Reinterpreting Negative Experiences – Abandonment

When you Experience Abandonment, it brings an understanding of Self-Reliance.

Abandonment is one of the most feared of emotional experiences. I have, in the past, attempted to avoid feeling abandonment by either not engaging in relationships at all or limiting my relationships to people I was certain would not leave me. This led me to entrust my emotional well being with people who were emotionally unstable themselves.

Intellectually I accept abandonment as a fact of life and the experience is universal. Yet emotionally the fear of abandonment is so strong I find myself acting irrationally. For example, when I feel a cherished relationship may end, my anticipation of abandonment is just as painful as the actual experience and I end up perpetuating the feeling over time rather than dealing with it just once.

I found the following statement on Wikipedia that describes emotional abandonment as “a subjective emotional state in which people feel undesired or discarded. People experiencing abandonment feel at a loss, cut off from a crucial source of support that has been withdrawn. Typically, the breaking of the emotional bond is one-sided, that is, the object of one’s attachment is the one who chose to break the connection. Feeling rejected has a biological impact in that it activates the physical centers in the brain and can leave a long lasting emotional imprint.

For all of the emotional energy I expend in dealing with actual or perceived abandonment, I have found that there is life after divorce, there is happiness after rejection, there is a sense of inner peace after desertion. In reality, I must acknowledge that in many ways my life is better afterwards, not only better than I thought it would be but better than I dreamed it could be. In this way I am released from the sadness that things will not be as I had expected but instead, things will unfold as my life’s adventure continues.

The lesson I take away from this experience is that walking through the feelings of loss and loneliness that accompany abandonment add to my emotional strength. Self-reliance includes living each day knowing “I will be taken care of” which provides a forward perspective, not back. My experience that “all things work together for good” give me gratitude for the happiness I’ve experienced and the happiness yet to come. When I place my emotional well-being in the knowledge that “better days lie ahead” I don’t need push my negative feeling away but neither do I need to be held captive by them.

As I fill my reservoir of self-reliance, I develop an ability to enjoy my relationships without the fear of the pain that may result from separation. Self-reliance means I depend less on the other person for my self-worth and give them the freedom to make the choices that are best for them, not mine. This healthy independence makes the relationships stronger and is the basis for honesty and openness that makes for truly meaningful interaction. Self-reliance, in this sense, is not refraining from a relationship but establishing and maintaining an adult-to-adult relationship where I focus less on their part and more on my responsibilities to myself and them.

Have you experienced abandonment? How did it feel? How did you react? Did your reactions make the situation better or worse for yourself (describe how)?

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