Post Traumatic Stress Disorder of Abandonment: 36 Characteristics

Last Updated on May 19, 2020 by Susan Anderson, Psychotherapist

woman alone in a dim room

The intense emotional crisis of abandonment can create a trauma severe enough to leave an emotional imprint on individuals’ psychobiological functioning, affecting their future choices and responses to rejection, loss, or disconnection.  Following an abandonment experience in childhood or adulthood, some people develop a sequela of post traumatic symptoms which share sufficient features with post traumatic stress disorder to be considered a subtype of this diagnostic category.

What are the symptoms of PTSD of Abandonment?

Intrusive anxiety

As with other types of post trauma, the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder of abandonment range from mild to severe.  PTSD of abandonment is a psychobiological condition in which earlier separation traumas interfere with current life.  An earmark of this interference is intrusive anxiety which often manifests as a pervasive feeling of insecurity – a primary source of self sabotage in our primary relationships and in achieving long range goals.  Another earmark is a tendency to compulsively reenact our abandonment scenarios through repetitive patterns, i.e., abandoholism – being attracted to the unavailable.

Diminished self-esteem

Another factor of abandonment post trauma is for victims to be plagued with diminished self esteem and heightened vulnerability within social contexts (including the workplace) which intensifies their need to buttress their flagging ego strength with defense mechanisms which can be automatically discharged and whose intention is to protect the narcissistically injured self from further rejection, criticism, or abandonment.  These habituated defenses are often maladaptive to their purpose in that they can create emotional tension and jeopardize emotional connections.

Emotional Hijacking

Victims of abandonment trauma can have emotional flashbacks that flood us with feelings ranging from mild anxiety to intense panic in response to triggers that we may or may not be conscious of.  Once our abandonment fear is triggered, it can lead to what Daniel Goleman calls emotional hijacking.  During an emotional hijacking, the emotional brain has taken over, leaving its victims feeling a complete loss of control over their own lives, at least momentarily.  If emotional hijacking occurs frequently enough, its chronic emotional excesses can lead to self-depreciation and isolation within relationships, as well as give rise to secondary conditions such as chronic depression, anxiety, obsessive thinking, negative narcissism, and addiction.

What is PTSD?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a so called “disease” of the amygdala – the emotional center of the brain responsible for initiating the Fight Flee Freeze response.  In PTSD, the amygdala is set on overdrive to keep us in a perpetual state of hyper-vigilance — action-ready to declare a state of emergency should it perceive any threat even vaguely reminiscent of the original trauma. The amygdala, acting as the brain’s warning system, is constantly working to protect (overprotect) us from any possibility of further injury.  In the post trauma sequelae related specifically to abandonment, the amygdala scans the environment for potential threats to our attachments or to our sense of self worth.

People with PTSD of abandonment can have heightened emotional responses to abandonment triggers that are often considered insignificant by others. For instance, depending on circumstances, when we feel slighted, criticized, or excluded, it can instigate an emotional hijacking and interfere in, and even jeopardize our personal or professional life.

Below, I’ll identify some of the other issues related to post traumatic stress disorder of abandonment:

36 Characteristics of PTSD of Abandonment

This list is meant to be descriptive, rather than exhaustive of the many issues related to the abandonment syndrome.  

  1. An intense fear of abandonment that interferes in forming primary relationships in adulthood.
  2. Intrusive insecurity that interferes in your social life and goal achievement.
  3. Anxiety with authority figures.
  4. Tendency toward self defeating behavior patterns that sabotage your love life, goals, or career.
  5. A tendency to repeatedly subject yourself to people or experiences that lead to another loss, another rejection, and another trauma.
  6. Intrusive reawakening of old losses; echoes of old feelings of vulnerability and fear which interfere in current experience.
  7. Heightened memories of traumatic separations and other events.
  8. Conversely, partial or complete memory blocks of childhood traumas.
  9. Low self-esteem, low sense of entitlement, performance anxiety.
  10. Feelings of emotional detachment, i.e. feeling numb to past losses.
  11. Conversely, difficulty letting go of the painful feelings of old rejections and losses.
  12. Difficulty letting go, even when we know the relationship cannot meet our basic needs
  13. Episodes of self-neglectful or self destructive behavior.
  14. Difficulty withstanding (and overreacting to) the customary emotional ups and downs of your adult relationships.
  15. Difficulty working through the ordinary levels of conflict and disappointment within your adult relationships.
  16. Extreme sensitivity to perceived rejections, exclusions or criticisms.
  17. Emotional pendulum swing between fear of engulfment and fear of abandonment; you can alternate between ‘feeling the walls close in’ if someone gets too close and feeling insecure, love starved – on a precipice of abandonment – if you are not sure of the person’s love.
  18. Difficulty feeling the affection and other physical comforts offered by a willing partner – “keeping them out” or “pushing them away; evidence of emotional anorexia or emotional bulimia.
  19. Tendency to ‘get turned off’ and ‘lose the connection’ by involuntarily shutting down romantically and/or sexually on a willing partner.
  20. Conversely, tendency to feel hopelessly hooked on a partner who is emotionally distancing.
  21. Tendency to have emotional hangovers ‘the morning after’ you have had contact with an ex or someone over whom you have felt pain.
  22. Difficulty naming your feelings or sorting through an emotional fog.
  23. Abandophobism – a tendency to avoid close relationships altogether to avoid risk of abandonment.
  24. Conversely, a tendency to rush into relationships and clamp on too quickly.
  25. Difficulty letting go because you have attached with emotional epoxy, even when you know your partner is no longer able to fulfill your needs, or even when you know your partner is not good for you.
  26. An excessive need for control, whether it’s about the need to control the other’s behavior and thoughts, or about being excessively self-controlled; a need to have everything perfect and done your way.
  27. Conversely, a tendency to create chaos by avoiding responsibility, procrastinating, giving up control to others, and feeling out of control.
  28. A heightened sense of responsibility to others, rescuing, attending to people’s needs, even when they have not voiced them.
  29. Tendency to have unrealistic expectations and heightened reactivity toward others such that it creates conflict and burns bridges to your social connections.
  30. People-pleasing – excessive need for acceptance or approval.
  31. Self-judgment; unrealistic expectations toward yourself.
  32. Fear response to people’s anger, which unwittingly sets you up to being “controlled” by them.
  33. Co-dependency issues in which you give too much of yourself to others and feel you don’t get enough back.
  34. Tendency to act impulsively without being able to put the brakes on, even when you are aware of the negative consequences.
  35. Tendency toward unpredictable outbursts of anger.
  36. Conversely, tendency to under-react to anger out of fear of breaking the connection and also out of your extreme aversion to ‘not being liked’.

The impact of abandonment trauma can be mitigated by abandonment recovery – a program of therapy techniques designed to help you overcome abandonment and its aftermath of self sabotaging patterns.

Please see additional articles that help you explore whether you are on the abandonment trauma spectrum, offer practical help, explain why some people are more prone to getting post traumatic stress disorder of abandonment than others, and the Five Phases of Abandonment and Recovery which provides hands-on help for people across the abandonment spectrum—those with post trauma and those without. The workbook is helpful in guiding you through the abandonment therapy techniques step by step, teaching you self help tools for each of the five phases specific to abandonment grief and trauma. 

See also:

Are you on the abandonment spectrum?  Do you have symptoms of PTSD of abandonment?

What is the Abandonment Syndrome?

How Is PTSD of Abandonment Different from Borderline? (BPD)

PTSD of Abandonment: Why some people are More Prone to Developing it than Others

The Five Stages of Abandonment and Recovery

Abandonment versus Borderline: 12 Tasks for Coping with Emotional Hijacking

Fear of Abandomnent: 10 Ways to Turn it Around

Abandonment Recovery: How it Overcomes Abandonment Trauma and its Aftermath of Self Sabotaging Patterns

© Susan Anderson November 12 2013, updated and revised Sept 28 2016

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  1. Penelope Glass says:

    I am 56 years old and my mother died when I was 7. I need therapy. I am not able to accept love from my partner. I can only be with him for 4 days and I feel closed in and need to be alone. I am divorced. I am going to make appointment for therapy. I am anxious constantly. I don’t know what normal is. I overreact and am very controlling. I am in relationship that I don’t want to sabotage. He understands my abandonment issues and says he is not going to abandon me. But for some reason I feel at my best when I am alone.

  2. nick says:

    I know I need help. I had physical abuse from my mother as young as 2 years old and was basically given to my Grandmother. I’m overly attached to my Grandma and I’m 35 years old. My romantic relationships seems to always follow the same bad pattern.

  3. Ashlie Bowen says:

    I am 17 years old. I have episodic ataxia type 3, low blood sugar, vertigo, insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks and apparently ptsd. For fear of having my ataxia go off alone I have always made sure that I’m not alone. Now my “friends” and neighbors believe its getting out of hand and I have PTSD about being left alone and (one of them is going to school to be a psychologist and he is 40 and has done the same amount of schooling as me) they think that to help me get over the PTSD (well him specifically) they should let me wake up one morning and “practice” being alone all day telling me they will be there for me. Yeah well I am okay with being alone but not feeling alone. He has made sure I don’t go to anyone’s house, that no one I know talks to me or checks on me or anything. He says he’s doing this to force me into therapy but being on medical we all know you get shitty therapy and my therapist I’ve been seeing hasn’t called me back for two months. His niece that I RAISED and have been there for her since the day she was born (8yrs) I read to her fed her changed her help her with HW teach her life lessons take her to fun places and have spent thousands of dollars on because she has dead beat parents well now I’ve been told I cant see her until I get my anxiety under control which has sent me into the biggest depression of my life and I can’t stop worrying how she is doing what they’ve told her I just want her to know I’m not the one abandoning her they are forcing me away I just don’t know what to do I cant get out of bed I cant eat my head is hurting all the time I feel like everything has been ripped away from me and I have NO friends period so I have no one to talk to. I just feel like giving up I don’t see a point in living. She was, is my world and I can’t even see let alone talk to her and its killing me inside. Thanks for listening.

  4. Amanda says:

    I am a 40 year old woman who has yet again just destroyed another relationship. My father left when I was 2 years old and I tracked him down when I was 18 only to be rejected all over again as a young adult. I have constantly been attracted to “emotionaly unavailable” men who have treated me like dirt. I finally met a gentle loving soul – who seemed to love me for me and I treated him terribly. I kept pushing and testing him (i guess to see if his love really was unconditional) obviously everyone has their breaking point and it seems after 2 years he could take no more of my behaviours and did infact leave me. (which I expected all along) I am terrified of letting people see anything that could be viewed as weakness or vunerability in me so I hide the real me and instead put on an act I have perfected over the last 30+ years of a strong, confident woman who doesn’t really need anyone…… I am abrasive and mean at times in an effort to avoid forming relationships (even friendships) and come across as very prickly. I am tired, i am tired of acting, i’m so tired of trying to project the image of perfection, i’m tired of hurting people- i’m really just flat out tired. Out of the 30 symptoms I checked the box on 27 of them. I just need some advice on where I can go to get some help with this. I can’t allow myself to keep repeating this terribly, lonely cycle. I just want to be happy and I just want to be me – without the fear of rejection.

  5. Jack says:

    Oh wow, thanks so much for whoever wrote this. Everything on here is so true. I’m a veteran, and since I’ve been back, I was diagnosed with PTSD, and I was acting “weird” when I got back because it was difficult to adjust. My family and friends stopped talking to me when I acted weird, and i started drinking then begin using drugs to fill the void. When they found that out, it turned into talking behind my back and making my co-workers stop talking to me as well.

    Then rumors would spread, and people would joke & criticize me for my PTSD issues (drinking & drugs) without even taking into consideration that I had PTSD because I looked “normal” on the outside.

    Now, I’m afraid to get to know anyone because if I say the wrong things, I can pick up on their body language and know that they don’t want to bother with me. And if I ask people things and they ignore me and pretend like I don’t exist, than that’s even worse. So, I just cut myself off from everyone to prevent the feeling of abandonment.

    This sounds crazy, but I think of trivial things that happened ten years ago that people have done to me, and I get irrationally angry about it. To the point of getting drunk and yelling in my room and staging mock scenarios in my head of things I should have done differently 10 YEARS AGO!

    It’s wearing on me mentally and I don’t know how to stop it. So I figure the best solution is just to limit all contact with people so I don’t create more bad memories for the future. So my future self won’t be dwelling on negative things from the past.

    Whoever wrote this, thank you. I would really like to donate to you guys so you can help spread this information, because I think it would help ALOT of people, combat veterans inparticular who are dealing with abandonment issues. I learned more about myself from reading this than any doctor, group, or therapy that the VA has taught me. This honestly should be required reading for people who work with veterans who suffer abandonment issues. Because everything you say is so true. Thanks again for this!

  6. unanimous says:

    Please assist me. My daughter has not spoken to me in over 3 years. Although I know it was my fault i still wished to make ammends and have a relation with her. It is so painful. I had no idea this would leed to total abandonment of me, and her entire family. After having raised someone for over 27 years then to have all cummunication stopped….it’s tearing me apart. Thank you for any suggestions.

  7. Brandi says:

    My trauma runs deep. I was given up and lived with my grandmother. All through childhood my mother would come around once in a while stay for 5 min then leave again. As the years went by there was a repetitive kind of verbal abuse. Finding her to be a narcassitic parent was revealing for me because when reading about those kinds of parents at http://parrishmiller.com/narcissists.html which is a very long read but like each paragraph brought a memory as i read. Then years later my aunt betrayed and abandoned me, turning me into DHS or CPS whichever its called in your area, all because she didn’t want me to move from MS to NC. Five days before I was suppose to leave CPS knocked on my door and took my kids based on what my aunt said. They didnt even come into the house, just handed me a paper when i opened the front door and that was that. I was told so many things, I’m not a good parent, I am irrisponsible, I cannot make choices for myself… i sat at a table alone, my aunt her daughters and one of my sisters sat on the other side each taking a turn telling me all they saw wrong with me, wrong with me as a parent, wrong with me in every way…. Four years later I still am jumpy, relationships are extremely hard for me, family means nothing to me and I am always… ALWAYS… guarded. If someone knocks on the door of my house before calling to ask if they can come over, it sends me into a panic… ect. I am grateful for this website. I am determined to heal and overcome. Thank you for giving me a name to all I deal with. Now I know how to heal even more.

  8. Jill Gordon says:

    After being in a relaionship for 4 years with a man with Aspergers that lacks a conscience a lot of the time I notice what I can only conclude as a feeling of hijacking of my brain as a consequence. What therapy or medication is available for this?

  9. Heidi Oldfield says:

    Raised 3 step kids after their mother put them on a school bus and ran off with a co worker who didn’t want kids. Eventually, she had court appointed visitation, where she filled the kids heads with various fantasies. (Example: mommy left because daddy wouldn’t stop smoking!) Tried to get father to put kids in counseling years ago, as signs of abandonment issues were rearing their ugly head. Nope, best not to talk about it, it’s over, done and in the past, said the parents. Guess what? All 3 adult abandoned children are suffering the consequences! There issues are everyone else’s fault, usually step mom! The youngest claims to be getting some help soon, hoping the other 2 will as well! Makes me sad to see what a parents selfish ways can do to a child…..and they carry it with them forever! Hoping they can overcome the trauma of irresponsible adults and find peace! Thank you for this wonderful article!

  10. Mary says:

    Re-enactment email template

    I was emailing for either
    information and/or a referral. The reason being is that I am currently having blocks of time that is missing. First I started off with bad dreams of being sexually and physically abused and now I am beginning to sleep walk. I already went to the doctor, neurologist and psychiatrist. All to no avail and so I Googled: “how to stop Re-enactment ” & now here I am using this site as a reference point.

  11. Mary says:

    I was emailing for either
    information and/or a referral. The reason being is that I am currently having blocks of time that is missing. First I started off with bad dreams of being sexually and physically abused and now I am beginning to sleep walk. I already went to the doctor, neurologist and psychiatrist. All to no avail and so I Googled: “how to stop Re-enactment ” & now here I am using this site as a reference point.

  12. Liz says:

    I am female, 22 and have 6 other siblings that were severely neglected under a mentally ill/drug abusing mother and an extremely passive father who worked all the time to support the family. It wasn’t that they hit us, but they were never there and my mom did not provide, cook, teach us anything. She would take in stray cats and let them poop all over the house, every year we lived with flea infestations – it is still that way whenever I visit my parents. My siblings would have arguments and no one would be there to break up the violence and screaming. I never felt safe at home, I never knew how to take care of myself and I felt weird when I would go to friends houses and they would ask me why my teeth are bad or why I don’t know how to boil noodles or how to have table manners. Getting away from home has helped me so much, cleaning myself up, eating properly and exercise has helped my low self-esteem. Ive entered into my first relationship and it has moved mountains for my self-worth – but it is still challenging meeting people who speak frequently of their highly functioning homes and loving parents. I used to blame myself for being mean, hateful and full of pride in my heart when I would get upset with them, but now I realize that these depictions of family and the home bring back HORRIBLE memories I’d have even forgotten about and i become inwardly defensive and extremely emotional. This article has been so helpful to me, thank you for writing it. I have been trying to attend church, and have been wondering why I get so angry around all the cookie-cutter members who always talk about their loving families… I am not the bad guy… thank you. I pray everyday that I will feel God’s love and not succumb to the pain and worthlessness I carry from childhood. I hope my message inspires anyone to continue on and be loving and patient with your weaknesses.

  13. Linda says:

    I’m 41, was sexually abused by family from the age of 6 years old. More recently became aware that most of my distress was down to abandonment and daily events that act like a trigger to my past. I have had mostly poor short relationships that have never got started because of lack of trust. Last year I met a man that has remained consistent, shown me love, been reliable and these things have helped me to be able to build some positive foundations. He is about to move in with me. This may sound very ‘normal’ however it’s the first time in my life that I have got to this stage. I feel like I have turned a corner and somehow found a way to take a monumental step. I realise this is a huge thing for me and part of moving on. Today I sit crying, another tiny event has triggered my feelings of loss and again I feel abandoned. This website highlights part if me. I do however have hope, I now have a label for it, I realise this is not about my partner but about my past. I will read the book, I need to understand more, to do what I can to get unstuck from my old behaviours. I continue to work on it. Thank you for listening

  14. Lynn says:

    Hi. I have lived with severe PTSD since age 3 compiled with trauma after trauma through further youth and adult abandonment. I found therapy to reignite issues leaving me stuck rather than healing. I swing from extremes of overreation to nonreaction. Always in a hyper state or fear. I fear all attatchment yet being in a healthy loving relationship is what I wish with all my heart. I’m now 57 and want to be unstuck.

  15. Stephen says:

    What do you mean by “narcissistically injured self ” that seems a bit harsh. But everything thus far feels spot on for me.

    My parents got divorced when I was 11 and it was a bad one. I began acting out more n school and my parents were pressured by the school to bring me to a residential program where I was subject to weeks and weeks of isolation as a form of punishment.

    As an adult I suffer from agoraphobia, I suppose that s my defense mechanism. Additionally I am quick to cut people out of my life is they project negativity on me or if they show patterns of taking my words out of context and using them to place judgment on me that I feel is false.

    Does that make me a narcissist?

  16. Stephen says:

    My parents got divorced when I was 11, I started acting out and fighting a lot in school and engaging in a lot of aggressive risk-taking behavior. My parents were pressured by the school to put me in a residential facility. I was taken there suddenly and without warning, I was told I was going to another routine appointment but I did not know my bags were packed. I was subject to periods of isolation that lasted time periods of multiple weeks to a month. As an adult I suffer from agoraphobia and I am very quick to cut people out of my life who I feel are projecting negativity on me.

    In the past I used to react to insults with violence, I suppose that could be narcissistic rage, but nowadays it equates to me cutting that person out of my life and telling them why their behavior is hurtful. Do I have to tell them about themselves? That is debatable, but either way I feel it is better to cut them off and leave them with something to think about. Does that still make me a narcissist?

  17. Deb says:

    Do people with abandonment issues ever overcome their denial enough to get treatment and return to relationships are they’ve destroyed with their bad behavior? I love my fiance, and we recently underwent an intervention for a reality TV show to try and fix a lot of damage that had occured in our lives. His paranoid and jealous behavior have caused a lot of damage to our relationship. Part of our therapy was to work on our individual issues in separate citiies, but I don’t believe they realized he had severe abandonment issues. I only figured it out from recent internet research. I’m a doctor so I am a glutton for information and am desperate for a solution, but I know this is one of the toughest problems out there. At first it seemed like he had accepted that he probably suffered from abandonment issues, but he quickly regressed to blaming me and saying I’m a horrible person who doesn’t love him and just wants to be with other men. This hurts so much because it is so far from the truth, but he just keeps wanting to blame me rather than work on his abandonment issues. His trust issues are so bad that he just does not seem capable of doing this on his own. I have defensiveness issues so you can only imagine what a terrible combination this is. I am supposed to be working with a life coach here, and he is supposed to work with a therapist there, but it is so infrequent that neither has been very effective. I don’t know how to deal with his mean acting out behavior which can be vile. I try to just ignore his texts and refuse his calls when he’s being abusive, but I know it is breaking his heart. I don’t want to give up on him, but if he is going to deny abandonment issues and blame me then I can’t live with his current behavior. I’ve begged him to acknowledge the abandonment issues and at least try to stop acting out, but he just comes back saying I’m evil and never loved him and just want to be with other people. I finally told him that he wins and I quit. I have not taken his calls or read his texts since. I know this has to be terribly traumatic for him, but the abuse was really getting to me. He went through two weeks of intense recovery and got clean from alcohol abuse, but I worry this trauma could trigger him to break his sobriety. I’m obviously here to try and treat the co-dependency, but this is breaking my heart because I know only he can fix this. Any advice on how to deal with him so that more abandonment damage is not done? I kept telling him I was not abandoning him, but he still kept acting like an ass, yet expecting me to act like he was the greatest thing in the world. He’s been acting like a 2 year old with a really foul mouth. I told him I would not tolerate that behavior, but he kept it up. I know it is probably hopeless, but I had hoped to be able to break the cycle. He has two boys who already lost their mother when they were very young. I love them and want to be a mom to them, but their dad keeps sabotaging things with bad behavior. When he’s not acting out he’s a great guy, but he seems dead set on blaming me and destroying us.

    • Admin says:

      You might want to consider having him read “Taming your Outer Child.” Or perhaps you should read it together. A workshop may also be of good use to your both. For more feedback, e-mail us, and check out the website for workshops details, workbook etc.

  18. maddie says:

    i need help. i know what is wrong but i can’t fix it. my father left as an infant and my mother was abusive my while childhood. i suffered Sexual abuse and neglection everywhere i went. i was bullied at school and bullied at home I had no family member willing to help. I was chucked out by my mother at 9 and lived in foster homes and refuges yet the system slip me through the cracks so I technically had no guardian since 9.
    I am now a single mother after being abandoned again by another set of people. I’m scared for my own actions. I am still alone. I don’t trust anyone I can’t get over my past including my childhood. I cry every night to sleep.
    I am 22 now. yet I feel like I have lived 50 years. I need help but it’s hard to find. I speak to one councillor they send me to another and another and another. I just keep being thrown around. I found out I have cervical cancer. and I have no support I was always suicidal as a child and never changed I never found my meaning even as a mother. I have no hope in this life. I am convinced this is a nightmare and I’ll wake up someone else. I can’t accept me as me. I never tell people my real name. I can’t stand to hear it. it’s like a trigger for me. my own name.

  19. Erin says:

    Wow, this article helped me make so much sense of my issues. Ive had abandoment issues since early childhood, however last year my best friend decided out of the blue to never cut ties…. the adverse affect of this has been putting a lot of strain on my relationship of 4 years, there are days when i cant be affectionate towards him, then i feel that he will abandon me, its a never ending cycle…. its really hard for me to deal with people on a close level and i no longer am able to refer to anyone as my best friend, which causes friends to be upset. This article helped alot. Whenever i am finally finacially and legally able to get help, this will definitely help me explain.

  20. Buyisiwe Evelyn Mbatha says:

    Hi am staying with a17 year old child who does nt now her parent i need help so that she can also be help cause she stared to miss behave sleep any were bad freinds so am stack with her pleas help us

  21. J says:

    I have been swinging on the pendulum my whole life, since my earliest schoolgirl crushes up until the latest and seemingly most painful romantic loss to date. I am so thankful that I happened upon your work. I feel a sense of relief in understanding better my relationship patterns that after all these years have yielded little joy or satisfaction. I think I have suffered many abandonments but didn’t really recognize their significance until now. My mother was severely bi-polar while carrying both my brother and I and continually throughout my childhood. She would have to spend weeks even months sometimes in the hospital and was often unresponsive due to heavy medication. My father did his best to care for us emotionally but I learned very early to hide my fears, concerns and needs in order to not at to the ongoing drama. I am a diehard people pleaser still to this day and often wonder how my life would have unfolded differently if I had asked for help when I needed it, instead of hiding my needs. It is so complex and I’m only just starting to see the whole picture. I’m just so thankful that there is a way out of this and I am not alone:)

  22. Cindy says:

    I am a 40-year old women that just starting dealing with childhood abandonment issues that were triggered by a 1/2 brother that just moved to my state. He made me aware that my mother really could care less about me. It was easy for me to acknowledge this information being she chose here new husband over me at the age of 8 years old and drop me to live with my grandmother. I would like to share my experiences with other adults that have shared similar experiences…I look forward in hearing from everyone.

  23. Tom says:

    How do you handle this situation from the viewpoint of the spouse married to someone with this disorder? Because, it’s really hard when all of the characteristics begin to manifest itself in the relationship.

  24. Georgi Watkins says:

    I am so lonely, I have no family… I haven’t had any in many years. I lived with my grandparents until age 5. My 37year old dad lived there, but he was a Super Alcoholic. My dad and mom separated when I was a baby… NOONE can tell me at what age my mother left… or the real story behind why. I was moved to a Foster home.. I have six other siblings… we were all separated. There was Child Molestation all in my childhood from my earliest memories until the age of 10 years. My biological mother died when I was 12, so I saw her for the first time in her casket. Her side of the family I never got to know. My grandmother who I lived with when I was little… had a heart attack and died in my lap when I was nine, My grandpa who was my rock died when I was 15. ( so now as a adult and all thru my years I had no aunts, uncles , grandparents) I am 47 now. Ever since about the age of 42, I have just felt so alone. I have children (3sons) but they are so self involved. I do have a awesome husband, but he is my only friend…. I keep trying to make adult women friends…. but I am not like them, they all seem so materialistic and I am down to earth and just want simple companion- friendship… not a shopping spree buddy. sad… wish I had gotten counseling as a child… stuck and no one to turn too.

  25. Cecily Rogers says:

    Please help. I am 24 years old and currently going through the motions of a traumatic end of an emotionally abusive relationship. I am near the end of my rope, I feel so hopeless and worthless. The person involved also had extreme abandonment issues and yet, proceeded to completely abandon and devastate me in ways I could have never imagined. Its to the point where I cannot imagine continuing to live in a world if its possible to feel such pain like this again.

  26. Angela says:

    Cecily, I hope you can get through this. Just remember that this experience will only help You to grow. You are not alone

  27. Susan says:

    My god, there is so much pain in this world.

    We need to change this.

  28. Susan says:

    My god there is so much pain in this world.

    We need to stop it.

  29. Todd M says:

    Ive got to say, that this resonated greatly with me… while I have always had “abandonment issues,” as I called them, they was exacerbated to an extreme degree when I recently (nearly 2 years ago) had a heart surgery go bad, leaving me anoxic for roughly 18 minutes, and only came out of it (gradually, it was a couple / few months until I was making new memories) to find, both a bunch of e-letters from (I am polyamorous, largely as a coping mechanism for my general level of abandonment issue) both of my lovers at the time of the surgery professing their undying love and concern, and then, later dated, letters talking about how they were moving on with their lives…!

    I’m not sure that there’s anything ti be done about it now, besides “picking myself and getting on with it,” but thank you very much for at least letting me put a name to my set of feelings around this set of issues…!

  30. Lydia says:

    I need help.
    Over the course of my life there have been several things that have made me the person I am today. From abuse early on, to terribly abusive relationships to having my parents abandon me when I needed them the most in a strange place.
    Not knowing how to handle things I went from destructive relationship to destructive relationship hoping to find acceptance and finding nothing but pain. I turned to alcohol and drugs to cope for a long while. I’ve turned to self-harm and attempted suicide to escape the pain that I live with.
    Nightmare after nightmare every slumber and flashbacks in my waking realm.
    Eventually I went catatonic and decided that I needed help. They diagnosed me with severe chronic depression, anxiety and PTSD.
    That was a couple years ago, now I’m on several medications and I’m still having awful panic attacks and nightmares that I’m sick. On days when I don’t have an episode I’m so tired and recovering from the previous ones.
    I’m afraid of losing everything that I have and everyone that I love. My fiance gets ready to go to classes and I have breakdowns because I’m afraid of him finding someone better than me because I don’t think I’m worthy of him. He says it’s alright and that he loves me and is there for me but I feel like one of these days it’s just going to be too much for him and that’ll be it.
    I’ll end up all alone.

    I don’t know what to do.

  31. Sally says:

    My step daughter has abandonment issues.. Her biological mother pretty much walked out of her life at 12 years old… She’s now 20… After reading this I realize that my husband also suffers from abandonment issues as well.. Obviously from his ex wife.. The mother of my step daughter…. So I live with them both constantly being cautious not to offend either one of them with the truth… Yes the truth… If I don’t paint the picture of life that they want to hear then I’m the bad guy… I’m tired of this act and have recently stopped this facade.. Needless to say I am not the favorite in the household… Yes I have been abandoned as a teenager as well as my step daughter.. However I have been in therapy for over a decade… I do feel good about myself but I see in them exactly the pain I went through.. And I know there is nothing I can do to ease the pain they feel… I find myself saying to them that they should own their pain and emotions as I do…. Not that I’m perfect but I made the decision to own what I feel and I really really try not to put my crap on other people… As a matter of fact I have admitted more imperfections I own to them… It doesn’t matter… They are still hurt by the abandonment they experienced and I live with it daily.. My husband and I have a son as well.. Wow do we see the difference between the 2 kids… Our son is 13.. He is independent, easy going, confident, and has an attitude of whatever happens ..happens… He cares obviously.. But he is not high wired to the maximum extreme perfection and approval that everyone else seeks.. It’s a relief actually… He also sees the difference.. He knows how irrational the emotions are with his father and step sister… And when I go to my extreme explanations of where I’m coming from he hears me and moves on.. He never holds an emotional attachment to any of our problems.. Or so called problems… I just know that anxiety and fear are not wired into my soul and I will not let it ever rule my life… I will save it for life threatening situations if they ever arise during my life on this earth.. Thank you for writing this article.. It helped mr realize that I am an automatic target for my family who were abandoned by another… My stability I have in a way threatens them ..just in case I abandon them I may hurt them and therefore they are cautious.. And keep me at a safe distance in the form of isolating and disconnection.. If I know this is what’s happening I can empower myself to get through it because I have no intentions of abandoning these 2 hurt but lovely people… Thank you

  32. Liz says:

    I was physically and sexually abused when i was a child. A lot of neglect as well. I had to step up from an early age and take on very adult responsibilities. I left my family about a year ago to finally live my life in a healthy way. I never really too the time to realize what i felt and why. But im starting to really understand the extent of what all that abuse has done. I have PTSD and sometimes some pretty nasty abandonment issues. My father recently died after being on the run from him for the last 18 years. I feel really bad seperation anciety from leaving my family. I make bad choices in men so i dont really date anymore. On the bright side im smart and creative so i excel at work and school etc and im generally liked, ive learned how to interact with people. Im doing rather well actually but there are these lingering issues that i want to fix. Im dedicated to living healthy and breaking this cycle of abuse. Im aware of what my emotional issues are and i work hard to always touch base with myself so im not partaking in any destructive behaviors. Although sometimes i want to. I want to have a functional relationship. I want to be able to trust myself and someone else.

  33. Diniwlf says:

    Is it odd that I have 28 of the 30 characteristics? I have been in a relationship with someone else with abandonment issues for a while so I am pretty stable right now. I am only noticing 23 of them in the last month or so. I worry all of the time though… and I wonder if I will ever be able to hold a job for more than 3 years… I have had over 30 jobs in the last 15 years… 3 years seems to be my cut off. The first trauma I recall happened at the age of 3. I believe that there is a connection there. I got my a BA in psychology because I needed answers! I would love to find some tools that could actually help me get past all of this. I have lost track of the traumatic events in my life. But, ya know, I can’t give up. I know I am here for a reason and at least part of that is understanding my brain, my trauma and myself. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them!! 🙂 Thank you.

  34. Veronica says:

    I was born to a 15 year old girl, my biological father immediately left when he heard that I existed. I’m 26 years old now, diagnosed with PTSD and suffering from agoraphobia and severe panic attacks. Already on anti-depressant, adderall for my adhd and xanax for when I have panic attacks, but I’m not getting any better.

    I can’t hold a job, I am constantly failing classes even when I enjoy them. My husband has to provide everything because I’m stuck inside crying from panic attacks all the time.

    I don’t have many friends, I keep new people at a distance, and cry for days because my closest friends that have shown me love and loyalty are physically very far away from me now because their lives have gone in different directions. I’m not mad at them for that, I just miss them terribly and have moments of pathetic hopelessness that I can’t will myself out of.

    I don’t want to be like this forever. I want to function, I want to help my husband, I want to make new friends, and above all I want to feel safe. I don’t ever feel safe.

  35. Krys says:

    I would appreciate some more information with regards to this topic. I know I suffer from this and love to find information to help understand myself.

  36. Cathy says:

    I am 55 years old and just found out that that I have PTSD with abandonment and adoption issues.. I have ruined my life with all these problems. Tried to committ suicide to feel better about things.. I have lost 3 husband thru all of this.. My last one was the best man in the world.. I tried to tell him that this is on me but really Who am I. I have asked him to stick around but I have hurt him so deeply

  37. KAT says:

    I have my student in grade 10 who used to be loner and socially deprived teen. I asked his peers and there i realized how bad his experience was. I want to help him but i don’t know where and what to start. thank God i read this article and it seems a guide in getting into his world. Thanks a lot.

  38. Peter says:

    No way! I have pretty much every single symptom on that list. More of the numb feelings and blocked memories, though. Always found it weird I could never really remember my childhood.

  39. Tesla says:

    My mother gave my brother and I away to my aunt when I was 2 and he was 4. She was passed out one night probably before I was even a year old and I rolled over onto a heater. I had to have been there for a while. She let it get infected because she was too scared to go in, when she finally did the family doctor called child services. I’m not really sure if they even did anything. I now have two bald spots on my head and scars on my back. Sometimes I think I remember it happening but I’m not sure.. I was very young, how could I remember that? After she gave us away, she would come around every six months or so and expect us to remember her. I still don’t call my aunt “mom,” no matter how bad I know I want to. Part of me feels guilty because my mom still comes around. She’s always awful to me and I really believe she only loves my brother. I know I hold this stuff in me, although I don’t like to admit it. I think it’s ridiculous I still care, but everything on this list fits me to a tee and I’ve been slowly destroying my life. I am a stay at home mom of two and us and my bf moved out of my hometown. We have been living in this new town for over a year, and I still haven’t made friends. I don’t even think I want to make new ones. But I can’t afford daycare and my boyfriend is only home on the weekends because of work so I couldn’t get therapy if I wanted to.

  40. justin says:

    I deal with a lot of these issues everyday and I can’t get control over my behaviors I lie in my relationship to get them to love me more or be proud of me or because I’m scared they will leave I can’t stand being around anyone I don’t trust anyone I’m socially awkward I don’t know how to act I can’t keep any friend even though I do anything I can to help and be there for them I really need help to figure out how to fix this I keep telling myself it will all be OK I can change and I do really good but then its like a light switch I’m back to all this stuff is there any tips or advice to help me get things under control and be normal

  41. Thaddeus says:

    I Was born with two lovely parents father work 3jobs and my mom worked part time at the local hamberger stand while taking care of 4children and 2dogs a host of fish plants and such im the youngest of four witch later i found and sibling my Dad is my Hero all ways have been my Mom is my Great example of of uncondition love she later taken ill i was still very young .i rember being tease alot by my peers as early as 10 -11 yrs old and not having any real friends Mom had Mental Emotional stuff i didnt understand wanted to didnt matter really i got laught at and out cast since 3rd grade held back in 5th grade my Mom would come to the school alot and take me out of class she said she needed me their with her to get threw the day Not really 4hershe couldnt rest uunless she knew i was safe. I wasnt happy being tease laugh at or my Mom being their out let with very harmful comments while laughing in my familys face again didnt understand didnt matter Shes my Mom and she Loves me thats i understood! I love her 4that.Oct 21-1981 my Dad Past ♥ Oct 23 1982 M 1982 Mom past Dec23-1983 i was never the same.something left out of my body i remember feeling that there was nothing left to feel. family very small my sibling – female no brother ; uncle, nephews cousins or friends and im the youngest recently in the past two yrs my best friend and two of the most wonderful people in the world one could wish to meet my Sisters past and i miss them so much It still feels like my parents not to long left ..dont know what to do: doing my best ‘ im 50 yrs old . still hurting Bad! Yes i have children another 4another time. Thank you 4 listening.Thaddeus

  42. Ann says:

    October 11, 2015 PLEASE HELP! I am 58 yrs old. My parents and siblings have abandoned me twice in my adult life. The first time was 1994. It lasted for 5 years.
    It was about gift money from our grandparents that we inherited when I was 21 yrs old. Our father took care of all of our inherited gift money, deposited it in high interest bearing accounts so it would make more money. At some one of my siblings took over our inherited funds. In 1994 I found out that my sibling was buying rental property without me? With inheritance gift money that belonged to me. When I approached this sibling about this, he became very quiet and hung up on me and for 5 years the 4 of them abandoned me, ignored me like I did not exist. I experienced my first HUGE panic attack of such a high magnitude that put me in the hospital.
    After 5 years they slowly came back in my life, either because they wanted to, or because my only child and the only grandchild they will ever have was 3 years old by that time, or it was because they needed my presence and knowledge for a court case my Dad started. The reason I let them come back in my life is because I wanted them back. I had forgiven them.
    Then in 2010 they abandoned me again, and they have continued to ignore me as of today. Friends said that my family only wanted me back so they could use the knowledge I posessed.
    While this was going on my spouse and I were doing OK for a while, then we started having problems along the way.
    It is now 2015. I inherited a a very small sum of money from the sale of the last piece of property belonging to my grandparents. Now trouble has started again but now it is my spouse. Spouse wants to take this small amount of inheritance money and add a little more money to it to pay off a high interest rate loan. Spouse already had plans for my small amount of gift money before it arrived. Since I received this, spouse has been bullying me yelling as loud as he can at me for days and days. He will not stop. My counselor says this kind of chronic distress can cause neurological problems, and if it continues it can cause my immune system to go down and open myself up to all kinds of diseases, some of which can be fatal.

  43. Darrell says:

    I am in a relationship with a woman who suffers from ptsd due to childhood abuse. She has triggers and episodes. But, her children can do anything, they never cause her to trigger? Why?

  44. Tabatha says:

    I am 44. I never met my father and my mother has been married 8 times. I was mostly verbally abused and always told by my mother that she despised my father and that is why it is hard for her to accept me. I was raised in foster homes since my first year in high school which I thought was acceptable because it was easier than being home.
    For many years I have always treated my childhood like it was my fault and would constantly try to win my mother’s approval. She would constantly reject me by avoiding my graduation, my wedding, my children.
    I pushed my first husband away who was loyal, loving, trusting and I had many reasons that made him look like the bad guy.
    I remarried and did the same very thing.
    I am now married again for the third time to an amazing, loving, wonderful man who is extremely attractive and I keep finding things that I don’t like. I shut myself off with feelings and intimacy. I feel my stability is threatened for no reason and feel like I can control everything better on my own even though I am depressed and lonely by myself.
    I did not even realize what my problem was until just recently when someone else mentioned abandonment. I seriously thought I was doing well and everyone else was the problem.
    I feel a step of victory just being able to recognize this about me but I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lose my husband over my stupid insecurities.
    Oh and did I mention that I spent 6 years of my life being the mistress to married men because I knew that it was pure chaos and it made me feel in control to let them go or even hold on to them on my terms.
    I always felt like I was a weak person and never loved. I desired to be the wife that was taken care of but when put into that situation I pushed it right away.

  45. Kamila says:

    The article helped me to recognise my problems. Thank you

  46. Chris says:

    I adopted my son when he was seven. There were fears he might be ’emotionally frozen’ but a child psychotherapist found he was deeply attached to us. He had a dysfunctional family life and ended up in his birth father’s care and abandoned by his mother who knew his Dad was an abuser. His father was arrested and he went into care then two further foster placement before coming to us. We helped him as much as we could and supported contact with birth family half siblings. Now adult, He has been successful in life, has good emotional intelligence. He has met a girl, fallen in love. They have been together two years and plan to marry. Suddenly he is having panic attacks, fears he will be a bad father if they have children, feels trapped. He has sought counselling and this is ongoing. He says he feels like running away yet knows he could not forgive himself for wrecking his girlfriends and his own happiness as he loves her, thinks their relationship is good and wants to marry her and have a family with her. How might we help him?

  47. Stephan says:

    Thank you for publishing this. Nothing has made sense really before and u have talked with psychologists. My parents died after long bouts with cancer when I was a teenager and I definitely have abandonment issues. In my romantic life I’ve not done well with breakups. It’s hard to explain to anyone who doesn’t have these issues but when I’ve had women I’ve loved break up with me the panic sets in and it’s all encompassing. So much so that I haven’t had a serious relationship in over 5 years so I don’t have to go through that Pain again. I’ve suffered in work as I tend to take the easy path as well. I stumbled on this post a few months ago and have begun seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist. So far it’s helping. I just wanted to thank you for providing this resource and I hope others will be helped by it as well.


  48. Noli says:

    Oh Man! The list hit me like a baseball bat!

    I’m an only child and was sensitized to abandonment. My dad was a commercial traveller – he left every monday. He drank on the road and would sleep most of the weekend – sunday diners were the only time he was REALLY there. Mom would use threats of leaving to punish/control me.

    I got a geology degree and joined a big oil company. Had a great career for 17 years but got very sick in the last year. I was diagnosed with full blown AIDS and was fired 56 days later. Almost jumped off a bridge – stopped by a good samaritan. Hired a lawyer and was put on long term disability. The deal was I could never come back. Felt like I had been set adrift on an iceberg –banished from the tribe to die alone.

    Heavy drinking led to a few serious suicide attempts – then I found crack (took away the suicide feelings). 8 years of that left me homeless and another suicide attempt.

    Got to a rehab in small town and stayed there. Got a volunteer job at paleontology museum doing geol again. Had 5 years clean and sober and then met a gal (trauma victim too – very counter-dependant) A year of push pull damn near ripped me apart. Ended badly – she went back to her hubi. I thought I would die. Worst withdrawal ever.

    But the r/s was a gift! Got a formal ptsd diagnosis (my real disability – AIDS resolved with meds in 1st year – undetectable for 15 years now). Found ACA, CoDA and a men’s group and vipassana meditation. Have a hobby tour biz and help others – have some spells but the self knowledge helps. It is all a gift. Helping others and connecting people with the earth. It’s all been a gift.

    “When I know myself
    I know everyone”
    ~John McLaughlin

  49. Bob B. says:

    Well, I identify with at least 28 out of the 30 bullets above.
    I guess I am a codependent from hell…as I picked people with personality disorders, I think, or people who are emotionally not available, yet in the beginning I don’t see that and once I realize it is hard for me to leave.
    I decided to stop dating over 10 years ago and I will not be going back to that…I have just way too much emotional pain attached to interacting with women. I do not have fear of abandonment…I have certainty on abandonment. LOL.
    I just try to focus on the other things in life like work, my artwork, and my recovery program.
    I live with a low ebb pain and depression that I can tolerate and live with. Life is not what I had hoped for, but it is tolerable. I think the last woman that I truly felt that I “loved ” was a borderline, not sure. Did a couple years of therapy, and group therapy, etc….but after a couple of false starts…I just decided that the risk of getting involved with a woman again just was not worth the pain I would have to endure if it did not work out.
    Now, I just sit back and watch all the nonsense and games going on around me and feel fortunate to not have to play those rain deer games any more! 🙂

  50. Maury says:

    I am 72 years old..legally separated from; yet living with my wife of 32 years, L. My story here, begins as a flashback that occurred when I was about 38 years old during a visit to my now-deceased mother’s house after a period of minimal communications over a period of two-three years:

    As we often did at the time, we were discussing (heated arguing) politics when she threw up her hands in disgust and shouted “you have ALWAYS been a problem child, from the time you were a baby…from the time that I left you with grandma (maternal) and went to Bremerton while I birthed your brother , J. ” “What??? When was this?” I asked. She continued, “I was pregnant with your brother – you were about 16 months old when I decided to go to Bremerton where your dad was stationed – for J’s birth at the Naval Hospital there. (June, ’45) I weaned you, left you with grandma in Portland, and went. I returned in time for your 2nd birthday (April, ’45) only to find you had changed into a terrible 2 year-old…and for months you would not come near me or your brother.” “WHAT???” I was struck down as if someone had hit me in the chest with a sledgehammer. I had to sit…as I was overcome with feelings and emotions – all of the hatred and envy I’d felt for brother J all of my life. All of the relationships I’d had with women which I’d taken the (unconscious) initiative to sabotage, creating the context for my (self-fulfilling) prophecy which expected their abandonment of me. It was like exploring an old house that you’d grown up in – returning to the ruins after many years and opening an old musty cellar door to discover your remains there. So suddenly I was given some understanding of so much of everything that had defined my entire live from 16 months to 38 years…too much to process in a moment. I am still trying to process it all, to understand and make sense of the ever-present fear and anger that controls too much of my life. I wonder why this awakened knowledge of this event hasn’t led to resolution and control of the fear and anger so easily provoked by the perceived rejections I experience in life. I wonder whether the fact that I had no words or language at 16 months – with which to untangle my feelings at the time – has left a scar that cannot be accessed nor excised. Now these scars seem easily inflamed and fears exacerbated with the adoption of my beautiful daughter H. H. came to us by way of Ethiopia. H. was the 6 year-old daughter of an amazing single-mother of four who, inspite of crippling poverty, managed to find the resources so that her children went to school and were educated. Her mother died of HIV-AIDS. Her older half-brother who was an M.D. in Addis Abbaba took her in. Three months later, he died. She went to live with her older half-sister, B. who is a school teacher. B. got on a bus each morning at 5 AM to travel to the villiage where she taught and didn’t return until 7 PM each night. She couldn’t care for H. properly and so put H. up for adoption. The net result is that H. – having suffered significant abandonments X3…was adopted by two loving, white patties from the PNW. H. has thrived here. She began as a loving and affectionate child; but has – thru no fault of her own – become a teenager with all of the attendent hormones and attendent feelings of i independence…along with an admitted “phobic fear of affection”. Her very reserved continence tends to keep everyone – especially, it seems, her loving dad – at arms length…and which brings up my baggage – in spades. I think that our respective abandonment baggage exacerbates every negative that often comes with the growing up process between teens and parents…and I really don’t know how to manage it nor fix it…and I tend to pride myself with the fact that I believe that I can fix almost anything.

    I own two of Ms Anderson’s books – I find myself wishing that they had more to say about children who are abandoned as infants with no language…and some potion to recommend for them.

    I don’t want H. to grow up alone; keeping all she secretely holds dear -feelings of love and affection – under wraps or at arm’s length – for fear of being abandoned and disappointed again. We live in Washington State – on a fixed income – any suggestions? or doors that I might darken with these issues?

  51. Virgil Grin says:

    Lets start with this: Have you read the book “A child called it,” By Dave Pelzer. This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. Dave Pelzer was that child. As I read that very book in the 6th grade as a class assignment, I found myself remembering “things” I had long since been trying to block out, and relating to the poor soul I then read about. As a child I was abused brutally verbally, abused physically ( typically for his & his other military buddies), neglected ( straight up left me places, and when my mum got home, she would ask where I was; as my sister was home with him. She obviously got me), and if I wasn’t being put through “him fixing me”, or outrageous work, then I was completely ignored. I broke my leg as a young child and he would have me “practice walking with my foot straight” back and forith back and forith, for hours. Mind you my right foot only was maybe a 1/2 inch out to the right, not even noticeable… I was also fat in his eyes. Yes. 7 year old me (NO!). Fat, oh and how he let me know. He made me drink skim milk or water while everyone else could drink whatever. He would make me chug water to entertain his friends until the point of me being sick, then we’d start it all over again. I can remember him putting 2 dog shock collars on me, “to test/check the perimeter/ the collars”. He once bought me and my sister rabbits… I should have known it was entirely too good to be true, their WAS a catch. 4 months later as we’re eating dinner “chicken noodle soup” he turns to me and says, “Hey ***, how’d you like supper?” obviously I answer… he then responds with, “well good, thumper was in it.” Like seriously!?!?!?!? and JUST my bunny? He on countless occasions made me pick up the dog pen with my bare hands… I was less than 7 years old for all of this. I couldn’t possibly make this up, although I wish more than anything it wasn’t true/ didn’t mess me up so bad. 🙁 What did I do to be treated thusly? A child! not to mention my mum had been in a serious car accident (with me in her belly), and had lost her memory completely after waking up from a coma. My father “brainwashed her” into staying home when not at work, made her work although he was an officer (&she worked ALOT), no friends, no makeup, CHURCH, basically do his every bidding… and I can only imagine what he did to her, or put her though. Makes me sick. She won’t even tell me everything. At the time, my mum and I were in the same boat; I still don’t understand why he hated us so and put us through so much physical, mental, emotional abuse. & like I said, when I wasn’t his focus- I was nothing, invisible, a pest. Although he always treated my older sister right. It made no sense. And she was so oblivious/ still is. She denies it to this day. I find it so terribly terribly difficult to even function each day without a “trigger” setting me off.. if I’m even slightest in the tinsiest way, I get “emotionally hijacked” I lose it. I lose me. and I am alone. again. I have yet again been let down and abandoned. And yet somehow I always feel like I am to blame, like I messed up… even still about certain things. Just…? EVERYTHING means SOOOOOOO MUCH MORE to me. It’s intense. I just care so much about everything. And am constantly on guard. but dear god I cling to people I let in. and shut a lot of other people out. off and on. off and on. I feel alone. But I don’t want to be alone. I expect people to keep their words, care as much as I do/ I expect too much from people? like they can say something and mean nothing by it, or it came across wrong. and I will trip for like 3 days having anxiety out the ying yang…
    Their is oh so much more. oh so much more.
    but honestly, I’ve been to so many shrinks&jazz I am so sick of talking about it; with no outcome/f*cks given by the shrink/actual help

    I just want to be able to function “normally.” Not freak out/ feel like my heart is being ripped out all the time, because I care so freaking much. 🙁
    other people don’t understand. and that makes it worse.

  52. Virgil Grin says:

    and just so y’all know, I am a girl.
    So he wasn’t playing favorites gender wise…

  53. Deirdre says:

    Thank you for writing this.
    I keep coming back to this point of realizing I need help but not knowing how to get it.
    I tick all the boxes on the list here and yet I don’t know what it all traces back to. I have vague images/memories but I don’t know if I can trust them or if they mean anything.
    I would really appreciate help!

  54. Jc says:

    Hi, it is great to know I’m not alone with this illness of my mind. I was brought up in a very normal and functioning home. I was always a bit nervous and lacked self esteem In some of areas of my life, except sports. When I was 15 I started to date a girl in high-school. I thought everything was going well and I felt I loved her, when see ended the relationship with a phone call giving no reason and then disappeared for the summer month on vacation. I was devastated and was obsessed by what was the reason for ending it. I was traumatised, and this led to me making limiting decisions which followed me for the rest of my life. Since that time I’ve been involved in a couple of long term relationships which have all ended in heartbreak and more trauma for all involved. I had a mental breakdown when I was 30 I couldn’t understand why I kept sabotaging relationships. I came to realise my subconscious was trying to abandon people before they abandoned me. That was 7 years ago. Since then I have met my now wife and have two beautiful boys. I have given up drinking alcohol and attend aa meetings as a used this as a crutch for years. I attend a councillor regularly I meditate and most importantly have learned when and when not to listen to my thoughts. It still isn’t easy. I’ve learned alot from aa members who also have trauma in there lives and from other websites relating to relationship OCD. I live my life a day at a time but I need all the help I can get on a daily basis to not let this sabotaging thinking ruin all that I have. I wish everyone here well. And thank you again for helping me realise I’m not alone.

  55. Sarah says:

    This is me in so many ways. My head is a mess… I don’t know how to sort it out. Not only did I suffer loss. But then went on to being in a mentally and physically abisive relationship for 14 years.

  56. coralee irvine says:

    I am a 47 year old female and it seems no matter what I cant find peace. I ruin anything good for me and cant let go of what isn’t great for me. I suffer daily from worry of being not good enough and I back out of most things out of just not feeling i will fit in.. I am single now and feel very alone, Deep down I know this is for the best but I always have such self doubt every moment of my day. I don’t trust my judgement at all
    I was sexually abused for many years as a child and raped as a teen . I thought that stuff would one day just go away but it doesn’t.
    I know it affect me but I just cant deal with it and do better

  57. Vini says:

    Hi I don’t know where to start my parents migrate for a better life when I was one with 2 siblings we were left in the care of my mom brother and wife who has 2 kids who abused us for a year he even threw me down a flight of stairs I don’t know how I survived and beat me until I was red

    My folks went broke after a woman took all our money I was 4.5 – 5 years old my dad left for a few months in search for better job

    My mom took a job and provide for us she worked really hard
    I do admire her for what she did and I want to feel the same even with her now

    My mother had put me out multiple times and kick me in the face and beat me sometimes if things don’t go her way with me

    When I was 12 my parents migrate again this time a friend stayed with us they gave us a hard time after a few months my brother who was away for school return home
    Us 3 siblings live about 1.5 year together my brother was working and he started dating and hardly come home
    When I was 14 he abandon us to live with his gf my sister and I had it hard drug infested neighbourhood rapist murders and neighbors who verbally abusive us
    We stayed awake at night people try to break in some times they did it a few times a night scaring the shit out of us with a knife in my every reach my bed had knives under my pillow acid over my head knive under my mattress a walking stick and a machete
    The house was old downstairs had two windows one completely broken the other barley worked the front and back doors was in the same state as well as the middle door and the main door worked a bit better the upper level wood Windows was the same the glass ones was also in a terrible state one of the stairs was completely broken some missing and the rest broken the entire house was too old

    Someone broke in and took all the valuables and their friend hurt my sister I think u guys understand what I mean by hurt
    Sometimes we get threaten by people

    my brother usually show up whenever he feels like it and he would take some of our money his gf threaten us to send guys to hurt us

    OK at 16 I live with my mom who did not seems to understand or care she told me that my brother gf had no problems with her because she never met her and the girl did many things to us too much to list

    When I moved in with her I had to pay for everything rent good clothes never a free thing even money for traveling to live with her

    My mom spend the next 8 years trying to tell us how well off my brother was with her money of course she fix the place up for the gf and after a while my brother got a wife she build a new house for them

    My problem with my mother is that she is selfish and only want things her way my dad died 2 years ago she told me that I don’t dream him because he don’t like me tells me I begged her to move in with her when I was 16 (it was hard i ask for my sister to move first but she wanted my brother move with her when he refused i move in then my sister 6 months later) insults me and always try to make me a bad person

    She was in love with a man for years who was a pervert that peep at my sis in the hospital when we told her she act like nothing happened
    She told my sister to sleep with this guy who likes her for money when I confronted her y she talk like that she doesn’t answer

    She call me sometimes and the first word is where is my sister like I have a GPS on her

    She says a lot of mean things over the years and we have been financially helping her for 3 years and I will continue to unti her funeral because it’s the right thing to do but never seen our worth

    This woman don’t know us address she claims but know other people address and name don’t know to spell her granddaughter name and claim she loves her

    U know my sister her daughter and I live in a small apt and sacrifice and buy her things when we need it ourselves

    I saw Dr Phil had a woman who was selfish on a show who pretend to know nothing of what her daughters say of what she did I think my mom is the same

    I think I mean nothing to her and there r things that happened that I forgot to mention

    Please help me so that I can change my feelings and hold the respect for her she might deserve so that for how long she lives that I don’t discard her

  58. sharon says:

    I was abandoned by my father at 8 years old and he was an absentee father. Mother was always angry and favored my older sister because she did all her paperwork, banking reading etc. My mother was illiterate. I have 3 brothers and am amiddle child. There was lots of anger growing up in a home where i didn’ t get much attention. At seventeen i went on my first date..or i thought was a date with a man that gave me a little attention. I was brought to a hotel and fooled into thinking we were going to visit someone and i was raped. I was in shock and quiet, he drove me home and all he said was”you should be happy you’re not a virgin anymore” i ran in to our home an to my room and never told anyone what happend. That’s when my world changed, i never told anyone, no family member, no friend, i was so ashamed and felt helpless. I’m 54 years old now, had some personal success, never got married, never trusted men but had severla relationships. I don’t know what happened to me but my mother was diagnosed with cancer about 5 years ago and all the siblings took turns viving her in hospital..she was in and out for cancer and colitis for the last 4 years. She is 80 and a cancer survicor. For the last 4 years i got addicted to slots and have spent my life savings, sold my paid off house and ggambled everyhing away. I have been on welare for 4 years, gained 20 pounds feel cut off from the rest of the word and cut off almost all my friends and only talk to my mom. I made aup a fake story as to why i have nothing. I don’t kno waht’s wrong with me, i never had an adiction problem before. I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs and all of a sudden i sabotoged my whole life. I know tha i suffer from PTSD but never seekded out help before. I feel ineed help but i can’t afford it now. No job, no friends and i live a lie. Wish i could have some tools to help myself.

  59. Sarah says:

    I am very certain that this is one of the many mental disorders/illnesses I have. Everything began during my childhood. My mother physically and mentally abused me by insulting me, telling me several times how stupid I am, I have no common sense etc, hit me and drag me by my hair. I believe I was around 7 years old when she became abusive, right after my parents divorced. There were times when she would lock me out of the house and I’d have to go stay at my aunts house until she would let me in. My dad was out of the picture as he was too busy building a life with his wife. Her abuse went on for years. Then as a teenager my mother abandoned me to go live with her boyfriend at the time while I was stuck in her filthy house full of junkies (my brother and his druggie “friends”). We’d conflict and he hit me a few times but not much. I thought he was going to kill me once when he threatened me with a machete. I think her violent nature grew onto him. Living in that house I felt hopeless, and being surrounded by crazy drug addicts was unbearable. As an escape I would smoke weed and drink but I never shot up like my brother. Watching him do those drugs made me not want to ever touch those substances, I did not want to become a drug addict like him. I believe during the time I was living in that house I was psychotically depressed, I would hear voices that weren’t there. Sometimes I would look around the house to hopefully find whatever the cause of the voices were to ease my nerves but I’d never find the source. I thought I was going insane. In school I remember envying my fellow students who had strict parents, ones who truly cared, set rules, and disciplined them correctly. I would have done anything to live in a household with parents who loved me. Thankfully school was my motivation to get out of the hell I was in and I did my best to enroll in college. But I was so anxious of anyone finding out about my life. I hid my wounds from others. There were times when someone would notice but I lied about the cause. Now I am a 20 year old adult and I have an inability to form relationships. I can’t connect with anyone and my loneliness eats at me all the time. I have one friend and she tells me it’s because some people just don’t click but I know it’s me and it always will be. The few boyfriends I’ve had break up with me because they simply lose interest. I don’t know how to show affection or carry on a conversation. Instead of developing the relationship it dwindles because of me. And I’ve always had social anxiety which makes it worse. I get panic attacks just by being around people. Thus I was and still am that “weird mute girl,” when above all I want to make friends, for someone to break my shell. I wish I knew how to be myself instead of constantly seeking approval. I don’t sleep well either. Many nights I wake up soaked in sweat. And when my friend sleeps over, she’ll tell me that I thrash, cry, and curse in my sleep. When I do remember my dreams they are nightmares. Her mother, a social worker, told her it was most likely PTSD. What’s really fucked up is that in my freshman year of college my roommates and I were raped and robbed at gunpoint by a man who broke into the apartment and that doesn’t get to me like it does them. Some of them dropped out and completely changed.. It didn’t even phase me afterwards. I’m just completely numb. To everything. I don’t think life is worth living when you’re broken, but I’m too much of a coward to attempt suicide. So here I am in my own limbo. I thought getting out of my previous environment would help me but I’m still the same (overly sensitive, anxious, depressed, impulsive, and the list goes on..) person that I was before. I don’t have health insurance so I can’t see a professional. I cannot afford it on top of college, rent, etc. And I’m not ready to graduate, I have no idea how I am going to have a career when I have weak social skills. In all honesty, I just wish I were dead..

  60. ABC says:

    i can relate to abt all of the above items and anecdotes above. I definitely have had these lost feelings, insecurities, never feeling good enough and seeking approval from emotionally unavailable and started to wonder what was wrong with me.

    My parents divorced when I was young because my biological father was physically abusive. My mother remarried to my stepfather who sexually abused me and I am now recognizing the contempt I had for my mother who I felt was not emotionally there for me through my childhood because of this.

    Now I find myself emotionally attached to a guy who is also suffering from abandonment issues but doesn’t acknowledge this (his father passed away suddenly at the age of 11 and he and his family never fully recovered from this). I find myself self sabotaging and pining to be with someone who is constantly rejecting me. I am recognizing I have this abandonment issue and would like help in being able to manage “emotional hijacking” and thought processes. What do I do!

  61. nadia says:


    I think I partially fit with some of the things here. I fortunately had very loving parents but my family history is full of conflict and this made my childhood quite difficult. When I was little I often felt continuosly rejected by my grandparents, uncles and cousins and although they never physically abuse me, I suffered a great deal of emotional pain, self-steem and insecurity issues and a compulsive need to avoid making mistakes and to perfectionism as well as a tendency to withdraw from relationships or put obstacles to them to avoid the pain of rejection. My issues seem to be more in control now that I am an adult because I have been dealing with my issues or at least trying to understand myself better for many years and I had had help. However, ever since I broke up with my partner after an 8-year-relationship, I keep having emotional flashbacks of past abandonment experiences and I don’t know very well how to deal with them. I don’t even understand why I am having them, since I was the one who broke up the relationship for reasons that, I think, have nothing to do with my previous trauma. It’s really messing up with my recovery from the break-up and preventing me allowing others to reach me. Any advice?

  62. Neil Kromhout says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I am 51 and facing the possibility of having my second marriage end. During my grade school years I attending a private parochial school where from day one I was teased and tormented by fellow students. I took to hiding in bushes brush or anywhere available for concealment yet was sought out by the bullies. I internalized their torment until the powder keg blew, retaliating physically for which I received the strap. There was also a fellow student two years junior who was my dearest friend. She was a potential adoptee who was removed suddenly from school never to have contact again except to only see her at church.i now have four children with my second wife and am displaying PTDD symptoms. Can you recommend a self study or similar as I am quite remote from any major center.

  63. Kim says:

    I have suffered from feelings of abandonment my whole life. I would like to know if people who are afraid of being alone and coping in the world go on to abandon? My ex-husband abandon me with our two children 17 years ago and Ive never recovered. Each loss (my mom dying) makes the feelings worse and I am suffering some type of PTSD over it and I am “stuck” in my life at 52. Im very fearful of many things and not coping or sleeping well. I worry daily about my dad passing and who will be there for me when he is gone. Its embarassing at my age but it is very real. I live alone now as my kids are grown but still suffering like I did when I was a child. The worst part is we are all seprated because of me. I have had options to not be alone but seem paralyzed by the fear of change and wonder if it is some type of PTSD from when my ex left me and my kids. Also – is EMDR helpful for this type of abandonment? Lastly – would emotional abandonment of a parent do to marital problems be enough to cause abandonment issues? Other than a couple hospital incidents I am not sure where my abandonment stems from. I have been afraid of my own shadow since I was little and my daughter is the same way. It has caused deep insecurity for me over the years and my ex abandoning me (he just quit coming home) only made the matter worse. Thank you for your article and your time.

  64. Rebecca Ynfante says:

    please help mywife I love her with all my being

  65. Chris says:

    Hey thanks for this article, i realise it was published a couple of years ago, but it helps me understand the way I feel towards my father who left when i was 4, and it also just helps me understand my reluctance to be social, thanks again.

  66. Julie says:

    I need help with this. It is destroying my life. It’s almost destroyed my relationship. It affects my daily activities and my parenting. I have friends who understand and who I can talk to but I need help trying to fix this.

  67. Lisa says:

    I have abandonment issues, as well as a TBI. I am now at the point where I am close to homeless. I have ruined almost every relationship I had with a Man. Choosing men who hurt me. My oldest moved in with her father and I didnt Bond with her over the years. Idk why. I have 2 other children my son very understanding my daughter very angry at me. My parents kicked me out after I hot pregnaunt with my oldest. I made stupid choices. I am just Learning about my TBI and partical paraylisis with left foot drop. I read this and its me all the way. My mother and i have never bad a good relationship. I it like has always hated me. I never finish what i start. I feel like a loser and Im trying to leave my x boyfriend house who has been very cruel to me. I am leaving in a few days. With all the cruel things he has done.., I just didn’t even care if he killed me… I’m just so tired of mean. When a person doesnt care if they live or die, stay in a home where I’m not wanted until my apartment came through, feeling nothing

  68. Sherrocco says:

    Wow. Stumbled across this article & see my reflection. I feel like I am fracturing, not sure how long I can hold the façade together. How do I heal myself? No insurance for therapy. Tried that when I did have insurance. Didn’t help.

  69. Roxanne says:

    Hi, I have suffered abandonment since i was 9 years old, Me and my brothers and sisters. My oldest sister was 11 I was nice, Terry was 6 and larry was5and Tommy our baby bird who was 3 mos old.. I remember my sister coming out to the ocean front where I was standing and told me Mom was never coming back. I remember crying my eyes out on that ocean recitring what i had learned The Lords Prayer. So we autimatically went into survial mode. The young really could not do much. and Deb my older sister of 12 said i have to stay with the baby Roxanne, you going to have to go out there and get us something to eat. Finally the state caught us, being by our selfs and took us to a county home.The fear I loved my mother. I don’t know why. She came to county home and turned her baby over to her sister, but she took him and lived with him and left us there. So much more happened, it just got worse and worse, crying myself to sleep everynight and pretty much still do, and I am 65 now, gone through hell all my life. It gets deeper and deeper. I was fine when i had kids did not have time to think of it all. Now there all grown and I guess I am a bit weird some of the remarks I make. Mom let it go, we heard it so many times. But I still wake up in the morning crying. If there is any hope for me please. I want to quit crying. Please

  70. Devismita says:

    I survived a car accident when I was 6 yrs old.My mom,dad & brother where there too but I was seriously hurt, had a Severe head injury. Know I’ve problem remembering stuff like math & langue…..I’m under a lot o stress lately & friends told me to smoke or drink to let it go but…..Nothing seems to work i find it no different then drinking water coz I’ve never been drank & I don’t like to smoke…… When i hang out with friends i’m the one takes care of them after words…Like a”Mama Bear”……but for once I want to go crazy & let it out but do i do??? [In my school days I thought I was Dyslexic but it may not be the case]….what to do!!!

  71. Jess says:

    I was abandoned by my father and left home alone by my mother at a young age so she could work, but spent most of the money on fancy clothes for herself. I am 38 now and have deliberately been avoiding relationships since I was 25, I think the reason was to avoid “pairing-up” during my main child bearing years as I’m sure I don’t want children. I read lots about falling birth rates and increased isolation and I wonder if this is linked to the massive rise in single parents in the 70’s and 80’s, those children are now the young adults. I want to find someone to be with now but the fear and anger is still there, life is a struggle every day.

  72. Priscilla says:

    How exactly could a young girl like me (17) get out of this cycle. Some days I feel so healthy and happy, I could fly! But then there are moments where I’m dragged back down by my ankles. I feel like I’m in a hole. I don’t know what stage I’m at. I just want to stop feeling this way. Every time I think I’m over it, I sink back in. It stops me from advancing in all intimate relationships. And these days, there isn’t a day I am not reminded of my fear or a night that I don’t lose sleep over it. I write to you now as I am still awake 2:57 AM. Please message me back. I can’t talk to anyone about this, out of fear of them misunderstand or seeming dramatic. I think I need serious help.

  73. Bella Mc says:

    Omgoodness I can’t believe this topic..My mum had a breakdown when I was 7 and dad put me in an orphanage for a few months till they sorted everything… looking back she was really not ok an d my birth father left when I wa s 2 and he died when I was 8 or 9 be ause mum was dancing and laughing about it and I felt numb (I didnt have a relationship with hi but I knew I felt numb and scared). She has never acknowledged my trauma in this, she did very emotionally damaging things to me over the years. Once I said to her that sometimes when I loved something so much, I wish I could just bite it very hard. She told me I had badness in me just like my father. She told me I was too short, too skinny, too young looking, hair like rats tails, immature, looked bald because I had a high forehead… so you can safely say, im damaged but its only recently im realising that’s why I never felt the same as my peers, im 50 yrs old and I push through what ive discovered is panic attacks And I think I have PTSD. I sabotage relationships, friendships and Myself. Im grieving the child , the teenager the adult I could have been. Did I say, my dad found my mum with a large knife…she was going to murder my brother and myself but I pretended I didnt see, I froze and pretended to be asleep but Thats the same panic I get when im at work, in shops, new groups of people. She also made me get dressed when naked in front of a house full of people when I was 10 just to prove to everyone that I was normal and hadnt been sexually abused like her…so I feel as though people will scrutinize me if im not acceptable to them. As a result when I was 52 kg I thought I was fat and all the stress of my realisations has caused me to up to 88 kg which further impedes my coping mechanisms. I dont know where to start to get help and Australia doesn’t recognize this as a disability but Im so debilitated and cry Every time I think about it. I found school difficult, paniced, strezsed etc I am not like most PTSD sufferers, I dont get Rage outburst, im so anicable, I want everyone to fall in love with me, like me In fact I pride myself in that when people dislike me, I make them love me… im so tired, I want to be me…but I dont even know who she is, or what she or her life looks like.

  74. Rob says:

    I feel that the intent of the article was to be very helpful in nurture, genuinely, but it comes across very differently, actually insulting in so many ways, including such suggestions that persons in the process of recovering from PTSD, with commonly associated depression and anxiety, are somehow narcissistic and use defense mechanisms and some sick form of twisted narcissism. That could not be further from the truth. I questioned my own interpretation and had a very well educated friend read this article and she felt the exact same way. She happens to be a licensed psychologist and a genuinely nice person, so I valued her second opinion and she felt it came across as far more attacking, than nurturing, likely unintentionally. My point is only that it may be helpful to reword the article, only because we are all far from perfect and I believe the goal of this article is to be healing and nurturing. My goal is not to insult and if I did, I sincerely and genuinely apologize. To those that are suffering: My mother, who suffered from very severe depression an anxiety was put on disability and told that she could not work. She was genuinely sick and suffering. My father found this too much and wanted an outgoing, sociable wife, so he moved my mother, myself at 10 years old and my 4 year old sister into a trailer, while moving himself into a beautiful home across the city. He moved us into a trailer, because it was far more affordable to provide support, as they entered in a voluntary legal separation, which was basically his doing. He provided a basic roof over our heads and gave money for basic food and basic clothing. He took me aside, told me that he was leaving, told me what his plans were, at 10 years old and told me to “man up” and look after my sick mother and 4 year old sister. This was insanely traumatizing, I did not feel mentally, emotionally, or fit on any level, and was trying in a failing effort to do this, while being a junior high student. This lead to an ever intensifying depression with anxiety, that I had no clue what to do about, as I had no parent capable of telling me what to do, so I suffered in silence. Now, many years later, I am reliving the horror of him leaving, with the horror that I saw in my sick mother’s helpless face when we watched him drive away in his car for good. Thankfully, my sister was too young to realize that the now “parent” in this situation was me, at 10 years old! I am actively seeking help for this, as I relive it now daily, as an adult, I am trying hard to get all of the help that I possibly can, which I encourage everyone to do and even if you stumble across a poor quality counselor, or doctor, please don’t dismiss them all. Commitment to getting help is good and I have been through some terrible doctors and counselors, but I won’t give up and I hope you don’t. I honestly pray for you! I am on medication for depression with anxiety and feelings of abandonment/PTSD and most typical person are not in a position to help, compared to professionals, but please keep them close and give them room to learn. That was hard for me, because the PTSD came hard and fast and it confused everyone, including me. I suppose I should have sought help when I became really depression and anxious, but I will give myself a bit of a break, because I was still a school aged kid, with no real parent in a position to tell me what to do. Maybe, help guide me, would be more accurate. When I found this site, I was so helpful, but some of the wording and words really hurt me, which is why I asked a new and great friend, who is very qualified to read it and give me her opinion on this article. It was not a goal to attack the author, but it may have come across that way. I hope for the best for you all, including the author, who I still feel, had the best interests at heart and who’s goal was to help in caring fashion. Take care to you all !

  75. Adam says:

    Wish I would have seen this article sooner. I’m 37 a father of two. That’s a miracle considering the way I have lived my life since the age of 14. A train wreck in self destruct mode about sums it up. And not very good at it. Fear of rejection and the social inadequate problems you mentioned. Anxiety all the time. Emotionally unstable. Thought I might be bipolar or something. My mom left when I was 3 with another man. She says because my dad was a cheat and a drunk and that he hit her. He says she was a frigid selfish vain women that left for a charming dark haired man. My dad brought me up with a very young women he met who spent her life telling me my mother abandoned me and she was my real mother..she couldn’t have children of her own so treated me as her own. It got messy as I remember with me bieng snatched from nursery by my real mom and my dad finding me and bringing me home. He was a big drinker but had job..he lost the house and I moved into a flat with my older brother he was 7 years older. I also had a sister who was 5 years older .she went with my mother. Over the years I went from one to another never feeling that either were that bothered both blaming the other. I went to so many schools I lost count forming friendships then moving away. I started using it to my advantage I admit as I got older moving from one to the other when I didn’t like something. Jumping ont the train and running away a lot seeking attention. At 14 I started smoking weed and getting up to no good. Not a complete reprobate never doing class a drugs or ending up in prison. Just what you would call a little shit. Leaving school in my final year I had made some god friends, getting no qualifications I fell into factory work and spending wages getting high. This was to catch up with me , couldn’t stick a job as started developing anxiety and paranoia, this led to self loathing as my friends seemed so much stronger and stable, they all had stable backgrounds, and jealousy crept in. Anyway bad choices were made on my part and I went on self destruct mode loosing all friends and started a relationship with a girl who had issues and drank a lot. I then started drinking to much. after 4 year relationship living together she wanted children and I was definatly not in a good place to have kids..at least one good decision I made. We broke up, she had kids not long after with someone else. I was back on my own drinking again, I got lonely contemplated ending it all, hit rock bottom when I had to call myself an ambulance and felt so embarrassed . I went to see the doctor , seen a number of councilers, one told me not to blame myself for the past and to set myself small goals and build my confidence , it worked well for me, started driving and got a job, was still in a bad place but light at the end of the tunnel, met a girl on social media , she had a daughter of 5 and liked to drink sociably, we met for a drink, wasn’t love at first site and I was a vey lonely man and she showed interest..I moved in with her and within a year she told me she was pregnant , she was on the pill she said she got dunk and threw it up apparently , I was not going to abandon this kid. I manned up got a stableish job and stuck it for once me and his mom argued a lot and it was chaotic to say the least, I still had emotional issues and she suffered from depression..what a mess this must sound !. We decided to both change our ways and clean our act up for the boy and her daughter of course. We moved house and rented a new build , she fell pregnant again not a shock this time . My daughter. Bringing me to right now , he is 7 she is 4. I am still in the same job and dink hardly ever. Cleaner than I have ever been.stronger than I have ever been. But cannot shake my emotional insecurity . Don’t know if I love my partner…wake up most days wondering weather to move out. I get aggressive ..never hit out at her or kids I just can’t control my emotions. Where do I go from here. Reading your article makes me think I have a condition but I hate blaming my parents. I am the week one making selfish decisions all my life. If I don’t resolve my issues I am definatly going to break again at some point. Is there anything I can do ? Sorry if I have ranted on its just I have no one else who could possibly understand.

  76. Chelsea says:

    This was a dead on description of who I am because of my abandonment issues. The lack of a part 2 or 3, just the empty promise of them “coming soon” triggered a sense of abandonment.

  77. Mal says:

    This comes at a good time, as I slowly and savagely destroy yet another relationship in order to defend myself from what may be. The above points highlight so many attributes that unfortunately are carried by people who have been abandoned. I have the most beautiful soul in my life and I am slowly tearing him apart and can see what I am doing, yet feel completely numb to it, while he tries so hard to give me the love he knows I struggle to give. So I cry when I am alone, which is often. I prefer it that way, not wanting to get too close to people. It’s clear it is an issue and needs working on. Thank you for the article.

  78. Stephan says:

    I was born deaf and they were able to fix me but I learned to read lips which hide my condition to some degree. My father would beat me for not listening. He has since shared with me his sorrow and I empathize however it happened.
    I wasn’t a good student and cut up a lot. Attention seeking funny guy class clown I guess. I felt I was light hearted but this got me into trouble and obviously judgement and branding came into play to the degree I was not aware. So this pattern at 15 I landed me in a Mormon boys school locked up. I was sold skiing, snowmobiling, camping and so on but was met with locked door for one year and saw my parents for 2 days half way through the stay.
    I was taught you marry and its for life so my vows said for time and eternity(what a joke). She cheated on me, I left her, took her back for another 7yrs and 2 sons later then left her because she was never home so I found comfort in another.
    I have paid for at least 20+ prostitutes, had really about 5 relationships always started and ended the same and had sex with other women in all the relationships.
    I am currently in a 14yr relationship and I love my wife. I ended an affair 2 years ago and like a dumb ass told her everything. She is the sweetest most honest tender person I have ever know. I want this detructive behavior to end and stop killing all the goodness in my life.
    Yea I get it Dad beat me, Mom and Dad abandoned me, wife cheated and I was primed for PTSD of Abandonment. Family and people close to me hurt, lied, cheated, abandoned me. I have only been working through things that are symptoms but thanks to this article I know have a freaking name for it.
    I am embarrassed to say 28 for sure apply for me.

  79. Kim says:

    I’m crying so hard reading all you beautiful souls that have these awful issues as I have a girlfriend for ten months she lost her son the first month of his life then she lost her 18 year old 5 years ago and her mother four months after him . It’s terrible, she has a thirteen your old son thats clearly affected by it all .. And now we have been living together for four months and holy I see all the pain and emotional toll it takes on both of them , but it’s taking me down too. I feel like I’m being suffercated and I don’t know what to do as how to help when she believes she’s fine. Wow! I’m in for a ride , but I don’t have the tools to help her or her son ….still crying , I love them so much ! Desperately want to know if this is possible to remain in a relation ship with her and her thirteen year old. 🙁

  80. Doreen says:

    Hi. Susan. I sent you a more detailed email, but I believe I’m dealing with this issue and it’s destroying my current relationship. I have very sabotaging behaviors I do in relationships since the split with my ex-husband. I am constantly asking if everything is ok or are we ok? Constantly needing reaffirmation. But more recently, there have been some things that have caused triggers that has brought up past feelings and put me into an extreme panic over the past few weeks.

  81. Mara says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this great information Susan! I’ve been struggling with navigating a relationship with someone who I feel has very deep rooted abandonment issues. It’s tearing our relationship apart. I try to be patient and supportive, but its really tough!

  82. Julie Anne says:

    I have literally every single one of these. I know I need help…so badly. It’s effected my whole life.

  83. James says:

    G’day Susan, would first like to say thank-you for this website, have found it very helpful over the last few months. I grew up being rejected by my father, become foster child at age of about 7, went through about 15-20 different homes. I fit into many of the 36 Characteristics of ptsd of abandonment. I cant get close to people i push even the people i should be loving away, i havn’t had a relationship for 15 years, the worst attatchment to all of this is, i’m just never progressing at all, i’m 36 no car licence, i have as much as a i did if not less then when i was living alone when i was 14. I have been looking searching on-line and within myself, to understand the tendency’s the feelings the attachments that come with this dis-order, never had any idea months ago i didnt have much of an idea at all sometimes i’d think why am i so far behind? then i’d just keep walking, Think PTSD of Abandonment is very tricky becouse so much of it is in the subconscious part of the brain. I’m not sure where to start with all of this, it’s very loading. Again best easy website. Hope all can get to their wanted spot cheer’s.

  84. Sammy says:

    I read this and finally I see something that aknowledges all my issues a large majority of things on this list also apply to me too.
    I have always been abandoned by people my entire life, ever since I was a child I was rejected or had a temporary friend who would take advantage of me and abandon me or stab me in the back then abandon me. Ever since I was very little, my cousins on my father’s side had always rejected me still continue to do so to this day.
    In elementary school, I had no friends and was bullied by every kid from every grade when I was from 3rd to 5th grade, then I changed schoools. I was friendless and ignored in 6th to 8th grade. From 9th grade up, I changed and became “scary” because I had long hair and dressed in black, and I had my face because I thought I was ugly. I made friends with people who I thought were like me but they only took advantage of me and stabbed me in the back. I was so lonely that I started chatting with random adults on the internet because that was the only way I could have social interaction. My parents were hardly around, I lived with my dad who was always at work so he was never there for me and never listened to me.
    When I was 16 I made 1 friend who might have actually been my real friend, he was about 27/28 and he was the boyfriend of a girl in my class at the time, she was only being my friend to use me but her boyfriend was actually really cool and we got along great and when he got put into rehab we continued to communicate sadly he committed suicide shortly after being released from rehab. I had another person who might have also been my real friend but he also died too. Everyone else I met continued to use me and take advantage of me no matter what. I am now in my 20’s and I am not “scary” anymore because I cut my hair and no longer wear only black and I don’t hide my face and my acne is all gone and I work out and try to dress well, but I still continue to be rejected for both platonic friendships and romance. I am shy and I cannot let go of past rejections but when I meet someone new, I try to be friendly and have a engaging conversation with them, I usually make a temporary friend but it never lasts longer than a few days, or weeks.
    I am in college now and I have gone to several different colleges and I always get the same old story from people. People have always treated me as if I am some sort of murderer who got released from prison. I have never hurt anyone in my life but people continue to exile me no matter where I go.
    I resorted to meeting strangers on the internet but all they want is sex or money or something. I tried joining a club in one of my colleges and thought I’d meet like-minded people like me since it was a club for something I enjoyed but I was once again outcast, and totally shunned when I tried to join in on their conversations. When I do make a friend the friend is only nice to me when alone with me but when other people are around they ignore me completely and never answer my texts either and they never want to see me again and most of the time they block me eventually.
    When I used to have facebook I was always totally ignored by every single person, no one cared about my birthday or ever liked or commented my pictures, so I gave up and deleted my facebook for good. I have issues with being ignored now because of being ignored so long. And constant rejection over and over is taking its toll on me.
    I have good hygiene, I am polite, generous and friendly and never rude and I don’t do mean things, yet people treat me like I am the worst person in the universe.
    I sincerely believe that there is such a thing as being naturally hated, no matter what I do people don’t like me and never want to get close to me ever. I am always abandoned by everyone no matter what I do or how great we might get along in the beginning if I find someone who I do get along with. I have met quite a few people I did get along with but like I said before they always abandon me and eventaully block me. There is such a thing as being naturally hated and being a natural reject, and I am one of them.
    I feel like I should just give up on ALL people and just either kill myself or go live in the woods with a dog, at least a dog would hopefully not abandon me like everyone else has. I hate feeling so alone in this world…

  85. emilia whyte says:

    This is a testimony that I will tell to every one to hear. I have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my love away from me and my husband left me and the kids and we have suffered for 2years until I met a post where this man Dr Nosa have helped someone and I decided to give him a try to help me bring my love back home and believe me I just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, I saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why I am happy to make every one of you in similar to meet with this man and have your love ones back to your life. His email: drmosaspellcaster@gmail .com

  86. Jesse says:

    My girlfriend told me about her abandonment issues with her father she does not remember and has never met. I could tell she was still upset about it. She has had a series of short relationships that were unhealthy. I have noticed many symptoms in her as I read more and more. When our relationship got a little more serious she backed way off, started to ignore me and now tells me she has feelings for another, (I’m guessing pure psyical attraction because he has nothing to offer for support or work or transportation) and he is just one more unhealthy relationship waiting to happen. She says I am too good for her, which isn’t true. I really like her and need advise. She is almost 30 and I am 37. Advise please!

  87. Debbie says:

    This clarified my recent break up – he left with little warning. Suffered multiple emotional traumas as a child. We were doing so well, then suddenly we weren’t. HOW DO YOU FIND AN EFFECTIVE COUNSELOR for this particular disorder?

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