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How to Work Through Abandonment Issues While Texting

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4 min

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Published on:

Thu Nov 23 2023

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Last updated:

Wed Dec 27 2023

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The Personal Development School

For anyone with unresolved abandonment issues, which is typical among those with insecure attachment styles, texting can often feel like a nightmare.

Abandonment trauma is hard enough to deal with in face-to-face interactions. But when you’re texting someone, you often have to wait long stretches of time for a response. And tone can be hard to interpret, too (raise your hand if you’ve ever started to panic when someone responded with a period instead of an exclamation point).

Before we get to that, let's take a look at what abandonment issues are.

What are Abandonment Issues?

Abandonment issues are when someone experiences an intense fear of anxiety when they lose or are rejected by a loved one. These intense emotions and behaviors can be deeply destructive, causing tremendous grief and stress on an individual and surrounding people.

It can cause many symptoms that are similar to mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression, but it's not a clinical diagnosis.

These issues are formed in childhood and greatly impact how people interact with others in adulthood. These issues are also linked to attachment styles; some are more likely to develop these problems than others.

How do you know if you have abandonment issues? There are specific signs to look out for.

Signs of abandonment

Signs You Have Abandonment Issues

While signs vary from person to person, here are some of the common ones:

  • Anxious about partners and the relationship in general.
  • Distrusting and constantly seeking out reassurances.
  • Codependency with their partner.
  • Intentionally sabotage personal relationships to avoid getting too close.
  • Unable to regulate emotions healthy.
  • Staying in unhealthy and abusive relationships.
  • Quickly jumping from one relationship to another.
  • Acting in abusive, manipulative, and coercive ways in fear they'll be abandoned.

How you respond to these issues is key to helping develop healthy habits.

While one of the best ways to overcome abandonment issues while texting is to work toward a more secure attachment style—which can be achieved when taking The Personal Development School’s courses—certain tips can be helpful.

Here are some ideas.

Texting Tips to Work Abandonment Issues

Get some distance from your phone.

If you have abandonment issues, you may be prone to obsessively checking your phone for messages or responses to messages you’ve sent. If this sounds familiar, try turning off your notifications and spending a few hours away from your phone.

Assuming you’re not texting with someone else who has abandonment issues (this may be triggering for them!), knowing you don’t have the option to check your phone can bring your anxiety levels down and allow you to make mental space for other things.

When you return to your phone, you’ll likely have the response you’ve been waiting for.

Communicate your abandonment issues with the person you’re texting.

If you’re in a romantic relationship, your abandonment issues may pop up the most around texting when you’re communicating with your partner. So, working on being open and honest.

Ask them about certain punctuation that may be throwing you off. When they don’t use an exclamation point, does that mean they’re mad at you? Or do they simply not use exclamation points when they’re writing?

Communicate with them about how long delays in responses make you feel, and ask them when the most convenient time for them to text is. For example, maybe they don’t have much time to text during the workday. If you know that, you’ll know not to expect a response, which can lower anxiety levels.

Tell yourself a different story. Often, people with an anxious preoccupied attachment style are prone to telling themselves worst-case-scenario stories that are based in fear rather than reality.

Say, for example, that you text your partner and write, “I miss you!” A few hours later, you get this response: “Miss you too.” If you have abandonment issues, this may send your mind into a tailspin. Why did they respond with less enthusiasm? Why did it take them so long to respond? Did they only respond at all because they felt bad?

Before you let your brain go there, try changing the story. Try saying (or writing down): “Oh, they must be having a busy day at work.”

texting while abandoned

Avoid texting except in necessary circumstances.

If texting makes you really anxious, know this: You don’t have to text. Texting has only been a mainstream form of communication in the last decade or so. People have communicated effectively for centuries without texting.

If texting with your partner is stoking your abandonment issues, suggest that you only communicate over the phone or in person. There may be exceptions to this, of course—like when calling is impossible, and you need to shoot over a quick note to them—but in general, this is a very reasonable ask.

Put your phone down when you notice them typing.

If you have abandonment issues, you’re likely very familiar with the feeling of anxiety that comes up when you notice someone typing to you. If they suddenly stop, your mind may jump to the worst-case scenario—they’re abandoning you!—instead of what’s probably happening, which is that they got interrupted or they’re trying to think of what to say.

So, make a rule for yourself: Once you send a text, put your phone down. Don’t watch them type. If you happen to notice that typing, that’s your cue to put your phone down for a few minutes. Knowing whether or not they’re typing won’t change their response, so don’t bother checking on this.

Set realistic expectations.

Finally, it’s important to set realistic expectations around texting. It isn’t realistic that someone will respond to you the moment they receive your text, but someone with abandonment issues might hope they will.

Setting realistic expectations—"they’ll probably respond to me in a few hours since it’s the middle of the workday”—puts your mind at ease and keeps your abandonment issues in check.

If you’re struggling with abandonment issues and want to work toward a more secure attachment style, check out The Personal Development School’s Lifetime All-Access Pass.

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