#49: Dealing with Fears of Abandonment

In this episode, Marielle and Ed answer a listener’s question about fears of abandonment when conflict arises in relationships. These fears go straight to the heart of old wounds for many people. 

Often, worry that conflict will destroy a relationship is rooted in our earliest relationships with our caregivers. If that early care was inconsistent, absent, or punishing in some way, it will be hard to feel secure when conflict inevitably arises in adult relationships. With skill use and a lot of compassion, you can learn to walk yourself through this common fear.  

Show Highlights

  • Start by assessing whether you are in Emotion Mind or Wise Mind
  • Distress Tolerance skills can help bring down anxiety 
  • Use the STOP skill to pause and respond mindfully
  • Paced Breathing can calm the nervous system
  • Comfort and care for yourself with Self-Soothing  
  • Radically Accept that you are struggling with this fear
  • Name your emotions and worries to help ground you
  • Don’t let relationships problems fester and go unaddressed
  • Think about approaching what scares you, rather than avoiding
  • All relationships will have conflict at some point, because we are all different 
  • Remembering dialectics – we can love someone and be very angry at them at the same time
  • Conflict handled well often results in more intimacy and understanding

DBT Skills Discussed

Ask us a Question

We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here.

Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.