My Abandonment Issues

by K

Childhood abandonment issues (literally).

Not wanting to place blame on anyone. More curious as to why it took me until almost 40 years old to start wanting to figure me out.

VERY abusive family life as a child. Father beating older siblings (self not included). Mother left leaving a note on my first day of 1st Grade. Father dies in an accident at age 12. I had no emotion, I guess. No tears. Just quiet. Although, I can sure cry now about it. Not sure why I felt that just the 2 above issues weren't going to affect my life. I'm learning now that they absolutely did affect my life in various ways.

Moving on and fixing my life is where I am currently at, and what a huge mess. siblings long-distanced themselves from entire family, and each other. Mother distanced herself from children completely the day she left note. Being the youngest of the 7 kids, I tried to imagine all of us mending the destroyed bridge, but have come to know through the years that it needs to be about me fixing me. I can't fix all of them.

My siblings view me as the spoiled child because I didn't suffer the physical abuse that they did. Never mind that I was under 5 years old and had to watch my family beat each other while I was shaking in fear in the distance. Even our Mother views me as spoiled. I am guessing because she couldn't tell on me the way she did my siblings and get me beat by our Father?

As an adult I now know that our family was dysfunctional on some huge levels. I want to only acknowledge that the family structure was completely dysfunctional, and not ever repeat the behavior (or stop repeating the behavior).

It doesn't bring a lot of true meaning until I hear myself say the kinds of events that happened out loud. I now sit, and know that my emotion matches the events. I cry now because that is the emotion that should be there, and that is the emotion that I feel.

Many many of my relationships as an adult have been destroyed. Not always because of my issues, but many were due to my issues, and I'm now aware.
I would like to focus on repair at this point in my life.

If anyone came to me and told me of my childhood as their own story, I would know that they were most likely in a mess, but why I never allowed myself to acknowledge that about me I can't understand. Likely more of the classic, "it's easier to help someone else than myself". Where do I begin working on me? There appears to be so much that I don't know where to start. I do know that I want change for the better, and I want my relationships to be better from now on.

I'm leery of my Mother knowing that I am working on me in this way. There seems to be a "misery loves company" aspect of her towards me. I'm at the point now where I just don't care anymore. At some point it has to be about ME, and I need to be allowed to heal.

How am I suppose to deal with her when the shaded comments come at me or, that tone of distaste comes at me? What a difficult task at hand. One moment at a time is the only way I can begin to think of tackling this.

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Apr 18, 2010
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take care of you
by: Anonymous

Put yourself first, use the energy you spent helping others to take care of yourself. The heck with what anyone thinks or says. You are important and deserve to be happy and healthy. If you don't first take care of yourself, how then can you take care of anyone else? Emotions Anonymous has a wonderful 12 step program with meetings. Excellent resourse. Good luck to you. Abondonment issues as well destroyed my life,but I mananaged to get into personal recovery as well when I was 40. It is worth it and you are worth it.

Jan 29, 2010
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Don
by: K

Strange enough partially because of my relationship with my significant other, I went to see a counselor a week ago. He has opiate addition. I hadn't dealt with that before, but my co dependent tendencies thought I could save him. hahaha...that sounds quite funny to me now.

I was referred to Al-Anon meetings. I think they may help me. More importantly, I had been having thoughts about addiction since before even meeting my significant other...that addiction was not just street drugs. For years I have said, that a cigarette smoker is a form of an addict (myself included). I often speak the words out loud, but rarely stop and listen to exactly what the meaning is behind them.

So, somehow in all of this, I also uncovered much more about myself. A dear friend started me on the path of stopping and listening to my very own words a few months ago. I began to listen instead of just spilling out my thoughts. It has been enlightening for me, that's for sure.
I'm not sure what meetings I would belong in. Meetings for addicts, or those that deal with addicts in their life. Kind of confusing.

Thank you for your advice in helping me find the resources needed to help me in this process.


Jan 29, 2010
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You have already begun to heal...
by: Don Carter

Hi K...I've been following this thread for a bit and I want to thank you for your courage. That's what it takes to look at the truth of what happened to you and then to share it with others.

Now, you want to know how to get started in the healing process -- the good news is that you've already begun to heal by reading the information here, applying it, speaking it out loud, letting yourself feel it, and now discussing it with others. The bad news is that it gets worse before it gets better -- but it DOES get better!

This work is like any other kind of healing process. You have to clean out the wound before it can heal -- that hurts! So, in addition to what the others have said about re-parenting and being gentle with yourself, I want to acknowledge that you have already demonstrated that you are a survivor -- the hardest part of all was being a child in that situation and living that way.

Having said that, I want to stress that this is not work that you can do alone...you need to build a support network of others who KNOW the recovery process -- You have started that here, keep going!

But it's good to have warm bodies & faces around you as well, so seek out a 12-step group such as Adult Children of Alcoholism and Other Dysfunctional Families (ACA) or Codependents Anonymous. A good counselor who knows about dysfunctional families can help you get over the initial stages of recovery.

And, I agree, above all a Loving Higher Power is the best way to go for Re-parenting work. Let your Higher Power love & support you as you learn how to continue loving yourself and taking care of yourself in healthy ways.

If you don't have a Higher Power yet...ask others to share how it works for them. Ask at least 5 people...during the process you start to discover your own concept and it will grow.

Thanks again K!

Don

Jan 29, 2010
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Thank you
by: K

Thank you all for your encouragement and suggestions. I appreciate it a lot. I also know that recognizing there is a problem is a good start, and I intend on keeping at this.

I feel that even small strides in the right direction will improve my life and the life of those close to me.


Jan 29, 2010
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Some Encouragement
by: xmkx

K, just as a little bit of encouragement...

When I came across this site a lot of childhood issues started coming back to me. I was scared like you that I wouldn't be able to handle all of it, especially since I have self harmed and been suicidal in the past. It was so relieving though that I just couldn't bring myself to try stopping it and risk losing the opportunity to get it all out.

So I attempted the re-parenting process by myself. When I felt an old memory come back, I would excuse myself to go to the bathroom or somewhere private if I was around others and I would allow myself to cry it out. If I felt like I was getting too worked up/out of control about it I would hug myself and rock myself back and forth while giving the child version of me positive reinforcement - reassuring her that I loved her, I would take care of her, that I would never let that happen to her again, that it was ok and it was all over, etc.

This helped in two ways: it reminded me during the process that I was no longer the child I once was even though there was a child version of me trapped inside, and it gave the child version of me the positive messages she needed in order to feel fulfilled enough to move on and heal.

Mind you, I don't think this process would have been possible for me were it not for the information on this website and being able to use it to identify and understand my own different ego states. However, I'm living proof that the re-parenting process can be done by yourself.

The important thing is to not run away from your emotions but use them to your advantage to heal and always keep it in the back of your mind that you are safe now.

Jan 29, 2010
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Abandonment Issues..
by: Anonymous

Please remember to draw on God's love and mercy. He can help you in ways no one else can. I agree with Evan...do things in small steps until you can handle the big ones. The best thing is...you've already started. That alone is a huge step. Your feelings count. If your mother is ridiculing you, it is her own issues that causes it. You are doing the right thing. You have the right to have a good and wonderful life. God bless you on your journey. I wish you all the best.

Jan 29, 2010
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Being Scared
by: Evan

Please don't do anything to scare yourself. Please find as much support as you can. Please be gentle with yourself.

It can feel scary when we deal with our past - that's why we've tried to bury it all these years. When you get scared stop - in this way we learn that we can control our feelings - especially if you don't have much support.

These are of course my values. Others love to push themselves, jump in the deep end and so on. In my experience this can lead to people getting scared and stopping altogether. I prefer the low risk, as pleasurable as possible, way to change.

I hope I'm not being too abstract, but I just want to sketch out a general approach - and you will fill in the details for yourself.

Jan 29, 2010
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K
by: Anonymous

There was a lot missing from the first post.

My father remarried about 3 years before he died. After his death, my stepmother also abandoned me within months of his death. I suppose I can say that it has happened multiple times pertaining to those that were my parental figures.

I have spent my life not ever fully content with any significant other. Mostly choosing partners that have addiction problems. It has just been a repeat of the same problems over and over. Me always being "the good one", the non addicted parent in the relationship. I was not ever aloud to do anything wrong as a child either. Always told I could do better, etc. The list is huge, and goes on and on. A friend said to me not long ago, "you were never 5 years old". Nope, I guess not. So, somehow your post makes a lot of sense to me now.

Thank you!!


Jan 29, 2010
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Playing...
by: K

I do remember playing as a child. Mostly alone. Well, no other children (except school), but at home...the family dog was my constant companion for hours of play in the acres of woods where our house was. Surely the reason I am so bonded to all animals as an adult.

What I fear is that now that all of this is opening up for me that I may not have the help I need to get through it or, I will be unable to handle it. It is a bit relieving to know that I finally have some answers to what the heck has been going on in my life, but also scary because it is as if a new window opens up moment to moment.

I find myself thinking, "what if I can't handle all that I uncover in this mess". The "mess" has chosen my significant others every single time. It chose my husband too (now divorced). Everything about this web site is a complete picture as to exactly what my life has been about. It is a bit scary.


Jan 28, 2010
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Where to Start
by: Evan

I'm in favour of small and easy.

The big picture I think is about meeting the needs of the child inside you. In this way you gradually undo the damage from the abandonment.

Choosing something you wanted to do as a child that you could do easily now. Stuff like flying a kite, riding a bike, playing with lego, giggling, giving a hug . . . whatever it was for you.

Then move on to the next small and easy thing.

If you stick with the small and easy you build up experience of change being pleasurable and so are more likely to keep on with it.

I hope this makes sense and is helpful.

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