ABANDONMENT ISSUES: Warning Signs & How to Deal With it Effectively

abandonment issues

Fear of abandonment is a form of anxiety. It often begins in childhood when a child experiences a traumatic loss. Children who go through this experience may begin to fear losing other important people in their lives. Some individuals continue to fear abandonment as they grow older. Although it is less common, abandonment issues can also sometimes begin in adulthood.

And for the most part, abandonment issues can significantly affect a person’s life and relationships. You may ask how; if you hold on to your device long enough, you’ll surely find out, as we intend to cover all you should know about abandonment issues. 

In this article, we expose you to the important details, such as the signs and causes of abandonment issues; plus how to deal with them. 


Abandonment issues are an unhealthy fear that the people, places, and things you’ve grown attached to will eventually leave or reject you. While it’s not an official diagnosis in the medical Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental Disorders (DSM-5), the term is generally used to describe incessant thoughts or behaviors driven by anxiety or fear that someone or something you care about will inevitably leave.

In response to those thoughts, which may or may not be founded in some truth, a person coping with the fear of abandonment may become clingy, insecure, jealous, emotionally manipulative, or even controlling. Typically, this is a learned response. Perhaps they saw adults react this way when they were kids, or maybe their close friends in early adulthood responded to rejection in this way.

In general, several responses to this issue are often influenced by your environment, past relationships, and other factors.


Someone with abandonment issues may lack the ability to trust others.

Fear of abandonment issues is not a standalone mental health condition, such as depression, but is a form of anxiety and even a phobia in some senses.

Below are a few signs to determine whether or not you or your partner has an abandonment issue.

Exhibits Separation Anxiety

If an individual becomes anxious about their partners going somewhere in advance, they may be expressing abandonment fears.                                                                                                            

Always Panicking

If an individual begins to panic when they don’t see their partners, their overreactions may be a sign of an abandonment issue.

Fears Being Alone

Some individuals are hardly able to sleep without their partners around.

Always Wanting to Please Others

People who try to please others either want to be accepted have abandonment issues. 

Giving Too Much in Relationships

People with low self-esteem and abandonment issues always want to do their best in everything, including places where it’s not needed.

Inability to Trust Others 

Abandonment issues make it difficult for them to trust someone.

Always Feels Insecure in Romantic Partnerships and Friendships

The insecurity complex is a major sign of abandonment issues. It’s a situation where you or your partner exhibits a relatively high level of insecurity. They hardly feel safe in any situation.

Pushing Others Away to Avoid Rejection

They are often unable to keep relationships going. They achieve this by always keeping to themselves.

A Need for Continous Reassurance 

Some may constantly seek out a friend or partner and demand emotional guarantees. They may regularly urge friends or partners to make broad statements, such as “I’ll always be here.”

Persisting with Unhealthy Relationships 

They keep toxic relationships because they feel loved that way.

Inability to Maintain Relationships

People like this find it difficult to maintain good relationships over a long period of time.

Sabotaging Relationships 

If you have abandonment issues, you may often be obliged to act irrationally to get out of relationships. For example, you may knowingly push away a partner so you won’t feel hurt if they leave.

Having Difficulty Feeling Intimate and Emotionally

When it comes to relationships, they are not usually balanced emotionally. They always feel the need to argue about something.


They are a couple of techniques that help to overcome and deal with abandonment issues. The following are some of them;

Determine Your Attachment Style

For starters, you will have to determine whether you have a secure or insecure attachment style; you can use the Adult Attachment Scale. This scale helps you  identify whether you have a secure or insecure attachment (Note that this scale does not include the 4th ‘Disorganized” attachment style)

Next, note some specific ways your attachment and abandonment issues show up so that you can be more aware of them.

Some patterns to identify include:

  • How these experiences affect your view of yourself, others, and relationships
  • What situations trigger these memories or insecurities
  • How you typically respond when triggered (what you do/say)
  • How these responses cause problems or act as a barrier in relationships

Practice More Effective Responses

While you cannot change the traumas or painful experiences that caused your abandonment issues, you can work to heal from them and change your patterns. Also, these old defenses and ways of coping with your fear of abandonment may have helped protect you in the past, but they may be getting in your way now.

So, work to identify new, healthier, and more effective responses when these fears are triggered.

These responses might include the following:

  • Learning when “old” feelings and fears are being triggered and taking a break to cool off or process these feelings before reacting.
  • Learning to have difficult conversations in calm, respectful ways.
  • Asking for and accepting help when you need it, even when it’s scary
  • Learning not to act on your fears but instead to act in ways that protect the relationships you care about most
  • Become more independent and have healthy amounts of separate time and space in relationships while still maintaining closeness
  • Avoid becoming automatically defensive when someone hurts, upsets, or offends you


Abandonment issues often start from childhood experience, according to Chrystal Dunkers, LPC, a licensed counselor at Point and Pivot Counseling in New Jersey. This strong sense of being left behind, rejected, or excluded may have been acquired due to prolonged exposure to an unreliable, abusive, or absent caregiver.

“Abandonment issues can largely be created based on childhood trauma schemas,” she explains.

Abandonment issues usually indicate an insecure attachment style. Attachment theory, on the other hand, which was first proposed by psychologist Mary Ainsworth and psychiatrist John Bowlby in the 1950s, suggests that attachment styles often develop during early childhood as a response to relationships with primary caregivers.

“If as a child, you felt safe and your caregiver was attuned to your physical, mental, and emotional needs, this lends itself to a secure attachment style. As an adult, you will continue to have a sense of safety and autonomy in your relationship,” Dunkers explains.


The following are tips to help you understand a woman with abandonment issues;

  • Cultivate an open communication
  • Don’t pressure them
  • Don’t enable unhealthy behaviors
  • Remember that you don’t need to fix them
  • Understand why they’re pulling away
  • Don’t engage in faulty arguments
  • Understand that it’s all about them


Firstly get expert help dealing with a partner who has abandonment issues.

If you are dating someone who repeatedly pulls away, or freaks out with jealousy because you might be interested in someone else, or has jokingly said, on numerous occasions, that they’re just waiting for you to leave them for somebody “better,” then you’re likely dealing with a person who has some serious abandonment issues. 

These issues are usually caused in childhood, either by being rejected by a parent or caregiver or by losing someone close to them through illness or injury.

Some people develop abandonment issues after being betrayed or ghosted by a partner they care deeply about. Experiences like these usually cause some pretty deep wounds, which often take time to heal.

Dating someone with abandonment issues requires a whole lot, including;

Be Patient and Communicate With Them

This is a person whose personal walls would put the Bastille to shame. They don’t trust easily, and their guard will go up at the first hint that they might get hurt. Be prepared for this, so it doesn’t catch you off guard or offend you when it happens.

Also, they bolt at the slightest whisper of uncertainty in a relationship, especially if they think that there are things going on that they’re not aware of, so it’s incredibly important to cultivate open communication. This goes a long way toward making them realize that they can indeed trust you.

Always Know That It’s Not About You

If they’re being withdrawn or overly jealous, ensure that you haven’t done anything to cause this behavior. They’re likely seeing some kind of parallel lines between a current situation and something they experienced years ago, and they’re reacting to the emotions being drummed up by that, rather than what’s happening now.

Be Honest About Your Feeling

Please don’t feel that you have to walk on eggshells or swallow your own emotions in an attempt to avoid setting them off. They might seem very fragile and delicate at times, but that’s mostly because they overthink everything and are constantly on high alert, trying to read “between the lines” to see if you’re going to hurt them or leave them outright. 

Remind Them Why You Love Them

Instead of just a blanket “I love you,” tell them exactly what it is about them that you care about and appreciate. They’ve undoubtedly been told by others that they were loved, and those words turned out to be hallowed and meaningless when they ended up getting hurt…. But focusing on very tangible things that you’ve noticed about them makes them realize that you pay attention to who they are.

What trauma causes abandonment issues?

An emotionally unavailable parent is one of the losses and disconnections that can contribute to the development of abandonment PTSD in early childhood. There is also neglect of a child’s basic needs due to substance abuse, such as alcoholism or drug addiction. Disorders of the mind, such as depression, affect a parent or primary caregiver.

What mental illness causes abandonment issues?

People who suffer from borderline personality disorder have an irrational fear of being rejected and abandoned, partly because they do not want to be alone. Changing relationships, self-image, and mood consistently, as well as engaging in self-destructive and impulsive behavior, are some of the symptoms used by medical professionals to diagnose borderline personality disorder.

What attachment style is abandonment issues?

People who have an avoidant attachment style tend to deal with abandonment issues by preventing other people from getting close to them and by not being willing to trust or open up to other people. They may have a reputation for being distant, private, or withdrawn.

Is abandonment issues a red flag?

If your partner does not care that your feelings have been hurt, if you feel betrayed, abandoned, or rejected, and if your partner minimizes these feelings, this is a red flag. Be wary in addition if you observe a pattern of lying or telling only part of the truth with regard to other matters.

Abandonment Issues FAQs

What does abandonment issues do to a person?

People with abandonment issues frequently suffer in relationships, displaying signs such as codependency, an inability to create trust, and even a proclivity to destroy relationships. The most common cause of abandonment issues is trauma, such as the death or loss of a loved one.

What is abandonment trauma?

Childhood experiences that make us feel unsafe, insecure, and alone are known as abandonment trauma. This might become overwhelming, resulting in anxiety and distrust feelings. People who are dealing with abandonment concerns can benefit from therapy and self-care approaches.

What mental illness has abandonment issues?

People who suffer from borderline personality disorder are terrified of being abandoned. Even in the midst of an intense relationship, they compete for social acceptance, are scared of rejection, and frequently feel lonely. As a result, they have a harder time dealing with the regular ups and downs of a romantic relationship.

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