fear of abandonment is the core of an insecure attachment to a caregivers or caregivers

We rarely think about fear of abandonment, yet it underlies many of our psychological problems. It is the core of an insecure attachment, breeding the negative belief I am not good enough. It is a spectrum issue, running along a scale from mild to severe. Dealing successfully with fear of abandonment effectively eases many other mental health problems, and generally comes from an exploration of our childhood. It is a deep-rooted but irrational fear of being discarded and replaced and being left alone.
Before exploring the foundations of this fear, let us see what it is like practice? One of my clients Nancy explains it clearly.
My husband Michael is a salesman and I just feel awful when he is away, and especially when I am lying in bed alone at night. We have no children and I feel the loneliness but most of all a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. This makes me feel so helpless and sometimes so angry. I toss and turn while my mind runs riot. Where is he now? Who is he with? I see him in my mind’s eye making love to another woman. I am always tempted, but I have learned not to reach for the phone to seek reassurance, because I can never be reassured. He often threatened to leave me and I would beg him to stay with me, that I would change. Sometimes I sent as many as thirty texts a day and he used get very angry and in the end he wouldn’t reply at all and that made me worse. I used be frantic. I always felt lost. I know Michael is a very trustworthy husband, but that does not help me at all. The empty feeling of fear is too powerful, although I have learned that I can feed it by thinking in a negative way. I always think about everything in a negative way and I’m haunted by images of unfaithfulness. All these women that I conjure up in my imagination are a lot more beautiful than me, although Michael keeps telling me that I am lovely and that he loves only me. But in my mind I can never measure up to these women. I am never good enough. How can I compete against them? The frustrating thing is that I know very well that these lovely women are figments of my imagination. They don’t exist at all. But they are very real in my mind. I feel lost at these times, and I dread it when he is going away, when I know that I am going to spend sleepless nights worrying. The fact that he is away a lot keeps me on tenterhooks and my nerves get strung out.
You can easily see in this short passage the impact of fear of abandonment, which in this case is very severe – stomach turning, tortured thinking, a feeling of not being good enough, sleeplessness, low self-esteem, feeling lost, and a tendency to worry, and irrational jealousy, all in this case stemming from childhood emotional neglect, mainly stemming from her emotionally withdrawn mother and an ill-tempered father.
Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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