Rejection or abandonment is traumatizing and, to put it bluntly, it stinks! It's no surprise that it can get in the way of developing healthy relationships in the future. It's not something you can heal from so easily.
Unfortunately, abandonment can cause trust issues, low self-esteem and may lead you to lose an intimate connection with your partner.
Don't go through these feelings alone. If you are in a new relationship but are finding that these feelings of abandonment are creeping up on you and affecting your relationship, work through them with your boyfriend. It will not only help you heal from old wounds but help you grow as a couple as well.
Identify Your Abandonment Issues
Abandonment issues usually happen when you feel alone, rejected, and cannot rely on friends for support. This leads to commitment phobia or trust issues.
Physical and emotional neglect, loss of relationships, betrayal, and loss of a loved one can trigger this. Knowing when and why you feel this way is an important first step in the healing process.
1. Childhood Neglect
People who suffered from childhood neglect may develop these issues. The absence of affection and care reinforces low self-esteem and feelings of loneliness.
2. Death of a Loved One
Losing a loved one can be very traumatic to anyone at any age, especially if the loss was sudden. This can cause you to feel that your loved one abandoned you; this is ultimately projected in your relationship.
Being rejected may make you feel unworthy, especially in relationships. If your last relationship ended in hard rejection, you could be projecting the same negative feelings in your current relationship.
Recognize That You May Have Abandonment Issues
The fear of abandonment affects millions of people -- it's nothing to be ashamed of. But it's definitely something that you should work out. Here are some other signs that you could be dealing with abandonment issues in your life:
1. Moving on Too Quickly
It's normal to move on when one relationship ends. However, moving on too fast means you don't give yourself time to heal. Failure to deal with emotional issues in your past relationship might lead to even more pain. No matter how good your new boyfriend may be to you, if you can't heal, the pain will invade your relationship.
2. You Get Attached Too Fast
Being needy is a classic example of abandonment issues. But instead of automatically thinking of neediness as a bad thing instead, ask yourself why you're needy. If the answer is that you're afraid of losing your boyfriend, it could be a big sign.
3. People Pleaser
Putting others first at the expense of your own happiness is another classic sign that you could be dealing with abandonment issues. Putting your well-being and happiness second to others because you fear rejection is a sure signal.
4. Avoiding Emotional Intimacy
If you find that you avoid emotional intimacy with your boyfriend and are afraid of letting your guard down, you could be dealing with abandonment issues. Why make yourself vulnerable when you'll only be hurt again?
Working Through the Issues with Your Boyfriend
Your boyfriend is there to support you - he loves you and ideally wants this relationship to work. Remember, baby steps! Do your best to try the following:
1. Be Realistic
Your boyfriend cannot make up for all the injustices you've felt from past relationships. By putting pressure on him to make up for every loss, he could end up running for the hills. To break this toxic behavior, you need to take full charge of your happiness and be realistic.
Your boyfriend needs care and affection, too -- he is not the ultimate healer of pain and neglect. If you're seeing a therapist, ask your boyfriend to come with you. Invest in yourself, but don't neglect your partner.
2. Self-Validation Works
Abandonment issues usually wreck your self-esteem and confidence. Needing reinforcement from others to make you feel good about yourself is detrimental to your relationship.
This doesn't mean that it's wrong to like being complimented and hearing now and then that you look good or are an awesome partner. Everyone likes that! However, don't feel unworthy if you don't receive the validation you were expecting.
To overcome this with your boyfriend, you should recognize your self-worth. Seeking approval from him all the time is off-putting. Instead, explain your feelings to your boyfriend.
He can help you overcome this issue by giving you the emotional support you need without being an emotional crutch.
3. Be Authentic
Don't compromise who you are just for the sake of your boyfriend. You could be doing this as a way to keep him close, but he should understand that you are your own person - it's why he likes you to begin with anyway!
Again, communicate with your boyfriend. If you disagree with him, be brave, and say what you feel.
4. Cultivate Open Communication
Being open with your boyfriend from the get-go will help you to build a solid connection. Don't keep any secrets from him, especially those that could sabotage your relationship.
Be absolutely clear when your boyfriend does something that makes you uncomfortable. In turn, be open to his concerns as well. This way, you'll find a way to openly and transparently work through various issues in your relationship.
Therapy is one of the best ways to work through abandonment issues, especially if they run deep. During therapy, you will be able to identify toxic patterns and replace them with the right attitude.
You'll establish healthy boundaries and turn your relationship into a healthy coexistence as opposed to unhealthy codependency. Let your boyfriend know that you are talking to your therapist.
If he's the right guy for you, he'll appreciate that you're working to improve the relationship and support what you're doing. If he doesn't, well, hold your head high. You don't need him to approve.
You got this
Part of a healthy relationship is working through all the tricky and difficult parts of life together. We all come with baggage, and it just so happens that that baggage for some people is abandonment issues.
Be patient and communicate. You won't heal overnight, but when you ask your boyfriend to help and tell him where you're at, you won't be alone.