3 Tips For Overcoming A Fear Of Abandonment

abandonment

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.

 What’s Got You Down? Do You Have a Question? Tweet @TravisLloyd With #AskTRAV To Get Your Answers!

5 Tips For Overcoming Anxiety

I received a question on how to deal with anxiety in the form of a comment on an Instagram photo that I posted recently, and the question came from a graduate student studying to be a counselor. Many of us who seek to help, do so because we too have many things to overcome.

images (43)In response, I compiled a list of practical things that help with overcoming anxiety. Some of this comes from my own personal experiences, some comes from experiences in working with people who struggle with extreme anxiety and some comes from interviewing my biological mother, who has also struggled with anxiety of her own. She now helps people improve their wellness as a quit smoking coach. The following information is not medical advice, but is my opinion and shared opinions of others who I have interacted with.

No matter how severe your anxiety is, I believe that continuing to seek knowledge is the most important thing in reaching a higher level of mental wellness. Props to you for being here and in search of your own progress! With hope, dedication and focus, overcoming anxiety is possible.

  1. Desensitizing

    When dealing with anxiety related to a specific social situation, professional setting, or conversation, I personally use desensitization techniques. This means that I psych myself up in preparation for the situation and I force myself to be uncomfortable.  This generally opens the door for a negative experience, but it also creates the opportunity for me to learn and gain first hand experience as to how bad a situation really is. It also alleviates the fear of the unknown, which is often the culprit behind hatred and avoidance.  However, desensitization is definitely not the best option for everyone due to the extreme toughness that it takes to force yourself to be uncomfortable.

  2. Create a Chronically Balanced Life

    For me, anxiety often stems from a lack of balance. An imbalanced diet, physical activity, sense of safety or even imbalanced to-to lists are major precipitating factors when it comes to feeling anxious. If you are chronically anxious, what could be a better way to fight anxiety than to establish chronic balance and stability? If anxiety stems from having an imbalance, identifying and correcting that imbalance can and will diminish the frequency and severity of anxiety.  This method is effective mostly because it is not a way to “treat” or “get rid of” the anxiety, but instead it prevents it from getting bad to begin with.

  3. Take Care of Your Body

    When we get busy with school, work, relationships, and life it is very easy to let this slip. We focus on helping others or fulfilling duties that when we have time to ourselves we cope by doing mind-numbing things such as watching TV and sitting on the computer doing nothing for hours. Focus on creating a chronic pattern of exercise

  4. Eat Fresh

    This can be done with simple changes such as forcing yourself to plan meals ahead of time and using fresh produce.Keeping simple snacks like peanuts, almonds, and bananas wards off the hunger between meals. Eating small amounts every 2-4 hours during the day improves metabolism.  Buying local adds to the experience. Salads with grilled chicken, fresh fruit, beans, etc. are great. Peanut butter is awesome. If you are overwhelmed with the idea of thinking about what to eat, try to picking a few of these and sticking to them, alternating a few times each week or every other week. consistency is key. Cutting soda, excessive coffee, and processed foods will greatly improve your health and energy level. In turn, you are more focused and less likely to be stressed out.

  5. Treat Yourself Like a Queen/King

    Keeping a nice environment with essential oils like Lavender and also drinking chamomile tea helps. Cutting out people who disturb a calm environment is something you deserve. Take time to bathe with the lights dimmed and scents in the air. Using oils is less toxic than candles. You probably spend time focusing on other things so spend time focusing on yourself.  Taking the time to set a plan for how you will respond to stressful situations that cause you anxiety is a great way to ward off attacks. Deep breathing, yoga, etc are helpful.

There is no one thing, it is a lifestyle that facilitates being conscious and aware at all times. You may also want to check out my blog about overcoming a fear of abandonment.

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