Fear of rejection and abandonment: what it really means and how to deal with it

One of the most common fears we feel today is abandonment and rejection, two similar feelings that reverberate.. Feeling rejected, a feeling close to frustration, leads us to a feeling of abandonment where we immerse ourselves more in feelings of loneliness, discouragement and emptiness.

These fears often arise in the partner’s experiences, but they also arise in family, social or friendship contexts. It also happens when we feel the need to bond with someone and this experience seems to escape us or is denied to us.

What is the source of the problem? Is there really a problem with what’s going on, or how we understand it and deal with it?

    Understanding the fear of abandonment and rejection

    One of the most common issues when it comes to wanting and needing to go through a process of personal change is usually relationships, whether relational, social, or professional. In psychological consultation, it is common to work with this type of difficulty.

    Still people usually don’t consider the problem at first (think more about insecurity, discouragement, or partner issues in general) As the process progresses, we find that these two fears are there, conditioning the relationship.

    That is to say that it is not that these two fears are a consequence of what is happening to us, but that the fact that they are present conditions what is happening.

    Sometimes it seems strange to us, but that’s what really happens. Do we cry because we are sad or are we sad because we cry? While we tend to think it’s the first one, we’re really working the other way around. It is our actions, thoughts, interpretations and previous emotions that condition what happens to us. and they lead us, again and again, to such an unpleasant feeling of rejection and abandonment.

    My name is Rubén Camacho, psychologist and human empowerment coach. I have been supporting people in their personal change process for 11 years, and this difficulty is one of the most common. In this article, we have several goals: First, to find out what really is the origin of these sensations (i.e. how you understand and deal with what has happened to you and what is happening to keep you going. to feel that); second, find out what they can do for you; and finally, learn to manage it to achieve the change you deserve and need (not with magic and general keys but from your own personal change, because that is what really works, internalizes you and serves you forever). Let’s go!

      The meaning of fear of rejection and abandonment

      It may sound obvious, but … What does the fear of rejection and abandonment mean?

      The fear of rejection is not just the fear that others will reject us, but the fear that your well-being, your self-image and your self-esteem will be damaged by the behavior of others. In other words, your well-being depends on what you cannot control. In this case, it depends on what we interpret as rejection. You may feel and think that rejection is actually happening, but here it is positive that we are also considering what exactly rejection is.

      Human beings naturally reject. We are beings with a limited capacity to process information. We constantly accept and reject. Sometimes we may even refuse to be with our loved ones or engage in a particular conversation or activity.

      However, we are able to understand this in a relationship based on trust. When a relationship is based on insecurity, either because it is not built or because there is fragility, it is common to feel that the other rejects us precisely because we observe this rejection, hoping to interpret any behavior of the other to understand it as rejection.

      Try to imagine that you are very afraid of dogs. What do you do when you see a dog on the street? Immediately cross the sidewalk. Is the dog dangerous then? When crossing the sidewalk you feel more secure but the idea that the dog was a danger is valid because walking away from it makes you feel more at peace.

      Likewise, being afraid of rejection makes us interpret what is happening as a future possibility of danger. At the same time, it conditions our behavior, which can lead to conflict in relationships.

      As for the fear of abandonment, it is generally a consequence of the fear of rejection. If the rejection is experienced out of frustration or anxiety, abandonment leads us to a feeling of emptiness, helplessness or discouragement. Surrender is a void because we feel like we aren’t connecting or bonding with the people we need. At the same time, this feeling is based on how we have learned to build our relationships or our attachments: whether it is out of trust or insecurity.

      In both cases, the conflict is the same: your well-being depends on external factors, which you cannot control. This is what causes your self-esteem to not work, because depending on something outside makes us anxious and constantly lost. When our well-being depends too much on external factors, it is usually due to attitudes such as demands, comparisons, expectations, feelings which arise from fear and insecurity.

      The meaning of fear of rejection and abandonment is the consequence of believing that we can live without ties, which distresses us. Human beings need connections, living relationships and experiences with others. However, these fears do not inform us of a real danger (a human being who lives in well-being and trust has no difficulty in living quality bonds, even if there are conflicts) but they condition us excessively by not having learned to understand and manage them.

        The consequences of fear of abandonment and rejection

        Just as the fear of the dog pushes us to cross the sidewalk, the fear of abandonment and rejection pushes us precisely not to live our bonds of trust, but to live them with alertness, mistrust, insecurity and anxiety.

        We try to control relationships or, conversely, we don’t allow ourselves the experience of emotional connection (for fear of a possible rejection by the other).

        Living too long with these emotions demotivates us and makes us feel that there is a neglected part in us. At the same time, it often happens that we either focus our energies on another aspect of our life (work, projects) or, on the contrary, we focus too much on relationships and live them too intensely.

        Insecurity, fear and anxiety, over time, cause us intrusive thoughts, fatigue, problems sleeping or eating, muscle stress, and a constant feeling of exhaustion and stress. However, as we speak, the problem is not in these emotions … but in how you understand and manage them.

          The solution lies in your personal change

          Trying to solve the fear of abandonment and rejection with magic keys is like trying to make a recipe through an Instagram video. Every kitchen, pan and ingredient is different. In your case, it’s all about understanding how you approach relationships, where you build them, and most importantly, how you learned to bond.

          It is true that you cannot go back in time and change all of that, but it is true that what you feel now is the result of what you do often.

          Working entirely on you, based on your emotions, actions, interpretations and relational styleit is possible to deepen your thoughts about yourself and the relationship and build a style of self-esteem where your well-being depends primarily on you.

          When we do this, it does not mean that conflicts go away, but that we do not weigh as much, we know how to approach situations with more perspective and we can feel more well-being and fullness. Since your change, your links also change.

          However, it is important to work completely on personal change, taking care of both your belief system and your style of self-esteem, communication and relationships, and especially actions (nothing changes if we don’t do anything different). The key to improving this problem is learning to understand and deal with your emotions, not just the fear of rejection and abandonment, but all the related emotions (fear, insecurity, anxiety, discouragement, frustration, guilt, etc. ).

          Human beings are emotional beings and every emotion has a reason for being. Problems arise when we have not learned to manage them functionally.

          Do you want to benefit from psychological support and coaching?

          If you want to solve this problem and experience a process of deep but also practical change, take yourself to get the changes you need and before something lasts in time you can visit Human Empowerment to schedule an exploratory session with me.

          Human empowerment

          Bachelor in Psychology and Master in Coaching

          Verified professional


          Online therapy

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          In this session, which we can have via Whatsapp and where you just have to be in a comfortable and private place for you, we can get to know each other, deepen your situation, find out the source of the problem, and above all see how I can support you because get the change you deserve.

          I send you a lot of encouragement and don’t forget that from your own change everything else will change.

          Thanks for thinking of you Ruben.

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