Fear of Abandonment.
Somewhere you saw someone who was left behind, left alone and were devastated. You may or may not have noticed it, but you internalized it. Made that a fear of yours and that fear is showing up in your marriage. Fear of abandonment can be such a big problem that many people will unwittingly push their spouse away, all the while, dreadfully fearing the very rift they’re causing in the marriage. These beliefs lead to possessive and paranoid behavior. It causes people to give into their fear, and that fear ultimately costs them everything they love and cherish—namely the marriage they want more than anything else.
Understanding the fear is the first step. After we discuss what abandonment fear really is, we’re going to review five tips for keeping these out-of-control feelings in check and preventing these issues from ruining your marriage.
What is Fear of Abandonment?
Fear of abandonment can develop in childhood, usually because of the loss of a parent. However, the same fear can be caused by poor emotional and physical parenting. In a way, being “abandoned” causes trauma and with this trauma comes an inability to feel safe in a relationship. Unfortunately for sensitive children, even something as common as parental ridicule, holding them to high expectations, or even parents treating them like peers instead of children, can cause the same irrational fear.
Maybe you think this doesn’t apply to you because you had a good childhood and loving parents. The facts show that even losing a partner to divorce or death can cause the same feelings to develop. It’s a form of PTSD and ignoring the problem will only tax your marriage now and in the future. Let’s discuss five ways to keep spiraling feelings in check.
1. It’s okay to love your husband “so much that it hurts.” But if you love him, don’t try to transform him into someone else.
One of the main problems a man has with a “needy” woman is that she has unrealistically high expectations of how he should behave. She punishes him for falling short and she lovingly rewards him for meeting these expectations. There’s just one problem. He’s not really “like that” and forcing him to meet a very “ideal” standard, rather than just be himself, is a disaster waiting to happen. Decide now. If you love him, you don’t need him to meet unrealistically high standards. You just love the man you fell in love with and married.
2. Your husband doesn’t need to “fix” this issue. You must take full responsibility and work on controlling your feelings when they become out of control.
When you’re controlled by your fear, you may spiral into episodes of rage or depression. This behavior will have your husband confused. Demanding that he fix this, that he cure you of all your fears, is unfair to him. Instead of punishing him and hoping he figures out the right combination, just tell him you want loving support, cuddles, and encouragement. All he needs to do is be affectionate. When a man understands exactly what you want from him, there’s no reason to be confused.
3. It’s your responsibility to confront these fears. Work on building your self-confidence.
There’s no sense in dwelling on the negative. Don’t beat yourself up for what you feel. It is human to fear losing your husband. But hating yourself is only making the dynamic worse. Give yourself unconditional love. You’re not weak, you just need some time to heal. Spend time building your confidence and pursuing hobbies, careers, and passions that make you feel good about yourself. Rely more on yourself and less on him. Don’t let him feel as if must take care of you, like a little girl. That’s too much of a burden on him. You owe it to yourself to be more than that.
4. Don’t need him more than he needs you. There should be a balance built on mutual respect and admiration.
Neither of you should “need” each other. This indicates a parasitic relationship. You’re both fine on your own. You would rather be together, but you don’t need each other to survive. Why is this so important? Because when two people are self-sufficient, they don’t bring imbalances to the marriage. They leave their baggage behind. There is no longer an undue pressure, stressful codependency, or a battle of the wills. They are more evenly matched because they can be independent and enjoy alone time, or come together and enjoy each other. There is no heavy pressure on just one person, financially or emotionally. There is peace together, not stress or distrust.
5. Learn to redirect your desire for constant reassurance.
Affection is one thing. But demanding your husbands reassure you constantly is only going to cause a rift between the two of you. A marriage is a give and take, 50 / 50, and when one spouse demands all of the attention, it can become unhealthy fast. Develop your own internal process for managing these feelings, such as by taking up a hobby, doing something creative, or engaging in exercise—something to blow off steam and distract your subconscious from all that restless energy.
Remember, the thoughts are damaging but they can be mitigated. Your behavior determines whether they stay fleeting thoughts or whether they escalate and eventually scare your husband away. Combat fear of abandonment by staying positive and living in the now, not worrying so much about tomorrow until it comes.
Take the time to ENJOY your husband and marriage while you have it, letting go of the fear. This is what will keep him coming back every night, all those good feelings shared between you!