This is a topic we previously covered in our Next Step meeting, and one I want to unpack again.
Abandonment Wounds, so why do we have them and how do we deal with them?
There is no magic bullet, we must diligently work through them and learn to recognize how they come up in our lives. I’m including a recommendation for a book to read if in fact abandonment is part of your recovery and is something you’re ready to contend with.
In the book “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”, author Susan Anderson explains how a seemingly minor event such as being dropped off at summer camp can cause a small child to learn the world is unsafe and feel their security is under threat.
Our culture doesn’t take trauma very seriously, and this has resulted in multi-generational wounding. Low to high-grade trauma is passed down from parents to their children and the cycle repeats itself. For the most part, we’re a society with low-emotional intelligence and an inability to mindfully work through conflict. Many of us have been taught that anger or sadness aren’t acceptable emotions. We were sent to our rooms when we acted out, shamed for having big feelings, and sometimes even bullied at school for being the sensitive kid. Little hurts and stresses, all the way to low-grade trauma are generally brushed off as “not a big deal”, but that doesn’t mean these experiences don’t leave a mark.
One of the most obvious signs of an abandonment wound is the way a person responds to criticism or conflict. For them, even a minor criticism or perceived conflict can trigger all of the alarm bells to go off in the mind. A person living with an abandonment wound is constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Whenever love is extended to them, their first instinct might be to run away or become anxious. Their fears that they’re being tricked, betrayed, lied to, or deceived surface when they’re triggered by someone’s extension or withdrawal of love. A person with an abandonment wound can have a very hard time trusting and receiving love and identifying what healthy love looks like.
Someone who’s living from their wound may find themselves stuck in abusive relationships, putting up with bullying from partners, friends or family members, avoiding relationships altogether, or chasing people who don’t share the same interest in developing a relationship as they do. For someone with an abandonment wound, it’s often very difficult to enter into a relationship where love is flowing freely and equally between partners.
We also had someone mention attachment styles, this is a topic we have hit on in several of our meetings and here is a link to a great article that can help you take another look at why they are important and determine which one you identify with.
Remember: we can find we have some characteristics of each, however, we do overall have more of one specific type. Look at the patterns of relationships that are most like those you have or those you have had...this can help you find your pattern, in my experience.
Kimberly Sprintz, Founder
Women Empowering Women