When we have abandonment issues we live in an almost constant state of fear. There are very specific symptoms which accompany this issue: obsessive thoughts, anxiety, fear of losing someone’s love/affection, difficulty expressing feelings due to fear of other person leaving or their anger, overreacting at times which is followed by intense feelings of guilt, inability to be with the thought of someone being angry at us, needing to feel in control of surroundings, insecure, doubting self, feeling alone, excessive worrying, inability to trust, difficulties in relationships, expecting to be abandoned, feeling left out, patterns of self-criticism, feeling devastated and unable to cope at the ending of relationships, afraid of being alone, believing there is something innately wrong with us, and an inability to comfort ourselves.
At the bottom of this is an early history of physical and/or emotional abandonment. This stems from the lack of an empathetic and emotionally available primary caregiver during critical periods in our early life. It is very common in situations where at least one parent is absent during these critical developmental stages in life. The result for some of us is an inability to know how to manage our own emotions, and delayed development of emotional maturity. The degree of impact on an individual depends on the degree of emotional availability during the developing years within our childhood environment. A recommended way to overcome this issue is through a process of learning how to re-parent ourselves.
In this case I teach clients how to interact with themselves in an open, empathetic and accepting way. In essence, the person is learning how to become the loving parent they’ve always needed. How quickly this occurs depends on the layers of defense the person has developed over the years. However, through persistence and patience, it is a worthwhile endeavor.
The Strong Myth
It is an unfortunate fact that many people believe that expressing their feelings is a sign of weakness. There is an unrealistic expectation that a “normal” person will have no vulnerable feelings. This is a belief that often goes unchallenged. The truth is that for us to be truly happy, we need to allow ourselves to have our feelings, without judging or trying to push them away. When we learn how to experience, identify and express our feelings appropriately, they will often subside. We can then learn to be more open, which makes it easier for us to get closer to others. This may result in others feeling much closer to us.