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Fear of Abandonment: Its Role in Relationships

Fear of Abandonment: Its Role in Relationships

Andrea was in turmoil. Everything between them had been going so well and now this – Ryan couldn’t go out Thursday because he was supposedly visiting an out-of-town friend. Frantic, she tried to think back over the past few weeks, which was hard when her mind was in such a panic.

Was there something she had said that he’d taken wrong? Any odd looks or cross words? She should have known things were going too well. There was always something that caused things to fall apart. She could pretend nothing was wrong, but what if something was wrong? Andrea couldn’t think of anything else to try.

A nondependent person would have no problem thinking of what else Andrea could try. She could try accepting Ryan’s explanation, wish him a fun time with his friend, and find something else to do on Thursday. But if you have dependent personality traits, this simple approach isn’t so simple. When you’re dependent, you can become consumed with a constant fear of losing relationships. Any glitch, any stray from the fantasized norm of the relationship becomes a great cause for concern, fear, and consuming rumination.

One of the consequences of dependency is that you can take an ordinary occurrence, like a last-minute change in plans, as proof of disaster. An old friend coming into town, having to work late, or even the onset of a cold can be viewed with the utmost suspicion. If there is a truth to be found, you fear it lies with you being abandoned, again.

Abandonment in relationships is an overarching theme in dependency. Because people have a tendency to see what they look for, if you’re looking for examples of abandonment, you will find examples of abandonment. Once you find those examples, you go into fix-it mode, recommitting to do everything “perfectly” in order to hold on to the relationship. Or you panic and exit the relationship prematurely to avoid further pain. You may even react with anger and blame, trying to guilt the other person into apologizing.

While the first option may not register with the other person immediately, the second and third options will often appear to come out of left field. The other person may be baffled why you would leave the relationship over something so trivial. And if you act in anger over something so trivial, the other person may react with similar hostility, leading to the end of the relationship. If the relationship ends this way, the only thing that is validates if your fear of abandonment.

Our team at The Center • A Place of HOPE specializes in uncovering the layers of relationship dependency that may have accumulated over time. We specialize in whole person care—in understanding the full dimensions of an individual, and the life script that brought them to where they are today. Each person that comes to The Center • A Place of HOPE is unique, which means that their recovery journey will be equally unique. We are ready to help you on this journey to uncover your true, healthy, happy self. If you are ready to take the first step on this journey, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with a recovery specialist today.

How Do You Begin the Process of Relationship Recovery?

How Do You Begin the Process of Relationship Recovery?

The way to start relationship recovery is to take a step of faith. The late Corrie ten Boom is credited with saying, “Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.” Living a life enmeshed in the throes of dependency can be like living in a relational fog. The fears and behaviors of dependency obscure the truth about all of your relationships – with self, others, and God.

The quotation from Corrie ten Boom is especially appropriate for the journey of recovery because, you’ll note, she does not say that faith removes the fog. Rather, she says that faith acts like radar that sees through the fog. Entrenched patterns of thought, and the actions of those compel, will not dissipate overnight. Recovery is a journey whose destination, but not path, is fog-free.

As you make the journey to your fog-free destination, you will struggle with fog. However, the hope is that you are now more aware the fog exists, more aware of where much of the fog comes from, and have reached the realization that, with faith, you can find your way through.

Below are ten questions you can answer that will serve as a road map to better understanding relationship dependency. The truthful, open, and transparent answers you give can also serve as a road map for others you may be working with on your relationship dependency issues, whether a friend, a pastor, or a therapist.

  1. What are your most significant past relationships, along with the most significant relationships now?
  1. Do you find yourself focusing your attention and effort on solving other people’s problems?
  1. If something goes wrong in your life, do you feel personally responsible?
  1. Do you try hard to fulfill the expectations other people have of you, and do you feel like a failure if you aren’t able to meet those expectations?
  1. If someone expresses an opinion that differs from yours, how do you react?
  1. How do you feel when you’re alone?
  1. Do you ever remember a time in your life when you felt abandoned?
  1. What characteristics do you look for in a relationship?
  1. When you suspect a relationship may be ending, what do you do to keep it going?
  1. If a relationship ends, how long does it take for you to enter into another relationship?

Take time to recognize some personal patterns of dependency and how these patterns can negatively affect your relationships. The fog of dependency may take some time to be lifted, but hopefully you’re aware the fog exists—a fog that obscures your view of what positive relationships can be.

Our team at The Center • A Place of HOPE specializes in uncovering the layers of relationship dependency that may have accumulated over time. We specialize in whole person care—in understanding the full dimensions of an individual, and the life script that brought them to where they are today. Each person that comes to The Center • A Place of HOPE is unique, which means that their recovery journey will be equally unique. We are ready to help you on this journey to uncover your true, healthy, happy self. If you are ready to take the first step on this journey, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak with a recovery specialist today.