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It hurts. It really hurts… being abandoned by the person you believed would be yours for the rest of your life. But, people change, and sometimes they change their minds too.
Where you were once their all, you are suddenly their nothing. You get left behind. The pain seems unbearable. Being abandoned can create massive issues ranging from feeling inadequate, experiencing rage, and feeling depressed… to utter and incapacitating loss.
What Are Abandonment Issues and How Do You Get Over Them?
When people hear the word “abandoned,” they instantly think of a weak and fragile baby being left on the steps of the orphanage in the middle of the night. It is almost unthinkable to imagine that a fully grown adult can also be abandoned… left, cast aside, forsaken.
Abandonment issues are the constant fear of being rejected and kicked out of your current relationship because that’s what you experienced in your previous relationship. Your abandonment issues will dominate your life, making real connection and trust in partners nearly impossible.
Getting over abandonment issues in your relationships can be a real challenge as you need to realize and own your pain and abandonment fears. Your partner is not responsible for reassuring you—that’s your job. And while your partner is amazing, they are human, and you need to accept them with their flaws… instead of fearing and projecting your flaws onto them. You need to confront your own hang-ups to begin being a better partner to hang out with.
Perhaps knowing what abandonment looks like is a good place to start. This will help you understand your abandonment issues and identify the issues that stem from being left behind by someone you thought the world about.
When You Are Abandoned, You…
Feel horribly inadequate
If you are left by someone, it means there is something wrong with you, right? Wrong. People change, and their needs and likes change too. It is not a reflection on you if the person you were with no longer feels like you met their needs.
They left you because of their needs, not because you weren’t good enough.
Think your world no longer functions
Believe it or not, when you get left by someone, your world still goes on. You still need to go to work, pay your bills, take your dog for a walk, and brush your teeth. When you are abandoned, it may feel like your world stopped and that nothing works anymore.
Believe that others will abandon you too
They left you, so others will leave you too; at least, this is what your fragile mind tries to tell you. Instead of trusting openly, you view each relationship with suspicion now. You may say you are protecting yourself from being hurt again, but really, you are holding back because of fear.
See being left as a bad thing only, like it’s the end of your world
When you are abandoned, you may feel like your world just ended. It’s Armageddon to your soul and heart, and you want to just curl into a ball and weep.
What if, when you stop crying, you see this tragedy as an opportunity too? Your world didn’t change or end; it merely shifted. You can choose to stay aboard the new life or make your own life.
Think backward instead of living forward
Your current relationship won’t survive long if you are bogged down in the past. Constantly comparing your partner now to your partner years ago is absolutely nonsensical. All you will do is anger and embarrass your current partner.
Deify or villainize your partner(s)
In time, the partner who left you becomes twisted in your mind. You either see them as Satan or a saint. You may gloss over all their flaws and pretend it’s the biggest loss ever to be abandoned by them.
Alternatively, you will make yourself into a complete victim, justifying your abandonment as being evil and the person who left you is the devil himself. This makes you the victim and worthy of sympathy. It also gives you a handy excuse for not doing anything (the devil stole your power to act).
Lack the fortitude needed to carry on
Being abandoned by your partner is like having that partner die, leaving you all alone. You feel completely drained of all energy, and you end up feeling like you can’t move on or step forward.
If this carries on into your new relationship, you damn that relationship to carry a third person—your grief—and waste precious time and energy as a result. You will develop abandonment issues when you don’t step up due to a lack of energy.
Other Signs of Abandonment Issues
In addition to the above signs, you may display these signs of abandonment too:
9 Ways How to Get Over Abandonment Issues in a Relationship
It’s not easy to recover from the issues you carry from a previous relationship that left you feeling abandoned. These are some steps you can try to develop so you can live free from your abandonment issues.
1. Realize it’s Not You
When you have just gotten the boot and find yourself abandoned by your previous partner, you may torture yourself with thoughts of what you did wrong. While you may have done something wrong (after all, nobody is perfect), your former partner made their decision, and that decision didn’t include you.
You are not the only “guilty” party in the relationship, and you won’t be the one who messes up (all on your own) again in your future relationships.
While you have flaws, it’s not your flaws that caused your relationship to end. Instead, it may have been how you dealt with those flaws, how you and your partner negotiated, and how you communicated that really ruined things.
List your flaws and how you manage them and deal with these shortcomings.
2. Work on “You”
It’s very easy to do the opposite of point number one and say you didn’t do anything wrong and you are entirely blameless. This also doesn’t work. If you were so perfect, why did your partner leave you?
Part of growth is to know and acknowledge your flaws and work on them. You can, as the Facebook quote says, make yourself entirely of flaws, stitched together by good intentions.
Find your flaws and make peace with them. Bring out the best in them, and in you.
3. Get Emotional Closure and Responsibility
People tend to play either the victim or the hero. But we are all made up of all three components: victim, hero, and villain. Own all three aspects of yourself.
Acknowledge where you have been a victim in the past. Think of how disempowered you felt. Perhaps you also chose to do nothing (victims wait to be saved). What would you do differently?
Where were you the hero? Perhaps you strive to be the hero, only to fall short. Identify your hero qualities. Work on them, polish them, and develop them.
You have a streak of the villain in you too. We all do. Where did you become the villain in your previous relationship? There was something you did that contributed to the end of that relationship. Until you know what that was, you will always wonder what you did wrong. Instead, own your guilt. Be specific so you can stop blaming yourself for everything else.
Being self-aware means you can accept and integrate all three aspects of yourself. You are the victim, hero, and villain. Owning it means you take emotional responsibility.
4. Stop Being an Idealist
All too often, we fall in love with the idea of someone. This means we don’t really see our partner. Instead, we cling to that ideal, living past the person we are with. Nobody likes to be idolized, since it denies our real humanity.
Did you idolize your partner? At some point, they can’t take the pressure of having to be perfect, and they leave you. Realize you are not perfect either. We all have clay feet, and we all miss the mark sometimes.
Being in a relationship, even one with yourself, is about accepting flaws, putting away foolish idealizations, and living in the now and the real.
5. Make Yourself Feel Good
People get so entangled in a relationship, they give up their own power. One of the first ways in which this starts is to depend on the other person to boost your self-esteem. When you expect your partner to make you feel valuable and valued the whole time, you are saddling them with an impossible task.
While it’s true your partner should validate some of your existence, they can’t be held responsible for all of it. If you depend on others for your sense of worth, you will end up feeling worthless.
Go out there and find out what makes you feel good about yourself. Take up hobbies, attend classes, and join groups. Develop your own sense of self. Validate yourself.
6. Stop Paddling and Swim
When you feel that a previous relationship has left you abandoned, you may be reluctant to commit to another relationship. Holding back is one of the reasons relationships actually break apart. When you hold back and don’t buy into the relationship, you take the “real” out of “real-ationship.”
An inauthentic relationship is sure to fail. Even when it’s hard or when you feel like you are falling out of a relationship, be present for yourself and for your partner.
Start each day by checking if you are there, aware, and fully committed.
7. Call yourself out on Your Own Excuses
Are you constantly making excuses for yourself? We all do. There is an innate need in us to justify our wrong doings. What if you just let go of that?
Imagine having a voice inside you that tells you “You are not honest, are you?” each time you want to self-justify or make excuses for slipping up. If you can’t read your own BS, you can be sure that others can. Until you own up to having made excuses instead of taking action, you will continue to be the victim.
Make a list of your favorite excuses you usually resort to when you want to get out of a situation that pressures you more than you are comfortable with. Also, create a list of counter ideas to outweigh these excuses.
8. Turn to Affirming Instead of Judging
It is so easy to be your worst enemy. You do it all the time, don’t you? When you show up late for a date, you berate yourself, saying that your date will leave you. Instead of accepting you were late, apologizing sincerely, and moving on, you self-judge and build a wall between you and your date.
Using affirmations, you can begin to recondition your brain to stop making apologies. Instead, train your brain to show real character and kindness. You slipped up, so what? Don’t carry burdens that aren’t yours to bear.
Create a few affirmative statements to help affirm yourself and others instead of judging them.
9. Practice Gratitude
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great way to undo some of the world’s negativity. When you are feeling all alone, you can remind yourself that you are not. When you suffer a failure, you can prove you aren’t the failure.
Keep a journal and write down three to five things in your journal you are grateful for. Write it the evening before bed. Read it aloud the next morning.
Final Thoughts on Getting Over Abandonment Issues
Having a relationship fall apart sucks! One minute you are someone’s world, content in the space you share… and the next they’ve told you to move along. This trauma can cause a mental wound that takes a long time to heal.
But you don’t want to end up “bleeding on those who didn’t cut you.” You need to hold yourself accountable and take action!
To get over your abandonment issues, focus on living in the moment and let the past go. If you don’t, you will become a self-fulfilling prophet who invites your own loss… again and again. And you will never find happiness, let alone contentment, that way.