Archive

Posts Tagged ‘abandoner’

PROFILE OF AN ABANDONER

May 11, 2011 2 comments

I usually don’t like to stereotype, but I cannot help but wonder if “abandoners” can be identified, stamped, and catalogued. Someone suffering through an abandonment – after being left by someone s/he loves – spends a great deal of time analyzing the abandoner. It’s called obsession. It’s the mind’s attempt to “understand” what has caused the dense tissues of one’s love-attachment to rip apart. So we “study” the abandoner’s putative “pathologies” and character traits – searching for clues is an effort to feel sane again.

So, based upon hundreds of emails filled with such obsessive analysis, not to mention my own personal experiences, I have tried to come up with a profile of an abandoner.

Abandoners come in every possible size, shape, shade, age, social form, and disposition. Parents, friends, employers, and lovers can become abandoners, usually without realizing the pain they cause.

People out there looking for new relationships might not be able to tell who is safe to attach to and who is liable to abandon you. Even those who are incapable of being emotionally responsible, look like ideal partners in the beginning when they are trying to win you over with their charms. Unless you know their M.O. (that they’ve dumped a lot of people before), it’s impossible to know for sure just who is trustworthy and who is an abandoner.

What complicates the picture even more is that one person’s abandoner is another’s permanent partner. Also, many abandonment victims go on to become abandoners themselves. The circumstances surrounding relationships are so complex, that no one of us is really in a position to point the finger. Most of us can swing back and forth – sometimes we’re abandonees and sometimes abandoners.

But everyone knows that are serial abandoners – you know, the ones who get off on inflicting emotional pain on the other person. They create devastation to show their power and sometimes, to express their anger – anger pent up from some dark corner of own abandonment history, perhaps.

But even abandoners who are not power-driven, can get a swelled head as an unintentional by-product of hurting you. They might feel badly about it, but they can’t help but go on an ego trip as they witness the intensity of your agonized desire for them. They’re not, however, about to openly admit to feelings of triumph. This would make them seem like cads. Instead they try to show their humble feelings of regret over having caused you “disappointment” or “inconvenience” (note the understatements!). They are usually easily distracted from their guilt, because they get caught up in their new lives (and new loves).

Yes, many abandoners seem oblivious to the emotional crisis they have caused by leaving you. This obliviousness seems callous and self centered to the one who was thrust into the torment of abandonment.

Ironically, this somehow puts them in a one-up position to you, and what do you do? You idealize THEM. This makes it that much harder to let go. The more they hurt you, the deeper their hook sunk into your heart.

Many abandoners attempt to BLAME the one they left behind – for the break up. “It’s because you were too needy and dependent” or “angry,” they might say.

Meanwhile, yeah, okay, you became “needy” “dependent” “angry”, but not because you ARE these things, but because you were REACTING to their gradually pulling away. None-the-less, you will beat yourself up anyway.

The reason abandoners blame the other person is to justify their actions and avoid feeling guilty. They want to keep their positive self- image at all costs – at your expense. They take as little responsibility as possible, and this just adds insult to injury. Now, as the abandonee, you’re left to grapple with the pieces of a broken relationship, feeling rejected and “kicked while your down” by their blame, criticism, betrayal, and rejection.

Then, of course, you turn the rage over being rejected against yourself, and you blame yourself, causing your self-esteem to plummet and your spirit to sink into a major depression.

Not that you don’t have some of your own soul searching to do. It’s really important to take personal responsibility for your side of the difficulties in the relationship. This self-evaluation process is painful and necessary. If you do it constructively, you’ll grow. But during the soul-searching, you’re even more vulnerable (and gullible) to your abandoner’s blame than usual. Instead of getting honest feedback, what you usually get is your abandoners’ “excuses” for his/her own commitment problem.

But wait a minute, let’s be honest. Most abandoners (don’t forget, we have all been abandoners at one time or other) do not set out to abandon. They aren’t tying to hurt you. Most are just human beings struggling to find the answers to life’s difficult challenges along with everyone else.

Just Which One Is the Abandoner?

I’m a therapist, a family member, and a friend, but no matter which role one I’m in, I tend to empathize with the abandonee.

That is, the person who received the slight. The one who WASN’T invited to the special party. The one who did a great job but got fired. The loving partner left for another.

Even as a kid, I rooted for the underdog. If I watched football on television, I got hoarse cheering for the losing team, unless they’d begin to win, and then I’d feel badly for the other team. It’s something deep in-the-bone in me, borne no doubt of my early experiences, and groomed me to become a specialist in abandonment.

Specialist or no, it’s not always so easy to tell just who is the victim and who is the perpetrator. Will the real abandoner please stand up?!

Sometimes people feel abandoned within a relationship. They endure an aching sense of chronic rejection. After years of feeling taken for granted, dismissed, ignored, or abused, they finally get up the nerve to leave. They feel entirely justified because they didn’t feel loved to begin with. They didn’t matter. Nobody claimed their heart.

Very often, I would even say almost always, the partner they are leaving goes into acute abandonment crisis – heartbreak like you’ve never seen the likes of.

So which one is the abandoner?

Of course the answer is both, but oh do I wish something could have been done to work on this problem sooner. It would spare so much pain.

Abandonment pain is the worst! And the “too late-ness” of the situation frustrates me tremendously.

I’d like to shout it from the rooftops. People have to stop abandoning each other. Lovers have to behave more responsibly. Spouses have to nurture each other’s basic need for love and acceptance. Friends, family, employers have to learn how to communicate and be open to feedback! People have to realize the pain involved in abandonment.

Here’s what complicates things: Some people are hyper-sensitive to rejection (abandonment). So they perceive rejection or insult in the slightest nuance, sometimes even when it is not there. Then they become difficult toward the person, creating a set-up where they wind up actually getting a negative response. Their fear of abandonment created a self-fulfilling prophecy. They feel like the victim, but don’t realize the extent to which they are the perpetrator.

This can take on an extreme form where people go around being belligerent toward others (getting even with them in passive hostile and not-so-passive hostile ways) based upon their misperceptions. These extreme folks have little or no insight and tend to blame all of their problems on the other person, not realizing the problems they caused.

No easy answers for now, just wanted to stroke the folks who find themselves sometimes on both sides of the victim feeling.

Trying to Take Back Control of your Life?

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

So many people are in relationships where they have given their power away.

Two Scenarios:

One: You’ve been abandoned and you’ve given all of your power to the abandoner. Your life rests on whether they call, whether they don’t call. You impotently wait and hope for them to come back, because only their return can take your pain away. Why? Because you have given them your power. One person put it this way: “My abandoner walked away with all of the gold. I need to get it back.”

Two: You’re current relationship doesn’t feel mutual. Your partner tends to withhold love, putting you in the “emotional beggar” role. You walk around starving in emotional hunger, desperately needing a love-fix, groveling for crumbs of attention. The sun rises or sets depending on whether today you are treated you lovingly or not. Why? You have invested all of your power in your partner and you’ve become impotent.

The antidote: Take back control of your life. Regain your power. Invest in yourself. Claim your gold.

But how? This seems “more easily said than done.” But that’s because you might not know where to start, or what to do to make it happen. First, you need to know it is doable. Second, you must learn to to become a separate person.

Being a separate person doesn’t mean you have to be single, alone, or in a state of break-up. It means taking 100 percent responsibility for your own emotional well-being and stop laying your emotional needs at the feet of your partner.

If things are going well and you trust your partner, it is okay to count on them to satisfy your needs to feel loved, special, and important. It is okay to look to them for a sense of belonging and security.

But if things are not going well, then you get to practice learning to stand on your own two feet – and I mean emotionally. Learn to look to yourself rather than your partner to make yourself feel secure. It means work. It means taking complete responsibility.

It involves taking actions that are on your own behalf. Take strides in your own life. You might begin with a small step. For example, depending upon your interests, go to the library and take out a book with beautiful photographs or paintings or travel pictures and study it intently. Do this in the presence of your partner. Your focus is not on them, but on your own interests. You are taking responsibility for yourself.

You have to keep making these efforts larger and larger, until you transform into a self-assured person who can command your own power and sustain your own supply of gold.

Usually, this transformation completely changes the dynamics of your relationship, but even if your partner continues to neglect you, it elevates your life where you need it to be.