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    Abandonment Part 1

    The following is the first in a series of blogs on abandonment. I strongly encourage you to respond with comments, questions, or ideas in the comments section. Abandonment is such a huge issue for so many people, that any dialogue, discussion, or sharing about it could be extremely beneficial for anyone in the blogging community who struggles with it.

            The word “abandonment” is a positively terrifying word for those who are petrified of being left. Which is to say, most of us. Or that population of most of us who are in touch with that piece of ourselves.
            Rejection, loneliness, insecurity, inadequacy, worthlessness, shame, hopelessness, and despair can all be triggered by the “A” word. That’s one reason it can feel so impossibly painful. Because abandonment ignites virtually every other smoldering hurt we have. And it sets ablaze anything else that is already up for us. We can be burning alive. And if we’re in denial about the pain, or if we’re depressed and therefore numb, we don’t even know that we’re on fire.
            Abandonment is not content with attacking us by itself. As if it were not overwhelming enough, it recruits all of our other great pains too. Soon, it’s as though we’re drowning in a toxic stew of our greatest sufferings and our most frightening nightmares.
            Abandonment takes no prisoners. It can feel like it’s trying to kill you. Maybe it is. Because the pain is so great, we sometimes believe that death might feel better. Maybe abandonment is doing us a favor by trying to kill us so that we don’t have to suffer anymore.
            If our abandonment issue goes deep enough, it feels like it’s who we are. There is nothing deeper. It is us. Everything else on top is just frosting over this dark, tortured self. That means we will never be rid of it. We will never be over it. It will always be with us, and it will run us whenever we face it.
            Our abandonment pain comes from somewhere back in childhood. If it goes back far enough, we don’t consciously remember the incidents or memories that created the original wounds.
            In my case, it goes back as far back as it possibly can. Birth.
            Right out of the womb that I shared with my twin brother, I got shipped off into an incubator for three weeks. Alone. No mom. No dad. No twin. No hanging out in the hospital room with the family for a few days. Nobody at all, except a nurse who fed me a few times a day. I don’t even know how much, if at all, she touched me when she fed me. Judging by how affectionate I am, and by my desire and love of physical contact, I’d guess that I probably wasn’t touched much at all my first three weeks of life.
            Being left alone at birth like that is similar to what an orphan experiences. I’m not comparing my entire childhood to that of an orphan’s childhood. But I am drawing a parallel to my original wound and the original wound of an orphan. Or with anyone else who can’t consciously remember the pain of their original abandonment.
            This emotional and physical orphaning leaves very deep, very big, very painful scars. The issue can loom large in our lives. Especially in our intimate relationships. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Because it was an initial love relationship with a parent, or parents, that created the original wound. We carry that with us into every intimate relationship from then on. Only when we become aware of it and choose to face it can we be set free. Like the worst monster we can imagine, unresolved abandonment can keep us prisoner our entire lives.
            To me, that monster looked so enormous, so invincible, that the only solution seemed to be to never face it. For it will eat me alive and still be hungry. The only way to beat abandonment was to not risk being abandoned. To not be completely vulnerable. I avoided putting myself so far out there emotionally that there’s no turning back. I didn’t let myself love anyone with absolutely everything, EVERYTHING, I had. It was measured love. Restricted giving of self. Safety.
            I’ve been there most of my life. Maybe you have, too. But I'm not there anymore. Because I’m tired of loving that way. I’m tired of living that way. And I’ve found a way out. It can be slow. It is painful. And it works.

    © 2008 Clint Piatelli. All Right (and Wrongs) Reserved

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    Reader Comments (1)

    digging deep, and eloquently. i love "where the rubber meets the road". good metaphor.
    this is sort of sideways/dual response to the last two blogs...
    i guess im fortunate not to have abandonment as a recognized piece of my psyche. coming from the other side here, the suprise third child of a 40 yr old mother of a 17 and 13 yr old, the former of which was esentially out of the house and in vietnam before i was cognizant, the latter who tried to embrace me, but also moved on and out before i was old enuf to recognize him as a person. growing up essentially as an only, with parents that demonstrated their love for me often, and in fact brainwashed me into thinking i was the best thing since the napkin ... until in my 20's i started to see the gaps in my persona that they had accepted, and realize i wasnt the greatest person in the world, but i was just fine, with a few accaptable flaws. i was fortunate.
    i hope,now that both parents are gone, that they knew what great parents they really were, infusing me with pride and self worth. i wish i was a wise as you to pen a letter like your prior entry to your dad when i had the opportunity. i hope they knew how much i, as a parent now, appreciate the love and support they gave me. did your dad respond to your letter? parenting is a hard job, full of difficult decisions and often without timely feedback. You just do the best you can, and wait for years to see if you did an ok job. all the while comparing your family to others, and hoping you are on the right track. There is no grading, no graduation... so thats what makes your letter to dad all the more poignant. your (muscle)heart was/ is right on your self examination has uncovered a truthful and compassionate place. trust and love yourself, you deserve it..

    October 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterasven

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