Abandonment is an act of giving something up, withdrawing support, or help despite having responsibility.
Many consequences are brought about by this action. The most common type of abandonment is the type that happens in families when a parent decides to abandon their child due to personal reasons.
Abandonment issues arise in childhood when the parent goes away and leaves an imprint of emotions that include pain, confusion, anxiety, and fear; due to the traumatic loss inflicted on them. As the child begins to grow up, he/she begins to experience fear of losing other valuable people intheir lives.
When abandonment issues are not dealt with during childhood, it can cause detrimental effects on one’s personal life and relationships. The fear of abandonment is not necessarily a mental illness, like depression, but it is a form of anxiety. Keep reading to learn about the Bucharest Early Intervention Project and the effects of abandonment in relationships.
The Bucharest Early Intervention Project
The Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) was a clinical investigation of foster care as an intercession for children who were left at either the time or leading up to birth. The children were in one of six institutions for young children in Bucharest, Romania. A Private investigator named Nelson conducted a study with two co private investigators, Zeanah and Fox, to monitor the brain activity of 136 children with an electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology since 2000.
The results went on to show the detrimental effects that abandonment had on the children. Nelson stated that individuals‘ experiences after birth tends to shape what happens to our brain circuitry. “The input the brain receives guides its development, and social interaction plays a very, very important role in that,” says Nelson. “That’s what’s missing in these (institutionalized) kids because they’re left alone. They don’t know how to have relationships with anybody.” (“Abandonment and the brain,”)
The results further proved the children at the Romanian orphanages had trouble engaging with their agemates and grown-ups. They also had reduced brain activity along with decreased Grey and white brain matter. The children also had below–average IQ scores of 66 and had high chances of developing behavioral and emotional problems.
There are many ways you can support a child with abandonment problems by always reassuring them with love and support or seeking help from a mental health expert because early intervention can reverse the effects that will scheme into their lifestyle.
Effects Abandonment Have in Relationships
If you have unresolved abandonment issues, they can begin to surface in your life relationship–wise. They can arise when your partner fails to meet your mental, emotional and physical needs. He/she can be abusive, not present, or neglectful. The nostalgic fear of abandonment rises because you entrusted your needs to that person and they disappointed you.
The reason being the fear and anxiety you once experienced as a child resides deep within your subconsciousness. You may or may not be aware of it but this fear and anxiety become a fuelling factor that drives your choices to defend yourself from getting hurt again.
How can I tell if I have unresolved abandonment issues that are affecting my relationships?
1. You Find It Hard Trusting Others
People who were abandoned tend to have deep–rooted trust issues and always keep a low profile. They are also very cautious when they enter into new relationships and are guarded and are very discerning with whom they let catch a glimpse of their life because they have built so many walls. This is because they want to protect themselves from more rejection and disappointment.
2. You Constantly Need Reassurance From Others
Do you find yourself in new relationships quickly? Due to the lack of reassurance they received as a child adults with abandonment issues tend to get into new relationships faster and hold on to them even though they are toxic. They consistently need reassurance and crave attention and their significant other or friends often notice their reliant attitude. The dependency and constant need to satisfy their needs become a burden to their partner and lead to a breakup.
3. Lack of Emotional Intimacy
People who fear abandonment have trouble expressing their emotions and struggle to feel affection. They can sometimes turn down physical and emotional gratification from their partners while hiding their authentic selves. This can make bonding extremely difficult. They will never admit that they want more physical affection from their partner but instead use defense mechanisms like pretending they don’t care even though they do.
4. You Feel the Need to Control Others
If you have abandonment issues, everything must be done your way because of the fear of unpredictability. You do everything in your power to make sure you don’t feel that pain again. You don’t know how to handle yourself when you aren’t in charge. When you lose control you either become anxious or paranoid so you make sure you are one step ahead by either trying to influence your partner by making indirect comments and using emotional blackmail to prevent your partner from leaving you. Such manipulation tactics are used to coerce your partner to love and stay with you.
5. You Are a People Pleaser
Do you find yourself agreeing to everything your partner wants? Are you sacrificing yourself to keep your partner happy? People who fear abandonment usually have a high probability of battling co-dependencyand always stay in destructive relationships, making excuses for their partner’s inappropriate behavior. They feel the need to prove that they are worthy of a relationship and often blame themselves when the relationship goes sour even though it was a toxic one.
6. You Push Others Away to Avoid Rejection
Have you ever felt like you don’t fit in or misunderstood? Does your fear of rejection cause you to isolate yourself? People who were abandoned usually withdraw from social situations as a defense mechanism and sequester themselves when they feel too exposed in social environments. They also have an inferiority complex and aren’t open to any form of criticism.
7. They Are Pessimistic
Individuals with abandonment issues always imagine the worst–case scenarios and are caught in destructive thought patterns when they encounter a problem. When they get into an argument with their partner, they think that their partner hates them, or if their friend doesn’t talk to them for a few days, they assume the worst. These negative thought patterns are in your subconscious and originate from trauma.
How Can I Seek Help?
If left untreated, abandonment issues in both children and adults can make it harder for individuals to form healthy, safe relationships with others and prevent them from living a fruitful life.
There are reasons one should seek treatment for abandonment issues:
You should seek help from a mental health professional if these experiences have never been addressed before.
Bethany Achieng is a Health Blogger from Kenya. Her passion for education and research led to the creation of The Information Wizard. A blog that has inspired and helped a community of health lovers who yearn for knowledge globally. She has collaborated with organizations such as Startyourrecovery.org that share her passion for educating the masses.
You can reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.