I am sure you have heard the term “abandonment issues” at some point in your life.
We usually reference it when speaking of an insecure person, or someone who has an insecure attachment and experiences anxiety within the relationship.
Abandonment issues are not to be taken lightly. They are real, and if you are someone who suffers from abandonment, whether mild or severe, it can be hard to manage and can eventually destroy your relationships.
People dealing with abandonment issues usually suffered some form of trauma in their life, most likely from childhood. Abandonment isn’t solely limited to being “abandoned” or “left.” Neglect is a huge form of abandonment. Neglect can be just as damaging because the neglectful person is actually still there, they just starve you of your needs, and there you are, left pining for their attention.
When your primary caregiver is emotionally unavailable and unable to provide you with the emotional and physical attention you need as well as meet your basic needs, you internalize this as if you have done something wrong or there is something wrong with you, and, sadly, you tell yourself that you are not worthy of their attention, time, love, and affection.
Unfortunately, this thought process can stay with you throughout your lifetime because you have convinced yourself you are unworthy of an emotionally healthy love. Because you have no way of rationalizing your caregiver’s behavior, you take it personally, and you internalize it. What you don’t understand is, most of the time your caregiver is not conscious of how much their emotional starvation is affecting you. Maybe they struggle with their own unresolved trauma or they have a mental illness which impedes their ability to give to others. It is truly a sad cycle that needs to be broken. Unfortunately, without treatment and healing, this cycle can continue forever.
Fast-forward to your adult life, those stories you told yourself remain. You might even chase emotionally unavailable men or maybe even you are the emotionally unavailable one. I know that sounds crazy, or maybe this resonates with you, but I encourage you to take out your journal and make a list of all your relationships since adolescence and define them. Then circle the characteristics. Look for clues that you are repeating the same behaviors over and over, just with different people. Its mind-blowing sometimes what we learn when we open our minds to seeing things from a different perspective.
Abandonment is something that may stay with you forever. However, there are ways to manage it so that when those not-so-pleasant feelings arise, you can put them at bay quickly.
1. Self-validation. Become your own validator by acknowledging the severity of your emotional wound.
2. Be your own friend, love yourself, and help yourself heal as you would a friend or family member. Be gentle and kind with yourself.
3. Heal thyself. Manage the abandonment by taking 100-percent responsibility for your own recovery.
4. Pain management/time management. Spend time with friends; find a good therapist to help you develop coping skills and tools to manage abandonment; create a comfort routine; throw yourself into something you love; find your passion.
5. Live in the moment. Be mindful and present throughout your day; take part in something, and immerse yourself fully; listen—don’t speak; if you find your mind drifting off to negative thoughts, bring yourself back to the present space.
6. Transform pain into growth. Understand we are only given this one life, and that every situation you go through becomes a lesson and makes us stronger. Learn the lesson and move forward.
7. Cleanse old wounds. Resolve long-standing, neglected core needs and feelings.
8. Acknowledge your strength. We live, we survive, we move on, and we use our tools.
9. Emotional self-reliance. Learn to live alone, and how to be happy when alone.
10. Understand that feelings are not facts; they are temporary and fleeting. Find serenity now and let go of the past and old stories.
11. Challenge despair. Challenge black-and-white thinking like always and never, and know that this too shall pass.
12. Benefit from your abandonment and help others.
13. Do not let yourself be abandoned. You are in control of what you allow in your life. Do not chase the emotionally unavailable. Expect more from your relationships. Be available.
Once you start taking these steps to healing and surviving your abandonment issues, you will start to see big changes in your confidence, what you will and will not accept from others, and what you choose in a partner.Eventually your relationships will be much stronger.
Please share this article with someone if you think it will help someone, and if you have a comment, please post it below. I love hearing what people are struggling with or learning new ways people cope with their abandonment and anxiety struggles.