What is an abandonment wound?
The fear of abandonment is natural, and each one of us may experience it on some level during the course of our lives. An abandonment wound however, is a painful and invisible raw spot that has the power to run your life if you are not aware of it.
Abandonment is a deep rooted fear that you will be left, discarded or replaced.
Abandonment can stem from childhood wounds such as a parent or caretaker leaving, your parents divorcing or seperating, a death of a close friend or relative. Or this can occur later in life through a difficult break-up with a partner, or being made redundant from your long term job.
When we have experienced the silent pain of abandonment we may feel insecure, or unworthy of being loved, cared for, or respected. Abandonment can leave us feeling uncertain, and unable to trust others. This may make it harder for us to have the loving relationship we deeply desire, as we may sabotage the love out of fear of being left.
"When you have been left or abandoned, it places a question mark over your head - am I valuable?"
Many people that experience abandonment can wind up feeling totally worthless. Since an important person in their life may have left them, they will find it harder to assert their own sense of value. This may lead to trying to prove your worth, in your job, in your relationship, you may become a people pleaser or a rescuer. You may forget that you matter.
Our attachment system will also be effected, and although we may have once experienced a secure stance in our relationships, we now may feel anxious in others ability to love us, or the opposite, we may avoid love altogether as it may be so painful to open yourself up to the possible of this hurt once again.
If the abandonment has rattled your attachment system, this can be changed by healing your core fear of abandonment and creating a secure attachment.
Steps to Overcome the Wound
Emotional Regulation: The definition of emotional regulation encompasses both positive and negative feelings, along with how we can strengthen them, use them, and control them. In order to regulate emotions I highly recommend a daily practice of meditation and/ or journaling.
Self-Abandonment: Self-abandonment is when you reject, suppress or ignore part of yourself. In other words, you have a need or desire you want to meet, and often you make the decision not to meet it. To develop your capacity to meet your own needs it would be helpful to ask yourself each day: what do I need today?
Self-sabotage: Patterns of self-sabotage set in after we’ve been through an abandonment or loss, whether in childhood or adulthood. Self-sabotage is all about self-abandonment - the tools of abandonment recovery helps reverse.
Boundaries: A boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends. The purpose of setting a healthy boundary is to protect and take good care of you. What boundaries do you need to set?
Healing the Inner Child: We each have a little child inside, full of emotion and usually dying to be heard. In order to heal the Inner Child it is necessary to create a dialogue with the little you. Check in with her to see how she wants to be nourished and nurtured.
Attachment styles: There are three main “attachment styles” in which people perceive and respond to intimacy in romantic relationships. Typically those with an abandonment wound would fall into the 'anxious' or 'avoidant' categories. Which style are you...?
Anxious people are often preoccupied with their relationships and tend to worry about their partner’s ability to love them back.
Avoidant people equate intimacy with a loss of independence and constantly try to minimize closeness.
Secure people feel comfortable with intimacy and are usually warm and lo