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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONALITY DISORDERS
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Author Topic: What is fear of abandonment?  (Read 33004 times)
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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Feathers


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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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eeyore
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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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Oldsoldier2411


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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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Vatz
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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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dillan6241


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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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seeking balance
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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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