Abandonment (Wound Series, Childhood Trauma)

Abandonment

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Abandonment (Wound Series, Childhood Trauma)

I spent years and years of my life being afraid of abandonment and losing anything that was too good. It wasn’t clear for me why. I thought it was how life is: when we don’t have we long for something and when we have it we are afraid of losing it.

Almost a year ago by now I was meditating. Like many times before the feelings of longing and fear of losing where coming and going while I was noting my breath. It was a day where the meditation was flowing naturally. I scratched a little under the feeling of abandonment and suddenly that night came up with full strength.

My Relationship to my Mother

I had an extremely fusional relationship with my mother. It was way out of the norm. She was herself a grown up wounded child. Her mother was a woman filled with longing and fear and her father the perfectly marching husband that was running after skirts. My mother was ultra sensitive and rebellious towards life. She left Hungary after the student revolution of 1956 and landed in the beautifully inhuman and cold Switzerland. Her and my father met at work in Switzerland.

My father is himself a grown up wounded child that lost his mother at age 6 and inherited a step-mother that he tried to please until she died at age 103. He is unable to de-center and understand how other people think or feel. He is loving but can’t give love in a natural was. His way of loving is to try to change others to what he think will bring them happiness.

The Night I Lost Everything

They met at work and their wounds found some peace in each other’s embrace. For a time. He didn’t want a child and she wanted it so badly she decided to have me despite his opinion.

I was born on the 1st of October 1972 and became her everything. She spent all her time with me and tried to burry her growing deep depression in the love of motherhood. I was her sun and she because my universe. My universe without which I didn’t want to do anything. By the age of 9 I was completely co-dependent on her and she was just out of mental hospital bottoming hard and without the proper support to renounce.

Then she decided to go. She hit me with a chair and jumped out of my room’s window at the 7th floor of our flat.

I was brought to the hospital having shut out what happened and just wondering why I was there. My father came the next morning and told me she died. We both cried for the last time over her. I saw a shrink a couple of times that was impressed by how well I was. Everyone was impressed. I wasn’t. I was empty and without emotions and didn’t feel anything for the next 5 years and then started floating in the superficiality of everyday life but without connecting really with anyone.

What Attachment Meant to Me

Slowly, in pre-adolescence, I started seeking the attachment that friendship gives. I thought that I could get friends that would like me and fill the void in my heart. I found friends and they ran away from that sticky, clingy piece of longer. Damn it hurt. Abandonment thoughts started creeping in.

Later on I had my first real love story. It was wonderful up to the moment, some weeks in, when fear appeared. Fear of losing her. Fear that the wonder I saw in her eyes was as fake as what my mom’s eyes showed. I made it a self-fulfilling prophecy and it obviously ended.

The next 20 years I spent hiding my need for others under layers of arrogance and ambition. I didn’t know anymore what love was for real and spent my time reading the signs of it ending. Self-fulfilling prophecies continued.

Acting Out

I have many ways which I’m acting out on my fear of abandonment and the associated sense of worthlessness. If I would bother to get diagnosed, I would most probably be categorized in the Borderline Personality Disorer. I prefer the model of the Grown Up Wounded Child which is more actionable. I have one personality fragments that take the front stage depending on the circumstances. My mother used to call me Waltika so all my fragments have a name ending with “ka”.

Longinka

Let me introduce you Longingka. Longingka has many annoying behaviors so I could most probably break him up into further sub-parts but all is related to the sense of worthlessness so I don’t bother. He is called Longingka because it’s the part of me that is Longing for someone to make me complete.

When Longingka manages to push everyone away because of being too needy, sticky and testing the love of others he starts feeling really lonely. He moves into pleaser and hunter mode. He hunts for people to connect with in any possible way and does everything possible to please them. It’s ok with the people that are worth his attention but not for the ones that are not.

Once he has a connection Longinka is afraid to lose it so he tries to please even harder but at the same time becomes paranoid: “Oh this is a long time to respond to a message. Maybe he or she doesn’t love me anymore?”. “Why is this activity more important than me?”. “Why do I not deserve what I look for?”. “What did I do wrong (again)?”. Basically Longinka turns Walter’s life into a mess of questions and of activities that don’t bring him anything but are built to try to not lose the person he attracted.

Longinka also hates loneliness, which is why he fears abandonment. When Walter is alone Longinka is in the background murmuring stuff like “It sucks to be alone, right?”. “It isn’t nice to do anything when you are alone right?”. “You aren’t complete by yourself so go find someone to make you complete.”

The good thing with the sub-part model is that – in a meditative state – a conversation can be made between Walter and the sub-part. This conversation when repeated often enough allows for the reintegration of the sub-part into the real Walter.

Healing

Where I am now is that basically I stopped the pleaser behavior and focus on caring for the people that deserve it. I’m letting go of all the ones using me for this pleaser side. I also stopped destroying the joy of the good moments with thoughts about them ending. What is still sometimes a challenge is the loneliness part but I feel progress was made because I don’t think it’s me that is worthless anymore but more that I need to relearn doing activities on my own because I completely stopped them for so long.

Grieving

During that meditation session I mention at the beginning of this post is when the real grieving started. I cried reliving that night and planted the seeds for many realizations:

  • It’s not my fault if she died
  • I couldn’t have saved her
  • It’s not because I’m worthless that she left but because of her own pain
  • She loved me without any doubt
  • I’m lovable

I didn’t miraculously heal from the mess I kept building in me for 33 years but I started peeling away layer by layer the illusions.

My best friend helped me in this process. She helped me in a direct way supporting me when I was in total freak out mode and she helped me because she is the thing that is too good and that I’m afraid to lose now. It is immensely helpful to be able to live fully the fear and rest in the safety at the same time.

Conclusion

Abandonment, along with neglect and abuse, are causing a child’s personality to develop in a fragmented way. In order to heal we need to realize what happened, follow the threads and clear patiently the illusions that we created around that trauma. Nothing is wrong with anyone, we are all perfect the way we are, we just need to remove patiently the layers of illusion and the perfection will show. Meditation is a powerful technique to achieve that but lovingkindness is equally important.  Open up to others and they will help you more than you think.

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Walter

Founder at healing.ly
Spent years in the business world, now looking a bit more at myself and why I'm here and where I want to go. This blog shares my experience.

Latest posts by Walter (see all)

Comments

  1. Wanda Luthman

    Very deep! Thank you for sharing your personal pain so honestly and openly and also your path to healing. Many times we don’t understand other people’s actions, they may not understand them themselves, but when one can hold their pain long enough to look deeply into it and find the lies/illusions, then they begin to start to find their way out. I’m glad you’re well on your path to healing. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’m sure she didn’t know she left you with so much pain. It sounds like she had so much pain herself, she couldn’t even think about what her death would do to you. Mental illness, it steals a person’s soul.

    Reply
  2. kameamoonmaiden

    Wow, my mom was also a grown-up wounded child, and my father, and me. I have a lot of the same symptoms you do, and am just learning to let them go. So sorry about what happened to your mom! Mine didn’t die til I was 34, but it was a sudden kind of thing also. Thanks for sharing this and thank you for following my blog!

    I, too, am cutting cords with those who would just take advantage of me. And am learning to be at peace with being alone much more of the time.

    Reply
  3. Lu-c U

    This is deep… Very honest and open, got me thinking real deep. Thanks for sharing. It’s an amazing post.

    Reply
  4. adoptmomof6

    Oh my goodness…… my heart broke reading this. Childhood trauma stinks…..period…..so sorry for the pain that you endured. We adopted 4 kids that have/had reactive attachment disorder. If they don’t heal that dx changes to borderline personality disorder or if they are more severe something else.

    Reply
    1. healingly

      Borderline personality disorder is widely over-diagnosed according to Peter Gerlach. His model along with mindfulness are the things that help me most in learning proper emotional control and bringing home the sub-parts of my personality that explode when circumstances make them react. That’s why I pointed you to this. Neither mindfulness nor Inner Family System Therapy have the space they deserve in traditional psychology. At the end of the day being a balanced human means seeing our emotions, being able to listen to them without getting caught in the stories we build around them and acting or not on them with calm. That’s what both techniques teach.

      Reply
  5. Serena Bradshaw

    Interesting views. I’ve noticed in UK it seems more fashionable to diagnose PTSD than BPD. I will always have some attachment disorderation (lol) but its just a question of acceptance for me.
    I’m pleased you’re finding some peace.

    Reply
  6. Tamara Gerber

    Oh, Walter, this made me cry.
    Of course it was not your fault the couldn’t see any other way than to leave this earth! Just the opposite, it was most probably thanks to you that she was able to hang on to this life for so long!
    If you’re able to meditate and tell yourself the things you need in order to let go, you might want to consider taking it one step further and look into hypnosis. I’ll send you link of my own experience.

    Reply
    1. healingly

      Thanks. I needed that comment. My current life circumstances bring all that back big time and it’s good to read that it’s not my fault. Looking forward to the link!

      Reply
  7. faith

    I love reading stories that are so open that you feel like you actually know the reader. Thank you for opening up. You’re take away is great, the problem is most people don’t start to peel back those layers they just keep adding to them. I hope someone will read your story and start peeling process to discover just how beautiful they are 🙂

    xx
    Faith

    Reply
    1. healingly

      Realizing that there is something to peel back is the hardest part. We get used to our weirdnesses and pains and just think it’s normal and can’t be changed. Thanks for the lovingkindness in your comment. Hugs.

      Reply
  8. mominzurich

    This is such an amazingly open and honest look deep into yourself. It makes me want to get to know myself and my actions and intentions so much more. It’s amazing you are so in touch and so well organized in how your life and self have evolved over time.

    Reply
    1. healingly

      I wasn’t at all like this 18 months ago. I would have told you honestly that I’m fine. Then I started meditating and all hell broke lose. But it’s very worthwhile I feel better than ever.

      Reply
  9. Tara Giroud

    This idea of fractured minds as we grow around these difficult moments is really interesting. There’s no way around it and for me I have been paranoid as a mother to wonder at each turn how I am screwing up my kids. But I loved this that you said: ” I also stopped destroying the joy of the good moments with thoughts about them ending. ” That makes sense for everyone. Thanks for sharing this difficult memory.

    Reply
    1. healingly

      You can actually bring the fragments back using inner family system therapy. What you do is to work in a meditative state visualizing the fragment as a separate you with the age it has when it formed and the character of that sub-part. The goal of the conversation is understanding the drivers of this little you and make her trust the big you, the true you. My first post on my blog called I’m a Grown Up Wounded Child under Recovery has a link to a website from Peter Gerlach and it explains the method very well.

      Reply
  10. purpleslobinrecovery

    Oh wow, Walter, this is amazing, that you are so open. I too am a wounded child of wounded parents. I really have begun to wonder if that isn’t the case with really everyone in the world, and some people just cover it over their whole lives?? I was crying all the way thru this. I’m so glad you’ve come to understand your mother loved you, and her death wasn’t your fault in any way.
    Thank you for following me, Otherwise I never would have read this.

    Reply
    1. healingly

      I’m happy it resonated with your situation. When I started waking up to the fact that I wasn’t doing so great I decided that part of my healing was to try to open the eyes of others so they don’t wait 33 years before starting their journey towards happiness. Hugs and happy healing to you!

      Reply
  11. Kemi

    Wow!! that was very deep and truly eye opening. Everyone has their own story and journey yet we as humans judge each other on what we see, having no idea of people’s past or present. I am so glad that you are beginning to peel back the layers to live a fulfilling life!

    Reply

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