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Abandonment issues are a common theme in most relationships, especially those that are co-dependent. To have abandonment issues is to have an unhealthy fear that the people, places, and things that you have grown attached to, will eventually leave or reject you. This fear of abandonment is a form of anxiety that often develops as a response to traumatic experiences such as childhood abuse, neglect or the loss of a loved one.

Abandonment issues can show up in various ways such as:

- pushing people away

- being emotionally manipulative

- avoiding opening up

- being needy/clingy

- being jealous/insecure

- not leaving relationships when you should

- the inability to accept rejection

- depressive behaviors or attitudes

- quick to get attached or detached to someone

Abandonment issues are linked to the insecure attachment style. Attachment styles are often developed during early childhood as a response to the relationships that they had with their primary caregiver(s).

According to Chrystal Dunkers, LPC, a licensed counselor at Point and Pivot Counseling in New Jersey:

"If, as a child, you felt safe and your caregiver was attuned to your physical, mental, and emotional needs, the child will tend to develop a secure attachment style. Which will continue on throughout their adulthood, resulting in them having a sense of safety and autonomy in their future relationship(s)," Dunkers explains.

But without that emotional attunement and safety, a person could develop one of three insecure attachment styles—anxious, avoidant, or disorganized—all of which have abandonment and trust issues at the root.

If your caregiver was habitually inattentive and unavailable, this could turn itself into an avoidant attachment style and as a result, you have learned how to meet your own needs and self-soothe. In an adult relationship, this may look like detachment, limited communication, and emotional unavailability.

If your caregiver was not consistent, meaning one day they were attentive and the next they were unavailable and aloof, this could result in an anxious attachment style. A child with this type of caregiver may be uneasy, as they can never be certain from one day to the next, how their caregiver will respond to their needs. So as an adult, this may resemble a partner who has difficulty trusting, who is hyper-vigilant and possibly clingy.

Lastly, a person may develop a disorganized attachment style in response to experiences of childhood trauma or abuse from a caregiver at a young age.

Unfortunately, having any of these insecure attachment styles, can be harmful enough to trigger abandonment and rejection issues. Due to these fears, this can cause one to act in ways that are self sabotaging to others as well as themselves. This type of trauma often makes it difficult for them to form healthy and trusting relationships with others.

Below are some of the common signs of abandonment issues within a relationship:

1. Anxiety in relationships

Someone with abandonment issues often deals with unshakeable feelings or thoughts that significant people in their life are going to inevitably leave, die, or reject them. They will often project this sense of anticipated betrayal onto romantic relationships and new friendships.

2. Insecurity

Insecurity and feelings of unworthiness are common among those with abandonment issues. They may be more likely to lack confidence and seek external validation, or they may feel generally unprotected and vulnerable, even among people and situations that have been positive and uplifting. Fear of abandonment makes it hard to trust both other people and one's own judgment about people.

3. Overthinking and constant suspicion

The habit of obsessing over the possibility of abandonment or rejection may cause a person to plot or plan ways to prevent it, even before it has begun. A person can become anxious if they don't hear from their partner. They will often call or text their partner repeatedly if they don't hear from them, suspecting infidelity, expressing irritability or they may overreact to certain changes in their plans.

4. Anger and volatility in relationships

Abandonment issues typically are produced by a traumatic situation that stripped a person of their power to control an outcome that they truly wanted—such as the inability to prevent a death, to stop a spouse from leaving, or to protect themselves or others from harm. If ignored, those underlying situations may still ignite anger many years later. This may cause them to become easily triggered in situations that remind them of that time. Violence and anger could be used to try to exert control over others, in ways that weren't possible with the initial incident.

5. Trust issues

Abandonment issues often come down to a lack of trust in others. These trust issues may manifest as unhealthy emotional bonds that limit the ability to trust or be trusted. An all-or-nothing approach to loyalty may lead to unrealistic expectations from others. Or the ability to detach from others as a way to avoid future disappointment. Extreme cases may even involve hermit-like behaviors.

6. Commitment issues

Abandonment issues can present as commitment issues, meaning a person is unable to fully commit to a long-term or emotionally engaged relationship. Avoiding commitment may look like a lot of individual hookups or repeated engagement(s) with a person but no titles or clear expectations are established.

7. Quick attachment

Perhaps unexpectedly, another way abandonment issues may present itself is through getting attached to new people too quickly. A person with attachment issues—which are often tied to abandonment issues—may truly feel emotionally dependent on the attention of others, even if they don't know that person very well. Clinginess can happen even if there are signs that this person's engagement is fleeting. Because people with abandonment issues feel that it is inevitable that people will leave them, they may rush to have deep relations with someone as soon as possible, because they don't trust the continued evolution of the relationship. It can look like trying hard to get attached to people who you've just met or who have already displayed some signs of being emotionally unavailable.

8. Emotional unavailability

Similar to trust issues, this may also appear externally as a person who is distant or cold. It could look like engaging only in an intimate physical relationship but not an emotional one. Communication is severely impaired or dishonest.

9. Not leaving relationships when you should

Counterintuitively, some people do not leave a decaying relationship for fear of being abandoned or alone. No matter how toxic or unhealthy the relationship, a person may be resigned, or committed to a "stick it out" or "ride or die" approach.

10. Inability to accept rejection

This behavior may go beyond simple denial. "They may not believe they are being rejected and try to cling to the relationship or try to convince or manipulate the person into staying in the relationship," Note: Preventing a person from exiting a relationship that they no longer want to continue is a form of abuse.

If any or all of these may sound familiar, don't fret. This type of attachment style is normally linked to some kind of loss or trauma. With the right counsel, one can learn to rationalize and accept whatever trauma may have occurred. Doing so will help you not only heal but will also help you in the future with any new or old relationships. The first step in becoming the best version of you is to accept and heal every inch of you.

I hope this article was as informative as intended.

sending you lots of love & light ❤️

- Maya Benberry