Abandonment issues: 8 tell-tale signs and 3 steps to get over it

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Do you feel that something’s wrong with yourself?

Perhaps you’ve been having a hard time building a relationship with other people. Or maybe you don’t feel good in social situations.

Sometimes, you have to face the cold truth:

That the problems you’re facing today can stem from a personal incident that happened many, many years ago.

In particular, you might be facing what’s called abandonment issues.

But how can you be sure that you have them? And more importantly, is there a way to get rid of these issues and lead a better life?

Below are the telltale signs:

1) You’re Afraid to Turn Down Requests

There’s a huge difference between being kind and being afraid of further abandonment.

But how do you know if you’re doing things out of fear?

Well, it’s when you no longer have control. It’s when you always say “yes, sure!” to every single request by family and friends — or even strangers.

It’s when you let your partner ignore your personal boundaries all the time because you’re afraid they’ll look for someone else if you don’t.

And being a yes person can ruin your romantic relationship:

Sooner or later, you’ll start feeling angry toward yourself and your partner.

So let’s get one thing straight:

It’s okay to help others once in a while, but there’s something wrong if you can’t say no.

If you think that letting them down will make them leave you in an instant, you likely have abandonment issues.


Be comfortable saying no. You can’t please everybody and you shouldn’t try to. Real friends understand when you’re busy and won’t take advantage of you.

2) You Easily Get Jealous

It’s normal to get jealous, right?

Well, it’s a bit complicated. If you have abandonment issues, there’s always something to be jealous about.

For example:

You don’t like it when your otherwise loyal partner hangs out with their friends — even when you’re around.

It doesn’t even matter if you’ve known these people for years. If you’ve been betrayed or let down by an ex, you see everyone else as someone who’s going to steal your current partner.

So what if you know all your partner’s passwords for Facebook and Snapchat?

That won’t stop your feelings of jealousy. When jealousy becomes a serious issue, you’ll always be insecure about your partner’s loyalty.

But here’s the thing:

It’s not their fault, yet they’re the one on the receiving end. It’s you yourself who are making it hard for both of you.

If you don’t realize that it’s your abandonment issues to blame and not your partner, don’t expect the relationship to last.

3) You’re Afraid to Open Up

Imagine this:

After months of being quiet and alone in class, you find someone genuinely interested in you.

The two of you become the best of friends, only for this person to leave you for a new set of pals.

How would you feel?

You’ll begin thinking that you’re never enough, that you’re easily replaceable. You put up walls around you because it’s not worth the risk of being hurt again.

Abandonment has made you a cold, unapproachable person.

This is bad for several reasons:

One, it will affect your working environment. After all, isn’t it easier to accomplish work and stay in a company if you’re good friends with your coworkers?

Nobody wants to be the subject of office gossip, but putting up barriers can make others wonder all sorts of things about you.

And here’s the second dilemma:

Making yourself hard to approach prevents otherwise good people from entering your life.

If you’re actively deterring others from knowing you better, how can you find the people that are actually worth the risk?

Thus, it’s a slippery slope when it comes to abandonment issues. Being left out makes you think it’s better to be left out all the time.

4) You Want to Have the Perfect Partner

Maybe you were abandoned because you were with the wrong person?

This is what some people believe when they get their heart broken. That the blame cannot be put on themselves or on both parties.

In turn, you think that the solution is to find the absolute best partner.

But there’s one small problem with that:

Nobody’s perfect. Plus, you’re always going to find an issue because you’ve set unrealistic expectations for them.

In other words, you’ll never find that perfect someone because they don’t exist.
And do you know the sad thing about being a perfectionist?

It’s that you’re going to turn down people who are imperfect but are otherwise honest, reliable, and kind.

Failing to compromise will affect not only your love life but also your relationships with family and friends.

5) You Have Low Self-Esteem

Abandonment issues arise when someone important in your life disappoints you big time. Even if it’s not your fault, you might blame yourself for the outcome.

Soon, you plant the seed of doubt and ask:

“What if I’m not as good a person as I once thought?”

And once you develop low self-esteem, your whole life is affected.

You no longer see yourself as attractive enough to have someone love you. You think that your friends achieve their dreams because they’re simply better than you.

What about work?

If you have low self-esteem, you only do what you’re told. You don’t think of advancing your career by taking on new projects and realizing your potential.

You become content with your current skill set. After all, it pays the bills and keeps your boss happy.

So why bother?

If you don’t face new horizons, you’ll feel unfulfilled in the long run — as if you’ve wasted your entire career.

6) You’ve Become Passive

People don’t normally see a single mistake as a major setback, but experiencing heartache over and over again can change how a person views their life.

Here’s the difference:

Back then, you had a clear sense of agency. It was up to you to turn things around. You weren’t just a mere observer in life.

But now?

You’ve become passive — always accepting the things that happen in your life. There’s nothing under control.

So for people with abandonment issues, it’s normal to fail every day. It all boils down to plain bad luck.

7) You’re a Pessimist

Being passive also often means becoming a pessimist.

What does this mean?

Apart from becoming a spectator in your own life, you also don’t see the good in it. You’ve become so intent on seeing the bad side of things that the positive outcomes go unnoticed.

Even if you do realize that something good is happening, your mind tells you that it’s not going to last. Any success is a mere oddity.

See, being abandoned does this to you:

It tears down your belief in the goodness of others. Constant disappointment ruins your sense of hope and love.

You no longer view life as having two sides of a coin:

One good, one bad. For you, it’s just going to get worse from here on out.

8) You’ve Become a Controlling Parent

This shouldn’t happen, but it does:

You participate in the cycle of abandonment once you have your own family.


By being too strict to your kids. Your fear of them also developing abandonment issues causes you to become an awful parent.

Look, here’s the thing:

You got let down before, and it hurt you deeply. But that doesn’t mean you should prevent your kids from choosing their own path in life.

If they experience abandonment, just be there for them. Be the friend you wish you had when you were down-and-out. Try your best to become part of their support system.

In doing so, you give them the freedom to be who they are while still being a responsible parent.

How to Cope with Your Abandonment Issues

Life becomes more complicated if you’re dealing with your fear of abandonment, but you can always do something about it.

Step 1: Become aware of your abandonment issues.

Knowing the true cause of your worries is important in finding the right solution. Find some time to relax and focus. List down your problems and think of the possible causes.

This way, you don’t end up blaming and losing the most significant people in your life.

Step 2: Don’t be afraid to let people help.

Problems in life can make you want to isolate yourself from others, but try to do the opposite. Let people know how you’re feeling.

Why should others know your personal issues?

Because it gives them the opportunity to show how they value you.

Let people give their support and say you’re worthy of being loved. This way, your self-esteem improves and you’ll soon see things on a more positive note.

Step 3: Seek professional help.

It’s time we got rid of the taboo on counseling.

See, there are people who’ve spent many years studying how to improve the emotional and mental health of others.

Don’t be afraid to approach them. No decent person will judge you for seeking professional assistance.

Some therapists and counselors offer their services for free. Lastly, don’t forget that your well-being is always worth the investment.

Check out our article sharing our best quotes on unrequited love.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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