Take small bites from the elephant and tackle it gently, slowly and with compassion
As with any fear it helps to break it down. Fear of abandonment seems to me to be pretty universal, you might say it’s part of the human condition. That said, some struggle with it more than others. Maybe it helps to take small bites from the elephant and to tackle it gently, slowly and with compassion.
It helps to ask good questions.
Some of these include: what am I afraid of and how realistic is this? It could help to do some reality testing here. Will I really end up on the streets or a depressed alcoholic or whatever the fear might be? Maybe the fear is co-created. That is, if you are in a relationship with a person who is not committed, then abandonment issues will naturally be triggered. You feel vulnerable and exposed while not certain that you can trust this person to be there.
Sometimes it comes back to basic survival issues. Maybe you worry you won’t be able to support yourself emotionally or financially. Then, it might be wise to take steps to move in a direction that feels supportive of your development and growth. This might mean reaching out to increase your connectedness to others in a supportive way. It might mean that you take steps to become more skilled or more employable. Alternatively, it could mean that you learn to manage money better or to curtail your spending. It might look like developing skills in fostering resilience. All of these steps would be moves towards creating and fostering independence. When you can trust yourself to “be there” for yourself, to back yourself, then the fear diminishes. As trust grows so fear recedes.
It could be that you have never learnt to rely on yourself. What would it look like to be able to trust yourself to be there for yourself? In other words, to honor your needs and define what’s truly important for you. If you invest your energy in fear of abandonment you are also not investing your energy in what you need.
Another approach is to look at your past and face what needs to be healed. Maybe you feared losing an important person growing up or maybe you experienced trauma and loss at a young age. These are real issues that need to be processed in order to move through fear of loss and abandonment.
Perhaps you have abandonment issues that stem from your very early development. In this case you might like to have compassion for the small child that was not able to feel secure and safe in the world, not able to feel that there was a solid and reliable care-giver who could meets the needs of a very vulnerable child.
Meeting this child now with the compassion of your adult self can help to soothe the child within.
Have compassion for yourself and for others. We are all fragile human beings with various unmet needs and fears. Take it gently, one step at a time. Take a deep sustaining breath and face into those fears with an attitude of curiosity and love. Do it again and again.
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