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How Do I Know If I Have Abandonment Issues?

Abandonment issues start very early in life when we don’t feel loved, safe, seen, valued and connected with in our family. Abandonment issues are exacerbated if you were emotionally, physically and/or sexually abused or neglected, or if you were adopted out, sent away to boarding school at a young age, left in unloving day care or with an unloving nanny, or placed in numerous foster homes.

Abandonment issues can also be currently operating in your life if your childhood role models abandoned themselves by not taking responsibility for their own happiness and pain. Perhaps you are currently abandoning yourself by:

  • staying focused in your head rather than being present in your body with your feelings.
  • judging yourself,
  • turning to various addictions to numb your feelings, or
  • making others responsible for your feelings.

If you are abandoning yourself in any of these ways, then your self-abandonment is contributing to some of your current abandonment issues.

Some of the symptoms of abandonment issues are:

  • getting anxious when you don’t hear from your partner, fearing that he or she is leaving you;
  • feeling that you can’t be alone, and feeling panicked at the thought of being left; feeling that you will die if left alone;
  • feeling clingy and needy of others’ attention and approval;
  • giving yourself up to please others;
  • getting angry and blaming your partner when he or she doesn’t answer your calls or texts because he or she is busy at work;
  • feeling worthless unless you get others’ attention and approval;
  • calling or texting your partner many time a day;
  • going into deep depression if your partner leaves you;
  • feeling alone and empty unless another person is attending to you;
  • finding it hard to function when you are anxious about your partner;
  • being suspicious and vigilant regarding your partner;
  • frequently feeling jealous;
  • isolating and pushing people away;
  • being unwilling to attach to people for fear of being rejected;
  • social anxiety; and
  • frequently leaving relationships to avoid the risk of being left.

This is just a partial list. If you are aware of other symptoms, you might want to add your own.

Healing Abandonment Issues

Healing abandonment issues is a two-pronged process.

  1. You need to be in a therapeutic relationship, or a loving friendship or romantic relationship that provides the safety, compassion, caring and understanding that you didn’t receive growing up. You might need mothering – loving holding and nurturing that provides a release of anxiety.
  2. You need to practice an inner work healing process, learning how to love yourself and give yourself the caring, compassion, nurturing and safety that you didn’t receive as a child.

If you are receiving love from another but you are abandoning yourself, healing won’t occur. Many people have been in therapy for years with a very kind and compassionate therapist, or been in a relationship with someone who loved them, but if they continue to abandon themselves, they can’t take in the love that is offered.

The more you learn to see and define your own wonderful essence, and the more you learn to connect with your spiritual Guidance and develop a strong loving adult self, the more you heal your abandonment issues. Since you may not be able to do this on your own, having therapy or facilitation in your inner work process can be extremely helpful in supporting your healing. You might not be able to truly start your inner work until you feel seen and valued by another person. But receiving this from another without also learning to love yourself will not lead to full healing. It takes both loving support from another person and loving yourself to heal abandonment issues.

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