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3 Ways My Fear of Abandonment Shapes My Interactions With Others


There are many symptoms of borderline personality disorder, but for me, the most prevalent one is the fear of abandonment. This fear shapes and defines my interactions with people, and it is only through a combination of medication and therapy that I have gotten better at healthy coping skills to deal with this intense fear and not let it affect my every relationship.

My fear expresses itself in the three areas of avoidance, dependency and impulsiveness which I will explain.

1. Avoidance

As a borderline, my fear of abandonment and rejection is strong. This fuels my social anxiety. I many not get to know a person or be willing to open myself up to them because of the fear of being rejected. My brain catastrophizes rejection, making it feel as if one person is the end of the world.

2. Dependence

When I do grow close to a person, I become dependent on them for attention and validation. I constantly fear their rejection and would move mountains to make them stay. Letting go of people is hard for me, and I have been lucky enough in my life to have found a solid support system of non-toxic people. There have been toxic people in the past I’ve hung onto for far too long because I simply didn’t want to be abandoned.

3. Impulsivity

They say that borderlines are hypersensitive to the slightest change in tone or facial expression. I have the unfortunate ability to see anger in a neutral tone or face, which puts me into fight-or-flight mode. I become impulsive and defensive and am quick to anger, believing I am under attack. Mostly, I just want to yell and scream, but I am good at holding the emotional storm inside of me, and have gotten even better at it through therapy and learning about wise mind.

Of course, being borderline is much more complicated than that. It can involve scary dissociative symptoms, unstable sense of self and black and white thinking. But fear of abandonment is something I believe we all relate to, even though we show it in many different ways.

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Thinkstock photo via openeyed11.