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Fear of Abandonment Due to Mental Illness

When people realize they have a mental illness like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, one of the first feelings they have is fear. And there’s a lot to be afraid of. There’s the treatment, doctors, symptoms, side effects and then there’s the illness itself. It’s completely reasonable to scared in that situation.

And in that moment, or possibly in a moment shortly thereafter, the fear of abandonment becomes a reality. A very reasonable and realistic fear is that people will abandon you because of the mental illness.

Fear of Abandonment

Fear of abandonment is a real, human fear that happens to just about everybody. If you think about your current partner, right now, leaving you, you’ll feel a fear that is deep-seeded and almost instinctual. The same goes for family members. Just think about your mother or brother turning their back on you. Shivers up the spine.

Fear of Abandonment Due to Mental Illness

And people with a mental illness have a real reason to worry. People do, in fact, leave others because of a mental illness. Sometimes it’s reasonable – the mental illness is out of control and the loved one has no choice but to save themselves – but many times it isn’t reasonable in the least. A person with a mental illness is just left because of the pain and stigma of dealing with a mental illness. Sometimes people just can’t last through the stress of illness and treatment. Sometimes people really are abandoned by those they thought loved them unconditionally.

Self-Sabotage Because of the Fear of Abandonment

And so, this can lead people with mental illnesses to sabotage their own relationships. They would rather push other people away than wait for them to leave. It’s easier to walk than to be abandoned.

This isn’t necessarily a conscious choice it’s just the reaction of a person who is really scared and who likely has been through abandonment before.

Abandonment is Real, But Not Always a Reality

But I think it’s important to remember that while, yes, there is always the possibility that a person might abandon you because of your mental illness, there is a better chance that they will not. Of course, the numbers vary from person to person and from disorder to disorder but I really believe that more people will remain in your life than will abandon you. But you’ll never find that out if you’re too busy pushing them away.

So you have to give people the benefit of the doubt. You have to give a person the benefit of believing in them just as you wish for them to believe in you. Yes, you’re trusting them with something huge, but many people are worth that trust. We all have issues that we have to trust people with and mental illness is just one of them. And while I can’t promise everyone can handle big issues, I can promise you that some people can. And those are people worth having in your life.

When the fear of abandonment strikes, be open about it. Because it’s amazing how much smaller fears look in the light.

You can find Natasha Tracy on Facebook or GooglePlus or @Natasha_Tracy on Twitter.

Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar Burble, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

19 thoughts on “Fear of Abandonment Due to Mental Illness”

  1. Hello. My english is not quite alright but i will try to do my best. Im bipolar. And since the diagnose my head is a mess.
    My ex husband left me with 4 kids. I have an autistic son aswell.
    My new husband seems to doesnt uderstand me. Before my diagnose and medication i used to yell at everyone, to hit my husband and i told him to go away a thousand times. I was rude and sinical. And i didnt care if i was alone.
    But now..im feeling sad and i fear he will go away. I hate myself. I dont know what to do and who the hell am i.
    Im bp with bpd traits. Abandonment now feels like hell to me. My husband seems to live his life without me and im not sure if this is real or my head is just playing games with me. Does he love me? Or he is planning to leave me now he knows im bipolar ? Maybe he will leave me because i am bipolar and have 4 kids with ex husband? Maybe because im getting older??? Damn head..i hate my head and sometimes im brilliant.
    I hate this. I would love to be ” normal”.

  2. I always have a fear of losing my girlfriend when she’s at work, she is so loyal to me and I know it very well, she left everything which I don’t like. I abuse her on daily basis and keep spying on her that what she’s actually doing. She cooperates a lot but I can’t kick that fear out of my mind

  3. I was abandoned by my family and left homeless because of mental illness. It was easier for them if I became someone else’s problem. I gave myself the stability I needed and don’t get too close to anyone. I will not let myself experience that suicidal feeling of being thrown to the streets while sick by people who are supposed to love you. I got raped, mistreated, and was in and out of the hospital for two years. Needless to say I rightfully have trust issues. My family “allowed” me back after I got stable, but instead of feeling grateful, all I could do was observe the dysfunction, the superficiality, the ” fake nice “, the ” you need Jesus ” crap that just alienates me further. I’m just not the same as I used to be. The medication and the experiences made sure of that. After being forced to be alone I realized that I preferred it. Solitude is peaceful, relaxing, and low stress. I’d rather be alone than in bad company.

  4. I have a fear of abandonment. My real father committed suicide when I was young, I don’t remember him. My step father refuses to adopt me. I ask him to adopt me when I was a teenager. He wouldn’t. I do not understand why. Did he not love me. My mother and him had one biological child together (my younger sister) and I feel resentment towards her. We are adults now. I see what a spoiled brat she has turned out to be, and I am constantly left out. Now my step father has recently died and I feel angry with him, my sister, my mother, everyone. I am almost 50 and my life is out of control. Is all of this my fault?

  5. I read most every comment and after doing so I realized I’m not the only one. Almost 50 years old and in the middle of my forth divorce I would like to very kindly say to the author (with very supportive encougement) that I know there are some who can love enough to persevere and consistently help you unconditionally. My mother was blessed to marry one who could, my Dad. But as I said this is my 4th divorce. 3 out of 4 I was left.
    And this last marriage I absolutely made life with me a nightmare. I was in a nightmare and as my mind tormented me I in turn did the same to him. I was stable when we meet and had been so for 8 or 9 years. In fact I thought I had overcome my insecurities and I finally was going to have a good healthy and happy marriage. And when the illness began to come out of “remission” as I feel deeper in love with him, he responded as I had watched my father. Thought I was being blessed by God. He promised he would also support me and work with me. Not long after we married he began loosing compassion and any desire to understand why I sometimes be insecure. When I saw that behavior beginning it just about sent me over the edge. I lived in a manic attack for over a year. Suppressing it as much as I could but the more he drew away not caring the worse I got. He never really was supportive. He was tolerant but that’s different from support.
    My point to the author was this, it’s a needle in the hay stack to find a supportive partner and there is not “a lot” or “plenty” of people out there to find. Read the comments and I’m sure 3 times as many people thought about a comment and but couldn’t. False hope is false hope wether from a spouse who left you or a supportive article by someone maybe trying to be helpful. My apologies if this sounded disrespectful and for the length of it.

  6. Dear All,

    How can i deal with a guy whom i think has bipolar disorder but he never told me.He kept trying to push me away and i didn’t understand why inthought it was because i wouldn’t sleep with him tbh.Anyway he was very rude to me even when i tried to be supportive and caring which prompted me to tell him that he doesnt appreciate me,and gis reaction to me was cold and even ruder.Of course i apologized and told him i didnt mean it and that i love and care about him so much but he nevee responded and this was 3 months ago.

    I only just realized today that he could be bipolar and i dont know what to do

  7. I understand the fear of abandonment all too well

    I’ve felt like a reject my whole life. Given up for adoption – reject
    Adopted but physically, emotionally, & sexually abused – reject
    Unpopular in school – reject
    No boyfriend/husband/children – reject
    Labelled with a mental illness and stigmatized – reject,
    and on and on… It chips away at your self esteem after a while until you have none left. I get very anxious and uncomfortable in social situations, in large part because I have come to expect abandonment or abuse that’s why I have few friends and I live alone. They say God puts us all here on this planet for a reason but I have yet to fully realize my God given purpose. I’m always immersed in self help books wondering what the hell is wrong with me. Why can’t I seem to get it together and act like normal people. Nothing I try ever seems to work because I feel innately flawed to my core. I wish I could somehow learn to get over that and move on with my life. Therapy doesn’t help and medication only masks the problem.

  8. I was kicked out of my house at age 14 for drinking and basically being unruly. I have never felt a pain of separation from my loved ones in all my life while in foster care. My mom never called while I was there and I think I was allowed to talk to my sister and best friend one time. It wasn’t a real long time but I remember feeling suicidal with no one to talk to. I did end up going home.I was put in a mental hospital 2 years later and have been on medication for a majority of the since. Anyway I’m 39 married and trust my husband with all of my heart but have problems with fears of abandonment with friendships. This keeps me from making new friends. I let friends know right away I have mental problems but the fear they are going to say goodbye never leaves me. I am going to try to find a counselor to help me with this it is ruining my sense of self.

  9. I know how you feel, I got beat for anything anyone did, got sexually abused at six, had mywholefamily treat me like a slave, and try to murder me since I was seven to Corbett up what they did to me, three spine placed you shouldn’t go with anyone. You dont do everything can to destroy someone’s confidence then expect them to constantly defends themselves, I have records of foster care . Peipke that dont even know me try to tell me what happened. It’s ridiculous. I have severe mdd and severe ptsd.

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