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  • Writer's pictureGeraldine Claire Therapy

Have I got abandonment issues?

Do you seem to go from one relationship to the next? Are you someone who falls in love fast only to realise that the person you’re with is no good for you? Does the idea of not being in a relationship scare you?

“If the above seem all too familiar to you, you might have underlying abandonment difficulties.” Having abandonment difficulties often means we enter relationships quickly, we’re susceptible to love bombing, we find it hard to end relationships and we find not being in a relationship difficult; the pursuit of a new relationship becomes central to our life.

Abandonment fears can be traced back to early life experiences; a parent or main carer might have suddenly left, or, their presence or care was inconsistent. Connection and safety are core emotional childhood needs and if these are not adequately met during our earlier years, the need for consistent connection and safety can cause us to feel anxious in relationships in our adult years. Paradoxically, if we haven’t had these needs met, we will pursue a relationship, even if it isn’t healthy, just to feel close to someone because this feels better than being on our own. For other people Abandonment issues are the result of experiences from their first intimate relationships. The early relationships we get into, as young people, can form a blueprint for future feelings and behaviours within relationships. If your initial boyfriends or girlfriends mistreated you; left you hanging; frequently broke the relationship off then started it up again; if they threatened to leave you; if they cheated on you then it would make perfect sense for abandonment fears to show up in your later relationships.

Some signs of having abandonment issues:

• Experiencing intense physical feelings if your partner goes out without you:

nausea, churning stomach, fast heart beat, trembling.

• Having recurrent thoughts that your partner might leave you for someone better.

• Worrying that your partner may die if they go out.

• Presenting as overtly sexual in order to gain validation from potential partners.

• Frequently getting into whirlwind relationships.

• Finding it difficult to fully trust your partner.

• Finding yourself with unsuitable partners but not feeling able to end the


• When you’re not in a relationship, the pursuit of being in a relationship becomes

central to your life.

• Struggling with relationships ending even if the relationship was relatively short.

• Coping via short-term escapes such as excessive alcohol use, substance use,

shopping, compulsive use of dating sites.

If you recognise that you have abandonment difficulties there are some ways you can begin to heal:

• Learn to enjoy time on your own, plan your time using the BASE technique, plan

your alone time to include: Body Care - walks, long baths, exercise, yoga. Achievement - Set yourself some short term goals that will give you a sense of

achievement, learn a new skill, decorate a room, get involved in a fundraiser, begin to

have a clear out. Self Soothe - Learn to Self Soothe - via your 5 senses. Make a comfort box that has

objects that are pleasant to look at, calming to touch, have enjoyable smells,

pleasurable to listen to and good to taste. Enjoyable - Think about the things you like doing that you can do alone - getting

creative, drawing, listening to the music you really like turned up loudly, doing an online

dance class, you might even find you can enjoy going to a cafe alone and people


• Remind yourself that you are prone to fall in love in fast and furious fashion

because there is a part of you that feels desperate for connection. Learn to slow down

and to get to know someone over a long period of time, a slow burner romance is

going to be better for you than a whirlwind.

• When you first start dating, do not abandon yourself! Take care to remain in

contact with friends, make plans with them regularly, still have your alone time. If your

new partner has problem with this they might not be right for you.

• If you have a partner know that it is ok for you both have your own hobbies and

interests, remind the scared Inner Child inside of you that separate hobbies and

interests are a sign of healthy relationships.

• If you know your issues are too big to work through alone, Schema Therapy or CBT

therapy can help. Both therapies focus on helping you change your thoughts and

behaviours, Schema Therapy tends to work at a deeper level than CBT.

”Schema Therapy is third wave Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), this means it works at a deeper level than traditional CBT.” Schema Therapy is a wonderful for psychotherapy for helping you work through your abandonment process. Schema therapy supports you to understand the origins of your abandonment fears and it uses emotional focussed therapy techniques such as memory work, time lines, visualisations and chair work to help you connect safely to the core of your feelings. You then learn techniques to help you to feel more grounded and content in yourself and consequentially your relationship choices become wiser meaning you are much more likely to find a partner who you are able to connect with and build a future together.

Schema Therapy and CBT are available from Wilmslow, in easy reach of south Manchester, Macclesfield and Cheshire, if you would like more information on how Schema Therapy can help you change your relationship patterns contact Geraldine Claire on 07908710526.

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