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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Abandonment—What Does This Word Mean To You?

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Lisa Zarcone
Lisa Zarconehttps://www.lisazarcone.net
Regional Director for New England AREA/ NAASCA Ambassador (MA) - 2021 Heroine Award Recipient (MA)-Child & Mental Health Advocate -Public Speaker-Author-Blogger-Podcast Enthusiast- Radio Personality

Emotional abandonment is a subjective emotional state in which people feel undesired, left behind, insecure, or discarded. People who experience this may feel loss, cut off from loved ones, and left feeling withdrawn from life. Not worthy.

This is a strong and powerful emotion, but sounding somewhat clinical in definition.

Let’s get to the meat of this topic.

When a child is growing up the three main things that they naturally crave are love, safety, and acceptance/belonging. If they are getting these wonderful emotions, it is so full-filling that the child will thrive in their environment.  They embrace the feeling of wanting to branch out and excel to the highest degree because they are fueled by a solid foundation. All children should feel this way, but that is not the reality.

The cruel reality is that many (far too many) of our youth feel abandoned by the ones that are supposed to love and protect them. Growing up in a dysfunctional environment creates far more damage than many realize.

When a child is constantly rejected, traumatized or left behind, they develop an intense insecurity that filters out into all aspects of their lives. Daily living becomes a game of survival with only blind faith leading the way. The child is craving, wanting, and seeking this nourishment that is not being fulfilled in the home.

As time goes on, that child looks for ways to fill the void, as they feel invisible and voiceless. This painful void will most likely be filled, in many negative ways:

  • Negative behaviors
  • Defiance
  • Drama filled
  • Anger
  • Silence
  • Extremely needy
  • Fake Illnesses 

These are all signs that we should look for in a child who is struggling.

I was that child so many years ago, and I can share first hand one of the many experiences that I went through in my young life.

Example:

At the time, I was six-years-old and my brother (who was nine) passed away from Leukemia. I was devastated, confused, and emotionally distraught. As my parents moved forward trying to overcome the death of their first-born child, I unfortunately became lost in that shuffle in the deck of sorrow.

My father engrossed himself in work and outside of the home activities, and my mother (who suffered from mental illness) completely fell apart. I was a little girl hurt in so many ways with nobody to talk to. I felt completely invisible.

As time went on, my father left us because he could not handle living in a home that brought him so many painful memories of the past. Also, having to deal with his broken wife, and a household that has turned into a dysfunctional mess, was completely overwhelming to him, and far too much to bear. He ran away.

As a six-year-old child, I suffered at those hands of my sick mother, and eventually another abuser that she invited into our home. With all of this horrendous abuse that was happening to me over a course of several years, what affected me so tremendously was that feeling of “Abandonment.”

I was silently screaming for help, and nobody noticed me, or they brushed it off because they did not know how to deal with it. I wanted my brother back so desperately, and I could not verbalize my thoughts or feelings. The pain was so intense, and I held it in silence because nobody ever asked the questions. I felt lost and confused for a very long time.

I was hoping that my family, teachers, friends, or doctors would see what I was going through and step in. I waited .   .   .  I waited .   .   .  I waited .   .   .  NOTHING HAPPENED. I continued to endure the pain alone.

My pain eventually turned into anger, internal rage, and complete insecurity about everything in my life.

Now fast forward to adulthood. I carried that silent pain with me for years.

Did I feel abandoned by my parents, family, and others?  Absolutely!

How did I cope?

These internal feelings created havoc in my adult life, affecting many relationships (person and business) along the way.

There are so many people walking around, right this moment, feeling the exact same way that I did—continuing to be affected by the past.

When someone experiences abandonment, that pain runs deep. We wait, and wait for someone to come to our rescue, because that was the emotions/feelings that were bestowed upon us at a young age.

The turning point for many people is when you realize, nobody is going to save you. Then you start to think about your next steps moving forward. What do you do now? What is your next step? How do you move forward? How do you gain your self-worth?

Very strong questions and important ones that you must ask yourself!

Who is going to save you YOU? Will you be able to save yourself?

It is a hard road with many peaks and valleys, but a road that you must take so that you can heal. Please do not take this road alone, because the truth is that you do not have to. I encourage you to seek help and support when needed (and you will need it), so that you can understand and overcome these awful feelings that are resting heavily on your heart.

Healing is possible!

Moving forward is possible!

Living a full life is possible!

It all starts at the beginning. Think about who and what situations brought you to this point in your life, and then think about how are you going to change it.

Work towards changing your mindset, and healing your heart.

Remind yourself that you are worth the battle.

I know for myself; I fought long and hard to “rewire” my mindset, and the results were incredible. I learned who I was as a person and why I react to situations the way that I have over the years. I found my “inner child” that was lost, alone and hurting so tremendously. I took her out of that dark place and cradled her so tight allowing her to process and heal. I also realized that my “self-worth” was so much more than I ever gave myself credit for.

I healed throughout this journey.

I no longer feel abandoned and alone in a sea of people. I realize not that I am loved, safe, and most importantly “liked” by myself first.

You can get there! Like I said before, you must start at the beginning and go from there. The journey and battle are worth the sadness you will feel along that road towards healing. For every tear that you shed, remind yourself that you are doing the most important work in your life. 

Nobody should ever feel abandoned by the world.

No child should ever have to feel that they are worthless.

I described it as feeling so worthless, like I was garbage on the bottom of someone’s shoe being dragged around. What an awful feeling.

As adults it is up to us to care for ourselves in a positive way. We also need to be aware of what the children in our lives and community are feeling, living, and experiencing. We need to keep our eyes open wide.  As we walk forward together, we can heal, help others along the way, and raise our voices.

A Quote from Russian Author Leo Tolstoy from the novel Anna Karenina

“We walked to meet each other up at the time of our love, and then we have been irresistibly drifting in different directions, and there’s no altering that.”

Tolstoy speaks to the pain of sorrow and abandonment.

We cannot alter that past, but we can look to the future!

Let’s embrace the journey together as we stand, find strength. and heal.

The time is now.

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