How to Heal from Abandonment Issues
Whenever we are talking about mental health, one of the main areas, under-represented is the abandonment wound. Think about it; what comes to mind when you think about abandonment? Probably a kid, two weeks old, left at the fire station by an alcoholic mother who's also dealing with depression.
The first exposure for kids abandoned at a young age tends to be very scary and unsafe. And nothing is more depressing for a kid than growing up without a healthy home life like the others of the same age. Often, these wounds of an absent parent embedding a deep sense of distrust in them. Hence, you will find that most people suffering the abandonment would navigate this world as though they are always under attack.
The immense fear of future abandonment and pain pushes them to shield themselves from any future danger or threat. These unmovable walls around their heart are a result of thinking of themselves as unlovable. Although the story may be different for most people, this wound remains the same.
And the common thing to such traumatic events is that they eventually explode or shrink to nothing if we ignore it for long. The worst part is that to heal the pain of abandonment is never easy. But it is worth it, and that's why in this article, we will discuss a few tips for easing your abandonment wound. That will help to steer you in the right direction. So, let's get to it!
Ways in Which Abandonment Wounds Can be Formed
Before we get to how you can heal an abandonment wound, lets first look at how these scars are formed. That will help you better understand why stressful events in your current life always trigger the past's unfinished business. With that in mind, some of the frequent first encounters that leave an abandonment wound in most people include;
- Death of their parent
- Losing a close friend or family member
- A sick parent
- Being sent to boarding school
- Birth trauma
- Sexual and childhood abuse
- Having to deal with parent's divorce
- Growing up in an emotionally cold environment where you had no chance to express your feelings
- Being left in a summer camp
- Your parents sent you off to stay with relatives when you were young
- Absent parents
The worst thing about all these events is that they tend to form a negative belief in a child's brain. In that, the child starts perceiving themselves as unlovable, and they often feel as if something is wrong with them, and that's why they were abandoned.
And with such a mentality, the kid will believe that they have to always do everything on their own. To find love and acceptance, they will need to behave in a certain way, which affects their interactions even as adults.
Signs of Someone Who's Suffering an Abandonment Wound
Abandonment, whether as a child or an adult, can leave a massive hole in your heart. Sometimes these wounds are never resolved to a point where it now clearly shows in your social interactions. In most cases, people who portray the following signs are often victims of abandonment:
- Lack of self-worth
- Self-doubt and insecurity
- Oversensitive to criticism
- Overreacting when there's conflict
- Extreme tendencies like extreme outbursts or even ghosting
- Ending relationships when they feel insecure
- Total loss of control of emotions, anxiety attacks, obsessive behavior, weight loss or weight gain
How to Heal an Abandonment Wound
Unlike other wounds, the abandonment wound is not visible. However, this is a wound that leaves telltale signs in how we relate to other people. It also affects how we feel toward certain things and how we connect with our partners when in relationships.
And that is why most people with an abandonment wound tend to have anxious-avoidant kind of attachment patterns. But the good thing is that all this can be addressed and eventually build a mutually loving partnership.
Accepting and Acknowledging That the Past Hurts
The first and most crucial step to healing an abandonment wound is taking that past events hurt. Most people will tell you to leave the past in the past. But what good will come with masking your pain with a smile?
Truth is; even when your pain is not visible to the outside world, it still manifests in your relationships. The trauma is still alive in our bodies. Therefore, look at your experiences and allow yourself to feel something.
There's no shame in that!
Accept that you were wounded at a time when you were the most vulnerable. And to move past it, feel all the anger, grief, and sadness. Acknowledge that it's not your fault, then forgive every one that made you feel helpless.
Remember You Are Not Alone
Almost everyone has traumas, hurts, and chains that have hooked them into their past. Your story might not be the same as everyone else's in the world, but remember that your feelings are valid. That's why it's a hopeless pursuit to compare your pain to others. Also, believing that your pain is more significant than everyone else's will make it harder for you to heal.
That is why if you want to heal an abandonment wound, you need to seek support. As terrifying as it seems, that is an act of self-love that will get you closer to your goals. If you choose to use your romantic partner as you anchor, remember they have their own needs in the relationship.
That's why you need a counselor or coach who can offer you the support you need throughout your journey—someone who can help you feel safe to share without any judgment. Once you navigate your feelings, you will break the patterns of living your life as a survivor. You will feel whole again and even allow yourself to be indeed seen for who you are by the world.
Allow Yourself to Be Loved
To heal your abandonment wound, allow yourself to feel loved again. Most people who have suffered abandonment have certain beliefs regarding their lovability and worthiness. If you are trying to get yourself from that state, it's okay to bring your emotions to another person.
That will help you reveal yourself in a vulnerable way without having high expectations. Hence, it will give space to allow someone who genuinely loves and cares for you to show you that you are not alone and that you are worthy of love.
You can let yourself be loved by accepting gifts offered to you. Learn how to trust others as that will help you also believe that you deserve all the love and support.
However, there is never any rush when it comes to healing an abandonment wound. It's okay to take as much time as you need without feeling the need to rush through the process.
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