Managing Abandonment Issues Through Recovery (A Sample From Mark Smith's New Book on Abandonment)
Written By: Mark Smith
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As I peacefully sit on a beautiful beach in Clearwater, Florida in the dark, tapping away on my IPad, I am convicted and deeply impacted about how urgent, vital, life changing and so needed this dynamic paradigm about Abandonment Issues truly is. So many sad, wounded people blame and literally hate themselves for acting crazy when their abandonment issues have been activated. They certainly also get blamed by the people in their lives that they have hurt so profoundly. Abandonment issues are extremely difficult to deal with if you know exactly what they are, how you got them and what triggers them. They are impossibly explosive, spirit crushing and life mangling if you are clueless and in the dark about the nature of what you are dealing with. I have personally seen tearful relief in hundreds upon hundreds of eyes as they took in the truth about their abandonment issues for the first time. It made so much sense. Their whole life fit together like a zig saw puzzle. The story of their grandparents, their parents and their childhoods fit together with scary precision with their romantic relationship histories.
The roots of my desperately needy, acting out little fellow went back into my family tree. My mother was much more abandoned than I was. She got dropped off at an orphanage the first few years of her life. And my poor, sweet, hard working, weak, emasculated father knew nothing but rejection, poverty and abuse in his tender years. His mother spent much of her life in a mental institution, as did my mother's grandmother. My wounds were well earned by generations of brokenness and dysfunction. They were hidden deep inside me behind solid defenses like a time bomb set to go off decades after it was armed. And go off it did. The pain was horrible, but the truth is that it was an opportunity to learn about who I really was and where I came from, to heal ancient places in my soul and to rebuild a true and better life on surer foundations. I am so glad for the opportunity to do that work, even with the brutal prices that I paid for the honor. Don't look at your life in terms of how you've failed or what you've lost. Look at your life from the perspective of generations of your particular struggling, wounded people and how you emerged from their stories raw with potential yet rife with your clans unique psychological demons and bugaboos.
Its all good if you do the work. So do your work. Dig deep. Cry the tears. Feel your fears. Don't cuss and bury your wounded little one. He or she is your very core. Get to know your deepest self. You are worth getting to know. You can't deeply know your partner or be deeply known until you first know and love yourself. Embrace your great opportunity for healing. You will be so glad that you did.
There are many different faces to Abandonment Issues and they are almost all reactive, ugly and damaging to relationships. These faces include the pouting husband who silently sulks around for days because his wife wasn't in the mood for sex when his neediness demanded it, the reactive wife who completely ruins a family get together because her husband was 10 minutes late, the boss who cannot fire an employee who should be fired due to his neurotic inability to let go of people in his life, the depressed and raging husband who simply cannot forgive his wife for her affair after years of dialogue even though his lack of relationship with her was a major contributing factor in his affair, the husband whose repulsive whiny little boy neediness makes his wife want to throw up, the therapist who insecurely clings on to her clients, the wife who weeps uncontrollably an entire therapy session due to her husband's distancing, the girlfriend who has a complete meltdown due to her boyfriend hanging out with his buddies for an evening, the 'helpful' manipulative parent who can't let go of their adult children, the husband who freaks out when his wife so much as innocently jokes with another man, the wife who verbally abuses her stepchildren because she is profoundly jealous of having to share her husband with them, or the spouse who shuts down and can't talk unless their mate gives them their 100% undivided attention. The main problem with abandonment is that when it comes up inside you, it is very much like becoming instantaneously drunk - impaired, reactive, defensive, out of control, non-objective, stubborn and absolutely impossible to speak rationally to. Think 'Incredible Hulk'.
Abandonment issues cloud and distort reality. What you see seems so real, but it is actually a projection from within your own deeply wounded and abandoned soul.
If you and your significant other are suffering from abandonment issues you will need effective help immediately. This problem will certainly NOT go away on its own. It will only get worse. If you are honest with yourself you know that. It is high time for you to learn what is causing your pain and then get started on the process of learning how to effectively manage it. The best thing that can happen to you is to develop a trusting relationship with an experienced, unbiased, insightful, courageous therapist. They can serve as your relationship referee until you both have enough recovery under your belts to communicate safely and effectively at home for free. If you and your spouse suffer from serious abandonment issues then you understand exactly what I mean by needing a referee. After serving as referee for several years for a couple with some pretty active abandonment issues, when they weren't mad at me they began to refer to me as their 'angel'. Naming the underlying abandonment issue, specifically naming its particular manifestation in that situation and providing a safe place in which to dialogue are all priceless gifts to couples suffering from abandonment issues. Finding an effective therapist can literally mean the difference between a nightmarish divorce and ultimately building a fairly safe and fulfilling marriage. Without a skilled referee present a game could get really out of hand.
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