Abandonment


Note: The things I write of below are very difficult to speak of, let alone, live through. Unfortunately, all of us have, at some point in our lives, experienced abandonment to one degree or another. As reluctant as I might feel to talk about such an extremely difficult and troubling topic, I cannot but do that which I feel compelled to do. In operating this website and blog, it has been my commitment from the start to speak to you from my heart and to write from the cutting edge of my own life. It's my hope that, in the few words I write below, a few eyes will be opened to the reality of what one or more of you may be experiencing in this very moment.

To abandon (general definition): to forsake completely; to desert; to leave behind. Abandonment is multifaceted.

There's the more overt form, which is, characteristically, a habitual leaving, rejecting, starving, or discarding of another. I would surmise that when most people think or talk about abandonment, it's probably about this form.

Then there's the more covert form, which is, characteristically, a habitual squelching, snuffing out, or robbing of another. Abusive personalities often engage in covert abandonment through violent and restrictive behavior (be it, physical, verbal, emotional, or spiritual) and aggressive sexual conquest. There are less abusive forms of covert abandonment, such as obsequious "care taking," playing the "whoa-is-me" drama queen (or king), low-functioning borderline acting-out, and other expressions of excessive neediness. Most of the literature out there on the subject of "abandonment" does not, in my opinion, deal with the FACT that abandonment is not just about leaving another but also about stealing from another. Take a quarter for instance. A quarter has two sides: a heads and a tails. It matters not which side you look at…so long as you're looking at one side, you're looking at a quarter. Whether it's "being left" or "being swallowed whole," both are abandoning acts.

I also believe the literature focuses almost exclusively on the notion of how one person abandons or is abandoned by another. The problem with this is that a whole other arena of abandonment remains unvoiced, namely, one's abandonment of one's own self. Again, I'm talking about a habitual pattern of such behavior.

All this, my friends, is very much a spiritual problem, and it must be confronted spiritually.

Examples of abandoning another person...

Your wife says she never loved you nor even liked you, and, it seems, her actions demonstrated this throughout most (if not all) your marriage. And yet, for the sake of material comfort or some other inane reason (for example, societal pressure, guilt, or an overgrown sense of obligation), she continued to "play the part (sort of)" and stayed married to you. That is, in my opinion, a "habitual leaving” of you. She was "there," but she really wasn't. Such a thing is extremely hurtful, if not downright cruel. To live with someone who's unavailable emotionally has got to be one of the loneliest places on earth.

Your husband was very sexual with you yet unloving. That, in my opinion, is a "habitual engulfing" of you. I just cannot see it as anything other than stealing from you—repeatedly. Overshadowing who you are (or were) with his own base cravings. He didn't love you, yet he pursued that which is the most intensely intimate and personal fruits of love. Again, such things are absolutely horrible and devastating. A four letter word that begins with "R" and rhymes with "tape" come to my mind.

Examples of abandoning of oneself...

Habitually turning away from discomfort or exiting situations which feel troublesome. Running to addictions to anesthetize emotional pain or discomfort. Not standing up for or fighting for oneself. Not protecting oneself. Procrastinating. Starving oneself. Withholding from oneself (motivated by a false sense of guilt) that which one needs or really desires in one's heart. All these are examples of rejecting one's sense of self.

Habitually engaging in discursive or abusive self-talk. Expressing hatred toward oneself. Discounting or disrespecting one's own feelings or perspectives. Binge eating. Excessive alcohol consumption. Viewing pornography. Acting-out sexually. All are examples of engulfing oneself...overshadowing oneself...stealing from oneself.

Abandonment is overtly covert and covertly overt...

Even though I’ve separated out engulfment from rejection, the two can, in many ways, act almost interchangeable. In fact, many of the actions I describe able could fall into both camps. That's the multifaceted dynamic of abandonment. I would say the face of abandonment looks a lot like a soccer ball, in that it has many "sides," with each side being just as much a part of the ball as any other side. It's possible, too, for someone to abandon himself (or herself) by inserting himself (or staying) in a situation where another can do the abandoning by proxy. It's sort of like letting someone else do your own dirty work for you. Inside though, in your core, you know.

These are just some of my thoughts on this whole issue. I don't know if any of this will even be at all helpful, but I felt compelled to share these things with you. If you're going through any of the above, I recommend you pursue help immediately. Talk to a pastor, talk with a therapist, or tell a close friend. These things need to be brought out into the open. Help is on the way—it always is—but you must reach out for it.

May God bless all of you—especially, those of you suffering through any of these things. For those of you who are, my heart goes out to you.

 

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