Psychologist reveals why people ‘always’ look for evidence their partner is going to abandon them

Psychologist reveals why people ‘always look for evidence’ their partner is up to something – and how to deal with your attachment style

  • A psychologist has revealed why people fixate on potentially getting abandoned
  • Dr Nicole LePera has over 6.4million people following her work on relationships
  • People who are anxiously attached fear emotional intimacy with their partner
  • That fear leads to a fixation on the partner’s moods and a need for reassurance
  • And when that need is not fulfilled, people withdraw and feel abandoned 

A psychologist has revealed why some people in relationships tend to look for reasons their partner is going to abandon them.

Dr Nicole LePera, from Philadelphia, has gained a following of over 6.1million people because of her work on healing one’s inner self and understanding why emotional intimacy is important.

‘Many of us are constantly looking for evidence that our partner will abandon us or hurt us in some way,’ she began her viral Twitter thread.

Dr Nicole LePera [pictured], from Philadelphia, has gained a following of over 6.1million people because of her work on healing one's inner self and understanding emotional intimacy

Dr Nicole LePera [pictured], from Philadelphia, has gained a following of over 6.1million people because of her work on healing one’s inner self and understanding emotional intimacy

‘When we’re anxiously attached, we struggle to feel safe within our relationships. We’re fixated on: what our partner is thinking, doing, or how they may hurt us. Our fear is that we will be abandoned.’

People with anxious attachment styles are overly concerned with their partner’s feelings and emotions, and tend to be needy in relationships.

They often want to be close with other people, but worry that others will not want the same. 

‘While we fear abandonment, on a deep unconscious level we actually fear emotional intimacy,’ Dr LePera revealed.

While that could be for a variety of reasons, the psychologist provided an example of emotional intimacy during childhood often being relegated to being shamed or mocked, harshly punished, or emotionally abandoned – such as with the silent treatment.

‘Being truly seen, heard, and witnessed brings up fear (and sometimes even fear or panic). This is where patterns of sabotage come in. We fear intimacy, so we engage in behaviours that block intimacy. Also known as self protection.’

A psychologist has revealed why some people in relationships tend to look for reasons their partner is going to abandon them

A psychologist has revealed why some people in relationships tend to look for reasons their partner is going to abandon them

Examples of harmful ‘self protection’ 

  • push pull behaviours (shutting down when someone gets close)
  • seeking affection or attention outside of our relationship
  • putting up a “tough front” (defence mechanism)
  • stonewalling (silent treatment)

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The psychologist also revealed that the lack of authentic emotional intimacy results in a need for constant reassurance that you are safe and loved. 

‘Our partners mood or emotions dictates our own emotional state,’ she said. ‘We are ok only if our partner is ok. And, how our partner feels about us becomes how we feel about ourselves.’

She added, ‘Our wellbeing is dependent on the emotional state of someone outside of ourselves. This feels like riding an emotionally roller coaster.’

This anxious attachment style can often cause people to choose partners who are similarly emotionally damaged and unavailable, which can create an even deeper fear of abandonment. 

People with anxious attachment styles are overly concerned with their partner's feelings and emotions, and tend to be needy in relationships

People with anxious attachment styles are overly concerned with their partner’s feelings and emotions, and tend to be needy in relationships

The unhealthy cycle created by a fear of abandonment

This becomes a cycle:

I look to my partner to reassure me —-> they reject my need for connection  

—-> I’m abandoned —-> I withdraw —-> they feel abandoned.

My core belief “I will be abandoned” is confirmed.

And the cycle repeats.

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Thousands thanked Dr LePera for the simple breakdown of such a complicated emotional turmoil cycle, and shared their own experiences of anxiety in relationships. 

‘This thread gave me an epiphany on why I’ve always felt this way,’ one woman wrote. ‘I love the parts about how unconsciously we fear intimacy, and then because of that we end up becoming too impacted by other people’s moods.’

Another added, ‘This is so spot on. We lived this cycle for the first 20 years of our marriage. Patience and maturity have led to happier days the last 15 years.’

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