“I got my own back.” ~ Maya Angelou
As children, we are told that the ones who gave us life will never leave us.
We’re told they will love us unconditionally, no matter what sh*tty things we do as kids, teenagers, or even adults. We’re told that those who birth us will hold our hands through every walk of life.
Well, that’s not the truth for everyone.
For those who have been abandoned, no matter at what age, we learn the hard truth about life, love, and moving on. We fall to our knees at every cracking floorboard. Our heart stops with every squeaking door. And we cry at the very thought of being left alone.
So, we panic—every single day and every waking hour of our lives: during our happiest moments, our saddest moments, moments when we should be proudest of ourselves, but especially, the moments when we feel vulnerable and weak.
The truth is, abandonment not only has broken our world to pieces once, but it makes walking through everyday life extremely difficult. Friendships get tested, relationships often don’t survive, we doubt ourselves, we question our self-worth, and we struggle with severe anxiety from the overwhelming thoughts that flood our minds.
But why? Why do we do this to ourselves? How could we ever be worth the love of another human being when the one who gave birth to us walked out on us and left us alone in the cold, dark world to find our way and become the humans we were meant to be?
The truth about abandonment is that it’s really f*cked us—and hard. It has made us question every intention of every single person who has ever walked into our lives. It has caused us to hold on and fight as long and hard as possible even when we know that person is not good for us. It has made us hard and cold and made it impossible for us to trust anyone. It has destroyed any intimate relationship before it ever even began. And it has, literally, given us every excuse to run from anything that could even remotely be close to real love.
We often find ourselves apologizing more than we should because we’ve done something completely irrational simply because we don’t know how to trust. We lose control at the smallest sign or feeling of someone pulling away and it becomes an unnecessary anxiety we face daily. We frequently make up stories blaming ourselves for why something didn’t work out when, in reality, it had nothing to do with us.
So, we hold on—to absolutely everything. We hide our pain because we feel we are not worthy of human feelings like being scared and alone.
But guess what? It’s okay.
The truth about abandonment is that it hurts—really, really f*cking bad. But the hidden beauty of it is, it makes us this unique type of intensely loving person because we simply don’t want anyone to ever feel left alone like we have.
Loneliness is real and it’s scary—but, we are only alone if we give up and let one little word crush our deeply loving and caring souls.
The truth about abandonment is that it teaches us to become selective. We choose carefully and very strategically who comes into our lives and who stays there. We calculate every move we make because we simply cannot bear the thought of someone hurting at our expense. While we may be extremely impulsive because of this, we are also aware—which is the first step to healing from this type of pain.
The truth is, it never gets easier. It hurts in the deepest parts of our hearts and it probably will always be there in some way. We have to find a way to let our pain be healed and learn to trust again.
But, we must also learn to trust those who come into our lives for the right reasons and not because we are eager to temporarily fill a hole in our hearts.
You could find the most amazing person in the world to share your life with, to grow with, to just simply be with, but if you cannot learn to let go of the idea that every person you love is going to leave, you will—undoubtedly—end up alone. And if you’ve lived that once, why would you want to live that again?
You are real. Abandonment will always be very real. But love is also real. And let me assure you, love is much, much stronger.
You are valued. You are worth it. You are loved. And, you are absolutely, undoubtedly enough.
Author: Stephanie Nemchik
Image: Alan Levine/Flickr
Editor: Leah Sugerman
Copy Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron