Many people who came from mentally abusive childhoods have a severe fear that people will abandon them. They carry toxic shame from their childhood that they are the cause of the abuse which occurred and deserved what happened to them.
People who experienced years and years of various kinds of emotional abuse and / or trauma during their childhood often develop C-PTSD. This is complex post traumatic stress disorder. There were so many incidents of stress, feelings of threat and no ability to get any help, that the mental trauma just kept piling on and on.
Children have no way to know that they are being abused. If they are punished for “being bad” then they believe they must have been bad. How can you know any different?
If you were made to feel your parents’ divorce was your fault or that your parent’s drinking was your fault, then there is a feeling of shame that is carried with you into adulthood.
If a parent abandoned you as a child, then you had no way to know that it was not your fault. You were made to feel worthless and unloveable.
All kinds of varieties of childhood stress, trauma and mental abuse piled on top of one another causes the child to feel like they are very different than other people. There is a constant nagging feeling that there is something about them that makes people want to punish them and leave them.
If you are carrying this kind of toxic shame then you will have the feeling that people will eventually realize that you are bad and not want to stay with you. This is fear of abandonment.
In my opinion, is possible to develop borderline personality disorder from this kind of ongoing abuse. It is possible to develop bipolar disorder if your moods were constantly affected by a mood dis-regulated parent. There are a variety of mental disorders, including depressive disorders and anxiety disorders that can come out of chronic stress and a feeling of of being safe as a child.
If you feel that you have the signs of one or more of these disorders, there is treatment for them. The mental health system is not as good some places as other places though. Hopefully you live somewhere that you can get the help that will work for you. It is good if you realize that some of your anxiety and fears are based on things that happened during your childhood.
If the therapist is trained in dealing with people that have C-PTSD from childhood abuse then they will understand better how to help you. Unfortunately the current manual that therapists use (the DSM) does not recognize C-PTSD as a disorder. Hopefully that will change in the future, but for now it is best to find someone that personally feels that C-PTSD is a legitimate disorder from ongoing childhood emotional and mental trauma.
It is not surprising for someone to have a fear that people will leave them, if their early experiences were that people leave, people fail to take care of you, people do not love you, people show their love by abusing you, and all of the other traumas which may have happened to you.
The severe fear of abandonment can cause many problems in adult relationships.
It is hard to trust people. It is hard to have a good perception about your value and your self worth. It is just hard to feel like a normal person that should be loved.
Some people that develop borderline personality disorder become so afraid that their partner will leave them that they will unconsciously cause damage to the relationship so that it will cause the other person to leave. Then when the other person leaves, this confirms their reality that people are not to be trusted to love them enough to stay or that they are not good enough for people to love them.
The reality that a person is taught is hard to change. The brain sees reality the way is was taught to see it. The process of changing your entire perception of yourself and of reality itself is a huge process that takes time. It cannot be done overnight and usually cannot be done without help.
The reality is that you are worthy of love. You are valuable. You did not deserve to be abused as a child and you were worthy of being loved unconditionally.
The other thing that can occur with people who fear abandonment is that they will develop People Pleaser Syndrome and go overboard about pleasing other people. There is a fear of making people angry, or disagreeing with people because in the reality of the C-PTSD suffered, the displeased person may punish them or leave them, simply for expressing a difference in opinion.
Reality is a tricky thing. People do not see reality the same way. The reality of life for an abused child is very different from others. The reality of a person that grew up with an alcoholic parent is that there is always a threat looming just around the corner. Things can seem fine but the adult child of an alcoholic feels like it is the silence before the storm and there is an explosion or a catastrophe about to occur.
This constant anxiety causes stress in the body that is unhealthy. It causes the brain to be on alert for danger too often. Clearly this kind of condition makes relationships very stressful for the person with C-PTSD.
If this is you, and you feel fearful of people leaving you, then you are not alone. There may be a disorder which was inflicted upon you during developmental stages of your childhood. When you were supposed to be learning that people will care for you, that is not what you learned. Your brain was taught that it should always be on the look out, in order to protect itself.
Be kind and gentle with yourself.
I like the Ajahn Brahm talks on youtube, when he talks about being gentle with yourself. If you can be gentle and forgiving of others, why not with yourself. The less you judge and punish yourself, the better you will be able to work things out in relationships.
If you feel like there is something wrong with you, then just understand that you were abused and something caused you to feel that way. It is not real. You are not less worthy than other people.
You are ok the way you are, with the exception of needing healing. You have just as much right to love and kindness as anyone else.