Have we ever loved someone who did not love us in return? Whether it’s a friend, sibling, parent, or lover, unrequited love is a form of abandonment. Feelings of abandonment can be traumatic, and limit our perception of ourself and life. They can also limit our ability to give and receive love. Today’s article is about how we can heal and free ourself after abandonment, and attract new, different, and more enjoyable life experiences.
Abandonment wounds act like a magnet.
Abandonment wounds magnetize people and situations to us, to mirror the very same feeling of our original experience of abandonment. This occurs again and again, like the movie Groundhog Day, reopening the wound, forcing us to feel, and hopefully heal, our original wound.
Abandonment can lead to addiction.
Abandonment and addiction are intimately connected. When we feel abandoned, we may also feel unworthiness, anxiety, and fear, which drive us to act. Our actions may be to directly heal the abandonment wound. Or, we might make indirect actions, like choosing to flood our feelings with illicit sex, drugs, thrill-seeking, mind-numbing, depression, and/or overachieving to distract ourself from the pain.
Abandonment is the bedfellow of fear.
While working with clients to release addictions, I’ve heard many stories about the deep-seated fear that accompanies abandonment. Fear of separation from love and loved ones is at the heart of many unhappy lives. Often, unhappiness stems from an original childhood wound of abandonment. In addition, there is often a secondary wound of abandonment—when we may consciously or unconsciously decide to abandon the possibility of life being different and more enjoyable than it has been in the past. And this leads to more fear, in our present and future experience.
Don’t abandon hope.
It is this second form of abandonment that I’d like to address today… because life can be different than it has been.
Life can be different than we’ve known!
I am living proof, and I will share one of my stories of healing from abandonment—which is still in process.
The feelings I am about to express are my perspective, and are said with great love and compassion for everyone involved, and are not intended to slight or harm anyone. With that said, in my childhood, I felt abandoned. Looking back on this now, as an adult, I can see that this abandonment benefitted me by allowing me to become independent. This is an uncommon quality, which I am certainly glad to have. I also have full respect for my feelings and experience as a child, in which I felt empty, unworthy, disappointed, and unsafe. I also have full respect for, and give no blame to my parents, who I know loved me in every way they could.
My childhood abandonment wounds replicated in adulthood.
Unaware at the onset, I dated men who used lies, manipulation, and addictions, to prop up their insecurities. I did not knowingly choose to date addicts. I unconsciously magnetized and manifested my exact same feelings of abandonment from childhood within my relationships as an adult. At best, these relationships mirrored Willie Nelson’s song, “She’s a good hearted woman, in love with a good timin’ man,” and at worst, they mirrored Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.” I found myself feeling unworthy, unsafe, and reliably disappointed within intimate relationships.
I could not see and was not aware that my partner was lying, until late in the relationship when I was deeply involved. Then, when I realized their true colors, I chose to loyally stay with him until I became critically unwell. This repeated my same choice from childhood—choosing loyalty to loved ones, over my own healing and wellness. After more than 40 years of that repetitive experience, I went through a period of depression, where I gave up hope that any close, family-type relationship could be supportive or nurturing of me.
I choose to heal my cyclical suffering.
During depression, I chose to focus on healing my original childhood wounds of abandonment. It was very difficult at times, but nowhere near as difficult as experiencing those relationships. Since my healing work, I am happy to say that I continue to experience incremental, new, wonderful, unexpected, and respectful changes in my interactions with men. One example that may sound silly to some, but was delightful for me, occurred while I was walking for exercise.
Life responds differently when we heal.
While I was enjoying the light and sweet scent of the spring blooms, the warm caress of the easy breeze, and the dappled sunlight on the grass before my feet, I noticed a tulip tree flower that had fallen onto the road, a few steps ahead. Engrossed in its beauty, and the fact that Mother Nature placed it on the road in pristine condition for me to see, I stopped to pick it up. When I stood up, a man stopped his truck to ask, “Are you ok? I saw you bent down.” “Yes, I’m great thank you,” I replied. “Ok God bless you!” he said, and drove away, neither heckling nor hitting on me. This was so refreshing, that I giggled as his truck chortled down the drive. This benign act of kindness on his part brought me joy. Not only did Life show me an example that things can change, but that my healing is recognized, responded to, and I am cared for. My healing work continues to expand and impact my life experience in a very meaningful way—for me. I am proud of, and content with, my choice to heal.