When you’re feeling like you’ve been abandoned, it’s important to remember that you are your own best source of validation.
Abandonment issues, in my experience, can stem from just the fear of being abandoned or not having our needs met. So that doesn’t mean abandonment needs to be experienced or threatened.
I lived with abandonment issues long before I ever experienced true abandonment. I think people would be surprised to learn that I developed abandonment issues even from a large, close family. Thankfully, I was healed before I experienced true abandonment. And I can honestly say being truly abandoned did not bring the issues back. What was important was that I had learned effective techniques, and they were already in place. That helped me much more than being reactionary in the face of abandonment.
What helped me was to notice how my abandonment issues showed up in my behavior. Hate to admit it, but I started to see my patterns of neediness and clinginess. My abandonment issues showed up in budding new friendships and dating. Definitely an obstacle to cultivating relationships! It drove my people pleasing tendencies. It also perpetuated unhealthy dynamics because we can easily give up our personal power when we are perpetuating abandonment issues.
Healing individual behaviors that don’t serve us are connected to letting go of hurtful memories, painful experiences, and limiting beliefs that are still perpetuating negative effects. Besides the process of changing our thinking to change our coping skills, healing is also letting go. Letting go of what weighs us down and keeps alive our hurt never processed. It’s in the letting go that it gets processed. When we stop reliving it, it’s easier to change the behaviors or trauma in place because of it.
We may have been abandoned; people may not have met our needs. To heal, our adult self must recognize the importance and necessity of never abandoning ourselves or our needs. What I learned is that my abandonment issues didn’t serve me no matter what. To be honest, they were creatingabandonment, not helping me to avoid it. I wish I had seen this a whole lot sooner in my dating game! I finally started to recognize how the same patterns would push dates away—not draw them in.
The same thing occurred when I tried making friends. I found I had a harder time cultivating relationships because of my abandonment driven behaviors. It really helps to reflect, so that I can be objective enough to see what is not working for me. It’s hard to look in the mirror, reflect on our flaws and see where we need to make positive change. However, this has been the most liberating and healing experience. It gave me the opportunity to stop what wasn’t working for me.
With my abandonment issues, I knew the behaviors weren’t working, so I stopped them when I still felt needy or clingy. If I didn’t get the acceptance or validation I sought, I soon learned to leave it at that, rather then be triggered and pushed by my own invalidation to unconsciously seek outside validation. This also helped me to redirect my source of validation.
When we seek outside validation, we set ourselves us up for invalidation because the source of validation is not ourselves. When we set up our source of validation to be from self, this takes away the necessity for outside validation and, more importantly, it takes away the power for anyone to invalidate us. This is important for perpetuating our personal power. To maintain my power and help navigate myself out of triggering old ways of abandonment-driven behavior, I have new thinking and behaviors in place. Now I choose to let go of a situation, to accept what is out of my control rather than default to the old behaviors. I know it’s better the go with former then perpetuate the latter. I have successfully abandoned my abandonment issues.
Debbie Jacobs is an advocate, writer and healing specialist living in Alexandria, Virginia. She lived most of her adult life with a diagnosis of depression, anxiety and bipolar and speaks out on how self-improvement is life improvement and believes we all can live happy lives just by making positive change to ourselves. Her influences are Louise Hay, Napoleon Hill, Les Brown and Tony Robbins. She does positivity life coaching and is in the process of writing her first book on her healing process of accomplishing positive thinking, positive effective coping skills and healthy self-esteem, what she calls “freedom and happiness.” She shares her work to motivate, inspire and help others make positive change to themselves for their freedom and happiness too.
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