Many times in life we operate from a place of fear, anxiety and insecurity because we have this fear of being abandoned.
From my experience, it was the abandonment of my parents. In the early stages of my life I experienced a lack of love, emotional disconnection and physical departures from my parents.
This conditioned me to fear endings and fear people leaving me and it manifested into insecure attachment and separation anxiety. So I’ve got a lot of depth and understanding on this topic and I hope to help a lot of people with this.
When we experience emotional disconnection, inconsistency in parenting or physical departures as children, we interpret that we’re being rejected, abandoned and that we’re not enough.
And because these experiences happen early on in our lives when we’re highly suggestible it creates an imprint in our subconscious mind, and as a result we believe that we’re not wanted, we’re not loved and we’re not enough.
These feelings also get stored in the nervous system and get stored as triggers. So if this experience of abandonment is happening consistently over time and we get the same emotional imprint it becomes its own program or way of functioning.
And how the subconscious mind works is that all of our emotional memories are stored in a part of our brain called the amygdala, which is our emotional memory system which carries all of our conditioning. It is also where our inner child resides. This includes the full range of intense emotions such as joy and pain, happiness and sadness.
So if you think of a favourite childhood memory, if you remember that memory now, as you tell the story of that memory you will feel the joy of that memory. That’s because all of those pleasant emotions were stored.
But when you have a negative emotional experience that you couldn’t process. This might be a traumatic memory that you didn’t have the emotional tools to make peace with at that time, what’s happening is that you have all of this negative emotional storage trapped in your subconscious mind, and when something triggers it you’re experiencing all of the intense emotions that are coming from the past.
So if we look at this in the context of being abandoned, if we have repetitive emotional experiences of being rejected, abandoned, unloved and alone, this self doubt, fear and insecurity becomes our baseline for how we interact with the world.
We have all of that emotional storage trapped in our nervous system, so when a person leaves the space, pulls away or rejects us, we might find ourselves going through a rollercoaster of emotions.
If we find ourselves emotionally reacting or being hysterical with our emotions it’s because what is hysterical is historical. And if we experience ours
elves experiencing intense emotions that outweighs the event of the present moment, we can see that we’re not reacting as adults, but as the powerless and helpless child that we once were.
Because when we were a child our basic human fears were abandonment. As a child we’re dependent on our caregivers for survival and without them we’d die.
So at a young age when we feared abandonment, at the time that was about safety and survival.
So fast forward later in our lives when we’re an adult, we’re touching an emotion that makes us feel like we can’t survive without a person. It’s an extremely deep core wound that gets embedded into our psyche.
This is why coming home to our inner child is key. Because consciously we might know that we need to be cool and calm, but our inner child might be spilling out all of the emotions and we are experiencing those unresolved emotions of rejection, abandonment and pain. This might show up as extreme anxiety, nervousness in our stomach, adrenaline shooting down our legs and tremendous trapped emotions in our heart area and throat.
So whatever created your abandonment issues it’s important that we heal those wounds, so that we can shift our minds, our emotions and our bodily responses.
Because when we have abandonment issues it’s not just our thinking that gets consumed by fear, self doubt and insecurity, but we have this physical response in our nervous system when we anticipate a departure, and we feel it in our heart, mind, body and spirit.
We need to be able to look at it as a deep emotional wound that we can heal, otherwise we will carry this wound in our friendships, relationships, work and we’ll continue to experience this extreme response in our nervous system when we experience a physical departure from somebody.
Now, what will heal these wounds on a permanent basis is the ability to self connect and self regulate.
Most of the time, if we have rejection and abandonment wounds, we spend our lives focusing on what’s happening outside of ourselves.
We become hypervigilent and hypersensitive to our environment and we’re consumed by what others are saying to us, what other people think about us, what others feel about us, rather than focusing on the relationship we have with ourselves.
If this is where most of our energy is, then I invite you to ask yourself: who is here in your business meeting your emotional needs? Who is looking after you? Who is present with you checking how you feel?
Nobody, we’re out there in everyone else’s business trying to get approval, get liked, protect ourselves from being abandoned, not be rejected, which means we have this disproportionate balance of where we’re putting our energy, which further fuels this need to not be rejected or abandoned from others as we think that’s our only source.
We think this is our only source of getting our needs met and that isn’t true. And this is because we’re desperate to be seen, heard and understood and this neglect from childhood and lack of emotional connection becomes our obsessive focus as adults, so what we do is we emotionally abandon ourselves to get approval and validation from others.
So one of the first things we can do to heal abandonment issues is awareness.
Until we acknowledge and address the root of this abandonment wound, we will never be able to truly heal it.
So I invite you to ask yourself: what are the ways in which I experienced abandonment as a child and as an adult? How was I abandoned physically and emotionally?
What has been the impact of the physical departures, of the neglect, the divorce and of the deaths?
Reflecting on our childhood experiences is important because it allows us to cultivate self awareness and release all of the stored memories and emotions we have.
If we experienced physical departures as a child we might have learned that love is conditional. It will have affected our self worth and created an identity wound that we don’t belong. We don’t feel loved or wanted and we learn to not trust others. When we repeatedly experience people leaving us we don’t trust that good things will stay.
So this might show up as separation anxiety in relationships or panic when we anticipate people leaving or when things end. Because we’ve been conditioned to believe that when people leave us they don’t return we become hypervigilant and hypersensitive to any sense of people leaving us, rejecting us or abandoning us.
So we might hold onto unhealthy relationships because we believe that we won’t be able to find someone who treats us well. We might over emotionally invest in people early on to avoid being abandoned.
Other ways we might have experienced abandonment is through experiencing poverty. We might have grown up in poverty and may have developed a scarcity mindset around love or money.
And poverty doesn’t just relate to money. You might have had a lot of money but if there was no love then that was emotional poverty. We might have been comfortable and have had family members providing for us, but because they were so focused on financial accumulation, they might have overlooked our emotional needs. So we might have experienced emotional neglect and have felt ignored by our family.
And as a result, we believe that we don’t have the capacity to be loved or for people to stick around or to stay with us. We might think to ourselves “who is going to love me?”. Because of these repetitive physical departures and experience of emotional disconnection it has made us feel like we are unworthy and nobody is going to love us.
And so being aware of whether it was neglect, divorce, abuse or death, there may be wounds you are carrying into your friendships and relationships that are sabotaging you.
And when we can acknowledge the root of our abandonment issues, we can cultivate self-awareness and see the patterns that this wound is creating.
We can ask ourselves what do I create in my life as a result of my abandonment fears? Or what do I allow because of my fears? Or what do I choose because of my fears?
And we can ask ourselves how has this fear created more stress?
Now when we move into the practical steps of healing abandonment issues, we need to see that our intense emotions are communicating to us that we have unmet needs or stories that are causing us pain.
Identify the pain
So step 1 is that the moment you feel pain, you want to be able to identify it and label it. Let’s say that you’ve gone on a second date with someone and at the end of the date they say that they don’t see anything romantic with you. So you might feel intense sadness, distress, anxiety and panic. You want to get in touch with your feelings, so you can see what’s stored on a subconscious level and you can work through them and process them.
Connect with your inner child
Step 2 – the next thing you want to do is put your hand on your heart and take a few deep mindful breaths. Use this time to become present with your heart. Putting your hands on your heart stimulates oxytocin, otherwise known as the love hormone. Set the intention that you’re open to learning and connecting with your inner child. This will help you to create a safe haven for yourself, because when you cultivate love and compassion towards your inner child, you’re self connecting, self soothing and self regulating your inner child.
Then you want to go inside and let your inner child share their deepest thoughts and feelings with you. So she might say I feel rejected and abandoned. I can’t survive without this person. Nobody wants me. Nobody loves me. My parents didn’t want me. Who is ever going to love me? I’m broken. I’m damaged. I feel like I’m dying.
Once you’re starting to see how you’re experiencing yourself, now you want to go deeper into that wounded part of your inner child. How old do you think that part of is who is being abandoned? Who taught her to feel helpless and powerless when people leave? Who taught her that she wouldn’t be able to survive if someone left her?
And she might say: I’m 17 and I feel sad. My dad is ignoring me and putting all his time and energy into somebody else and I feel ignored and replaced. I tell my dad that I feel lonely and he doesn’t know how to deal with me. So he says that I need to be with my mother. The next day he puts me on a train to see my mother at the other end of the country and I feel so heartbroken. I’m balling my eyes out. He tells me that it’s tough love and that I should be with my mother.
So there’s this heartbroken girl in charge of your life, feeling rejected and abandoned by her dad. Because you felt abandoned by your dad and you didn’t have anyone to make you feel safe at the time, you’re carrying these intense emotions of sadness, separation and pain with you.
So ask that girl what does she believe about feeling unwanted and abandoned? She believes that every time someone leaves she is being abandoned. But this is a false belief and none of this is true.
Call forth higher guidance
Now that she’s aware of her belief she can call in her higher guidance and ask what the truth is. What’s the wisdom here? What’s loving to me? So step into your higher self and ask her the question: is it true that others are abandoning me? Is it true that I’m unwanted, broken and that nobody loves me?
And if she opens she’ll tell you that this is a lie that you’re telling yourself. It’s a false belief you’ve developed from your history of childhood challenges. And with her assistance you can look for ways that this isn’t true. So what ways are you whole and worthy? Where is the proof that you are wanted? Where is the proof that you are loved? What is the proof that others will love you? The more proof you have the more you’re equilibrating your programming. Because emotion and repetition rewires the brain and the more that you can challenge those beliefs, with proof and memories that have emotions attached to them, the more you’re going to be able to break this pattern of feeling abandoned and feeling unwanted.
Take loving action
Then the next step is asking yourself what do you need in this moment?
Well it might be letting go of this false belief that nobody wants you. It might be learning to trust yourself, so if you already felt as though this person you are dating isn’t right for you because he seems untrustworthy, but you’ve ignored your feelings because you’ve held onto hope that he could be, then it might be about listening to your intuition and trusting yourself.
When you start hearing your needs and self connecting to yourself, you’re equilibrating this imbalance, and breaking this cycle of being so focused on other people and getting your emotional needs met outside of yourself, instead you’re looking inward and getting your needs from within.
And instead of looking outside of yourself for love, safety and validation, you’re getting your needs met from yourself.
When you stop self-abandoning yourself and you love, listen to and accept yourself, you won’t need to look outside of yourself for love and safety, and because you’re meeting your emotional needs, you won’t feel abandoned by others.
So it’s important that we connect with our inner child so that we can see when our old wounds are present, because it allows us to understand that we’re recreating our wounds on some level and that’s why we’re still in pain.
When we have this emotional storage trapped in our subconscious minds triggers will keep re-eliciting it to the surface and it will keep hardwiring this programming more deeply.
But as you learn to stop emotionally abandoning yourself and putting yourself first and you showed up for yourself consistently time and time again and trusting yourself to meet your needs, process your emotions and connect to yourself deeply on a regular basis, just that will do wonders in terms of reprogramming the wound and it will get to the point where it won’t have any legs to stand on.
This is because reprogramming can take place at the behavioural level and it’s when we show up for ourselves differently, or when we choose to feel differently about the thoughts, beliefs and stories that we hold in our head, we can shift our mind, bodies and awaken our hearts.
Self-abandoning is something that I’m going to be talking more about in the next episode, so if you’d like to continue this abandonment series with me, and delve deeper into healing the abandonment wound, I hope you join me in the next episode.
I would like to say in closing: I’m so glad you’re on the journey in coming home to your inner child. Today I invite you to call in your divine mother and say to your inner star child: “you are seen, you are heard, you are understood”.
P.S I offer inner child healing and coaching to women and rising leaders who want to heal emotional wounds, so they can shift into love and emotional freedom. If you’d like to work with me privately, fill out this form and I’ll be in touch.