in all situations and giving everything I have has become the key to navigating abandonment fears. By fully investing myself and expressing my authentic feelings, I have nothing to regret. If someone chooses to leave, it's a reflection of their own choices and not a reflection of my worthiness.
How Abandonment Issues Have Affected My Friendships
I've come to realize that my abandonment issues not only impact my romantic relationships but also my friendships. While I'm not a clingy friend, I cherish the few individuals in my life whom I trust with my overall well-being. As someone who moved to Boston without any family or friends, my friends in this new city have become my community and my home away from home.
During controversial conversations or arguments, I tend to check on my friends frequently, apologize excessively, or seek reassurance due to my abandonment issues. I am aware that this behavior can be overwhelming, and it's something I'm actively working on. Thankfully, my friends understand my boundaries and respect them, but some of them even playfully make me pay a fine for apologizing too much!
I acknowledge that I'm not perfect, but I'm committed to minimizing excessive apologies. It's an ongoing process, and I'm determined to make positive changes.
Be Real with Yourself
In addition to self-reflection and therapy, being honest with ourselves and engaging in open conversations with a higher power can aid in overcoming abandonment issues. It's important to confront our feelings and not shy away from what upsets us. By acknowledging and identifying unhealthy behaviors, we can begin the healing process and make better choices that align with our well-being. Honesty allows us to see things clearly and empowers us to make necessary changes. Engaging in honest conversations with a higher power can bring clarity and guidance in navigating our fears and insecurities. Remember, honesty is key to healing and growth.
Overcoming Abandonment Issues Is Possible
Abandonment issues may feel overwhelming, but they do not have to define our lives forever. With self-reflection, self-care, and seeking professional help when needed, we can conquer our fears and build healthy relationships with ourselves and others. You are strong, and you are deserving of love and respect.
So, my dear Bestie, let's learn, unlearn, and heal together. Embrace your journey of self-discovery and growth, knowing that you are not alone. You have the power to overcome your abandonment issues and create a life filled with meaningful connections and genuine happiness.
Remember, healing takes time and patience. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and be kind to yourself along the way. You are worthy of love, understanding, and a fulfilling life.
Learn, unlearn, to heal,