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.

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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 abandonmentwhen 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.

You can heal.

If you’re becoming aware that your own abandonment issues may be replaying painful, cyclical feelings in your life, you can heal. There are as many paths to healing as there are grains of sand. For me, I’ve utilized many healing modalities simultaneously over the years. Currently, I employ: nutrition, exercise, meditation, prayer, time in nature, music, color, integrated physical therapy, energy work, and Will You introspective practices.

Start where you are.

A readily-available, free, certain, and inexpensive way to begin healing, is to know our own needs and choose to meet them ourself. We owe this to ourself, to our happiness, and to our future. Why? Because no one owes this to us! No one else is responsible for meeting our needs. If we mistakenly expect others to be responsible for meeting our needs, this may eventually lead to their resentment of us, and potentially debilitate their wellness: physically, emotionally, and energetically.

Awareness of our deeper needs is a healthy step to healing abandonment.

If we are not aware of our deeper needs for safety, nurturing, care, love, support, honesty, freedom, purpose, education, enjoyment, etc., how can we expect that those needs will be met? If we do not know what we need, we will not be able to express our needs. Other people aren’t supposed to 1) read our minds or 2) give up their own life purpose in order to try to fulfill us or prove that they love us. This behavior sounds controlling and needy, doesn’t it? When we don’t know and fulfill our own needs, we may act controlling and needy, as an unconscious way to control others, due to our own fear of abandonment.

Do you know what you need?

Many of us may not have been raised to know what we need or want. Our parents may not have known or fulfilled their needs. They may not have taken the time or been interested in knowing our needs. We may not have had a mentor to show us how to know, value, or fulfill our needs in a healthy way. We may even be afraid of knowing our needs, afraid that they may never be met. Or, we may simply feel that our needs are not worthy of being met. And, if as an adult, our needs haven’t yet been met, our feelings of unworthiness may seem justified.

By refusing to get to know our needs, we may abandon true fulfillment for a little pleasure.

When our needs are not known and not met, we may be tempted to abandon our best self and substitute our true needs with addictions to: drink, drug, and lusty loopholes to distract ourself and numb out the pain. To avoid this trap of not learning our needs because we’re afraid that they won’t be met, we may remind ourself that if we don’t know our needs, how can those needs ever be met? In this instance, knowledge is power.

How can we know what we need?

If we are unsure what we need, or would like a clearer picture of what we need, we can do one vital thing to help us learn. If we skip this, it may cause years of frustration. This one, vital thing, is to be wholeheartedly willing to learn. By wholeheartedly willing, I mean that our whole self wants to know our needs. This may sound obvious, and we may believe that we are wholehearted. However, if we were currently wholeheartedly willing to know our needs, we would already know them! So let’s get real with our “bad” self and admit that there is part of us that does not want to know our needs or expects that they will “magically” be fulfilled by some Cinderella or Prince Charming or Savior. As the old saying goes, God helps those who help themselves, so let’s get to gettin’!

Will You know your needs and not abandon yourself?

Are you wholeheartedly willing to know your needs? If not, what would it take for you to become so? Please share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section, so we may learn and grow more fulfilled together!

Always with love,