Many people struggle with a fear of abandonment. Losing an emotional attachment can be very traumatizing to anyone. If you have ever lost a romantic relationship, loved one or friendship you may have a heightened awareness of when there is a potential to lose another relationship.
One girl called this “paranoia”. She sent me an email stating, “I have a fear, paranoia, and obsession about friends abandoning me. When something happens in our friendship I just wait for friends to find fault in me and walk away. It affects me daily any suggestions?”
Often times, these types of fears stem from some sort of previous traumatic experience in which you experienced pain as a result of a loss. Maybe a close friend or family member, possibly a parent. Issues like divorce or someone moving away that was a strong emotional support for you. I would recommend working with a professional therapist who specializes in addressing these types of issues. For now, here’s a few things you can get started with:
- The best thing you can do is start to train yourself to be aware of the exact moments when you start to feel that anxiety set in that stems from your fear of abandonment.
- Once you are able to become aware of when you are feeling those feelings then you can identify why. The why is called the trigger. Triggers are specific experiences that cause us to experience the same negative feelings as when we experienced different negative events in the past. For example, if you were once verbally abused and frequently yelled at by an alcoholic father and later he ran off with your older sister’s friend, never to return then you experienced a traumatic event.
The loss of a parent or caregiver may be your initial experience of abandonment. Later in life, your subconscious mind might associate any argument that results in yelling, with feelings of abandonment. In turn, you would associate those feelings with a friend who is involved in an argument or yelling at you. The reality might be that when your friend was yelling at you, it might be a simple argument and that person cares about you enough to talk it out. After talking, everything will most likely go back to normal. But, your subconscious mind is screaming help I’m going to be abandoned again! “You are in control of your life and you can choose which direction to take it. Every day is another opportunity to make the right choice…”
- Once you can identify the trigger(s) you can start to train yourself to understand that it is a trigger that is making you feel that way and that it is not likely your friend’s true intention to abandon you.
It takes time, effort and a dedication to being willing to experience negative feelings in order to be aware of them. If you find it overwhelming to do this by yourself, try asking your friends what they mean when they say or do certain things that cause you to feel anxious. You don’t have to tell them that it makes you feel anxious, but you can if you feel they might be supportive. Hearing them say that they will be there for you might ease the process. Just be careful not to allow yourself to make them feel responsible for making you feel okay.
I will be addressing many issues related to helping you overcome adversities and traumatic past experiences in my upcoming book Overcoming Emotional Trauma: Life Beyond Survival Mode where I offer inspiration and wisdom from the perspective of having been a “kid in the system” and a professional working in the system. Sign up to receive an update when it releases at www.OvercomingEmotionalTrauma.com.
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