As the best book on the subject, The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, explains, there are five different symptoms of separation anxiety.
They are the following:
- Avoidance — You are avoiding the person you are separated from, such as staying home all day and watching Netflix.
- Failure to Feel Motivated — You do not care about the person you are separated from, such as not texting them back.
- Withdrawal — You do not feel like you want to see the person you are separated from.
- Sympathy — You have sympathy for the other person because you feel they must be going through something you have not.
- Agitation — You are extremely upset, agitated, and are angry with the person you are separated from.
Your reaction to the other person’s anxiety is a key factor in why you have separation anxiety.
To stop suffering, it’s important to understand why you respond in such a manner.
If you’ve been experiencing separation anxiety, it’s time to go back to basics
We’ll talk about why separation anxiety occurs and the tools you can use to overcome the problem.
Two things separate humans from the rest of the animals, and they are our ability to communicate and our ability to love.
If you have control over both of these, you will be much happier.
One of the main reasons for anxiety is the fear of losing someone you care about.
This fear is called “unmeltable” in psychology.
For example, if your boss or a close friend of yours was in a car crash and was not hurt, you would not care about them any less, because you know you are not going to lose them.
But if the same situation occurred to someone you love, you would feel terrible, regardless of how they are doing.
This is a feeling we all know very well. The only difference is that this love is not physical or emotional.
It is a feeling that the mind creates when there is no love to be felt.
To overcome separation anxiety, you need to find a way to create this feeling in your mind.
Separation anxiety and love
First, let’s take a look at what love is.
In psychology, there are five different types of love:
- Attachment — love with trust and closeness.
- Affection — feelings of affection, affection being an expression of love.
- Arousal — sexual or romantic feelings.
- Romance — romantic relationships.
- Paternal — parents.
So, we all know what attachment and affection feel like, but what about romance and sex? What about romance and parenting?
The difference between love and romance is that love involves attachment and affection
Think about a mother and a child who are separated by a glass door, who want to hold hands as they wait for the other to let them in.
If they are not attached, it could be an awkward situation. If they are attached, it will be a sweet and tender moment.
Romance, on the other hand, is a form of love with no attachments.
Instead of being attached, the relationship is simply taking the two individuals from one situation to the other.
In that way, there is no physical contact, no physical intimacy.
When you feel affection and attachment, it means you are in a loving and secure relationship. It is loving because you have chosen to care for someone and who cares for you.
If you are simply taking the two individuals from one situation to another, you are not in love and cannot be in a romantic relationship.
This is why love and romantic relationships are separate from each other. It is not a matter of how much you care for someone; it is a matter of how you feel about yourself.
You cannot love someone without first loving yourself.
What about attachment and affection?
We will come back to this. Let’s first focus on love.
Attachment is defined as the “setting up or developing close personal relationships with other people” and is part of love.
Love is defined as a “sustained or long-lasting emotional reaction of a person toward another person,” which can be broken down into three components:
- Intimacy — The willingness to have exclusive, intimate, loving relationships with someone.
- Passion — The level of love that causes a person to behave more passionately and emotionally.
In other words, love is an emotional feeling of affection and attachment that you have toward another person.
When you attach, this can happen in many different situations:
- The child of an adult has attached to you.
- An individual who lacks love because of past trauma is very sensitive to love.
- Your romantic partner has attached to you because they like your company.
- Individuals in other species will engage in attachment behavior with their parents and offspring.
In the end, love is an emotional feeling of love that can be expressed physically in ways that bond two individuals together.