Friday Counseling Issues: Abandonment, Part 4

Today I want to touch briefly on two important features for those who have experienced abandonment:  A sense of insecurity, and a tendency to withdraw or isolate.

 No one does insecurity better than someone whose world has been rocked by the departure of a  person who was always supposed to be there.  An unexplained departure is so damaging because the person who is left alone never gets his questions answered.  Most of us tend to look at ourselves negatively in this type of situation, and it isn’t long before the one who was left behind begins to believe (a) he doesn’t deserve to be loved/happy and (b)she will never  find anyone who could possibly love her forever because she has so many flaws.

Remember when you were a little kid, if you were blessed to have both parents in a loving, committed relationship, how you always thought of them in tandem?  Almost as if it were one word, “MomandDad” just always went together. When something happens to destroy that unit, a child has a hard time processing the reality. If one parent just takes off, the chlld is left believing it was all his fault. He will grow up to be very clingy in his relationships, holding on to people very tightly so they won’t ever leave him. Of course, most people don’t want to be held that way, and they eventually will leave the relationship either in fact or emotionally, and the person who is insecure is left to deal with even more insecurity.

Because the abandoned person feels insecure and inferior, he will have a tendency to avoid social activities. He will withdraw from relationships that seem to be demanding more of him than he is willing to give.  He will walk out on a relationship before the other person can do so, hoping to avoid the pain of loss, guilt, and shame that he feels every time someone drifts away.  The best way to avoid being hurt by other people is to withdraw from them,  goes their thinking.  And if the abandoned person leaves first, then the other person cant. abandon him.

Just a couple of comments here, and I’m done.  Most of us don’t make it through life without losing someone along the way that we thought would always be there for us.  Our best buddy in second grade moves across the country. A beloved grandparent dies when we are almost too young to understand death. Parents divorce, reducing the day-to-day contact we  crave with one or the other parent. A sibling gets sick and dies.  A dearly loved dog or cat needs to be put down.  A boyfriend/girlfriend who swore undying love one week is hanging out with someone new the next week, leaving our hearts crushed and confused and swearing we will never love again. These are difficult life experiences from which we learn, and grow, and become wiser.

But when  a loved, trusted parent just walks out? That’s a different kind of loss, and one that leaves the victim always wondering what he did or didn’t do to cause it. Still, it is possible to redirect one’s thinking into more positive patterns, placing the blame where it belongs:  On the one who left.



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10 thoughts on “Friday Counseling Issues: Abandonment, Part 4

  1. Is placing the blame on anyone a positive pattern? I understand what you are saying and enjoyed the post, and I know that blaming one’s self is not the answer, but there also has to be forgiveness eventually for the one that left as there is always more than one side to the story. Once I am able to forgive in my heart, at that point I am able to move on. Just some thoughts from my overly active brain. Thank you for posting this 🙂

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    1. You are absolutely correct. I just haven’t gotten that far yet 🙂 Forgiveness is always the cornerstone of true healing. Without it, we will be miserable. Stay tuned. Lots more coming on this issue. Oh, and as for placing blame, I think it may be better said “placing responsibility.” And yes, I believe that is a positive thing, because truth is always better than lies.

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  2. Jamie Shock

    how do you deal with someone who has abandonment issues and won’t work on them? Keith does big time. my mom posted this to my wall. you may have already covered that. I will go back and read also.

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    1. Usually, when someone won’t face his issues, it’s because he’s actually afraid of what he may uncover. You can’t force him to get help. Maybe you should copy off each one of these posts–there are four now, with more coming–and ask him to read them. Not sure what else I can offer you.

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  3. Jamie Shock

    ok thanks. the Christian aspect will scare him off i’m sure but i thought about leaving it up on my computer so he can see and hope it will trigger interest. Thank you. I will keep reading .

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  4. Anne

    What a timely needed rebuke.
    “He will walk out on a relationship before the other person can do so, hoping to avoid the pain of loss, guilt, and shame that he feels every time someone drifts away. The best way to avoid being hurt by other people is to withdraw from them, goes their thinking. And if the abandoned person leaves first, then the other person cant. abandon him.”
    This is going to take some work–not imitating the hurtful behavior done to us so that we don’t end up hurting others. I also just realized this could be a reaction even to children–to distance too quickly in an uncomfortable situation. Not good.

    “Still, it is possible to redirect one’s thinking into more positive patterns, placing the blame where it belongs: On the one who left.”
    And placing the trust in The One who will never leave.

    Well, I know what I can work on until next Friday’s post 😉

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