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Author Topic: What is fear of abandonment?  (Read 34682 times)
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Person in your life: Ex-romantic partner
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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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« 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.


"When you go to the circus, expect to see clowns." - My horoscope, my birthday, local paper, 2011.
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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. 

"In order to take control of our lives and accomplish something of lasting value, sooner or later we need to Believe. We simply need to believe in the power that is within us, and use it." -Benjamin Hoff
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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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