People often ask me what the fear of abandonment feels like when suffering Borderline Personality Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have been over abandonment in the past. Lately I have discovered fear of abandonment is one of my biggest triggers when it comes to my experience with my mental illness. I have learnt lately (from a lot of personal reflection) I tend to enter intimate relationships where I know the other person involved will leave. I have never had a relationship intimately where I was certain that the person would stick around to help support me and acknowledge my mental illness for what it truly is. In saying that, anyone can suffer fear of abandonment. Every human being longs to feel connected. Of course if you become closely connected to someone else, that you would want them to stick around when you need someone closest to you the most.
When children are raised in traumatic backgrounds, without the psychological and psychical protection they deserve when being raised, it is a natural response to live in fear. Living with repetitive abandonment patterns and experiences creates severe shame. Shame arises from the painful message implied when abandonment is presented. Messages such as "You are not important to me. You are not of value to me". Children are dependant on their parents straight from birth. It is only a normal expectation that when you enter this world, that your primary care givers will look after you in a safe and loving manner. When you are neglected of these needs, you are driven into the world believing it is an unsafe and fearful place.
Emotional deprivation and abandonment means you have to hide parts of yourself. Normal parts which you seek validation. When the validation is restricted, that is when the emotions are suppressed and negative self talk plagues the mind. Having to hide parts means self reflection of its not okay to make mistakes, that it is not okay to show how you feel as your feelings are always said not to be true, everyone needs become more important than your own and that your success is not worthy. Your accomplishments are disregarded and ignored.
Other things that cause abandonment issues include children not living up to the expectations of the parents. These expectations are often unattainable and not age appropriate. Children are held accountable for other peoples behaviours. I know one parent constantly blamed me for his inappropriate behaviours towards me. I then became responsible for his feelings at a very young age, because I was made to believe it was always 'my fault'. Disapproval of the children's being on a whole, instead of the specific behaviour that may be shown at the time. For example, being told you are 'worthless' because you didn't do the dishes properly.
Abandonment issues when surfaced in BPD can be very misunderstood. Because the wounds of the childhood are still internally felt, this can still surface in adult life. Abandonment issues are in no way an indication of a person being 'bad'. Instead, the flawed thinking, impaired behaviours of those who hurt them and false beliefs are revealed. The very real pain of abandonment is still felt in adult life. The causes of emotional wounding needs to be understood by those around us, as that can allow the healing process to continue. Once it is misunderstood and you are isolated for your behaviours, it will stunt the healing process.
Logically, a person who has a diagnosis of Borderline knows things end. They attach themselves to people who will leave them as that is what they are use to. That is all they are aware of. But what makes a person with BPD so resilient is the coping mechanisms they have developed at a young age through the abuse and trauma they may have endured. The emotions of someone leaving in a relationship becomes so over bearing that it takes us back to the core of our internal pain. We tend to enter relationships similar to the abuse endured because we are trying to fix the emotional injury in the past through new relationships. We end up becoming very over whelmed when we realise our partner wasn't everything we thought they would shape up to be. Then when this happens, the relationship can become quite chaotic. I believe the more you are aware you are entering these relationships in order to heal your injury, the more you will be able to walk away from people who may cause you more suffering internally. I know its taken me 11 years to know what I want in a relationship, whether it be intimate or a friendship. Regardless of my BPD diagnosis, I am worthy of love, care and respect. I am worthy of the things I was deprived from when I was a child.