Abandonment Anxiety isn’t necessarily a mental health diagnosis but is a form of anxiety that can be treated by therapy. Abandonment anxiety occurs when someone is fearful of the idea of losing someone that they care about. While everyone can deal with the end of a relationship, whether it be romantic or platonic, or death, abandonment anxiety is so severe that it affects your life significantly.
Everyone has fear of abandonment but those with abandonment anxiety have an intense fear that can affect their relationships and every day lives. The fear of loss is overwhelming and they can even push people away to the point of leaving.
Abandonment anxiety is usually gradual
One of the main things to understand about abandonment anxiety is that it takes time to develop normally. No one wakes up the next morning with abandonment anxiety. It’s gradual and takes time. Usually, the initial behaviors that develop into having abandonment anxiety aren’t even done on purpose.
Eventually, over time, it can develop into more severe symptoms. One of the things to consider is that the attention that a person receives from presenting abandonment anxiety can be self-reinforcing. The rewarding and self-reinforcement can take normal fears and concerns and over time twist them into a life-altering form of anxiety that can have wide-ranging and extreme effects in many different aspects of your life.
The behaviors that start are meant well but can lead to unhealthy consequences. It can affect and even ruin your relationships in some circumstances. It can also lead to the inability to nurture and build relationships and form bonds with others (1).
What are the symptoms of Abandonment Anxiety?
It’s important to understand that not everyone will experience Abandonment Anxiety the same way. There are many symptoms that normally present but the severity may be different for everyone. They normally are also subtle and increase in severity over time.
Problems in building and maintaining relationships is a key component of abandonment anxiety. This can be masked as intimacy issues or a fear of commitment. It may also mean cycling through relationships and only having shallow relationships with little substance or commitment. People with abandonment anxiety may push away their partner and find a reason to leave your relationship before they’re left, or abandoned.
This leads to self-sabotaging. Self-sabotaging may be minor at first and is usually unintentional. This self-sabotaging can lead to extreme actions including acting irrationally. These outbursts can lead to pushing your partner away so that you can’t be hurt or won’t feel pain if they do end up leaving.
It could also mean that you cling to unhealthy partners and have poor relationships. This could mean that you stay in a relationship that shouldn’t because of fear. Staying in unhealthy relationships can lead to a lot of potential problems. It’s important to not let your fear of abandonment control your life.
Constant reassurance is another symptom of abandonment anxiety. This could be seeking approval or seeking out family, friends, or partners and demand guarantees that they’ll never leave. It’s more than “I’ll be there for you.” It can be making the other person make broad statements ensuring that they’ll never leave and then confronting them and saying that they’re lying or not being truthful. Working with a therapist can help to understand these feelings.
What are the risk factors of Abandonment Anxiety?
When abandonment anxiety affects your normal, everyday life it can become invasive. While there are many different factors that may contribute to your abandonment anxiety, here are some of the main risk factors:
What causes abandonment issues?
Abandonment issues can occur when healthy human development is disrupted. This can cause physical, emotional, and behavioral issues, especially in the realm of anxiety and abandonment. Especially during childhood we have to rely on our parents for that reassurance and love. If that doesn’t happen, it can cause issues well into adulthood and can affect personal, professional, and romantic relationships.
The reassurance that we need through our development can be disrupted at any time. This disruption can cause things to spiral out of control and can cause abandonment anxiety. Disruptions can occur at any time in human development from childhood on through adulthood.
What are common disruptions that may trigger abandonment anxiety?
Some of the most common types of disruption include:
How is abandonment anxiety disorder treated?
The main focus of treating abandonment anxiety disorder is about creating and establishing healthy boundaries emotionally. These tools become part of your arsenal and eventually treatment can lead to more effective relationships and less thoughts of abandonment (2). Therapy is a useful treatment method for those with abandonment anxiety disorder.
Therapy is the main treatment method for abandonment anxiety disorder
Getting help is the first step to improving your symptoms. Seeking help from a therapist can help to overcome worry, decrease stress, and reduce the impact of your abandonment anxiety disorder.
Therapists can use a variety of treatment methods to help those experiencing abandonment anxiety disorder. One of the most effective treatments for any form of anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy (4). It’s important to tailor your therapy journey with a therapist to ensure the best chance of success.
How to help someone with Abandonment Anxiety Disorder
When you are in any type of relationship with someone dealing with abandonment anxiety disorder it can be difficult. The other person may even challenge your loyalty or be intentionally difficult to push you away. This can be hurtful.
Here are a few techniques to help those you know with Abandonment Anxiety Disorder
● Support them. Having excessive fear and worry can be a heavy weight to carry. Letting them know that you love and support them can help them to build confidence.
● Validate their fears. Validation can build trust. This acknowledgement doesn’t mean that you agree, but it helps to keep the lines of communication open.
● Pausing the conversation. When you or your partner are overwhelmed or overly emotional, it can trigger feelings of abandonment anxiety and it could increase the risk of pushing you away.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most effective treatment for treating anxiety disorders
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is helpful in building confidence and self-compassion. You can learn triggers for your anxiety abandonment disorder and build strategies to help cope. This includes recognizing your distortions in your thinking. These distortions can cause problems in many areas of your life (3).
In addition to changing your thinking patterns, behavioral patterns are also changed when working with a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist. This can include building a self care routine, relaxation techniques, learning to face your fears instead of avoiding them and learning to calm your mind.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy focuses more on the future and while a bit of history is needed for context, it’s important to build strategies and learn coping mechanisms for future situations (2,3).
What are the key principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy was developed in the 1960s and became popular in the 1980s. Its popularity has allowed for ample research and its effectiveness has been proven again and again (2,3,4).
Some of the key principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are:
Creating an individualized approach with your therapist can help you to decrease the severity of your symptoms. The treatment plan may include homework and exercises between sessions. An individualized approach is important when treating Abandonment Anxiety Disorder. Consult with an Abandonment Anxiety Disorder Therapist to start your treatment and begin the path to healing.
2 Long-term effectiveness of CBT for anxiety disorders in an adult outpatient clinic sample: A follow-up study - ScienceDirect
3 Cognitive behavioral therapy in anxiety disorders: current state of the evidence (nih.gov)
Anxiety can be wide-ranging and is an umbrella term for a lot of challenges. It can be hard, exhausting, and debilitating. An anxiety therapist is specially trained to help you cope with your anxiety, your anxiety symptoms including general anxiety and panic attacks, and help set you up for success in many different aspects of your life.
Mindful Matching with your anxiety therapist specialist
Our Matching Experts make finding your perfect anxiety therapist an easy process. We know how important it is to find the right anxiety therapist and we know that it can really set you up from success from the beginning of your journey.
Our specially trained Matching Experts will take the time to listen and find out what will make your perfect anxiety therapist specialist match. We’ll ask the questions needed to find out what are your personal needs when finding a therapist.
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What will you explore with an anxiety therapist?
We know that anxiety is a wide ranging topic. To better help you understand your anxiety and build coping strategies, your therapist help you explore many topics including:
Why choose a Silver Lake Psychology Anxiety Therapist Specialist?
Silver Lake Psychology has over 150 therapists on staff and dozens of anxiety therapist specialists. We value diversity and can speak 17 languages. We can help you understand how anxiety has affected other aspects throughout your life to help evoke life-altering changes and improvements in your life. Even if anxiety is just a facet of your struggles that you’d like to work through, our anxiety therapists almost always have cross-specialties to help you deal with your anxiety as part of your larger mental health work.
An anxiety therapist at Silver Lake Psychology can help you to explore your life with anxiety and give you the tools and tips to make the change necessary to improve your life. Anxiety can become manageable in many cases and our anxiety therapist specialists will help you to build your life without the crippling symptoms of anxiety.
Scheduling with an anxiety therapist at Silver Lake Psychology can make a difference in your life. We can help you to explore your journey with anxiety and give you tools to enact life-altering change.
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A depression therapist at Silver Lake Psychology can help you explore your journey with depression and give you the tools needed to exact change in your life.
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Anxiety can be debilitating and hard to live with. Anxiety is a wide-ranging umbrella term that can affect many different aspects of your life. Whether you have general anxiety and can never relax or have panic attacks that wreak havoc at the most inopportune times of your life, living with anxiety can be a struggle even on your best day.
Getting Help and Breaking the Stigma
Long gone are the times when having anxiety and seeking help were taboo. Normalization throughout our culture has allowed anxiety therapists to be more accessible and relevant than ever. Anxiety can affect us all throughout our life. Having a specialist to work on coping mechanisms, give you tools to manage your symptoms, and help you understand how to get yourself through a panic attack can truly help to change your life.
With anxiety being such a widely universal issue, anyone can benefit from being able to manage their anxiety. Whether you’re a performer who has stage fright, you’re an executive that hates public speaking, or an overachiever that puts too much pressure on yourself, anxiety can manifest in many different ways at difficult times in our lives.
Confronting your anxiety can be a difficult and challenging topic to work through but it can have amazing, life-altering results. Our anxiety specialists are trained to help you process your anxiety, understand your triggers and warning signs, and manage your symptoms.
Anxiety can affect your relationships with others
Where we might think that anxiety is a very personal and individual thing to deal with, anxiety can affect our relationships. Anxiety can affect your communication style, your expectations in relationships, and can affect your mood. These can have consequences with our relationships with others.
While we may be able to manage our anxiety with our nuclear families, dealing with anxiety when dealing with colleagues, larger family groups, and strangers can be another thing altogether. Knowing how to handle these situations and control your anxiety responses can lead to professional success, stronger family dynamics, and better integration into groups and society. These skills could be incremental in your overall growth and success. Learning these tools and skills to manage your symptoms can really make a difference in your future.
Confronting your anxiety
Putting in the introspection work needed to improve your anxiety can be a difficult and vulnerable process. Our anxiety therapist specialists at Silver Lake Psychology will make sure that you are understood and supported during your journey. This difficult, but valuable work can be life changing and lead to wide-ranging success in many different areas of your life.
What will you work on with an anxiety therapist specialist?
Anxiety symptoms are wide ranging and incredibly personal. Whether you have a general feeling of constant anxiety, panic attacks that you’re trying to manage the symptoms of, or have performance anxiety, an anxiety therapist specialist can help you work on just some of the following topics:
An anxiety specialist can help you to succeed in many different aspects of your life.
Click here to be matched with an anxiety therapist specialist.