The second, and perhaps most pervasive, symptom for those who struggle with abandonment is that of guilt. It is not unusual at all for the victim of personal assault or other mistreatment to feel a strong sense of guilt or responsibility while the perpetrator feels little or none.
Why would someone who has been abandoned feel so guilty? It’s because, in his mind, there is no other possible explanation except his own: I must have done something; I must not be worth staying for; it’s my fault, and no one will every truly love me. She will be convinced that she has been abandoned for some wrongdoing or just because she is not loveable. She would continually analyze her appearance, behavior, intelligence, and so on to figure out where she had messed up. This type of erroneous thinking settles in quickly, and the victim becomes guilty of something that was never his fault.
If there is no one the abandoned person can turn to for help, no one to talk with to express these negative thoughts, then the thoughts become set in cement. A pattern of negative self-talk sets in that is completely untrue, but the person who was left behind believes all of it. That belief colors all of his relationships, and especially intimate relationships. He becomes so convinced that he is not loveable, not worth staying for, that he actually develops behaviors that push people away. His negative beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies, and the cycle of guilt and shame continues.
The cure? Recognizing negative beliefs for the lies they are; taking steps to learn to spot the lies and replace them with truth. Sometimes, it is just easier to accept blame ourselves rather than to face the truth that the person who left was the one with the lack of character. We don’t want to believe that a loved parent or spouse, for example, was actually able to just walk out on us for reasons that had nothing to do with us at all, but everything to do with that person’s lack of commitment and character. Perhaps there were mental/emotional/spiritual problems that were unrecognized. Whatever the cause, the result is a great deal of pain for those who are left behind, and getting good pastoral or professional, Bible-based counseling is a very good idea.