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Did your lover leave you? Abandonment is a knife wound to the heart. It is highly vulnerable to infection and can leave scarring.
Anyone suffering the loss of a love is in a true emotional crisis. Abandonment has its own special kind of grief, as painful as grief over death, and just as enduring. It grips your life with powerful feelings. Left unresolved, this special grief can burrow deep within where it undermines self esteem and interferes in future relationships. It is only because people don’t know how to handle the feelings that abandonment can have such a lasting effect – and can lead to self defeating patterns that interfere in future relationships and in life.
Abandonment Recovery guides you through the stages of this powerful psycho-biological process and shows you techniques for managing its pain. Empowered with the right tools, you can prevent self-injury, prevent damaging your self esteem. In the end you’ll turn this painful experience into an opportunity for positive change.
Initially, being left, rejected, bereft of love – creates a deeply personal wound. It threatens our sense of self worth and shatters our security. It consumes us in panic, longing, isolation, self-recrimination, and despair.
The severing of our love-relationship creates a heart-wound. Your body reacts as if your very life were being threatened, as if you had been actually stabbed in the heart. The threat of losing your primary attachment propels you into a state of neuro-biological emergency. Your heart pounds. Your stomach turns. You lose your appetite one minute and become ravenous the next. You oversleep or can’t sleep. You’re on edge, hyper-vigilant, and plagued with obsessive thoughts (about your lost love) and can’t concentrate on anything else. You feel mortally wounded, that your life is over, that you’ll never love again. These catastrophic thoughts, along with your urgent feelings of morbidity and doom, are evidence of surges of stress hormones coursing through your body and brain. You are in a state of constant of vulnerability.
As helpless and defeated as you may feel right now, this does not mean that your situation is hopeless, that you are weak or dependent, or that you will never love again. Feelings of hopelessness, panic, and desperation are normal to the first stage of the abandonment cycle. The five stages – Shattering, Withdrawal, Internalizing, Rage, and Lifting spell S.W.I.R.L. As you SWIRL through the overlapping stages, the intense feelings prove to be temporary, in fact NECESSARY to your personal growth and recovery.
But while you are in the throes of the initial break-up, you find yourself overwhelmed with feelings that have taken on a life of their own. Try as you might, you can’t just will them away. But you CAN take charge of your recovery. At the bottom of your pain is a touchstone of positive change that leads to greater life and love than before. All the way through abandonment’s cycle, the HELP center provides support, guidance, techniques and insight.
There are many worthy, loveable, and beautiful human beings who are alone. Some chose it, celebrate their emotional independence, and lead illustrative lives. Others want a relationship, but haven’t been able to find one. They are alone-not-by-choice. Only they can know the agony and shame of not being able to find a someone.
The underlying cause is usually fear – FEAR OF ABANDONMENT, the scourge of human relationship. This fear ensnares you in a vicious cycle. You make poor choices. You avoid relationships altogether, or when you try to be with someone, you choose unavailable partners – a perfect way to avoid risking a real relationship.
Depending on your earlier history of separation and loss, you may have come to confuse insecurity and emotional hunger with LOVE. You’ve become an ABANDOHOLIC. If you are part of this group, you’re probably attracted only to abandoners – emotionally dangerous partners. You believe your chronic heartache has to do with being unlovable or unappealing or unworthy of being kept. But it doesn’t have to do with any of these things. It’s because of your emotional addiction – your attachment to false values and adolescent idealisms. Your hard-to-get lover has become EMOTIONAL CANDY you can’t resist. These fruitless attractions are a self-indulgence you can no longer afford. They keep you locked outside of love.
If you’re a true abandoholic, you tend not to be attracted to emotionally safe partners — the ones who are capable of showing up and being there for you -the ones who actually want to be with YOU. Chances are, you’re not even looking for someone who would be safe to attach to. When one of them finds YOU, you feel nothing for THEM, your body shuts down, your romantic feelings freeze up. Your blame them for not being able to turn you on. You point the finger at what THEY’RE lacking. It’s something about THEM that causes the ‘lack of chemistry.’ You can enumerate all of their inadequacies, faults, and lackings – the tangible things about them that justify your rejection of them. You become critical, irritable, intolerant, and even downright abusive at times. In the end – another failed relationship.
More About Abandoholism
Take this time now to look back. The problem might not have been with THEM. It might have been within YOU – your own difficulty with love.
Until you can get a handle on the real problem and question your values and behavior, LOVE might be staring you in the face and you won’t be able to recognize it. You’re too caught up in defense mechanisms, attempting to bargain with your own woundedness – an internal problem you don’t really want to own up to. You’re trying to avoid risk, but you’re forfeiting the chance for real connectedness, for sharing your heart with someone.
Lost in a catch 22 of self-defeating patterns, you feel trapped in a solitary life you did not consciously choose, forced to face your family and friends, a singleton in a couple’s world. You wonder what they must think of your chronic aloneness – that maybe nobody wants to keep you, or that you’re incapable of being in a relationship. You half believe these things yourself, wondering if you’re not attachment worthy, while at the same time, you convince yourself that you just haven’t found the right person. Your deepest fear is that you never WILL and that you are destined for loneliness and unhappiness.
Something seems broken inside, but you don’t know what it is or how to fix it. Not true. You’re just a human being caught in a pattern. You are worthy of being loved and cherished. And you are capable of finding and loving an emotionally safe partner. Trust and respect are the substance of a real relationship. But you must gain insight into your old values and behaviors. You must see and do things differently. Abandonment recovery offers tools, insight, and techniques to get to the taproot of the problem, overcome Outer Child self sabotage, and promote change.
• AKERU, a program of five hands-on mental exercises offers a way out of self-defeating patterns.
• BLACK SWAN, a self help tale offers spiritual and emotional guidance, promoting love and connection.
* OUTER CHILD, a program of exercises that work like physical therapy for the brain, to help you overcome your most deeply entrenched patterns of self-sabotage. You learn to reverse self-abandonment, and heal from the inside out, step by step. What begins as deep emotional healing, results in profound positive behaviors that change your life.
* Abandonment Recovery Support Groups help you connect with others going through the devastating isolation and shame. You will discover where you are stuck, how to change your deeply entrenched patters, identify and work out your hot spots, and make new connections. If you do not have support groups in your area, go to group center.
* Authors Workshops, spend time with Susan Anderson within a safe, supportive group process. The expereince is life-changing.
“I always seem to be getting over a relationship,” many abandonment survivorstell me. Or, “All the love has gone. I’m feeling empty and hopeless.” Or, “I’m so insecure, my love-life is in constant turmoil.”
These are common complaints. Chronic heartache and insecurity are the result of emotional conditioning. They stem from earlier losses, abandonments, and disappointments. You might be mired in abandonment grief from past events you no longer even remember.
The S.W.I.R.L. system lays out the five stages – – Shattering, Withdrawal, Internalizing, Rage, and Lifting. You can become stuck in one or more of these overlapping stages from previous losses and abandonments, some stemming all the way back to childhood.
Chronic heartache is usually a sign of emotional baggage left over from the WITHDRAWAL STAGE, perhaps an emotional process you experienced in childhood. During previous stages of previous WITHDRAWAL-from-love, you felt EMOTIONAL HUNGER – needing, wanting, and waiting for love and nurturance that wasn’t available. Depending on the intensity and duration of this experience, or if it was repetitive, you may have become ‘conditioned’ to chronic WITHDRAWAL. Abandonment Recovery helps you get ‘unstuck.’
Low self worth usually means you were injured during the INTERNALIZING PROCESS from earlier rejections and losses. Your parent’s or lover’s dismissal of you, their ignoring you, their criticism of you got internalized, creating a deep narcissistic injury affecting your core beliefs. Each time you encounter loss or disappointment, you question your worth. When you lose someone you love, you beat yourself up. Every disconnection or slight you experience has the power to diminish you by little increments, slowly eroding your sense entitlement, your self esteem, and sense of security. In spite of all your achievements, you have become uncertain about your life, your relationships, and yourself.
Many try to self-medicate the emptiness, fear, and chronic emotional hunger with food, alcohol, shopping, people, television, sleep. Grabbing for quick-fixes only makes your life seem more out of control. But not forever. Abandonment recovery offers tools to help reverse these patterns. There is a symptom profile for each stage of the abandonment process described in both JOURNEY books, as well TAMING Y OUR OUTER CHILD, which have inventories and check lists to help you identify your “hot spots” and Outer Child behaviors. Additionally, BLACK SWAN’S Twelve Lessons of Abandonment Recovery as well as the five AKeRU exercises combine to provide an integrating program of directed healing. HELP is available. If your situation wasn’t covered, i.e. if you’re grieving a death, go here, or contact us.