The thought of leaving behind a loved person in life can be dreadful. This fear of losing someone mostly comes from anticipating uncertain situations–things that you can never know for sure, like “What if something bad happens to my loved ones?”, “What will happen to me if I lose them?”
Fear & love can be viewed as complementary words– where there is a special place for someone in your heart; there is also a fear of losing them. We all have it, even though we don’t always realize it’s the source. But sometimes, this fear becomes so powerful that it may end up causing disturbances in the relationships and your mental health.
If you are experiencing the fear of losing someone you love, this article will guide you in recognizing its source and overcoming it from the very root.
Table of Contents
- 1. What Triggers Fear of Losing Someone You Love?
- 2. Why Are You Afraid of Losing Someone You Love?
- 3. What Is Thanatophobia?
- 4. Risk Factors
- 5. Overcoming the Fear of Losing Someone
- 6. Conclusion
What Triggers Fear of Losing Someone You Love?
The word ‘fear’ is often used to describe our emotional reaction to something that seems dangerous. This can be triggered due to different traumas you may have faced throughout your life. Sometimes, your current mental health can also prompt feelings of fear of losing someone.
It’s essential to understand the triggers that are constantly pushing you to experience this distress:
- Childhood loss- The fear of losing a loved one can result from any childhood loss you have faced. Even when you grow as an adult, this trauma can remain inside your mind, affecting the current relationships, although it may not seem related.
- Parental neglect- Frequently, parents do not realize they are being neglectful towards their children. They may be striving hard to fulfil all the needs of their children but still lack to provide emotional support.
- Ignorance– It can sometimes grow inside you, influencing your responses to relationships and coping mechanisms in the later stages of your life.
- Past trauma or experiences- What you are experiencing today can result from an unhealed trauma that you incurred earlier in your life. Even though you may feel that you have long forgotten it, the event may stay inside your head, feeding your insecurities and fear.
- Geographic Distance- Proximity feels like a safe option for most people– when the safety gets snatched away, and you suddenly fall into the crater of distance, it may lead to scepticism and uncertainties.
- Lower self-esteem- How you view yourself is essential in handling your relationships. Low self-esteem can make you focus on your failures more than your worth– you may become afraid of losing someone you love because you think you are not good enough to keep them.
- Imagined situations- More often than not, fear comes from uncertainty than reality. This can be triggered due to your thoughts– you may imagine things that may not happen at all but the “what ifs” still make you anxious. Most of these thoughts exist in your mind long before you feel their presence.
Why Are You Afraid of Losing Someone You Love?
We are often scared of losing our loved ones simply because we refuse to accept common human phenomena– that ‘feelings change’ or ‘no situation is constant.’
Talking about acceptance doesn’t always mean that you’re fine with a situation but acknowledge it the way it is.
Even though it is a hard fact about life, it’s essential to accept that losing people close to your heart is an unavoidable part of your human journey, regardless of how painful it is. But rather than feeling anxious about the uncertainty yet to happen, take this moment as an opportunity to appreciate those who are still there in your life.
What Is Thanatophobia?
Thanatophobia is an intense fear of death or the dying process that can trigger anxiety around losing your loved ones. This fear is often accompanied by extreme thinking and can form a cycle of stress in your mind where your fear feeds off itself.
There are no particular diagnostic criteria to recognize this phobia. However, thanatophobia symptoms are usually linked with the signs of generalized anxiety disorder for treatment purposes.
No one wants to lose the one they love or experience the fear of losing someone, and it’s natural for you to have a similar feeling. But when the feeling turns into extreme overthinking and fear, it brings home anxiety, stress, and many other unwanted symptoms that affect your mental peace, including:
- Increasingly illogical thoughts
- A growing and extensive feeling of fear.
- Changes to sleep and eating pattern
- Physical symptoms like sweating, beating heart, stomach upset, or muscle tension
- Panic attacks
Overcoming the Fear of Losing Someone
We can’t stop other people around us from leaving, but we can find support and learn new ways of moving forward so that we no longer feel overwhelmed by being responsible for navigating our own life.
Here are a few steps you can consider to stop experiencing anxiety around losing someone:
The first step towards overcoming a problem is to accept it honestly. Forcefully trying to ignore or stop your anxiety can do more harm than good. Accepting your fear of losing a loved one allows you to settle down and figure out the needed solutions.
- Identify Your Concerns
Once you have accepted that you are experiencing anxiety or fear, it becomes essential to identify the triggers or the sources. It’s a good practice to spend some time and lists the factors that impact your fear. Once you identify the patterns, it becomes easier to overcome them.
- Work On Your Self-Esteem
Fear of losing your loved one can reflect your poor self-esteem and codependency on the other person to feel a sense of self. This is not a healthy way to bond with the other person and prevents you from discovering your true power.
Allow yourself to grow as an individual beyond this bond. Doing more things that boost your self-confidence makes you start seeing your life not just as a consequence of your relationships but so much more.
- Forget What You Cannot Control.
One way to cope with fear is to think about whether there’s anything you can reasonably do to control the situation– if the answer is yes, do what possibly makes the situation better but if not, try to let it go.
- Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness helps you focus on the present moment rather than the past or future beyond your control. When you are aware of the things in your life, you start appreciating them more. Being in the moment also helps reduce stress or fear that can come with the feeling of uncertainty.
Meditation, guided imagery, and different breathing methods are a few mindfulness practices to relax.
- Let Your Loved Ones Know About Your Fear
If you have been bottling up your feelings for too long, it’s a good idea to share them with your trusted ones. Opening up about your fear will not only help you relax but also give you the needed support.
- Get Comfortable with Being Alone
A hard fact about life is that no matter how much we love someone, we’ll face losses at some point. As important as holding your loved ones close, it’s equally necessary to define yourself as an individual beyond your relationships. The fear of being left alone disappears when you get comfortable being with yourself.
Feeling scared of losing a loved one is natural— but knowing when to address it and take the necessary steps to overcome the fear is essential for your well-being. If you are going through an actual loss of a dear one, allow yourself to grieve till you recollect yourself.
In both cases, make conscious efforts to heal yourself and reach out for the needed support.
The above facts are built to help you overcome your fear, but if you are experiencing extreme anxiety or stress, it’s always suggested to seek professional help. Fortunately, the phobia of losing people is treatable and can help you bring self-power back to you.