The husband leaves. A girlfriend chooses another man. A company closes its doors leaving their employees with uncertain futures. Maybe it is a series of losses that just seemed to knock the wind out of you. These are types of abandonment (rejection) issues that too many are facing today. Some are just things that happen, but then there are some that are meant to be rejection. People are afraid to become emotionally invested because they do not want another thing (person) they have to recover from.
The other side of abandonment is forgiveness. What the other party did may have been wrong or just business, but the feelings of abandonment are the same. How you handle those feelings says much. You can choose to be bitter or angry or you can forgive.
What is abandonment, how do you deal with it? What does it take to recover from it?
Abandon To withdraw one’s support or help from, especially in spite of duty, allegiance, or responsibility; desert: abandon a friend in trouble.
A: to give up to the control or influence of another person or agent
B: to give up with the intent of never again claiming a right or interest in
One of the interesting things about the word abandon is that it is a transitive verb. It is an action verb with a direct object. It is doing, has done, or will do something to someone or something. It is a legal term generally associated with duty. Abandonment is not passive it is a choice.
1. To refuse to accept, submit to, believe, or make use of.
2. To refuse to consider or grant; deny.
3. To refuse to recognize or give affection to (a person).
4. To discard as defective or useless; throw away
Here is another active word. It is intense and deliberate. The repercussions go far beyond what some may recognize.
Some symptoms include loss of control of the situation, separation anxiety and yearning for the lost love, hoping for the possibility of the lost love’s return and the desperation caused by this desire.
Physiologically, some who feel abandoned may experience emotional withdrawal symptoms of abandonment, including the loss of opioids (hormones), which is similar to heroin withdrawal; the significance of extreme changes in appetite patterns; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; memory loss; the desire to self-medicate to endure the loss.
It also has a sense of not measuring up. The more that a person feels abandoned or rejected, the more likely they will turn into what they dislike. They will begin rejecting others who may love them, in favor of the ones who will hurt them. They may deny qualities that are good in them because someone else may disapprove.
Ultimately, they may become a people pleaser. They will go in search of acceptance wherever they think it can be found. Some will find it in religion, some will look for it in lovers, and the young may look for it in gangs. Some may find it a stretch that one person saying good-bye could have all this affect, but if a person has a lack of self-esteem or poor self-image, then it can become an issue.
Breakdown of Abandonment and Rejection
1. To withdraw one’s support or help from.
It cannot get any clearer than that, but lets look at that. It means a refusal to assist when they have the means and ability to do so. An example would be child support. Maybe the father or mother has left the home and in an effort to harm the remaining parent refuses to take care of their child financially. Generally when there is no payment being made there is also no visitation or engagement in the child’s life. Abandoning also means to desert. “Abandon suggests that the thing or person left may be helpless without protection .”
Sam was dealing with the loss of a job, his home, and his health. His world had turned into one where he felt he had no control. He had a friend that helped him through, but then without notice, stopped talking to him. Here was yet another loss that he had to deal with. In time, he learned that he needed to listen to his intuition and start trusting himself. He recognized the abandonment and rejection that he felt, so it was easier to recover from.
2. To give up with the intent of never again claiming a right or interest in.
This reminds you of the old movies where there is unrequited love. He loved her, but gave her up to the thing she insisted she wanted. One of the harshest visuals of this area was with Hurricane Katrina. The biggest complaint was the feeling of abandonment by the government and those who could assist them.
The people were left to fend for themselves because countless police quit their job, some engaged in violence towards those who were coming to assist them. In a moment their lives were changed. Many lost family, homes, and jobs. President Bush said,” In America, we do not abandon our fellow citizens in their hour of need.” President Bush said.
Many left, knowing that it would take years to recover, so they gave up their claim or interest in the area.
Pattie was born outside of marriage and was given away within days of her birth. She was moved from home to home and never quite felt wanted in any of them. When she met her birthmother they did not care for each other, so Pattie continued looking for love and acceptance in other people.
She is haunted by the question of, “Why did my mother not want me?” It has trickled into every relationship.
3. To give up to the control or influence of another person or agent.
This means that a person no longer has a say or interest in the welfare of another. Generally, it is in relationship to children or spouses. It is giving up parental rights or spousal privileges.
5. To discard as defective or useless; throw away.
The harshest of all definitions is the thought that someone considered you defective or worth throwing away. There are no ways to make it seem better. The meaning speaks for itself. It is the ultimate insult that any human being can pass on to another.
They took their shot now here are yours (Recovering)
The following poem shows what our choice should be when we are under pressure to do or say the wrong thing. It is often attributed to Mother Teresa who had it hanging in her office. It is a stark reminder that we cannot stop being who we are because someone hurts us.
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you may win some false friends and some true enemies.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
Transparency may make you vulnerable.
Be transparent anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
People who really want help may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough.
Give the world your best anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It is never between you and them anyway.
Being abandoned hurts. It can have rippling effects through life in some people, but when you take the focus off them and do what you know to do then you will recover.
Sometimes you may need to talk it out, while other times it is just accepting that sometimes people do not know how to help or love everyone. Maybe they thought they had reached their max with what they could do for you and did not know how to say it. One thing to get out of relationship abandonment is that it is not always about you. It could be issues in their own life. Maybe it was easier for them to walk out then to work it out.
The other thing to get is that begging is beneath you. Never beg someone to love you, stay with you, or whatever. Ultimately they will resent you if they stay because of it, and you will hate them for wanting to leave. You are valuable and worth being loved. Do not close your heart to new possibilities because of the actions of some.
Forgive those you feel abandoned or rejected you. It will set you free to be you. Anger only ties you to them. You do not need to forgive them for their sake, but your own. You may have to remind yourself that you have forgiven them, but it is worth it. Forgiveness does not mean opening the door to letting them hurt you again.
In the movie Sex and Mrs. X, the main character makes a point to her prodigy that she must change for herself and if the husband comes back then she gets to choose if she wants him or not. He had abandoned her for another woman. When he wanted to come back, she had changed so much that she realized she was better off without him.
There is a saying that “no one can hurt you without your permission.” Well, I don’t think that is quite accurate, however there is a truth to it. The choices you make when you encounter abandonment and rejection are a testament to your character. It may hurt like hell, and maybe you might shoot daggers with your eyes if you encountered them, but if you will make the decision not to accept bitterness as an option, or find another way to handle this punch then you can come out better. The main thing is to accept yourself for who you are. If you cannot accept you then how can you expect anyone to? You have to be valuable in your own eyes before anyone else can see your true worth. If you treat yourself like trash then you will get people in your life that will do the same.
Though change is mentioned please do not go overboard. If there are valid criticisms then decide if you want to make those changes. You are the person in control of your life. The decisions you make affect you first. Do not do it to get the person back or to accept you, because usually it is an excuse to get out of the relationship and not the real one anyway. Trust your instincts not someone else’s.
You Will Survive
Back in the seventies there was a song sung by Gloria Gaynor wrote that anthem for all people who had ever loved and been left. Look at the lyrics, identify, and then act by knowing you are a survivor.
First I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
thinking how you did me wrong
I grew strong
I learned how to get along
and so you’re back
from outer space
I just walked in to find you here
with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I had known for just one second
you’d be back to bother me
It took all the strength I had
not to fall apart
kept trying hard to mend
the pieces of my broken heart
and I spent oh so many nights
just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
Now I hold my head up high
and you see me
I’m not that chained up little girl
who fell in love with you
and so you felt like dropping in
and just expect me to be free
now I’m saving all my loving
for someone who’s loving me
Go on now go walk out the door
just turn around now
’cause you’re not welcome anymore
weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
you think I’d crumble
you think I’d lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
as long as i know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give
and I’ll survive
I will survive
There is little stability in the world today with divorce over fifty percent, single parenting at an all time high, and companies closing doors leaving employees out on the street. How people deal with the abandonment and rejection they feel can either be a benefit or a deficit. Abandonment is a live action legal term. Rejection is harsh and cruel. There are consequences to the action that may be irreparable if it is not dealt with by forgiveness and acceptance of you.
“Abandon.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2005.http://www.merriam-webster.com/ (20 Dec. 2005).
“Reject.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2005.http://www.merriam-webster.com/ (20 Dec. 2005).
Gaynor, Gloria “I will Survive.” http://www.lyricsondemand.com/onehitwonders/iwillsurvivelyrics.html (20 Dec. 2005)
Anonymous. “Anyway.” http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa (20 Dec. 2005)