Many people ask me, “What is abandonment? Is it people in search of their mothers? People left on the doorstep as children?”

I answer, everyday there are people who feel as if life itself has left them on a doorstep or thrown them away. Abandonment is about loss of love itself, that crucial loss of connectedness. It often involves breakup, betrayal, aloneness. People struggling with abandonment issues include those going through the ending of a relationship as well as searching adoptees, recently widowed, and those suffering the woundedness of earlier disconnections.

Abandonment represents core human fear. We have all experienced it. When a relationship ends, the feelings harken all the way back to our lost childhoods when we were helpless, and dependent. Our adult functioning temporarily collapses.We feel shattered, bewildered, condemned to loneliness. As we apply the tools of recovery, at the bottom of abandonment’s pain, we discover a wellspring of positive change.

Abandonment is a cumulative wound containing all of the losses and disconnections stemming all the way back to childhood. Abandonment is:

• A feeling
• A feeling of isolation within a relationship
• An intense feeling of devastation when a relationship ends
• An aloneness-not-by-choice
• An experience from childhood
• A baby left on the doorstep
• A woman left by her husband of twenty years for another woman
• A man being left by his finance for someone ‘more successful’
• A child left by his mother
• A friend feeling deserted by a friend
• A father leaving his marriage, moving out of the house, away from his children
• A child whose pet dies
• A little girl grieving over the death of her mother
• A little boy wanting his mommy to come pick him up from nursery school
• A child about to be ‘replaced’ by the birth of another sibling
• A child needing his parents but they are emotionally unavailable
• A boy realizing he is gay and anticipating the reaction of his parents and friends
• A teenage boy with his heart twanging, but afraid to approach his love
• A teenage girl feeling her heart is actually broken
• A woman who has raised a family now grown, feeling empty, as if she has been deserted, as if the purpose of her life has abandoned her
• A child stricken with a serious illness or injury watching his friends play while he must remain confined to braces, wheel chair, or bed
• A woman who has lost her job and with it her professional identity, financial security, and status. Now she is left feeling worthless, not knowing how to occupy her time – – feeling abandoned by her life’s mission
• A man who has been ‘put out to pasture’ by his company, as if obsolete
• People grieving the death of a loved one report feelings of abandonment
• The dying fear being abandoned by their loved ones as much or more as they fear pain and death
• Suicide is an excruciating form of abandonment
• Abandonment is all of this and more. Its wound is at the heart of the variety of human experiences, and is found in the uniqueness of each person’s life.

Abandonment recovery reaches out to all abandonment survivors.

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