Have you heard someone say they suffer from 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.
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 are some of the “symptoms” or signs of Abandonment issues we frequently see in clients?
Fears and has a hard time being alone
When people they are in relationships with start to pull away (even if it is due to healthy boundaries and a need for more time away to take care of their own lives), feeling a sense of “panic” or fear. Often times, this can trigger reactivity for the person feeling the abandonment.
Pushing others away first when fearing an ending to a relationship; but when the fear subsides, seeking an intense need for closeness
Loneliness can be a very difficult and uneasy feeling
Have trouble trusting others
Might ask 20 questions in order to uncover a suspicion
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 and believes them as truth
Has a sense of urgency to deal with something "right now" even if the timing is horrible
Fears and avoids rejection
Has trouble being left out
Any kind of loss is hard for them
They tend to be jealous- not just of their loved one being with someone else, but also of their time
Difficulty or inability to see someone they love feel angry with them. Abandonment issues often feel like a withdraw of love when someone feels or shows anger
Difficulty expressing appropriate needs, for fear that it will cause the other person to leave, OR
Putting overwhelming needs on others around them without working on meeting own needs first
These are just a few of the symptoms or relationship patterns we frequently see with the clients we work with in counseling.
We encourage you to read part 1 of this series, and as always— Keep checking back with us this week, as we continue to discuss abandonment issues.
Written by guest blogger Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.