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Coping: abandonment issues


Coping Learning to deal with one's emotions and loss.

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Old 17th November 2018, 12:55 AM   #1
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Coping: abandonment issues

I am interested in hearing how people have learned to cope with abandonment. Anybody who has ended a long-term relationship will have to deal with abandonment on different levels. Loss of their significant other, sometimes loss of their children, there are also people who are dealing with the loss of their family of origin, mother, father, siblings and often when you leave a relationship you deal with the loss of friendships.

For those who have experienced abandonment in their childhoods, abandonment in later life becomes very complex and deeply affects how they are able to deal with the loss of a significant relationship. Please share your stories with me on how you have coped or are coping with these issues.

I have much more to share on this issue but first want to see if there is any interest in a discussion in the topic.

Thank you!
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Old 24th November 2018, 8:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by NotASkunk View Post
I am interested in hearing how people have learned to cope with abandonment. Anybody who has ended a long-term relationship will have to deal with abandonment on different levels. Loss of their significant other, sometimes loss of their children, there are also people who are dealing with the loss of their family of origin, mother, father, siblings and often when you leave a relationship you deal with the loss of friendships.

For those who have experienced abandonment in their childhoods, abandonment in later life becomes very complex and deeply affects how they are able to deal with the loss of a significant relationship. Please share your stories with me on how you have coped or are coping with these issues.

I have much more to share on this issue but first want to see if there is any interest in a discussion in the topic.

Thank you!
Good thread.

My dad started to faze me out of his life when I was six and he'd pop in and out of my life in a very selfish and ridiculous manner. I believe I cut him out completely about 10 years ago. It is the only way to cope with him. I've been working on hating him less and forgiving myself for not being enough.

I cannot create the parents I wanted and needed.

Everyday, I try and focus on the present moment and develop a habit of gratitude of what I do have.

Also, I work with animals and seek out loving secure homes for them. That helps too.
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Old 24th November 2018, 8:27 PM   #3
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Thank you for sharing. It can be really tough on people in later life when they have been abandoned as children. Good for you for learning coping skills and finding an outlet with animals. Animal care helps me tremendously as well.

When I was growing up with a special-needs brother my mother had no time for me. Her life basically became solely focused on my brotherís needs. I was ďthe smart oneĒ and was left to
raise myself. My dad worked all the time to support us and then he died when I was 10. I can remember going to school dirty and learned to care for myself through social cues picked up from peers once I became an adolescent. I approached my mom to talk about my childhood when I was 30 so I could let her know how it hurt me to not have her there when I was a child and needed her. She was completely unapologetic. it was very cathartic just to tell her my feelings and while we were never very close, I did love her and came to see as I grew older how brave she was and how terrifying her life must have been. She passed away last year and while we were not so close, her death hit me like a ton of bricks. She lived a very difficult
Life and it was an privilege for me to honor her death by laying her ashes where she found some beauty in a life that was otherwise quite grey. It was a healing act for myself as well and I forgave her because I realized in a crystal clear way that she only was doing what she could in an a terrifying and heartbreaking situation
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Old 25th November 2018, 9:34 AM   #4
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Thank you for sharing. It can be really tough on people in later life when they have been abandoned as children. Good for you for learning coping skills and finding an outlet with animals. Animal care helps me tremendously as well.

When I was growing up with a special-needs brother my mother had no time for me. Her life basically became solely focused on my brotherís needs. I was ďthe smart oneĒ and was left to
raise myself. My dad worked all the time to support us and then he died when I was 10. I can remember going to school dirty and learned to care for myself through social cues picked up from peers once I became an adolescent. I approached my mom to talk about my childhood when I was 30 so I could let her know how it hurt me to not have her there when I was a child and needed her. She was completely unapologetic. it was very cathartic just to tell her my feelings and while we were never very close, I did love her and came to see as I grew older how brave she was and how terrifying her life must have been. She passed away last year and while we were not so close, her death hit me like a ton of bricks. She lived a very difficult
Life and it was an privilege for me to honor her death by laying her ashes where she found some beauty in a life that was otherwise quite grey. It was a healing act for myself as well and I forgave her because I realized in a crystal clear way that she only was doing what she could in an a terrifying and heartbreaking situation
It sounds like you're very strong. That is a good thing.
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Old 26th November 2018, 1:39 PM   #5
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Thank you for that. I have always needed to rely on my strength but it’s just a survival mechanism. Therapy has been a great help for me over the last couple of years. May I ask if you are in therapy for your abandonment issues? I am also a part of a group that meets for support for issues along these lines.

I still have a lot of issues letting people get to close to me. My trust has been destroyed by the loss of a love. I don’t know if I am going to ever be able anybody get close to my heart again.

People who experience abandonment in childhood often latch onto their significant other in relationships and the bond that forms is deeper in meaning for them than most. The significant other can become the mother/father/god figure in their lives and often times these people will go to any lengths to preserve that attachment, even to their own detriment. In my early 40s I lost a lot of weight and eventually met a man who would become the love of my life. There was a lot of underlying toxicity in both of our pasts that we didn’t adequately acknowledge and deal with as a couple. While my abandonment was from actual neglect and abandonment he had experienced pretty severe abuse on a physical, sexual and mental level from both of his parents and most likely from his siblings as well. Throughout this relationship a combination of this toxic mix caused many problems.
He was not able to trust and I was verbally abusive to him. We were never able to work out our problems and were co-dependent. The whole thing still makes me very sad because he really was the love of my life.
I have learned to let go of my anger and I have learned forgiveness. Forgiveness for myself and that I did not put myself first and also forgiveness for somebody who will never offer an apology. When I understand the background and the reasons why things happened more clearly it makes forgiveness so much easier and that is what has helped me get through the hardest part of my recovery.


I would love to hear your experiences with coping with your abandonment .Whether or not you had abandonment issues to begin with or just your feelings on the abandonment of their relationship. The loss of love is a deep loss that changes who are. Hearing other people share their experiences is very helpful for me.


Sorry for rambling on, it’s helpful for me to talk about my feelings.
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Old 26th November 2018, 1:56 PM   #6
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I wanted to add that there have been a lot of pluses in my life as well. I have lost a lot more weight because I no longer drink like an alcoholic on a daily basis. Drinking is something that I do in social situations and I am coming from drinking 5 to 6 drinks and evening to drinking 4-5 a month. I enjoyed being clearheaded, I know longer smoke pot which was never really an issue for me but I really enjoy my clearheadedness so it was good to let that go. I am learning to make friends and have found a social circle and despite not being physically attractive, being older and also having a very unattractive body due to a very significant amount of weight loss I have found that dating at this age and even with my liabilities quite easy. My remaining issues with abandonment are now related to pushing people away emotionally who want to get closer. I put a wall around myself when it comes to family, friends, romantic and even just sexual relationships. I don’t want to be hurt again, I don’t want to be abandoned again. So I do not let people get around my wall. No matter how much I enjoy them, if they make too much of an effort to get in I cut them off and disappear. That is what I am working on now. And I will work through it and if I don’t I’m OK with that as well. I’m OK with myself because I understand myself so much better. I know my own truth, I know what I did wrong and I also know what I didn’t do. That is huge progress for me. Thank goodness for therapy—I hope to continue healing. Thanks for listening.
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Old 26th November 2018, 2:15 PM   #7
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People who experience abandonment in childhood often latch onto their significant other in relationships and the bond that forms is deeper in meaning for them than most. The significant other can become the mother/father/god figure in their lives and often times these people will go to any lengths to preserve that attachment, even to their own detriment.
Yes. That is what I have with my husband. He is my reason for living and I am his. If I lost him I'd lose everything. Our marriage is good but I tend to want to keep him to myself and not share him with his family. He does see his family and during those times it's very difficult for me for I feel abandonment all over again. Even when his family calls I feel sick inside. I don't go to therapy anymore but I am being maintained on meds for years. I would benefit from DBT but cannot afford it.

I often feel very alone in any crowd and avoid socializing. My new job has too many personalities which trigger very bad feeling so I'm going to have to leave. I'm becoming emotionally dysregulated at work, the staff is just too toxic for me. I do OK with even tempered ppl but the staff at this place is just too nasty for my taste. I like typing on social networks but I don't have any desire to make any more friends in real life. I can spend many hours at home alone with my dog and feel content.
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Old 26th November 2018, 6:08 PM   #8
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I definitely had (have, maybe) a huge fear of abandonment. It was more pronounced when I was actually with someone (nobody can leave me if I donít have anyone). Mine stems from being an only child with a single mother (never met father) with no other family. I was very close to my mom (possibly too close) until I was ten, when she met her husband. Three weeks after they met, he moved in and for the next three years or so it was like I didnít exist except as a thorn in her side. I would be gone for days at a time without her worrying where I was. At ten I was smoking a pack a day, drinking, taking random pills. Looking back I know it was all a cry for help, needing for someone to see that I wasnít getting what I needed. When I was 13 we moved across the country and my mother tried to act like weíd been ok all along, but it was too late. By that time I was so independent and had no trust for her.

But then when I get with my husband who I met when I was 17, we both needed desperately to have a person promise over and over again that they wouldnít leave. He might have been more needy and insecure than me, even. And we did a lot of comforting each other through it. We ended up staying married for 25 years and towards the end of that I had this feeling like, ďwow, weíve really made it and are going to grow old together. Well, nope! He left me for another woman who was a friend of ours.

When I first realized what was happening and that we were actually going to end, I was so panicked. I really felt like I wished I didnít have kids because I loved them and wouldnít be able to kill myself because I had them to take care of. I was absolutely terrified of going forward without him. And to make it worse, I was very close to his family and so happy to have a family. During the breakup he told me those were his parents and I wasnít to ever contact them again. I actually miss his dad quite a lot still, 4 years later. Donít mis him at all, not even for a minute at the beginning, which shocked me.

Anyway, it has been so strange learning how to be single, but the craziest thing was that I was and am okay. I couldnít believe it. My worst fear had come true. I was heavily rejected by the person who knew me best in this world, betrayed, and I was totally alone. But I really was okay. And maybe three months after he moved into another room in our house my whole demeanor and personality reverted to what it had been before him ó and it was like getting myself back. I always thought of myself as that pre-marriage person, but I didnít act or feel like that person. I like myself so much more now! And on average Iím happier, my highs much higher. There are moments when Iím scared of having to confront difficult things all alone, and times that Iím lonely. But loneliness passes. Itís not what I feared.

So now I feel like Iíve been abandoned and itís something I can handle. And I even feel grateful for the chance to have learned that. But I do feel scared about the idea of getting close and comfortable with someone and relying on them. My current guy travels extensively for business and Iím lucky if I see him two or three times in a month, and weíve gone as long as two months without making it work. I am lonely and I miss him and think about him all the time. But I canít help but wonder if I chose him because I canít rely on him in a day-to-day kinda way. If he disappeared tomorrow, Iíd be sad, but it wouldnít change my life at all. Right now our relationship is escalating and it feels so sweet, but Iím pretty nervous. Maybe thatís just normal and healthy or maybe I still have those abandonment issues. And Iím sure everybody has some level of that, so not sure if this is pathological. I suppose time will tell.
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Old 26th November 2018, 10:44 PM   #9
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I am sorry that happened to you when you were so young. Did you ever get the opportunity to discuss what happen with your mother later in life? Did you get a chance to tell her how it made you feel to be abandoned that way when you were only 10 years old?
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Old 27th November 2018, 12:26 AM   #10
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Thanks, NotASkunk. Itís funny. I donít think I ever thought to confront her with that.

My burning issue that I did confront her with was that she decided I just plain wasnít bright when I was around 5 years old. I was the last kid in my class to learn how to read. Do I was stupid. She never encouraged me in school and thought it was totally fine when I dropped out at 15. I brought it up to her years later, after finish a law degree at NYU, and she said she thought it would be mean to push me when she knew I was just going to fail anyway. Now that Iím a mom Iím horrified with it all. I am sure I make mistakes but not on that scale. Knock on wood.
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Old 27th November 2018, 3:59 PM   #11
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My heart goes out to you.
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Old 27th November 2018, 6:51 PM   #12
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And mine to you, NAS.
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