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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: What is fear of abandonment?  (Read 31382 times)
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« on: September 12, 2006, 11:11:03 PM »

What is fear of abandonment?
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Skippy
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2006, 01:04:30 AM »

Fear of Abandonment is a phobia – an exaggerated, usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.

The Fear of abandonment phobia is characterized by extreme dependency on others. Such people live in the constant fear that their "world will collapse" if their protectors or loved ones abandon them.

Members often confuse fear of abandonment with separation anxiety.

  • Separation anxiety is episodic - someone leaves and the other person experiences anxiety. Think of leaving a dog at home.

  • Fear of abandonment is pervasive - it influences the way a person lives their life. Think of fear of flying - a person builds a life prtecting themselves from their fear -  picks a job, selects a partner, selects a place to live, participates in certain hobbies all influenced by avoidance of experiencing the life crushing event of being deeply connected and being cast off.

Fear of abandonment can lead to different issues that can cause harm to both the sufferer and their loved ones. Often, the phobic tends to counter-intuitive things like threaten or sabotage his/her relationships using statements like I will leave you before you leave me or You love them more than me or You’ve never loved me and so on. This phobia can, in some cases, also lead to domestic violence: breaking or destroying property or even physically hurting loved ones.

These psychological effects are seen in every aspect of the sufferer’s life to an extent that it may impact his/her social, professional and intimate relationships:

  • A spouse constantly suspects his/her partner of having an affair.
  • Autophobic parent does not allow his/her child to form intimate relationships with peers
  • A partner constantly sends messages/calls or texts the other.
  • One attends office functions or other events where one is not invited.
  • Stalks ex-spouse following a divorce.

Causes of Autophobia

Researchers believe that, in majority of the cases, the fear of abandonment phobia stems from childhood trauma when a parent or loved one leaves following a divorce (or dies).  Even in adulthood, the sufferer continues to believe and fear that every significant person in his/her life is going to abandon him/her in a similar way. The phobia stems from behavior learned from childhood experiences.
    
Abandonment in childhood can be physical, emotional or financial. All of these can be traumatic to the young child. Death of a parent gives rise to several overwhelming feelings followed by financial difficulties, change of lifestyle, or change of home etc. This deepens the trauma further.

Sometimes, the fear of abandonment phobia can come on suddenly in adulthood, when one is financially or emotionally dependent on another adult, who dies or leaves leading to significant loss of financial and emotional support.

Individuals with an adrenal deficiency or those with a general tendency towards being overly anxious or ‘high strung’ are also more likely to suffer from such phobia.

Symptoms of the fear of abandonment phobia


Autophobia varies in degree and intensity leading to different levels of symptoms in suffering individuals. Major symptoms brought on by this phobia include:

  • Anger
  • Jealousy
  • apprehension
  • Avoiding intimacy or relationships
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic attack symptoms such as shaking, trembling, nausea, headaches, gastrointestinal distress, increased heart rate, shallow or rapid breathing etc at the thought of being left alone.

Overcoming the fear of abandonment

A big part of overcoming autophobia is developing love for self and confidence in one’s abilities. Finding a "safe and calm haven" is a recommended technique to overcome this phobia. This is best done through positive visualization and affirmations as well as meditation and other mind-body techniques.

Family or loved ones of individuals suffering from this phobia also play an important role in the therapy. Loved ones need to be supportive and understating and at the sane time firm and not give in to the phobic’s demands that are unhealthy for them.
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lasagna
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2006, 06:33:46 PM »

Early in life, in a phase called "rapprochement" a child begins to wander out into the world. At first, the child will keep returning to caretaker for "refueling'. More and more, the child (about age 3) ventures out there with the need for fewer and fewer refuelings. That child has successfully incorporated an image of caretaker into their brain. They believe the caretaker will be there for them, even if they cannot visualize or hear the caretaker. Abandonment would mean annihilation to the child, and it does to the BPD adult.

Something went wrong in the rapprochement phase. The child did not achieve the idealized image of the caretaker. So the child grows into a BPD adult who is always teetering on the edge of abandonment (annihilation).

For some children, there was some major trauma that interrupted the process. But for others, it was the perception of abandonment that led to their BPD behavior. My BPD daughter was never traumatized or abandoned. But she was somehow wired to feel abandonment during routine separations from maternal/paternal figures. At age four, she was terrified of saying good-night and being away from us. She would demand that we read several children's books to her. We were not overly or under-attached. It was her neurological perception that made her fear annihilation when it was time for us to part while we slept.
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Tigerlily
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2006, 11:06:40 PM »

This is an interesting view...

5 Signs That You Fear Abandonment\\

  • Fantasizing Doomsday Abandonment Scenarios
  • Giving My Man Too Much of Everything He Wants
  • Seeing Another Woman as a Threat
  • Unreasonable Demands on His Time
  • Pulling Away and Pushing Him Away

From the vantage point of this collective wound, a woman is always on guard wondering what her man was up to when he comes home late, doesn't answer a text for over an hour, or shows up with little to say to her. She perceives his emotional distancing as a sign he is making plans to move on and no amount of convincing will make her feel secure. Her insecurities defeat her. Rather than living the most fulfilling life she can, one with experiences that validate a her worth, she clings to her man expecting him to be her all.

A woman's diminished worth and the resulting fear of abandonment can cause her to display a variety of destructive behaviors. Here are five behaviors common to women who fear abandonment:

Fantasizing Doomsday Abandonment Scenarios

In those quiet moments when there's little else to think about, it is not uncommon for a woman's phobic tendencies to rear their ugly heads as daydreams of tragic endings. She might imagine receiving a call that her mate has died, run off with someone else, or left a "Dear Jane letter" stating his intention to leave town without saying good-bye. These destructive daydreams represent buried fears and secret wishes erupting as habitual conscious thoughts and can be difficult to control. The fear is, of course, that she will be discarded and alone and the wish functions to perpetuate a deep sadness that she has deeply identified with. In this case, a woman must battle the stronghold of negative thoughts by feeding her subconscious more positive ones. She may have to identify each fear and counter it with a positive affirmation such as, "You are irreplaceable and your partner knows your value to him."

Giving Her Man Too Much of Everything He Wants

A woman who lacks the confidence that she is central in her mate's life, may think she must be near perfect to keep him around. She is likely to go overboard catering to his every need or whim, spoiling him even when he doesn't deserve spoiling. With this behavior she is will lose his respect rather than to gain it. A woman like this needs to step back and notice how much she deserves beyond the relationship. If she starts pampering herself with as much attention as she gives him she will be perceived as a more desirable mate.

Seeing Another Woman as a Threat

The fear of being replaced may lead a woman to believe that every other woman in her man's life, even if only an acquaintance, is a threat. She will become suspicious, try to divert attention to herself and respond rudely to a woman whom she might otherwise like to be friends with. In this case, a woman will have to stop comparing herself to other women and see herself as her mate's natural choice.

Unreasonable Demands on His Time

Women who are afraid that space and time away means her man is trying to escape, usually exhibit demanding and controlling behavior. Calling to check on him every hour on the hour, texting nonsensical messages while he is at work, and intruding on his leisure time with "to do lists" are all signs that she wants to stay engaged and maintain control. Her separation anxiety is likely rooted in her fear of being alone and she may need to dive deeply into the source of this anxiety to gain control of her own behavior.

Pulling Away and Pushing Him Away

Some women, especially those who felt abandoned by their fathers in childhood may find it difficult to trust the bond of a love relationship and will pull away emotionally as a protective response. It is difficult for them to enjoy their lover for fear of losing him. Other women will do everything in their power to push their mate out the door with negative behavior, sabotaging the relationship and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of abandonment. If they succeed, it confirms they were right – a man's commitment means nothing. A woman who will pull or push away, needs to develop insight into her own psychology and sabotaging behavior. Her efforts at giving love over time will prove that love is worth the effort.
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Randi Kreger
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2008, 02:36:04 PM »

There are environmental risks that can lead of FOA (fear of abandonment) such as the childhood abuse someone mentioned. But there are also biological reasons for BPD; new research just came out that people with BPD have a more difficult time trusting people.

Trying to figure out the "why" of it doesn't necessarily help with the "what to do" about it. The "What To Do" varies depending upon whether you're a treating clinician or a family member. As a family member, FOA is something you must always keep in mind when interacting with your family member to make life more predictible.
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A.J.Mahari
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2008, 09:15:00 PM »

Those diagnosed with BPD have an intense fear of abandonment because they have had a very psychologically wounding experience of abandonment - perceived or actual - in their early childhoods. The notion that "everything" BPD or "everything" having to do with lack of trust or abandonment fear has all to do with biology negates the reality that trauma, abuse, even unintentional neglect, in early childhood that ruptures attachment and bonding for the borderline has such an impact that it may well be a part of the changes that are now being reported in the biology (in the brain) of the borderline.

It is from what I have termed the "core wound of abandonment" (which Masterson calls "abandonment trauma") and Melanie Klein likened to "the death of the burgeoning authentic self" that is then lost to this abandonment experience that arrests the emotional and psychological development of those who go on to be diagnosed with BPD that the central issue for those with BPD is an intense fear of what they have already survived - this core wound of abandonment - this death of authentic self - this abandonment trauma is dissociated from by those with BPD and it is what all borderline defense mechanisms are designed to keep out of the conscious awareness of those with BPD.

As someone who recovered from BPD I know all about this intense fear of abandonment, the core wound of abandonment, what it is like to live in the absence of a known self and what one must do in therapy to find, re-connect and re-parent that lost authentic self to heal and resolve these abandonment issues and to recover. Borderlines are triggered to classic borderline emotional dysregulation that manifests everything borderline in relationships, especially, as this struggle between fearing being engulfed on the one side of borderline spitting and fearing being abandoned on the other side of BPD splitting manifests itself from the central reality in BPD - intense fear of abandonment.
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waterlily11
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« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2011, 07:31:39 PM »

Does rejection count in the abandonment category? Any slight, any remote sense of rejection about anything sends him into a crazy fit of abuse.
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just_think
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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2011, 09:10:08 PM »

yes, rejection/fear of rejection counts, but hard to say because im not sure if any of the other PDs have that same reaction.  I can see a narcissist doing something like that. are you still with him?
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Unicorn1259
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2011, 05:08:40 PM »

I know I have a fear of abandonment because I feel like I WAS pretty much abandoned by both my parents. I was abused a neglected as a small child. Then at age 7 I was given to another couple. My mother just took me to someones house & just LEFT me as I was screaming & begging her not to leave me. She never looked back. And now I have a hard time dealing with my kids moving away, because I feel abandoned now by them. It is like I have a bad half that feels abandoned & the other half tries to understand that they left to be able to live a good life. As I live in California & it can get very expensive to live here. I know deep down that my kids love me, but there is always that other half fighting with the half that feels abandoned. I hope this all makes sense. 
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 06:37:25 PM »

Can abandonment fears develop as a result of something that occurred in a BPD's teenage years? My ex BPD's father passed away when he was 17 years old. I honestly believe that he has never gotten over his father's death.
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madeofwax
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2011, 11:24:28 AM »

From my experience being a person with BPD and trying to identify the root causes throughout my own life I'd have to say that it's usually multiple events throughout the years that one spends developing emotional responses and how they are validated, dismissed, judged or ignored that result in the shields up mentality of a person with BPD. It's not only the events themselves but ALSO the event's responses from the "pre" BPD person.

For instance a child or teenager may feel neglected because a parent or someone in a guidance / care-taker type of role dismisses the child's feelings or ignores them, the child may respond by going outside to play with friends where impulsive behavior may take over to impress the friends and try to get sense of validation/acceptance, or the child may go to their room and punch themselves in the head, cry, etc. All the while these responses are still not being properly dealt with or processed in a way that would result in a healthy emotional balance and expression. In my research of my own life I think situations like this are paramount and are the difference between a healthy recovery of a trauma or a continued traumatic experience to a point where it becomes the norm because the emotionally non-developed brain will do what it does best and build walls to protect itself and ensure survival. Based on the environment it's really what it knows to emulate, if the care takers were emotionally available to nurture instead of erecting their own walls it wouldn't be necessary.

Over time I believe this develops in to a control, both internally and externally. Often I feel powerless over my own life and relationships, to me, validation and abandonment start to intertwine and I can easily feel abandoned just because I believe my partner is not on the same team as me. Much of this is based on perception that was most likely conceived while I was still developing emotions and gauging my acceptance of emotional responses.

I think the "target" mentality I read about so much here is much more complex than just being the person in the room and thus the target of rage or other emotional outburst, though as far as it pertains to abandonment I would say the "target", to us BDP folk, are actually the protagonist for some of these feelings. In many ways they have assumed the role of the pre-developed care taker. (Either in actuality or emotional response) As adults in relationships we can identify traits and characteristics that garner emotional responses, sometimes a similar situation for the BPD may just naturally invoke a fear of abandonment to in turn have an outburst to either be validated or build walls for protection.

For instance: Why did she talk to that guy? Is she going to leave me? Or even, as described earlier intertwined with validation: Why doesn't he care what I'm talking about? I'm trying to open up and explain... Obviously these scenarios are not the same as one would face growing up, however the perception generates similar feelings to the events that initially caused the abandonment and shields up mentality in the first place.

These situations can be more complicated further, by a partner who actually does present an abandonment scenario. Not only for the actual leaving but the loss of control.

In short, I don't believe there's one event that triggers these fears and reactions, but rather multiple events and responses that were left un-checked as the brain developed perception, emotions and responses.
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2011, 03:03:44 PM »

I'm new here today and I hope I'm not being inappropriate when I say that as the mother of a uBPDD, I'm finding all these references to childhood neglect and abuse very painful to read.  My daughter had a wonderful childhood by any standards. She was  wanted and loved and validated. She was raised in a stable loving family with parents who love and respect one another. There was no violence or abuse or neglect of any kind. Mom was at home and available at all times. Dad was very involved. I volunteered in her schools and hosted her friends all the time. We had a home-cooked dinner together every night. We provided every experience and opportunity we could, and did our utmost to be good, loving role models. We supported her talents and interests. She had dance and music lessons, lots of travel and a higher education. Yes, we made mistakes. We overindulged her and we were over-protective of her, but our parenting mistakes never approached abuse or neglect. Can we agree that not all instances of BPD come from that?
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2011, 03:19:12 PM »

I'm new here today and I hope I'm finding all these references to childhood neglect and abuse very painful to read.  

I totally agree.  Sometimes it's just they way they are.  Sometimes it's environment and wiring.  Feathers, don't blame yourself.  You've done your best and for most children what you provided would have been a perfectly wonderful upbringing.  
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madeofwax
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2011, 04:23:50 PM »

I'm finding all these references to childhood neglect and abuse very painful to read.

Absolutely Feathers, so much of this disorder is based on perception and perception of things at (usually) a young age. If the medical community or any community for that matter knew what spurred BDP we'd all be in a much better place as a whole. It sounds like you have raised your daughter wonderfully and just by being on these boards I'm sure you're being extremely supportive and your daughter is lucky to have a a parent like you in her time of need.  
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Hollygoeslightly


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« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2013, 01:48:12 PM »

For me the situation was:-

- my ex was abused by his Uncle as a child.

- various circumstances (which I never found out all) led him to be placed into Foster Care.

- his parents divorced whilst his dad had cancer and he moved with his dad from the States to the UK.

- since then he has been in unhealthy relationships (if what he told me was the truth) with a bipolar ex, various conquests, and the girlfriend before me who cheated on him with 5 other guys and had NPD.

- Along comes little old me, nice as pie (not wanting to blow my own trumpet), laid back, undemanding and willing to go with the flow offering no stress or pressure.

- after a few weeks we are getting closer, but after sex he gets chest pains and has started to get panic and anxiety attacks (which I presumed were due to uni work and stress - he never said and I never pushed as he told me he had bad stuff in his past he wasn't ready to discuss yet and that he couldn't tell someone he loved them until they knew it all).

- a few weeks later he was in so much pain (it always seemed to happen right after we had had a proper bonding moment and got closer).

- that's when I suggested being friends (though I then had fallen in love) but he wanted to not have me as a gf and have me hang around the same amount which I felt was very selfish of him.

- it was like he couldn't see a relationship without sex and saw my standing up to him as rejecting him when all I wanted was to love and support him.

- at this point I never knew he was anxious over the future with me and perceived future abandonment.

- I tried to take it back but at that point he decided it was for the best that we split.

- I relieve he had fallen for me and it totally scared the bejesus out of him as I provided no drama, was kind, supportive etc. all things which to him did not mean love...  love is pain.

Well that's my take on it.
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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2013, 02:12:34 AM »

My daughter has shown several times her fear of abandonment. Her ex-husband once came to the house after she had thrown him out. She then refused to allow him to leave by placing herself between him and the front door. This was, I believe, a typical example of testing her ex to see if he would stay. It is about her maladaptive behaviour. I have even been on the recieving end of the fear. When my daughter started divorce proceedings she had decided to meet several men who she had chatted to on-line. Her first suitor was in her bed within an hour. Quite a vocal experience ensued. After that, any suitors that came I would leave the house and do some shopping or such. While I was out on an errand I had to do my daughter was phoning the police and told them that we had argued and she was concerned that I would harm myelf in the hope they would find me and bring me back. Needless to say, I was shocked as no arguement had happend. In fact I had told her that I did not want to "play gooseberry" while she had her friends around. I had hoped I had been as tactful and diplomatic as possible.

Is there a possible cause in our pasts. I believe so. My wife at the time (daughters mother) had been having relationships with other men while I was away in the Army. She had even struck up a relationship with a friend of mine (unknown to me). I came home one morning to find my wife in bed with my friend but most shocking was that my daughter had been locked in her room during these episodes. I had only a few minutes before I had to get back to camp. I told my now ex-friend to get out and I would have to talk with my wife later. I arrived home at lunchtime to find my wife, my exfriend and my daughter leaving. We divorced later.

This is my understandings of my daughters fear of abandonment.

Ian
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« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2014, 07:34:07 PM »

I was wondering. pwBPD have a deep-seated fear of abandonment, which as I've come to understand (correct me if I'm wrong) influences their push-pull behavior. But many of their behaviors and attitudes make them such difficult people to be around. Eventually they're bound to burn bridges.  What I'm wondering is this.

Once they have angered enough people, once they've betrayed their way out of the lives of their loved ones. Is it really possible that after a time, after their looks go, do they end up alone? Or do they develop more sophisticated means of seducing and manipulating people? It would appear that people who are so unbearable end up alone, with no one left to put up with them. But is that really the case? I mean, they fear being abandonmnt yet do just about all they can to push away anyone that tries to get close. Is this just something that goes on in some cycle? If so, it seems like a terrible way to live. Why, though? I mean, some are intelligent and capable of actually *THINKING* about what they're doing. Do they just not care? Is it arrogance, that when one person is exhausted, another will simply take their place? Is that part of it? This feeling of security that all people are replaceable, and thus will be exchanged in time?

Or in the end, do they create the very world that they fear? A world where they are completely alone with no one to care about them. I want to know what the life of a borderline looks like when they hit bottom.
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« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2014, 09:27:10 AM »

I KNOW for sure my exBPDgf suffers from abandonment issues. I remember so clearly trying to telling her it was over a few years back, and she cried and cried so much and was completely non-functional...  so I went back. At this time she didn't have ANY friends and was completely alone.

This time seemed different after the b/u because she had all these friends she idealized ...  so even if there isn't a new b/f or SO to replace me, would these new friends that she idealized so much be the replacements?

Maybe she became bored /w me, she def didn't idealize me like she used to, and these new friends of hers were her no focal point (always posting status on FB/Twitter about how she loves her new friends CONSTANTLY).

I just don't understand how she has a huge fear of abandonment, but can drop me so easily like trash ...  perhaps these friends were easy replacements, thus why it was so easy for her to move on so fast?
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« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2014, 11:11:19 AM »

I just don't understand how she has a huge fear of abandonment, but can drop me so easily like trash ...  

Logically, I agree - this does not make sense.  But this is BPD a mental illness.  Fear of abandonment can only become intense if the relationship has intimacy, thus your relationship itself can be a trigger for her.

perhaps these friends were easy replacements, thus why it was so easy for her to move on so fast?

Her new friends are likely helping her with her unstable sense of self another factor in the disorder.  She is attaching for some balance.  This is a pretty typical coping tool for BPD.
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« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2014, 03:24:28 PM »

I just don't understand how she has a huge fear of abandonment, but can drop me so easily like trash ...  perhaps these friends were easy replacements, thus why it was so easy for her to move on so fast?

Let's say you have a rare job and you love the the of work you do and you don't want to lose the job and end up back at Starbucks.

Based on the way the boss is acting, you are afraid you might lose your job.

So you try harder at work.

Might you also start paying attention to the job market.  

A new job comes along, and you feel you job is in jeopardy, so you jump.

So, you quit your job because you had fear of job loss.
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« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2014, 05:20:20 PM »

A new job comes along, and you feel you job is in jeopardy, so you jump.

Its pretty sad that it is this simple for some of them.  My ex had massive fear of abandonment after I told her I was leaving because she had cheated on me.  It was obvious that she was frantically looking to replace me.  It really is a kick in the teeth to realize that you mean that little to them.  It was funny in my situation because it always seemed like she lived her life without regard to our relationship, like it was just a phase in her life that was going to pass.  So strange really.
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« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2014, 05:39:33 PM »

It's pretty sad that it is this simple for some of them.  

I'm not sure it is simple.  It's deep-rooted primal fear.  

I don't want to be overly dramatic, but what do you think the suicides are all about?  A person with BPD can only take so much pain before it destroys them.  They build their life around avoiding it.  Extreme rejection sensitivity.

Many people with BPD really want love, but, deep down, fear it.   I always wondered if "I hate you don't leave me" which is how we feel it, is really, "I want to love you, but I fear love more".

How do we deal with this?  Not knowing this is the underlying psyche, we often do things to make it worse.  Whenever my ex fears flared into controlling behavior, I resisted and pulled away.  Not knowing any better, my natural instincts made it worse.

It's too late for that old relationship, but the one thing I have learned for my current one is the difference between giving someone space when they need it (a good thing) and resisting and pulling away (a bad thing).  
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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2014, 06:27:23 PM »

I just don't understand how she has a huge fear of abandonment, but can drop me so easily like trash ...  perhaps these friends were easy replacements, thus why it was so easy for her to move on so fast?

well there's two components to it. Skip is spot on with the job loss analogy. i think fear is the basis for why they look for replacements to keep them afloat. once replacements are found though, the next stage is the punishment/hate stage where they want to torture you for perceived wrongdoing. once they find another replacement to lean on, then they can be bolder with abusive behavior as their need to abuse is now greater than their fear of you abandoning them. i would imagine this gives them a sense of power of conquering/abusing someone who had power over them before, in the way they (incorrectly) perceive you to have abused them.

this kind of follows along the idealization > clinger > hater phases outlined here. replacements being around during all of the phases but being utilized more during the start of the hater phase.
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« Reply #23 on: May 07, 2014, 07:00:14 PM »

 Shout out! goldylamont  

Using the job analogy, once the new job is lined up, there is resentment against the employer for very threatening the job security (the extent of which is often unbeknownst to the employer*) and this can manifest in a range of different ways like:

~ walking away, cold (I'm done with you),
~ rebellion (See, you can't beat me),
~ retaliation (I'll teach you).

_______
* They often told their partner about their concerns - more than once.  I know, in my case, I often defended or invalidated her concerns rather than listen to them.  In my current relationship, I listen very carefully.  I take the time to read between the lines. Not perfect, but it has really helped me going forward.  
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talithacumi
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« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2014, 02:03:59 PM »

Skip/goldylamont -

I think the extremes to which pwBPD go in rejecting/abandoning their partners is a pretty good indicator of not only what they fear so much, but, not surprisingly, why they fear it so much as well.

Getting a better grip on the kinds of beliefs/feelings/thoughts my ex was/is actually dealing with doesn't make it any more acceptable for him to treat me the way he has, or any less painful for me to experience. But, as I come to terms with those things, it does make it easier for me to find the kind of compassion for him as a fellow human being that I actually believe/feel/think he deserves.

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« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2015, 10:19:00 AM »

how do some of them end up married?

I can only answer from my own experience, but I think others have had similar experiences...

My ex lied to me about birth control, to get me to marry her - and it worked.  (We have two great kids, and I also have two great stepkids - her biokids.)

She desperately wanted to be married, and she thought I walked on water.  She told her friends the most amazing things about me - some of them true, and some of them wild exaggerations.  I think she really believed I was perfect and could solve all her problems.

This is the "black and white thinking" or "splitting" thing - seeing people as all-good or all-bad.  It was fun being idolized...but it didn't last.  Shortly after we got married, she started fluctuating - some days I was perfect and some days I was perfectly awful in her eyes - and then over the years the perfectly-awful days pretty much took over.

Having kids is a different thing:  it played into her need to be needed and loved, and in control.  When the kids were little she loved them and was a great mom, but as they got older and got their own personalities, not so much.  She was abusive with the oldest - she has admitted it.  With the younger kids, no abuse per se, but harsh language and lots of passive-aggressive BS.  She did not like it when they became independent and started having their own ideas...
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« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2015, 08:30:34 PM »

Is it normal for a Bpd to ask for a divorce? My exBdP was divorced. One day she is telling me she wants to get married and spend the rest of her life with me. Literally the next day she tells me her ex asked for her back and she has to give him another chance.

My wife filed for divorce as a way to punish me for not doing everything she ordered me to.
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« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2015, 11:55:07 AM »

I was wondering - if BPD have such wild fluctuations in emotions and have a chronic fear of abandonment resulting in them devaluing partners...how do some of them end up married? Surely that's the complete opposite of what they're used to?

Abandonment fears are not the same for everyone who experiences them.  Some people may react to abandonment with pushing another person away for the fear of rejection, eg. abandoning you before you leave them. Others are clingy, needy, and obsequious in order to prevent abandonment.  There are those who split their partner as a coping mechanism. 

I have abandonment fears.  I understand how your emotions can affect fear of abandonment. I have had anxiety or fear that my bf was going to leave me. Then I would engage in people pleasing and become overly needy. All of my relationships have been long term. 
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« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2016, 10:18:04 AM »

I think that there might be some confusion about the fear of abandonment (FoA) because of FOO issues and how it manifests itself. Because it is a phobia that I struggle with, maybe by addressing some of the things asked here I might be able to clear up some of the misconceptions.

It would appear that people who are so unbearable end up alone, with no one left to put up with them. But is that really the case? I mean, they fear being abandonmnt yet do just about all they can to push away anyone that tries to get close. Is this just something that goes on in some cycle? If so, it seems like a terrible way to live. Why, though? I mean, some are intelligent and capable of actually *THINKING* about what they're doing. Do they just not care?

No, it is not that those of us who actually suffer from FoA (as opposed to experiencing separation anxiety) just don't care. We are in survival mode at the time. The fear has engulfed us and we are just doing whatever we can to "survive." Think of a person drowning. They will unintentionally drown their rescuer in an attempt to survive.

It truly is a terrible way to live. It encompasses all aspects of my life. Family, friends, SO, jobs, or meeting new people; all are affected. The moment that I think about meeting a new person, the phobia is triggered and I'm scared about them leaving my life. It is debilitating in that it prevents me being all that I truly am.

When someone has managed to make it past the meeting phase and has become part of world, every action that I take from that point on is designed to keep that person happy and in my world so that I don't have to fear rejection and, ultimately, abandonment.

Is it arrogance, that when one person is exhausted, another will simply take their place? Is that part of it? This feeling of security that all people are replaceable, and thus will be exchanged in time?

For me, it is quite the opposite. It is extreme insecurity. I have lost many people that I care about as a result. None of them were replaceable. Each time it happens, the FoA is strengthened. I've asked myself numerous times why no one can love me enough to stay with me? This is one of the gifts that my x gave me. She showed me what was actually happening within me and now I'm dealing with it.

Or in the end, do they create the very world that they fear? A world where they are completely alone with no one to care about them. I want to know what the life of a borderline looks like when they hit bottom.

Yes, people with FoA create the world that they fear. This doesn't just apply to pwBPD btw. It can apply to anyone with FoA. We struggle so hard to protect ourselves that we act based on impulse rather than thought. We spend so much time and energy trying to avoid feeling the pain that comes with abandonment that we neglect ourselves, our needs, and our own lives. Everything is engineered to deal with the fear.
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