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 are the treatment, doctors, symptoms, side effects and then there’s the illness itself. It’s completely reasonable to feel 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.
Tracy, N. (2012, July 19). Fear of Abandonment Due to Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 15 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2012/07/fear-abandonment-due-mental-illness
Author: Natasha Tracy
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".
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.
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
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.
I live a solitary life as I was mentally physically and sexually abused as a child
I also live with a very severe stammer, I was very violent and feared in my 20 and 30 due to anger and frustration of. My childhood abuse which was disgusting what I had to endure , I was married and had a successful business for 13 years, I did disclose my childhood abuse to my ex wife and family and friends, I was offered no help or understanding and was treated as though I was a liar and humiliated and ridiculed, I did not like close effection off my wife her friends and my children,
I have never harmed my children or my ex wife and the my wife would bring her friends round asking me about my childhood abuse when I was drunk and on cocaine to escape the torment .
I was made to feel like a piece of shit.
I spend my days now painting and living a quiet peaceful solitary life which I donate my paintings to charity.
I don't like human contact as I feel people are playing games and laughing at me or conspiring or trying to poison me.
I am under a good mental health team and I have been abandoned by every one else.but I feel safe on my own.
I have tried a to have therapy for my childhood abuse but felt the guy was a two faced bastard asking my ex girlfriend if I had ever raped her and was happy when I got jailed for 18 months after I had a nervous breakdown due to little help or understanding and missing my 3 kids who I have not seen for 8 years.
I just can't wait till I'm dead and out of this world, I'm not suicidal but do not fear death and if they told me I had a month to live id be happy.
My worst regret was disclosing my childhood abuse and being nailed to the cross for it .
And yet, 18 months after all that went down, I am developing deeply painful abandonment and betrayal issues. It's like I have unforgiven her. I am completely committed to this relationship - for life - and yet I know that if I felt this way when she asked to get back together, there's no way known I would. I do not understand this.
I can understand it being the biggest issue, it is for many and I can understand that the rejection might get displaced. But at least you have that awareness about yourself which means you have the best chance at curbing it. Moreover, you are correct that it's not about you, it's about the (weak) people who would leave.
And you do have the right idea, in my opinion, we need to be grateful for those who are there. Focus on the positive, because there are always people who are strong and will be there.
displaced. I am working on not getting stuck in such thoughts and having some success with ACT and eastern religion, meditation. But mostly I just have to have work in gratitude with what and who I still have in my life. Thanks, and sorry I got carried away here.
If abandonment is about withdrawal of support, compassion and courage lead back to Love. I've also had to find Unconditional Self-Forgiveness somewhere in there. It's not easy. She hasn't written me yet this year,
but I have to believe it's not from my absence and abandonment.
I still have faith that both my daughters will one day come back to me.