Anyone who has been abandoned, whether physically or emotionally or both, will have a visceral reaction to a picture like this:
One of the most difficult things for a person who has been abandoned is to learn to express all the emotion and loss, to lance the boil of resentment, fear, guilt, and shame and let all the poison drain out. True healing cannot take place until this painful process has been accomplished.
So how does one go about it? After all, a physical boil is easy to see, to treat, and to release. Inner pain isn’t quite so obvious. And especially for someone who has learned not to let anything show, it’s very difficult to learn to set those emotions free. What we need to understand is that until we do process our emotions, they will continue to poison our thinking and our behavior.
There are many different approaches, in therapeutic terms, to help a person heal from abandonment. Many have helpful techniques for understanding what has happened and why the abandoned person is left with such a huge cache of negative beliefs about himself. You can easily research something like “healing for abandonment issues” on your favorite search engine and come up with all sorts of helpful books and programs.
Any competent therapist will have help to offer in dealing with abandonment. Sometimes, it helps a lot just to let your story come out of your mouth with a patient, caring listener. Often, in the telling, we can find our own path to releasing the grief and pain.
From my Christian world-view, I believe that the best way to process and heal is to learn to forgive the one(s) who have hurt us so deeply. In the process of forgiving, we can let go of our anger and pain. One difficulty people often express to me is that they feel very guilty about being angry, because anger is a sin. They really don’t want to admit how angry they are.
I love being able to disabuse these people of the false belief that anger is sin. Anger, in itself, is not sinful; however, our behavior when we are angry is a different matter. Ephesians 4:26 tells us to be angry, but not to sin in our anger. There are things we should be angry about. I am angry about pedophiles who destroy the innocence of young children. I am angry when God’s Name is used as a curse. I am angry when women are violently abused by the men who claim to love them. I do not, however, make it my business to castrate pedophiles, to stand on street corners and scream invectives at people who profane God’s Name, or to beat up abusive men. That is not my place; it is not helpful; and it is taking vengeance into my own hands.
Anger that is used to create good, to help others, to fight evil, is not sin. The Bible mentions God’s anger over 450 times, and He certainly has never been guilty of sin!
Once a person realizes that his anger is not sin, but is a normal and expected reaction to mistreatment, then the healing. forgiving process can truly begin. Anger needs to be rooted out, and forgiveness is the best tool for doing that. If anger is left to fester and simmer, then the person who holds it becomes bitter and, often, deeply depressed. I can’t emphasize enough how important forgiveness is in the healing process.
I believe this will be my last post on this issue, at least for now. If you have further questions or comments, please leave them in the comment option following this post. Thanks to the many of you who have already responded with help and encouragement. This is a difficult issue, not easily resolved, but in Jesus Christ we have the victory over all things.