The loss of a loved one can be frightening. In childhood, losing a beloved toy is often nothing less than devastating. In adolescence, losing a cherished friend can alter the entire trajectory of your life. In adulthood, losing a trusted partner is normally incredibly difficult. A series of losses in childhood, through adolescence, and into adulthood can cause distressing feelings to grow as you age and can lead to the outright fear of losing someone you love. It could also be that, with age, you realize that people won’t be around forever, regardless of past experiences. This fear is valid; it’s one of the toughest things to go through in life for many. All of that is to say, there are times when the fear starts to affect your life, and even your relationships with other people, negatively. How, then, can you overcome the fear of losing a loved one?
Why Does This Fear Of Losing Someone Grow?
It’s not uncommon for the fear of losing someone you love to begin in childhood. Although childhood loss and trauma might not seem related to romance and romantic relationships, your childhood relationships generally form the bedrock for all of your future relationships, and you very often carry the wounds inflicted by parental relationships and friendships in childhood well into adulthood. A common source of this fear is parental neglect or abuse.* Oftentimes, otherwise incredible parents do not even realize they are being neglectful. This is partially because some don’t realize that emotional neglect is a form of neglect, too. The parent who works strenuously to provide for their family might feel as though they are parenting beautifully; after all, the children are fed, enjoy a robust education, and have all they could ever want. However, they may unintentionally neglect, overlook, or underestimate the emotional needs of a child. This can sometimes influence the way a person attaches to others or experiences and copes with feelings.
Loss can also prompt feelings of fear for future losses. If a loved one has died, or someone you loved and trusted left or betrayed you, you can develop a strong fear of having the same thing happen again. Very often, these feelings are not easily recognized and identified, but function as a silent undercurrent to your day-to-day life and only show themselves when a new relationship has begun. These feelings can show up in the form of clingy and controlling behavior, unrealistic demands placed on your partner, and the need to be in constant communication.
Later experiences and mental health can also influence the fear of loss. For example, a person might live with an anxiety disorder, or they could’ve faced loss in their life and developed a fear as a result. The good news is that what you’re going through can improve and doesn’t have to be forever.
*Please contact the national domestic violence hotline — available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — at 1.800.799.7233 or visit their website at https://www.thehotline.org if you or someone you know is experiencing abuse.
Symptoms Of The Fear Of Loss
Fearing the loss of loved ones is fairly typical and does not necessarily indicate a larger problem. It is when fear becomes overwhelming, debilitating, or otherwise problematic that you may need to seek help.
What Are The Symptoms Of Fear That Has Gone Too Far?
If you find yourself pushing your loved ones away or failing to cultivate relationships as a whole because you fear the worst possible outcome, your fear has potentially grown problematic. If you cannot connect with the loved ones you already have because you are afraid of how much it will hurt if they pass away or leave, you may need to address this fear of loss.
If you find yourself avoiding love, closeness, and vulnerability, you may need to examine your relationship with loss. Avoidance is rarely a healthy behavior, and avoiding the closeness and community that friendship, love, and romance bring can cause you to miss out on a vital human experience. Although missing out on this experience may not seem like a big deal, never experiencing deep love could result in a number of negative consequences, including those in the realm of physical health; people with long-term partners consistently demonstrate greater health than those who live or do life alone. This doesn’t mean that you need to be around people 24/7. It is only to illustrate the very real importance of social relationships, however you choose to have them.
Can My Fear Of Losing Someone Be The Fear Of Loss Or Fear Of Abandonment?
The two can coincide for some people. Losing someone you love can come in many forms. Death can take your loved ones, but so can a new job, an unexpected life change, or losses in other areas. Unfortunately, loss is a part of life and cannot be inoculated against entirely. Although it seems to make sense to adopt an attitude of, “I’ll abandon you before you abandon me,” which some people do, you are likely to feel pain in both situations. Instead of experiencing the pain of not having love or your loved one, however, you may experience the pain of loss when it wouldn’t have occurred otherwise.
Fear of abandonment is a thought pattern that can be worked on in therapy. You can also work on other fears that impact your life, trauma, and other matters that may coincide with these concerns in therapy. There are many diverse modalities of therapy out there, and the distinct treatment method that makes for the best fit will vary from person to person based on a number of factors, such as previous methods of treatment you might’ve engaged in, the most pressing concern at the time you seek help, personal preferences, specific diagnoses, and so on.
There are currently no pharmaceutical options available for abandonment, but related conditions may be treated medicinally. Many people who live with abandonment issues can also experience depression, anxiety, or both. These conditions, as well as other mental health diagnoses, can be treated with therapy and medication that supports symptom management. If this is the case, some people may use prescribed medication as part of their treatment plan. Please consult with your physician before stopping, starting, or modifying medication options.
What To Do When You Lose Someone You Love
Sometimes, the fear of abandonment is realized, and your loved one passes away, leaves, or is taken away. Although learning to deal with the fear itself is important, you may at some point have to cope with your worst fear being realized. The manner in which you grieve will likely depend on the circumstances surrounding your loss and other factors; but many of the symptoms of grief will be the same. When you’ve lost a loved one, there are some healthy ways to cope.
Love and Loss
So, how to deal with losing someone you love, or the fear of losing love? Understanding what caused the fear or contributed to it often helps. Childhood trauma, previous losses, and abuse can all explain these fears. Abandonment could’ve taken place in a romantic relationship, too. Professional help is often an incredible tool for people with fear of loss, as therapy can more effectively and carefully help identify childhood trauma, emotional damages and needs, and the roots of your fear.
The fear of losing someone you love does not make you strange, broken, or flawed; instead, it means that you might need to work in your romantic relationships to learn how to trust, let go, and allow relationships to unfold in an organic, natural way. People may disappoint you, pass away unexpectedly, and sometimes, let you down and leave. When this happens, give yourself space to grieve, to feel all of your feelings (big and small), and to take time for yourself, as all of these can be incredibly useful steps to take when healing after a great loss.
Healing from loss can take a long time. It might seem like it should only take a few weeks or months — especially if your relationship was young — but healing from loss may take upwards of six months or several years, regardless of how much time you spent together. Emotional ties will determine the duration of your healing far more than the length of time you spent together. Healing from loss and easing a fear of loss are collaborative efforts that can lead to an emotionally healthy, fulfilling life, where your fears and the effects of those fears are more manageable.
Need A Hand While Healing?
If you need help healing from a fear of loss or something else that’s affecting the way you feel inside, consider seeing a therapist or counselor through an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. All of the providers have different areas of specialty, and online therapy is generally less expensive than in-person therapy. Regardless of whether you find someone to work with in person or through an online therapy service, consider reaching out for support if you need it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Worrying about losing someone isn’t by any means uncommon, but it can impact your life. If the worry gets intense enough that it impacts your life or health, or if you find yourself heavily focused on it, consulting a therapist or counselor can help. Practices such as radical acceptance and focusing on the present moment can be advantageous ways to reframe your thoughts when the worry steps in. It’s not to say that building your coping skills up will make the fear “go away” entirely, but it can help with grounding and preventing the fear from infringing on your mental or physical wellbeing, your interpersonal relationships, and other important parts of life.
It isn’t inherently bad to be afraid of losing loved ones, but it can be negative for your life in some ways. Most people are afraid of losing the people that they love, and it’s seen as a common fear. When it starts to have an adverse effect on your life, though, whether that’s your relationships or something else, it is important to address it.
First, be proud of yourself for identifying that this is a fear for you. Acknowledging your fear head on is often the first step to getting to where you want to be. Having a support system to talk to, particularly people who are compassionate and understanding, is often very helpful. Many people live with this fear, so you’re really not alone. Having a safe space like therapy to talk it through and work on coping skills is important for a lot of people. It can also help to focus on the present moment. For example, if you fear losing a family member, focus on being in the moment with them when you get to be or talking with them when you’re able. If you struggle to focus on what you want to focus on due to a condition like ADHD, an anxiety disorder, or OCD, a therapist may also be able to support you and can potentially help you find solutions or acceptance, depending on what is most applicable to your situation.
Fear of losing a child is another issue that can pop up for adults. Having a child is a very big deal in your life, and a lot of your identity is likely wrapped up in being a parent. Some parents wind up worrying so much about losing their children that it affects their all-around health. It’s understandable to have this fear, so be compassionate with yourself. As for what you can do: Seeing a mental health professional could be highly advantageous for a person in this situation.
Another common reason why people are afraid of losing those whom they love is that they have developed trust issues. When you have trust issues, it can make you less likely to be trusting of others. Perhaps you’re worried about losing your loved one due to them not loving you any longer. You might be concerned about your partner cheating on you or simply getting bored and moving on. Trust issues can come about due to someone having bad experiences in the past. They can also happen when your partner gives you a reason to doubt them.
If your partner has been acting differently of late, then that might set your trust issues off. This could make it so that you are worried about losing loved ones more than usual. If you suspect that something is off with your partner, it can help to talk about it. Sometimes, people go through personal struggles due to being overworked or dealing with other types of stress in life. You don’t want to assume bad things about your partner before you have a conversation.
Avoid talking to your partner negatively and/or accusing them if you have nothing but suspicions based on changed behavior. Instead, bring the behavior up with them and ask what’s going on. Hopefully, you’ll be able to have an honest conversation. If communication does become a relationship problem for you, couples therapy may be advantageous.
Signs of trust issues could also involve people not being willing to open up. If you struggle to trust others, it can be tough and even nerve-racking to let them in.
You can tell a guy is scared of losing you when he tries to keep you close. Some people can express an excessive amount of affection when they’re afraid of losing their significant others. They might start trying really hard to get your attention. If these are things someone in your life faces, they may have difficulty trusting other people. That said, there are many things that could make a man (or a person of any other gender) jealous or insecure in a relationship. It could relate to someone’s attachment style, past experiences, personal insecurities about themselves, or something else. It is possible to work through and cope with these concerns if it’s something you struggle with personally.
You can tell a guy is scared of losing you when he tries to keep you close. Some men can even be a little bit smothering with affection when they’re afraid of losing their significant others. They might start trying really hard to get your attention. Typically, a man needs a reason to be afraid of losing loved ones before he would start acting differently. If your man sees someone flirting with you, then this could prompt him to act this way. There are many things that could make a man (or a person of any other gender) jealous or insecure in a relationship. It might be good to think about what you do on social media as well if you don’t want your partner to get the wrong idea. Even hitting “share tweet” on a particular tweet could make your partner jealous or nervous about losing you.
It would be best for you to reassure your significant other to make him feel less scared of losing you if indeed you actually care for him. You don’t want him to feel anger, anxiety, and other negative emotions because of your actions. Anger anxiety can be particularly troubling and you can avoid this by being a good partner. It might be good to know that your man cherishes you enough to feel afraid of losing you, but that doesn’t mean that you should want him to remain scared. Be a bit more careful before you hit “share tweet” on social media and try to show your partner that you love him.
As mentioned earlier, worrying about losing someone isn’t entirely uncommon. When we talk about the fear of losing someone, it could mean fearing losing loved ones permanently due to death, or it could mean the fear of losing someone because they left you. Losing loved ones in the past could make it tough for you to avoid worrying about losing loved ones moving forward. For example, you might have lost a parent or close friend at a young age. It’s normal to feel worried about losing others when you have experienced love and loss already.
If this is something you face, there are steps you can take to address the worry. You can find a therapist that can help people to get through the pain of loss or the fear of it. Sometimes, in exploring the topic, one could find that a person is still grieving even after years of being separated from a loved one. When you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, it’s very easy to worry about losing loved ones again. Allow a trusted person in your life, such as a good therapist, to help you through this time in your life. When you’re grieving, it’s possible to find new ways to move forward.
Therapy Is Personal
Therapy is a personal experience, and not everyone will go into it seeking the same things. The independent, licensed providers on the BetterHelp platform have a range of specialties, which can make finding the fit you’re looking for more accessible.
If you’re still wondering if therapy is right for you, and how much therapy costs, please contact us at email@example.com. BetterHelp specializes in online therapy to help address all types of mental health concerns. If you’re interested in individual therapy, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and check out our Instagram. For more information about BetterHelp as a company, please find us on
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