Maximum Life… Understanding Fear Of Abandonment
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Understanding Fear Of Abandonment
Recognizing And Dealing With Abandonment Issues
Simon Hearn, PhD is a registered psychologist who has written several articles about psychological disorders including his article on Denisboyd.com entitled “Fear of Abandonment.”
Hearn describes fear of abandonment as a psychological disorder where the individual suffering from this illness cannot control the fear that he or she feels when faced with the idea of having to cope with life and its difficulties alone.
Anyone can be diagnosed with fear of abandonment; it is not age or gender specific.
Men and women have been equally diagnosed with fear of abandonment, and it is very prevalent in children as well, especially children who have parents who are physically present, but emotionally unavailable.
The foundation for fear of abandonment can be set in childhood, but will not manifest until the individual is on his or her own in the world, no longer supported in any way by adults or parents.
Hearn continues to describe fear of abandonment as, “Deep down all of us want to be grown up, balanced and mature; we just don’t know how and are sometimes scared.”
With this in mind, he suggests that fear of abandonment can be treated with therapy, as long as the individual suffering from the fear of abandonment is willing to use the therapist as a pillar to lean against while learning to be self-sufficient. Of course, an individual cannot get help for fear of abandonment without knowing the symptoms of this mental disorder.
Symptoms of Abandonment Issues
When threatened with the thoughts of being alone, someone who suffers from fear of abandonment will act out with the symptoms that mark most people who are battling this illness.
Whether these symptoms are brought out by the compulsive behavior of the person who has a fear of abandonment or just their imagined desertion, there are different levels of each symptom from severe to slightly altered.
All of these symptoms can create an unsteady mental state and interfere with the daily lives of someone who experiences them. These symptoms can include:
Reaching Out – Someone who suffers from fear of abandonment may reach out for anyone whom he or she has a relationship with.
This may lead to unhealthy relationships, or simply the individual’s worst fear, which is driving away the person he or she is clinging to.
Panic – Panicking over small indiscretions is another sign of fear of abandonment.
Hearn writes that someone who is suffering from fear of abandonment may call frequently if the person they are clinging to is late, fails to pick up the phone, or call right back.
The panicking can lead to other compulsive behavior, such as threatening self harm.
Emotional Blackmail – Threatening to harm ones self is a sign of desperation for someone suffering from fear of abandonment.
Leaving Relationships – In an attempt to keep from being rejected or abandoned, someone suffering from fear of abandonment may bounce from relationship to relationship, so that he or she is the one who is doing the rejecting.
These symptoms can get so severe that there is very little that anyone can do for the person suffering from a fear of abandonment.
Yet, overcoming these symptoms can be the first step to becoming a self-satisfied, content person for anyone suffering from this condition.
Overcoming fear of abandonment is not an easy thing to do.It takes not only the will to do so, but the support of someone close to that person who will be able to set boundaries and limits.The website Coping.org gives a very good list of ways to overcome or help someone overcome their fears of abandonment and give back to them a feeling of self worth that differentiates between needing a relationship and wanting a relationship.Some of Coping.org’s suggestions include:
Professional Help – The first thing that anyone suffering from fear of abandonment should do is seek professional help.
Psychological physicians know how to help better than anyone else.
Lists – Sufferers should make a list of all the people in their life, and determine how devastated they would be if those people left.
This will show the individual to what degree he or she is dependent on these people.
Create A Plan – Coping.org suggests creating several ways for an individual to spend time on his or her own, slowly accepting the challenges that life presents.
This, along with professional help, can create a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
If the person suffering from abandonment issues is willing to get help, fear of abandonment will begin to have very little effect on his or her life.