The Pain of Abandonment
Abandonment is the energetic response to feeling emotionally and/or physically left. The paradox is that abandonment usually comes because honest energy flow never truly showed up in the relationship and the absence of honesty was never challenged. The feeling of being abandoned is more a result of a string of actions rather than one primary event or cause.
In a healthy relationship, both sides show up. Each is aware of self, aware of potential challenges, and aware of the unknown, trusting self and other to approach the relationship with integrity, intention and truth.
In an unhealthy relationship, one or both lack self-trust, esteem, or confidence. When self-trust is compromised or missing there is an emotional hold back on at least one side which over time will generated hold backs on both sides. Then one or both sides will dismiss or ignore the hold back. These dismissals build over time as more “items” are ignored.
The person who feels the abandonment is the one who keeps trying to show up in spite of areas of dismissal and hold back. The abandoner is the one comfortable with the areas of dismissal and positions the other as the cause of the dysfunction in the relationship. The abandoned, possibily not aware, allows the situation to go unchallenged, feeling randomly victimized and at fault.
Rather than at the end, abandonment happens early in a relationship when the lack of self-trust and subsequent dismissals were not addressed by either side and when the soon-to-feel-abandoned willingly bought into the other not showing up. The abandoned did not trust self to call out the lack of presence of the Other — indulging, tolerating, ignoring. When the game becomes tiring, more enticing circumstances appear elsewhere, or the pressure to be honest becomes too much the abandoner abandons, physically leaving the relationship with a display intended to make the person being left feel at fault for the relationship failure.
From the point of view of self, abandonment happens when pretending something is not important and it actually is! The hard part is realizing you left you first either out of habit or a lack of self-trust. Letting go of the importance of something can set up self as not important. The irony is that often the decision to let go of the importance of something is done to support or protect the relationship. But in letting go, the stage is set for the other side to let go of you.
This is abandonment through the point of view and experience of an adult. However, most issues of abandonment begin in childhood at a time when cognitive development has yet understood the consequences of choice. Abandonment as a child comes from a cruel lack of adult responsibility for the safety and love for the child. Feeling left as a child is truly painful and can be quite debilitating, gnawing away at self-trust and establishing a deeply felt fear of abandonment.
As an adult, resolution and healing is found by understanding how a personal lack of self-trust, which may have begun through childhood abandonment, sets up personal expectation that people will leave. Seeing this connection without stepping into self-judgment and self-blame is very difficult. Viewing abandonment as something done to you extinguishes personal power, making it more likely that abandonment will occur again.
Understanding abandonment from the point of view of self is to re-claim personal power and bolster self-trust. Copping to personal denial in a relationship is painful and points out personal choices of self-denial and self-dismissal. Staying in a relationship dependent on self-denial is unhealthy and ultimately more painful than a life journey with self-honesty and self-trust. People change and some quickly and in both directions forward and backward. Honesty with self in the face of abandonment becomes a moment of powerful self-learning opening the door to a new method of relationship with self and with Other within all aspects of life. Abandonment becomes an experience of the past. Self-trust blossoms, nourishing self. Fear loses hold on the future. Commitment to be present in this moment to whatever is important for self becomes the guiding light forward.