Fear of Abandonment - Eating Disorder Video #30

Fear of Abandonment - Eating Disorder Video #30

This week's video comes from a question I received on YouTube. The question had to do with how the fear of abandonment feeds as well as how it is related to our EDs. The first thing I want to acknowledge is that many people who have an ED also have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). BPD is a disorder that is usually characterized by instability in interpersonal relationships, difficulty with self-image as well as impulsivity. After reading that you can probably see why many people with ED's also have BPD. What I would like to talk about in this particular video is why we have such a fear of abandonment and how we can deal with this fear in a more constructive way.
There are often two ways that we act out due to our fear of abandonment. We will either emotionally black mail the person we are in a relationship with to force them to stay. Or we will leave them before they can leave us. When we emotionally black mail someone, it is almost like we are threatening them. We will say things like "if you leave I will kill myself," or "I will start cutting again if you leave me," etc. When they come running back to us, or say that they have changed their minds, we have blackmailed them into staying. This can be horrible for any relationship, because we know that they would have left and probably still want to, which can feed our fear even more. The second way we deal is by running from them first. This is usually in romantic relationships, but I have had many clients who have run away from friendships as well. We feel that we would rather know when the leaving will happen and so we push people away and move onto the next relationship. In general, we don't really like being alone so it should be easy for you to notice if you tend to run away.
So what do we do about it? Well, the first thing I would like you to do is to make a list of the people who are important to you. I want you to write down why they are important and whether you fear they will leave you or not. Through this journaling you will be able play out your fears without acting on them. Think of this as a safe place to talk about this. The second thing I would like you to do is to keep in touch with those people in your life that are important to you. I know we tend to isolate and withdraw from them when we actually want their love and support. So reach out, keep talking about it and let me know how it goes. Let's keep working towards a healthy mind and a healthy body.

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