Today I spent most of the early evening researching and writing a blog post for my other website, Susan’s Blog: The Inner Soul. The post is titled “Fear of Abandonment” and you might like to check it out.
Anyway, after writing my other post, I visited All Poetry to write my poem for tonight. All I could think of to write about was abandonment since I had just written over 1000 words on that topic.
My feelings prior to writing about abandonment were neutral. It had been a quiet uneventful day with the highlight of my day happening when I drove to the County Clerks office to get my TN Disabled Placard (due to my arthritis).
After writing about fear of abandonment, I felt sad, slightly depressed and tearful remembering my childhood abandonment feelings. The poem just flowed with some minor adjustments after writing it. I hope it speaks to you.
A Child Abandoned
a child abandoned by love a child abandoned by care a child abandoned by safety a child abandoned by self
a child deserted by adults responsible to love, care a child left alone and lonely with a childhood full of fear
a fearful child at five a reclusive child at eight an alienated child at ten child’s memories forgotten
loneliness of teenhood years fearfulness of intimacy, love untrusting and painful shyness deep shame and self-hating
suicidal during adulthood depression, anxiety, panic self-medicating with food fear and avoidance of others.
therapy restores loving care therapy teaches reparenting therapy teaches about safety therapy teaches about self-love
now fearlessness and strength replace fear of abandonment now self-love replaces self-hate now belongingness replaces…
My feelings after writing the poem have again returned to “normal” with quietness in the household (it’s 12:39 am). I am peaceful and will retire to bed after publishing this blog. Enjoy your night or day depending on your time zone.
Postscript: I have only one week until my poetry challenge is completed on 7/21/15. Please take the poll below to answer simply if you want me to continue with poetry or if you would prefer that I do another challenge. Thank you in advance, Susan 🙂
Fear of abandonment has always been a problem for me since childhood because of my sexual abuse as a child. I had a fear of being abandoned by my father since he would always threaten me that if I told, “they” would make him go away. I was stuck. My mother was physically and emotionally absent due to her own mental health issues and her addiction to Valium. I couldn’t risk, telling anyone that my father was abusing me or I would be totally abandoned. It was a lonely life for me without my mother’s love and as sick as the relationship was with my father, it was all I had.
Even today, I still carry the scars of the abandonment of my mother and the fear of abandonment of my father. After years of therapy and working through my abuse issues and dissociative identity problems (see that blog). I still have some dissonance between my mind (knowlege) and my heart (emotion). That is the reason I become depressed and anxious at times and why mindfulness is so vitally important to me.
What is Fear of Abandonment?
Fear of abandonment is more common in society than you think. Many of us feel that we were abandoned in our childhood because of trauma, abuse (sexual, physical, emotional), loss through death, absentee parenting, finances, divorce, etc. Abandonment is defined by Dictionary.com as:
abandonment-noun of the verb abandon or abandoned.
Wikipedia gives a definition of abandoned child syndrome as a “psychological condition that results primarily from the loss of one or both parents [or parental autority], or sexual abuse.” Abandonment can be physical (eg. divorce, absentee parenting, death of a parent, just not present in the child’s life. Or it can be emotional where the parent withholds nurturing and/or affection or violates boundaries.
Psychological problems result from abandonment either real or feared. It can cause damage that afects the entire life, but it can be reversed through therapy and treatment.
Some of the symptoms of abandonment and child abandonment syndrome leave wounds that are unhealed and cause pain even as adults. These symptoms include:
Abandoned child syndrome is not recognized as a mental disorder but a group of symptoms that occur together. When children are reared without the psychological or physical protection, they to internalize fear. Living with repeated experiences of abandonment create toxic shame or the state of being that says “I’m bad.” or I’m wrong” rather than recognizing that the behavior was bad or wrong, not the person. Shame happens from continuously receiving the painful message (implied in abandonment) that you are not enough.
Those of us who were abandoned as children feel:
alienation from society or others
We have sleep disorders, eating disorders and/or physical problems like fatigue, addiction, anxiety and/or depression. These mental or physical symptoms may extend into adulthood and perhaps throughout a person’s life.
How to Overcome Fear of Abandonment
Once you accept that you have a fear of abandonment and that it is affecting your relationships (including yourself), then it is time to work on overcoming that fear. Treatment or therapy are required most of the time to overcome what by now has become a lifetime of fear and symptoms.
The steps involved include:
Stop over-generalizing– such as “all men are jerks” or “women can’t be trusted.”
Clearly identify your fear– get to the root cause of your fear of abandonment.
Work through your past– include both real and imagined abandonment.
Change your perspective– change from “victim” (hopeless and helpless) of abandonment to “survivor” (hopeful and strong/powerful enough to survive).
Make a list– of all your strengths, attributes, and character traits that help you to survive abandonment. Also, write down a list of people and resources that would help you to survive.
A Closing Parable
In closing, we all need to recognize that suffering and fear, loss are all part of the human condition. Recognize that suffering is not a democratic process, all people suffer in different ways and in different situations. To demonstrate this, I will quote “The Parable of the Mustard Seed,” a Buddhist story that offers consolation for grief or loss (including those who have experienced loss through abandonment).
A woman who is grieving inconsolably over the death of her son carries the boy’s corpse to Buddha. She has heard of Buddha’s healing powers and hopes he might cure her son of death. Buddha tells the woman that a few grains of mustard seed will serve as a remedy. Buddha stipulates that the remedy will be effective only if the seeds come from a household in which no member has ever died.
The grieving mother travels from house to house only to discover that every household has been touched by death. Gradually, she recognizes that Buddha’s remedy is the acceptance of the connection between life and death. She perceives that her desire for herself and those she loves to escape death is the underlying source of her suffering. Once death is accepted in these terms, it loses its power to inflict pain, and the grieving mother began to heal from the loss of her son.
The parable teaches us to appreciate that suffering is common in the humanity and defines the human condition. The cure for fear and grief comes in recognizing that there is no cure. Suffering is just part of life.