What is Abandonment/Rejection?
Abandonment comes from experiences we have in our lives that cause us to believe that people we love will eventually reject or leave us. The abandonment/rejection itself can effect our emotional and physical well being. In response to the belief that we are not loved, feel isolated, unwanted etc, we are opening ourselves up to conditions such as diabetes, anxiety, self-hatred, anger/bitterness, and guilt. Those of us that are coping with unresolved abandonment/rejection also may experience characteristics such as clinginess, insecurity, jealousy, and obsessiveness. Before even being able to address the topic, one must know where it derives from. Therefore we must ask ourselves the following:
- Where does this abandonment/rejection come from?
- What does it look like to me?
- What does it feel like to me?
Where does Abandonment/Rejection come from?
Abandonment/Rejection usually stems from our experiences as a child. At some point as a child we may have experienced directly/indirectly a traumatic moment that left us feeling abandoned. This perception of feeling isolated, alone, left behind, ignored and excluded could come from having an absent parent, an unreliable caregiver, or even indirect rejection from people we look up to such as teachers and coaches. An individual will shut down and be perceived as having “mommy” or “daddy” issues. And this will effect ALL relationships moving forward. With unresolved abandonment/rejection comes future problems in our everyday lives. This could be in our careers, intimate relationships, familial and friend relationships, and cause internal questioning towards what is healthy and what is unstable behavior.
Types of Abandonment/Rejection
|Isolation/Shutting Down||Hyper Sensitivity- tendency to be easily hurt, worried or offended||Being Co Dependent – excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner|
|People Pleaser||Afraid to Excel/Reaching full potential||Self Abandonment/Self Sabotage|
My Experience with Abandonment/Rejection
This particular topic has been extremely hard for me; however, writing about it and talking about it has been therapeutic. I hope that my story will help someone else when it comes to facing things in life that may have left issues of abandonment/rejection.
I will be 44 in September. In those 44 years, I have only met my biological father 3 times. In those 44 years, I have only spoken to my biological father 5 times. The first time I met my father was at my high school graduation on May 23, 1996. He came to meet me and celebrate the accomplishment of graduating high school; he came all the way from Georgia which was a 9 hour drive. He showed me and my 1/2 brother pictures of our siblings and told us stories about each of them. He presented names of relatives that we had never met and showed us pictures of locations we had never seen. My brother and I both were excited to meet him and looked forward to building a relationship with him. It was a new beginning…….the next time I saw my father was in 2002. Again, I had graduated from college. I wanted to meet ALL of my family! I rented a car and drove all the way to Georgia. I met my sisters, uncles, niece, nephew, and a few siblings. I stayed with my oldest sister and also met her mother and family as well. I saw those locations that he showed me in pictures when I was 17. He bragged on me for graduating with my BA in Education and told me how much I looked like various family members in his family. I compared features of myself with my 1/2 siblings. It was evident that we were family! Finally, I had solved pieces of the puzzle of my life that never seemed to come together. The last time I actually saw my father was in 2008. He was a truck driver and stopped by my job on his way back to Georgia. We had lunch, he stayed to meet my then 5 year old daughter, he hugged me, told me he loved me and that he was proud of me. Then he went on his way.
Something he has never done was deny me and my brothers; I have always appreciated that. If I text or call him he will respond but the conversation is always so uncomfortable and brief. I do feel abandoned/rejected. I do not feel good enough in comparison to his other children. Recently, my 1/2 siblings have connected with me on Social Media; I see pictures of family members that I do not know. I see gatherings of the whole family alongside my father. I see posts giving my father accolades because he has been so instrumental in their lives. And I feel abandoned/rejected. I see how he communicates with them often and I feel abandoned/rejected. At 43 years of age, I feel abandoned/rejected. And I guess it’s no one’s fault; it is just something I need to overcome and do something about. Through this whole experience I have learned that it is OK to feel…..but how do you FILL what you are FEELING without bitterness, without anger, and without resentment?
The Manifestation of Abandonment/Rejection
*Anxiety – If not dealt with, abandonent/rejection can lead to anxiety in relationships. A person will live with constantly feeling as if they will be left alone, are not “good enough” to be loved, or people in their lives that are important to them will leave or die.
*Insecurity– Having a lack of self worth and self confidence leading to co dependency, clinginess, and the need to always feel needed and wanted. If manifested, feelings of insecurity also will lead to distrust, judgment of others, and being overprotective of others. This “overprotective” nature can transcend to becoming controlling.
*Anger/Hostility – Abandonment issues typically are produced by a traumatic situation that stripped a person of their power to control outcomes that they truly wanted—the inability to prevent a death, to stop a spouse from leaving, or to protect yourself or others from harm. If ignored, those underlying situations may still ignite anger many years later. People may become easily triggered in situations that remind them of that time. Violence and anger could be used to try to exert control over others now, in ways that weren’t possible in the initial incident. Rage or outbursts may be directed at a loved one, one’s self, or channeled into certain physical or behavioral expressions—for example, punching a wall when highly triggered by the thought of someone rejecting them.
*Quick Attachment/Commitments – Perhaps unexpectedly, one way abandonment issues may present is through getting attached to new people too quickly. A person with attachment issues—which are often tied to abandonment issues—may truly feel emotionally dependent on the attention of others, even if they don’t know that person very well. Clinginess can happen even if there are signs that this person’s engagement is fleeting. Because people with abandonment issues feel that it is inevitable that people will leave them, they may rush to have deep engagements as soon as possible because they don’t trust the continued evolution of the relationship. It can look like trying hard to get attached to people who you’ve just met or who have already displayed some signs of being emotionally unavailable.
*Depressed State of Mind-When fear of abandonment becomes unbearable, it can lead to mental health breaks and physical harm. If the root cause of abandonment issues are trauma, then episodes that trigger memories or that replicate those patterns can cause profound sadness and depression.
The Resolution….in my opinion
Recently, I attended a Women’s Conference featuring Sarah Jakes Roberts. One of the key themes of the conference was to acknowledge and “FILL” what you are “FEELING.” I had to acknowledge that I FEEL abandoned/rejected. In facing that, I have to FILL that hole. It is OK to reflect on the past, recognize where the issue derives from and justify your source of trauma but then what? I have to FILL this FEELING by communicating in order to alleviate this issue from my present and future. I plan to use my relationship with abandonment/rejection as an opportunity to grow. What if this was an invitation in life for me to discover the resilience within myself? I must take the first steps to heal. Then….I will be able to initiate the strength this is instilled within me and fulfill developing a whole loving and caring relationship with my father and my siblings.
Thank you for reading!