Posted by: Antoinette | 2009-09-26

Abandonment Issues

I am a 46 year old female. I have been battling with depression and anxiety for most of my life. There is definitely a pattern in my life when it comes to relationships. I am always fearful of being abandoned, insecure, but very affectionate, sincere and loving.
My parents were divorce when I was 5. We lived in JHB. My mother left and came to Durban. I was left with my father and sister. My father couldn' t cope and was never home. My sister was 12/13 at the time. She was off with friends and stayed at her now husbands home much of the time.
I was left with neighbours. This went on for about 14-18 months.
With this in mind, I' ve always felt that if it' s possible for both my parents to abandon me, then everyone I love will (especially) partners. Almost as if I deserve. Like this is my purpose in life and it sucks.
I have once again been abandoned by a man I was with for 4 years. We had a good relationship, but he couldn' t settle. I wasn' t at all demanding. We lived apart, but saw each almost every day. He just can' t settle. He has his own issues.
Once again, it' s an unanswered question. What is it that I do that drives people away? Why did my father leave and never make contact? How could my Mom just leave me like she did?
This has all been torment since then.
My behaviours include, waking up shaking, anxious, fearful. I have hypertension, high cholesterol, have taken anti-depressants for most of my life and I' m sick of it. I want to feel worthy and know what I deserve. I want to believe that there really is someone out there that could love me and be sincere about it.
I cut myself off from people now as it is a protective device against hurting more. I can' t be vulnerable anymore, but at the same time, I yearn for affection and love. Don' t we all really? I' m just sick of living with longing and fear.
Regards and thanks.
PS I have also passed through menopause (I think) as my periods stopped in May, so I can' t just blame hormones. I did however, battle with PMS.

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Our expert says:
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What you describe is a perfect example of how CBT ( Cognitive-Behavior Therapy ) can help. We can'tchange our history, the fact of whatever happened to us in life. But what has lasting effects on us, isn't exactly what happened, butthe conclusions we drew from it, and the negative habits of thought, the assumptions, we formed then and still carry with us. These can be properly examined and revised usefully. For instance, you were abandoned by irresponsible parents, and it was their fault. but it is easy for an intelligent and sensitive child to decide that it MUST have been their own fault, and to assume that this will happen again in any important relationship. However worthy you actually are, you FEEL unworthy. CBT helps you examine, test, and revise these inacdfurate but convincing assumptions. We can't change what happened in our past, but we can change how we choose to feel about it, and the conclusions we choose to draw from it.
THe Anxiety-Depression Support group can help you find CBT-competent therapists in your area ( and it\s also valuable and effective in treating Depression itself ).

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Posted by: Antoinette | 2009-09-26

Thank you. I will contact the group.

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