Facing abandonment issues in relationships is very crippling. It leaves one feeling pain and rejection and finds one in a state of extreme vulnerability. When one experiences feelings such as these, it is difficult to lead a normal life, take proper decisions, and maintain an equilibrium in all the things that one does. Abandonment issues are common. More common than you would like to believe. Abandonment does not merely mean the physical abandoning of a person by another, it is not a physical act per se, but can fundamentally be a mental act as well. Abandonment can be experienced at all levels and in the greatest or the mildest depths. What's more, one does not really have to be aware that they are going through or facing abandonment issues, however, their reactions and overall behavior patterns suggest otherwise.
The Characteristics of Abandonment
No relationship is perfect. There are several issues that can crop up and force one to deal with them. One of the major issues that one faces in a relationship is the fear of abandonment. The very trust that any relationship is based on is completely torn to shreds when these crop up.
Even a niggling emotion of fear can develop into something so gargantuan that it can have severe and adverse effects on the person's life. Imagine if one is not secure in a relationship―the feeling of security and comfort lost, and the feelings of 'being alone' and having to 'deal with everything by oneself' taking precedence over all other feelings. One can be sure of the fact that once this feeling creeps in, nothing else can seem, or be taken as normal. The effects of abandonment issues in relationships will make their presence felt in every sphere of one's life (as I mentioned earlier). Let us see what some typical behavior patterns of a person facing these issues are.
- Being tensed and jumpy at all times. So much so that if the other person in the relationship goes a little off from the accepted path, they will start to get extremely panicky.
- They will cling to the other person and not allow them their personal space.
- They will constantly need to be reassured of the other person's love for them. They'll start getting tense if not reassured often and give in to doubts.
- They will discard a relationship before the other person has a chance to leave them. They will also have a string of relationships. Repeating the same pattern in all.
- Or they might have the totally opposite reaction and they will do anything to keep that relationship from disintegrating. In this scenario, they might lose their individuality and self-esteem and merely cling to the other person, or they might threaten self harm.
- They have no self-confidence and a feeling of 'self'. They consider themselves to have failed in everything.
- They might constantly face depression and anxiety. Feelings of isolation and failure creeping in.
- They idealize their 'abandoner' and convince themselves that the return of the 'abandoner' will set all things right.
Coping with Abandonment
Dealing with abandonment begins, first and foremost, with the understanding and acceptance that one is facing abandonment issues. People might not even be aware that they are facing these, because these issues are not necessarily always be physical, more often than not, they are mental.
Let me give you an example―if your significant other does not come to a particular event with you and chooses to spend time with his/her friends instead, that right there might classify as an abandoning act for you (mild, maybe, but an act by itself, no doubt). That will remain etched in your mind and will get stronger and more intense with every other similar incident. To the point where you might start to question a relationship.
Here, of course, we will be dealing with extreme forms of abandonment and telling you how to cope with them.
Counseling is often viewed in society as something that is undertaken by only those who have something mentally unstable about themselves. That if one visits a counselor he/she is suffering from some mental disorder. Right? Wrong
! Counseling does NOT mean that. On the other hand, counseling can have a more far reaching effect on your life than what you would and could have ever hoped to achieve by yourself.
A counselor will get to the root of the matter. He/she will try to understand the core of the problems. Why did these abandonment issues come about? What was the underlying cause? Was it some incident in your childhood? Knowing what is making you react this way will win half the battle for you and help you deal with the problem better.
If counseling is not something you want to do then try to help yourself. Sit down and retrospect about your life. Why are you feeling abandoned? You'll probably find that there has been a history of abandonment issues in your childhood and that is influencing your adult life today. Once you have been able to identify with this, you can start to deal with it.
Talk to a Friend
It is very difficult to come out of the cycle you have created for yourself, by yourself. So take the help of a friend. Let them talk to you. At the back of your mind you know that the clingy nature that you've developed for yourself, is not necessary, but you cannot let go of it. A friend telling you the same thing and stating reasons why it is not will probably do the trick. When you hear something about yourself from a third person's point of view, it helps to get a realistic perspective of things.
One masters the art of forgiving and half the problems in the world will be solved. Sadly though, it is a very difficult thing to practice. But try. Try to forgive the person who abandoned you. It will be a lot less painful and put your mind at rest. You don't let something affect you, you won't be affected.
This is probably a true test of mettle. Being in that abandoned state of mind, it is difficult to think straight, let alone positive. But it really does help if you can. Try to leave all the negative emotions behind and develop a positive attitude. Do whatever it takes to get you there. Get busy with an activity, try to succeed at something so you get the feeling of achievement and self-worth back. Try feeding yourself with affirmations about the positive things in your life, learn how to make yourself happy. Practice meditation and yoga to help you develop mental strength and understanding. And slowly but surely, you'll get the true understanding of 'you' and will be able to deal with the abandonment issues effectively.
Abandonment issues are not easy to deal with. But life demands one to move on and deal with them as effectively as one can, anyway. The journey from identifying abandonment issues to dealing with them is not an easy one, but one must undertake it nonetheless.