New Counseling Issues Topic: Abandonment

One of the most difficult emotional problems people carry is a sense of abandonment.  Perhaps one or the other parent left the family with no notice, when the person was a young child. Perhaps there was a sudden and unexpected death. Perhaps a parent was physically present, but not emotionally present, as the child was growing up. There could be any number of other reasons a person grows up feeling abandoned and carries those emotions into adulthood.

Adults who carry this sense of abandonment can show a variety of symptom including guilt, worthlessness, insecurity, withdrawal, bad habits, a need for excessive reassurance, self-complacence, and self-mutilation. They often are drawn into unhealthy friendships or love relationships in which the other person holds all the power. Their fear of being abandoned is so strong that they desire to leave the relationship, but hesitate to do so for fear of hurting the other person in the same way they themselves are hurt. Instead of leaving, they sometimes begin to mistreat the other person to the point of making the other person want to leave. Their worst fears have been realized as they face yet another abandonment.

As we look at each of these symptoms, my prayer will be that anyone who is reading, who struggles with feelings of abandonment, will realize that God has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us (Deut. 31:6). He is the One we can depend upon, no matter what, Who never betrays our trust.

7 thoughts on “New Counseling Issues Topic: Abandonment

  1. Geri

    Do they tend to emotionally abandon others (unwittingly- because they feel they have no value) as they have been abandoned and assume that nobody is truly interested in them unless they perform exceptionally well?
    Looking forward to this topic! Thanking The Lord for this leading.


    1. Anne

      Well asked, Geri. Also, or, for some I think it is a survival technique to emotionally distance themselves–they KNOW they are doing it. When those impossible expectations (or ever changing expectations) go on for years, the choice seems at times to abandon physically (as in to separate or to consider suicide) or to emotionally distance one’s self. The emotional distance choice seems the safest, least hurtful way towards others…and most damaging only to self. I look forward to future posts, as well.


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