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9 Signs of Abandonment Wounds and How They Relate to Anxiety

PEACE with Anxiety Podcast Episode 12

Ep 12: 9 Signs of Abandonment Wounds and how they relate to Anxiety

In this episode, we talk about emotional abandonment and share with you how to recognise the signs of an abandonment wound. We also dive into the origins of the abandonment wound and finally offer a gentle self-compassion journaling exercise to help you bring you back to this moment. 


Listen as I talk about:

  • What is an abandonment wound or emotional abandonment and how it relate to Anxiety

  • The 9 signs of an Abandonemnt wound

  • How it developed and where it started

  • Self-compassion exercise to help you get in touch with your feelings and ground you in the present moment


Click play to listen below:



Abandonment wound

Typically, we think that in order to have an abandonment wound, then we must have been physically abandoned by one of our main caregivers, and although yes, this is true, abandonment wounds can also result from caregivers who were emotionally unavailable or physically absent, so whether through divorce, neglect, disease or loss, but also


Being left alone for long periods of time, Being left to cry for hours on end, or crying yourself to sleep. these experiences can shape a child’s view of themselves and the world around them.


Additionally, growing up in an inconsistent or unpredictable environment, for example, your caregivers were inconsistent with meeting your emotional or physical needs so a kind of hot and cold kind of behaviour, can create an insecure attachment style, where you may struggle to rely on others for emotional support and comfort.


Finally, traumatic experiences, or events such as birth trauma, the sudden loss of a loved one, betrayal by a close friend, or abandonment in a significant relationship can shatter your sense of security and trust and make you feel constantly unsafe.


9 Signs of an Abandonment Wound

  1. You tend to form relationships with people who are not able to meet your emotional needs.

  2. You have experienced people coming and going out of your life.

  3. You cling to people, you are controlling in the relationship, or you are very critical.

  4. You may feel lonely, even when you are in a relationship.

  5. You may believe that you are meant to be alone because when a child feels abandoned by their parents, they start to believe that they are unlovable or unworthy of love.

  6. You either attach too quickly to people or you completely avoid commitment.

  7. You have difficulty trusting others or making friends, so you may have a tendency to sabotage your relationships by pushing them away to prevent that perceived future rejection.

  8. You have difficulty setting boundaries, and asserting your own needs and desires.

  9. You constantly trying to be perfect.


Self-compassion exercise

This is a gentle exercise for exploring your current emotions and promoting self-awareness by focusing on the present moment and offering ourselves compassion and understanding.

Begin by taking a few deep breaths to centre yourself and connect with your feelings.

Close your eyes if you feel so, and take a few deep breaths, allowing yourself to relax and become present in the moment. Now Open a journal or grab a piece of paper and write down how you're feeling right now.

Be honest and open with yourself, allowing your emotions to flow freely onto the page.

Don't overthink it, just allow yourself to express whatever is present for you in this moment.

Next, consider if there are any situations or interactions in your life currently that are triggering feelings of abandonment or insecurity.

Reflect on these experiences without judgment, noticing any patterns or themes that may emerge.

Now, think about what you need at this moment to feel supported and nurtured.

Think about ways you can show yourself compassion and care in this moment. Write down any self-care practices or actions that come to your mind.

This could be through self-soothing activities, like taking a nice bath, reaching out to a supportive friend, or engaging in relaxation techniques.

Take a moment to reflect on your responses, offering yourself reassurance and kindness. And remember, it's okay to feel vulnerable, and you deserve love and understanding.

Now Close the exercise by practicing self-compassion.

Place your hand over your heart and silently repeat a comforting phrase to yourself, such as "I am worthy of love and belonging" or "I am deserving of compassion and understanding."

Allow yourself to receive these words with warmth and acceptance.


Thank you for taking this time for yourself today. Well done.


Need more anxiety support with the abandonment wounds?


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Full Transcript


Hello everyone and welcome back to the show, welcome to episode 12 of the PEACE with Anxiety Podcast. Today we are talking about a topic that if you’re listening to this show you may struggle with, or you may know someone who possibly does, and it affects greatly all of your relationships. And that is emotional abandonment or abandonment wound. If you are wondering why we’re talking about it here is because Abandonment behaviours are a form of anxiety that happens when you have an excessive fear that the people you love will leave you in any way. Typically if you struggle with abandonment wounds, you may experience extreme emotional sensitivity to anything that can trigger rejection, for example, feeling insignificant, criticised, misunderstood, slighted, excluded, or overlooked. The fear of abandonment often is connected with anxiety, because it heightens those feelings of vulnerability, uncertainty, and helplessness. Now why is it important to talk about it, is because abandonment wounds can fuel a vicious cycle of anxiety. So, Think about it if you have an unresolved emotional pain that will continue to come up in any new relationships and situations. And what’s going to happen is that you may experience hypervigilance, avoidance behaviours, and difficulty in connecting with them as it affects your self-esteem and personal fulfilment. So it’s important to understand if you have abandonment wounds because it is going to help you recognise your anxiety triggers.


Are you tired of the relentless battle with anxiety? Are you Ready to Calm Your Mind, Embrace Peace & Reclaim Your Life? Then I‘ve got just the thing for you. Join the free 21-day Relieving Anxiety Meditation Challenge by clicking the link below in the show notes.


So let’s talk about 9 of the most common signs of an abandonment wound.

The first one is that You tend to form relationships with people who are not able to meet your emotional needs. So, Even though you know that they are unhealthy or unfulfilling and that you deserve better, you are unable to end that relationship because it’s better than being alone. And then you try to find proof or evidence that the relationship will improve in time, or is not as bad as what other people think, and you try to find many reasons to stay.

The second sign is that You have experienced people coming and going out of your life. You really know the “left behind” feeling and you start blaming yourself for their actions. So when they leave you take the blame and the responsibility.

The third sign is that you cling to people, you are controlling in the relationship, or you are very critical. Because of that belief that people will leave you you do everything in your power to prevent that.

Sign number four is that You may feel lonely, even when you are in a relationship. When the other person is emotionally or physically unavailable they will not be able to connect with you. Which makes you feel unloved, unworthy and lonely. And because you have this inner belief that you do not need anyone, you decide to only depend on yourself, which then again makes you feel even more lonely.

Another sign is that You may believe that you are meant to be alone because when a child feels abandoned by their parents, they start to believe that they are unlovable or unworthy of love.

Another sign is that You either attach too quickly to people or you completely avoid commitment. Because of this belief that you won’t find anyone else who will stay with you, you may quickly start to overshare, overgive, and overdo in order to keep them in your life. On the other hand, even though you form relationships quickly and have strong feelings about them, you still find it difficult to open up and be vulnerable with them and therefore you keep them at a distance.

And that relates to sign number seven and that is You have difficulty trusting others or making friends, so you may have a tendency to sabotage your relationships by pushing them away to prevent that perceived future rejection. You may also self-isolate, and avoid social relationships or intimacy altogether. Because If you are alone, then no one can hurt you?

The eighth sign is that You have difficulty setting boundaries, and asserting your own needs and desires. Because you fear that if you say something or if you do something, people are going to leave you.

Now Finally you constantly trying to be perfect. The perfect partner, the perfect friend, the perfect colleague, the perfect daughter, the sibling. Because you believe that if you do everything right, no one can leave you, you will be worthy, you will be desirable.

Alright so let’s now define what we mean when we talk about abandonment wounds.

Typically, we think that in order to have an abandonment wound, then we must have been physically abandoned by one of our main caregivers, and although yes, this is true, abandonment wounds can also result from caregivers who were emotionally unavailable or physically absent, so whether through divorce, neglect, disease or loss, but also Being left alone for long periods of time, Being left to cry for hours on end, or crying yourself to sleep. these experiences can shape a child’s view of themselves and the world around them. Additionally, growing up in an inconsistent or unpredictable environment, for example, your caregivers were inconsistent with meeting your emotional or physical needs so a kind of hot and cold kind of behaviour, it can create an insecure attachment style, where you may struggle to rely on others for emotional support and comfort. Now A big one is Traumatic experiences, so events such as birth trauma, the sudden loss of a loved one, betrayal by a close friend, or abandonment in a significant relationship can shatter your sense of security and trust and make you feel Constantly unsafe.

So, Emotional Abandonment or disconnection in infancy or early childhood can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves, how well we connect with others, and how safe and secure we feel in the world. Because it makes us want to be deeply seen but fear being seen at the same time. ⁣So, the abandonment wound often comes from a place of 'not feeling good enough" which can project out in all aspects of our lives including our relationships. So as we said before, if your needs were not met as a kid in the way you needed them to be, you internalised the belief of not being good enough which then you try to fill through behaviours in adult life.

Since connection is one of our most basic human needs, our survival is literally dependent on the presence of our caregivers. If you experienced any of the above, it would have resulted in your nervous system going into a survival mode, so fight or flight. Now, I say this a lot, but in order to heal, you have to build a healthy, trusting, loving relationship with yourself first. It all starts with you. The relationship you have with yourself literally becomes the foundation and template you then have with others. And I personally believe the greatest act of self-love is to ask for help when you need it. And with the help of a qualified therapist, you can begin to address the abandonment wound by doing the hardest thing possible and that is recognising it and processing it. To dive really deep into the underlying beliefs, feelings and experiences, and by that I mean by that is to feel your feelings. To finally give yourself the time and space through guided support to explore them, you also may need to challenge deep-seated beliefs about yourself or the world, and you probably will learn to invite self-compassion into your life. You can learn to use tools and strategies to build up your resilience. And through inner child work and attachment-focused therapy, you can start to heal these wounds, create a healthier relationship with yourself, create a sense of self-worthiness and finally embrace life with confidence and a sense of peace.


Now, listening to this episode may bring up some stuff for you so before we finish this episode I want to offer you a gentle exercise for exploring your current emotions and promoting self-awareness. We'll be focusing on the present moment and offering ourselves compassion and understanding. Begin by taking a few deep breaths to centre yourself and connect with your feelings. Close your eyes if you feel so, and take a few deep breaths, allowing yourself to relax and become present in the moment. Now Open a journal or grab a piece of paper and write down how you're feeling right now. Be honest and open with yourself, allowing your emotions to flow freely onto the page. Don't overthink it, just allow yourself to express whatever is present for you in this moment. Next, consider if there are any situations or interactions in your life currently that are triggering feelings of abandonment or insecurity. Reflect on these experiences without judgment, noticing any patterns or themes that may emerge. Now, think about what you need at this moment to feel supported and nurtured. Think about ways you can show yourself compassion and care in this moment. Write down any self-care practices or actions that come to your mind. This could be through self-soothing activities, like taking a nice bath, reaching out to a supportive friend, or engaging in relaxation techniques. Take a moment to reflect on your responses, offering yourself reassurance and kindness. And remember, it's okay to feel vulnerable, and you deserve love and understanding. Now Close the exercise by practicing self-compassion. Place your hand over your heart and silently repeat a comforting phrase to yourself, such as "I am worthy of love and belonging" or "I am deserving of compassion and understanding." Allow yourself to receive these words with warmth and acceptance. Thank you for taking this time for yourself today. Well done.


Alright, As we close today's episode, I want to leave you with a powerful invitation: Take the first step towards healing your abandonment wounds and start reclaiming your sense of worthiness. Whether you've felt rejected or lonely in a relationship, know that you are not alone on this journey. And if you need my support, you can click the link below in the show notes and book a free anxiety relief call with me, where we can discuss how I can help you.

Thank you for listening, until next time, take care and be kind to yourself.

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