The Fear of Abandonment
Anytime a significant person leaves your life, you can face abandonment fears. These can be tied to a sudden death, divorce, or painful breakup. You may fear abandonment even if you never knew one or both of your parents. These fears are very common for children of divorce or children who experienced the death of a parent.
Abandonment is traumatic. When you don’t deal with it well, it can turn into other problems. Signs of abandonment fears in children include clinginess, anxiety, self-harm, angry outbursts, crying spells, and withdrawal. Your child may also have psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches or other pains that are rooted in abandonment fears. Children can heal faster from the fear of abandonment with professional counseling.
Adults may experience these symptoms after a bad breakup, or if they have unresolved childhood issues. Abandonment fears typically affect adults in two different ways.
For example, one person with abandonment fears may overshare, be too trusting, and cling to a dating partner in an attempt to connect and feel secure. By contrast, another person may withdraw, criticize, and rage in an attempt to keep from getting hurt again. Both types can leave you feeling frustrated, lonely and confused.
Since the fear of abandonment causes complex reactions unique to each sufferer, it’s important to seek counseling. A Christian counselor can help you work through these issues and find healing. Here is a good place to start while you prepare to get help.
Healing Your Abandonment Issues
The good news is that God is your Healer who wants to calm all your fears. With God’s help, you can overcome the fear of abandonment. Take these steps to seek healing.
Meditate on God’s Word
We tend to associate our view of God with the most important people in our lives. When people like our parents or romantic partners have abandoned us, we may fear that God will abandon us, too. At the heart of every abandonment fear is a broken view of God, but you can replace that fear with the truth of God’s Word. Meditate on the following Scriptures to heal your abandonment fears.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. – Deuteronomy 31:6
Though they were afraid, God led his people into the Promised Land. He is leading you ahead of your abandonment fears. Lean into him because he promises not to abandon you.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4
You can find great comfort and hope in your dark valleys of fear. God walks beside you at all times, even when your abandonment issues haunt you. He will help you and protect you from harm.
Even if my mother and father abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. – Psalm 27:10
No matter who has hurt you, God can heal you. Whether it was your mother, father, or another loved one who abandoned you, you can have hope in the Lord. He always holds you close.
“I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” – Hebrews 13:5b
This promise can serve as a hopeful banner over your abandonment fears. Every time you feel the triggers for fear, recite this verse and put your faith in God. He is the only one who will never abandon you.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. – 1 John 4:18
By learning to accept God’s love, your fears will diminish. As you practice internalizing his perfect love, you will be comforted and soothed. You need to tell yourself that there is no fear in love because God is love and freely offers his love to you.
Journal Your Hurts
Before you start counseling, it can be helpful to write down your feelings to discover how your fears originated. Write down any memories you have about feeling abandoned. Also, record current situations when your abandonment issues are triggered.
By studying these times in the past and your current life, you can start overcoming your fears. Your counselor can help you work through the feelings you record in your journal.
Grieve the Past
You won’t fully heal from your fear of abandonment until you grieve what you lost. By grieving the past, you can let go of the hard feelings and open space for hope and healing. A qualified counselor can help you walk through the grief stages of denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance. This process takes time but it can enable you to put your fears of abandonment to rest.
Choose Healthy Relationships
There is great hope in forming healthy relationships after being abandoned. Through counseling, you can learn to take baby steps in trusting new people. You will gain tools for connection and heal from clingy tendencies and/or withdrawal. Your counselor can tell you what to look for when choosing safe people for relationships. You can fill in your voids by connecting with people who will build up your faith and commit to staying with you no matter what happens.
Christian Counseling for Abandonment Issues
Abandonment issues have deep roots that are difficult to extract on your own. To truly overcome your fear of abandonment, you can experience great benefits from seeing a trained counselor.
A Christian counselor is equipped to help you identify triggers and deal with the heart of your problems. Please give us a call if you are looking for help to overcome your fear of abandonment. The staff at Seattle Christian Counseling is ready to help.
“Abandoned”, Courtesy of Johnhain, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Pretty Woman”, Courtesy of RondellMelling, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Fear of Abandonment”, Courtesy of Rebcenter Moscow, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Depressed”, Courtesy of Masimba Tinashe Madondo, Pixabay.com, CC0 License