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The Origin of Abandonment Issues
An infant's life can be
That's because survival literally depends
upon our connection with our parents. As such, there are many ways abandonment
fears can get triggered and imprinted in an infant, thus setting the abandonment
how the grown-up will relate to loved ones in the future.
As infants, we are extremely sensitive to
every nuance in the behaviour and reactions of our parents. After all, they
already know about this world and we only just arrived.
The conditions that give rise to these abandonment patterns don't necessarily require that Mom/Dad permanently leave the scene. For
instance, they can be physically there but abandon you by not being emotionally
present, an abandonment situation that is easily and painfully recognized by the
Parents can also abandon you emotionally if
they find another interest that absorbs their time and energy, such as a new
relationship, a new child, etc. This is why birth order or the time spacing
between children can have such a strong impact on the growing child.
Indeed, research shows that an infant will
show signs of clinical depression from abandonment if Mom is absent for more than two weeks.
These "depression" and abandonment neuropathways develop at a time when early
experiences have a crucial impact on the developing brain. Susceptibility gets
imprinted, so that in adulthood we're at higher risk for depression and
Abandonment issues can
From day one, and throughout our lives, we have a
biological need for connection with others. We need
security, protection, physical contact, communication, and a sense of belonging.
As infants, the only way of satisfying these needs is to learn how to
communicate them to our caregivers. The catch - we must do this before we even
know how to speak!
In other words, we originally learned to relate to
others exclusively through experience.
The pattern of relating that you learn in the early years
forms a fixed emotional template that determines all your later relationships.
If the parenting you experienced was
indifferent, inconsistent, or even abusive, then your emotional template will
program a dysfunctional pattern of relating to people that will hamper you for
the rest of your life.
Now the brain's plasticity, or adaptability, continues as long as we live. This means that you can replace that template at any time, but you need to have new experiences. You need to somehow reproduce the conditions in which your personal template was originally formed so that a new one can arise.
Feelings of abandonment can be worked
through in a loving relationship with a partner who understands. However, what's
critically important is that these abandonment fears be communicated and owned by
It doesn't necessarily mean that your
partner must change his or her behaviour. But through his or her loving
care and understanding you can begin to resolve these abandonment fears. You resolve
these abandonment fears by
experiencing something different.
This process can take years however and it's inherently
fraught with difficulties because our fears in relationships can undermine a
And here's where therapy for abandonmant issues comes in.
This is often the best option – resolving your unresolved
abandonment issues before they reach a crisis, when therapeutic
interventions for abandonment are less effective.
By having new, growth-producing experiences with the right
therapist, you can gradually transform the dysfunctional abandonment template that you've
been burdened with.
This won't happen with conventional talk therapy – it doesn't begin to go deep enough.
But with the right
therapist, someone who is acutely attuned to your emotional and physical
states, you can identify those dysfunctional emotional patterns of abandonment and gradually
replace them with new, mature ways of relating.
Transformation is possible because plasticity is continual.
Find the right therapist for you and you're half-way there.
Bio: Dr. Suzanne
LaCombe is a psychotherapist / psychologist and publisher of MyShrink.com, an educational
website on using counseling to expand your life.
Get help and heal your abandonment issues now!