8 signs of relational abandonment issues

It has become popular among life and love coaches to state that ”you do not need to heal yourself” and ”you are already perfect”. And yes, I agree to that we all are perfect - in some sense - however, IF we have some kind of wound, which most of us have, and do not acknowledge its existence, then we are back to the tricky place of hiding from ourselves again. Its a matter of believing that we are perfect even with our wounds and scars, and that we can make our wounds become less painful by putting on some bandaid and medicaments in the form of selfwork.

One type of wound that I would definitely recommend trying to heal is the wound from abandonement. I have suffered from abandonment issues myself, so I know how it feels. BUT I also know it can be healed, bit by bit, even if it may be a lifelong journey and it may never be fully completed.

Various types of abondonment issues are a lot more common than you may think, and is one of the most common triggers in relationship drama. Independent if there was a major or minor neglect that happened, if it was in your childhood or later on in life, if it was intentional (like someone ending a relationship) or unintentional (like loosing a loved one) - the chances are big that the event caused some kind of abondonment trauma which will keep appearing in your life, unless you do something about it. This kind of trauma can be healed, and especially childhood neglect/abandonement is wise to work on. This healing is done best by healing your inner child, via bodywork, visualisation meditations and specific self-directed healing work. 

But how do you do this work? Before you do anything, you need to recognise that you actually have an issue. As with most personal development, and relational work, awareness is the key. without awarenes, nothing will ever change. And if you are experiencing some kind of trouble in your relationship(s), if the same kind of event or trigger keeps appearing, then its a sign there must be something to look at - and a good idea is to investigate if you are subject to “relational abandonment issues”.

So, how do you know if you have relational abandonement issues? Here I list some simple signs to look for:

when in a relationship,........ 

1.  You often feel anxiety in your relationship, wandering what your partner is thinking or feeling, but you do not dare to ask them. And if you do ask, you do not believe the answer anyway, whatever it may be, if its not coherent with your anxiety thoughts.
2. You are often overgiving and overdoing, and then feeling secretly resentful for doing so much but getting so little acknowledgement in return.
3.  When you had an argument over something, you interpret it as a fight, however minor argument it may be. You become scared and the voice in your head immediately jumps in to tell you that your relationship most likely is over. You avoid conflict to all costs, only to end up resenting both yourself and your partner.
4. You have trouble showing your vulnerability. In fact you avoid it. You are afraid that being raw, real and vulnerable is a turn off for your partner, who will then withdraw and leave/abandon you alone with these feelings.
5. You are oversensitive to critisism. whatever comes up, you tend to take it personally. This in turn stems from low self worth. If you are constantly harbouring thoughts about not being enough, you are also likely to absorb anything that looks like critisism too easily.

When NOT in a relationship, ....

1. You feel incomplete, unworthy and stressed. You lack self-confidence and often get stuck in the trance of unworthiness, thinking nobody will love you. This causes you to hide, and isolate. Maybe even indulge in lonely “love” thoughts about a specific person - someone you know you will never get, because its too far fetched and you would never be brave enough to act on your feelings (which may be lying anyways - this perceived “love” usually stems from the thrill of feeling unsecure, which in severe abandonment often is confused by being loved, because that is what you know from early childhood).
2. You choose partners that do not excite you or make your heart thrive, because its safe. If they leave, the damage will not be so great. And as you do not really, deeply love, and are afraid, you also do not allow the intimacy which would otherwise have a chance to create that spark in your heart, which could instead turn to REAL love.
3. You choose (emotionally) unavailable partners. This is a very common behaviour and perhaps the easiest one to track. Look back at all your relationships or romantic loves. How did you enter into these? If you have abandonment issues, you are more likely to choose partners that do not really love you or, or do not have the capacity to love because they too have issues, and will eventually leave. In this way you manifest your scars over and over again.

Its important to understand that most of this happens unconsiously. And sometimes you do not even know the cause, you may not even be aware that you have been abandoned. Maybe you were so small you do not remember, like being a baby and your mother went off to work while still breastfeeding (which is something that still happens A LOT in the Western world). Or maybe it was a schoolfriend in early years who abandoned you for another best friend, and you dismissed the event as unsignificant, maybe did not discuss it with anyone....either way, the scar will show up as fear. And even with awareness, this fear can be hard to control. And the truth is - you dont want and should not control the fear. Trying to control anything will only snap back at you. So the first step in the awareness traing, is to allow the fear its place and feel it in your body. Often this fear is felt in your entire body, as tension, grief, as if your heart is strangled. You will feel out of control. But now, you can cast awareness to it. Yes, I feel afraid. Yes, I am out of control. Yes I am gripped by fear.

Allow it to be there. This is the start of the healing. Track it and allow yourself to feel it in your body. From there, you can continue with the forwarding work on discovering your wounds so you can heal them, with whatever methods suits best. Take help from a therapist or coach as required.