Relationships: Is Grieving Unmet Childhood Needs An Important Part Of Letting Of The Fear Of Abandonment?
It is said that it is not possible for someone to be abandoned as an adult, and how this would only apply if they were a baby or a child. However, just because one is an adult it doesn’t mean that they will no longer feel abandoned.
The fear of being abandoned and the feeling itself could define their whole life. It is then not going to be possible for one to experience self-control - as their feelings are going to be in control. One could end up feeling like a victim and wonder if there is anything they can do to change their circumstances.
While one could be aware of what is taking place, there is also the chance that they are unaware of what is happening. When one is not aware of how they feel, they might just end up feeling compelled to act in certain ways.
Their actions are then a way for them to avoid pain and yet that doesn’t mean that they’re in touch with what is causing them to act as they do. There are also going to be other people who are aware of what is taking place within them, but that could be as far as it goes.
If one has felt this way for as long as they can remember it might not stand out. In this case, it could be seen as normal and just how life is. This doesn’t mean that one accepts it, what it means is that they might not realise life can be different.
Another way one can get in touch with this fear is if a relationship comes to an end. Before this moment, the fear of being abandoned might not have caused them any concern. As they haven’t always felt this way it might not be seen as normal and how life is.
The first person could end up feeling hopeless and the second person, (through being in touch with how they experienced life before), could feel as though this is only temporary and that it will soon change.
Through having a different outlook, it could lead could them to look for answers. Whereas, if one has felt this way for a long time, they may have resigned themselves to living this way for the rest of their life.
However, regardless of if one is aware of this fear or how hopeful they are about changing how they feel, it is going to have an effect on their life. This could cause one to stay in relationships that are unfulfilling or even abusive.
It could be hard for them to say no and to tolerate distance and silence in their relationships. They could be clingy, needy and need to maintain constant contact with others, and find that they say yes when they should be saying no. If they are away from others or if they don’t hear back from someone, they could end up fearing the worst.
Another option would be for one to close up and to keep their distance from others when it comes to relationships. The fear of being abandoned is still there, but it is kept under control through keeping others at a distance.
In this case, ones biggest fear might not relate to being abandoned, it could relate to being smothered. Getting close to others is then going to trigger two fears and so one might decide that it’s not worth connecting to others.
Whether one is enmeshed to others or avoids them, they are going to experience problems. It could cause other people to pull away; thereby causing them to feel abandoned once more. Avoiding others might give one a sense of control, but while other people are not abandoning them they are abandoning themselves.
The ideal will be for one to no longer feel abandoned and not because they have disconnected from how they feel or through becoming enmeshed to others, but because it no longer exists. If one decides to look for answers, they might come across many different options.
One could come across information that says they need to change their thoughts and that as soon as this happens, they will no longer feel the same. This could be the answer one is looking for but then again, it might not.
Another approach would be for one to look into their childhood and to see what happened there. Just because one is no longer a child it doesn’t mean they have left their childhood behind them; how they feel as an adult might reflect how they felt as a child.
The years have passed but the emotional experiences of the past may have remained within them. To be left at this age would feel like death and this is because one didn’t have the ability to regulate their emotions.
Their caregiver/s may have left them on the odd occasion or it may have happened on a regular basis. This means that one’s developmental needs were not meant and so they would have suffered.
As well as feeling abandoned and that they were going to die, one would have felt ashamed for having needs and experienced a sense of loss for not having them met. Through being compromised like this, one would have also experienced rage and they would have felt powerless.
To let go of the feeling of being abandoned, one will need to face what happened all those years ago and to grieve their unmet childhood needs. This is not going to be something that happens over night and this to be expected.
It might not be possible for one to do this by themselves and this is why external assistance is important. A therapist or a healer will be able to hold the space and allow one to go where they wouldn’t go by themselves.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.