The fear of abandonment is an insidious phenomenon that can create chaos and unhappiness for partners in romantic relationships. People with abandonment issues are often attracted to unavailable partners with whom they can't -- for one reason or another -- fall completely in love, says clinical psychologist and relationship psychoanalyst Frances Cohen Praver, writing for "Psychology Today." Praver believes that this pattern allows those affected by relationship abandonment issues to play it safe and not fully commit their feelings in a relationship for fear of getting hurt by the abandonment they so desperately want to avoid.
One way for you to let go of your fear of abandonment is to practice forgiveness. Part of the reason you may be holding onto this fear is because you're holding on to anger, sadness and other difficult emotions related to abandonment you experienced in the past. If your mother or father abandoned you as a child, it's understandable to still feel hurt. What's not helpful is to assume that other people will make the same choices made by your parents or other significant people who've abandoned you. Mental health counselor Donna M. White, writing for "Psych Central," notes that " forgiveness . . . is about giving you the power to accept the situation for what it is or was, letting go, moving past anger and pain and moving into a better and healthier place." Finding a way to forgive someone who's abandoned you gives you personal freedom and makes room for healthier romantic relationships.
Recognize Your Worth
If you experienced abandonment as a child, your mind may have deduced that if a parent left you, then friends, romantic partners and other significant people in your life are bound to leave you as well. If you took this loss personally and somehow felt responsible for your parent leaving you, then you may feel like your parent chose to leave because you weren't worthy enough for him or her to stay. Clearly, these deductions are fallacious. Human beings undergo complex psychological processes -- making all sorts of choices -- and children aren't responsible for a parent's choice to abandon them. If you believe that you're worthless, then all your actions will be in line with that belief, advises the Theravive website, created by a network of counselors and therapeutic clinics. You need to realize that you're not to blame for your parent's abandonment and see yourself as worthy of love and healthy relationships.
Redirect Negative Thoughts
It's important to redirect negative thoughts in order to let go of your fear of abandonment. If you find yourself obsessed with thoughts of your partner cheating on you, or if you're incredibly worried that she'll leave you one day, first recognize that your thoughts may be irrational, and then seek to entertain healthier ones. If you have strong reasons to believe your partner is cheating on you, then don't obsess about it -- ask him. If he says he's not cheating and you have no proof or red flags to support your suspicions, then it's time to move on. If these thoughts arise again, remind yourself that you've already resolved this issue with your partner and redirect your thinking to something more pleasant, such as good things about your relationship. You don't have to succumb to negative thinking -- you can simply observe negative thoughts as they arise, acknowledge them and make a conscious choice to think of something that is more beneficial to you.
Seek Professional Help
If you find that your fear of abandonment is severe -- causing you serious distress in romantic relationships -- then you might benefit from seeking professional help. Therapy can assist you in a number of ways, including helping you identify the source of your fears, allowing you to see how fear of abandonment shows up in your patterns of behavior and offering viable solutions for managing this common fear. Sometimes simply talking to someone about thoughts and feelings that are deeply buried can provide you a release that enables you to think more clearly and make better relationship choices. Therapy is a useful tool that can assist you in letting go of your fear of abandonment permanently.
K. Nola Mokeyane has written professionally since 2006, and has contributed to various online publications, including "Global Post" and Modern Mom. Nola enjoys writing about health, wellness and spirituality. She is a member of the Atlanta Writer's Club.