Thinking about living without someone you love can be overwhelming. But for a moment, consider that very fact: what if your feelings become a reality? What if your children and grandchildren move across the country? What if your best friend dumps you for new friends? What if your spouse of twenty-five years decides to leave you for a girl half his age? Losing someone you love through rejection or death is difficult. Feelings of grief or betrayal can produce intense, even erratic emotional responses.
What then is the appropriate response to actual or perceived fear? How do you handle harassing thoughts, trying to convince you, one day, those you love most will abandon you? Or defeat the nagging feeling lurking in the pit of your stomach when you think about your children being lost or taken? How do you combat fearful thoughts of things that have not happened? What about the insecurity that sneaks into your heart when you see your wife talking to another man? Will your faith ever prevail over your fears? Can you conquer the fear of abandonment?
As a matter of fact, yes. You can fight your fears and win. It will take time and effort, but you can overthrow the fears that seek to sabotage your joy. How do you begin? By taking the first step and unmasking the source of fear.
I knew a young woman who lived in constant turmoil and crisis. Over coffee one day I asked her to share her story. I noticed she continually used phrases like, “I am not good enough”; “No one ever stays in my life for long”; “I will never be happily married.” The sad truth is she attracted what she confessed. She devalued her worth and created a self-fulfilling prophecy of destruction.
What about you? Have you created an environment for your insecurities to thrive? If so, it is time to dethrone harassing thoughts that devalue your self-worth, ruin your relationships, and destroy your dreams. What you think about most determines your feelings and fears. Let’s face it. Many people wrestle with abandonment issues, but few are willing to acknowledge the feelings of inadequacy and failure they experience as a result of being abandoned.
How and when does the fear of abandonment begin? To answer this question, we must first consider the source of fear. There are two basic types of fear. The first is healthy fear. Can fear be healthy? Extremely healthy, as it stems from the reasoning part of the brain and warns of real or impending danger. For example, healthy fear acts as a warning signal cautioning a child to look both ways before crossing the street. Or it rationalizes with a teenager not to accept his friend’s dare to dive off a seventy-foot cliff.
There are numerous benefits to healthy fear. On the flip side of the equation, unhealthy fear works against our better judgment. Stemming not from logic but from emotion, unhealthy fear plays tricks on one’s ability to think sensible and balanced thoughts.
The easiest way to process feelings of fear is to consider their source. If you want to qualify your fears, ask yourself the following questions. Can my fears be substantiated by facts? Are my fears replacing my faith? Am I fearful of things or situations that do not exist? Remember, feelings born out of negative thinking create unnecessary anxiety. Negative thoughts produce negative feelings, and negative feelings are the source of unhealthy fear. Let me share an example.
A precious lady named Sue admits, “I have nightmares about my daughter falling into an abandoned well, being severely wounded, and I am unable to come to her rescue. The bizarre thing is I have never fallen into a hole; neither do I know anyone who has. Why I am overtaken by the fear I will be unable to help my daughter in a time of crisis?”
The struggle to identify feelings associated with the fear of abandonment is difficult if not outright frustrating. Abandonment is a complicated issue. I have witnessed the devastation of relationships gone wrong and the injustice of victims who felt as if they deserve the heartache of abandonment.
Although no one reacts to loss in exactly the same way, there remains one common thread of commonality: few understand the impact abandonment has perpetrated upon their lives, especially when it comes to relationships.
It is possible to overcome the fears associated with abandonment. In fact, you can begin the journey to freedom right now. Learning how to recognize the symptoms and characteristics associated with the fear of abandonment will get you on the fast track to recovery.
Learn more about love from Dr. Tracey Mitchell. Read The Capacity for Love
To learn more about the author please visit Tracey Mitchell