Abandonment: A Famine of the Soul
By: Kathy
June 24, 2012

I heard the perfect descriptive phrase this week . . . “famine of the soul”.  Wow.  I love it!  It perfectly describes abandonment.  Many people spend most of their lives achingly in pursuit of something to satiate a gnawing, constant hunger, but nothing seems to feed it quite right.  Nothing satiates it like it seems it should.  Famine of the soul starts with physical or emotional abandonment in our childhoods, but before long, it follows us wherever we go, even when the originally abandoning conditions are long gone.
Someone who grows up under true famine conditions – constantly wondering where their next meal is coming from – doesn’t ever forget it.  Anxiety about not having enough food may still plague the person, long after resources become steadily abundant.

Abandonment is the same way.  When we are abandoned in our early years, the worry, the anxiety, the angst, the pain, is forever imprinted on our souls and we spend our lives trying to satisfy an insatiable famine.  People with hundreds of friends still feel lonely.  The emptiness is felt even in a crowded room full of people who love us.  Our anxiety becomes focused on the one person who isn’t reassuring us that their love is constant.

If you can imagine the little girl or boy in us who desperately wanted the absent or disconnected parent, or the approval of a disapproving parent – the fact that we are still seeking that years later, suddenly makes more sense.

Most people find the thing that ‘feeds’ them just right – then they marry it!  It feels like they’ve signed on for a lifetime supply of nourishment!  Soon enough, the spouse will miss ‘feeding’ their wounded partner a meal and catch hell for it.  The anxiety is awakened and the famished, abandoned soul becomes pre-occupied with where their next ‘meal’ or ‘snack’ is coming from.  They cannot even appreciate what nourishment they do get because they are ever-worried that they’ll be left wanting – just like they did when they were a child.  This over-zealous pursuit of basic ‘nourishment’ begins to push our partners (a/k/a our best chance for a sustaining life source) away, and thus, we have unknowingly re-created our childhood trauma of being abandoned.

The real cure (as best there can be one) is to learn how to provide ourselves with what we need.  People with abandonment hate it when I tell them this!    They don’t want to be responsible for their own famished soul, they want a feeding tube.  In essence, they want another person to give it to them on their terms.  I’m sorry, but it truly doesn’t work that way!

We simply must learn to tell the difference between a minor hunger pang and a major famine.  We must learn to ask for our needs to be met, not demand them from our partner.  We must learn to ‘feed’ and ‘nourish’ ourselves instead of expecting those around us to anticipate and give us what we need.  When we begin to take responsibility for our own needs, we will finally be able to relax and appreciate each and every morsel of life!  Now that is satisfying!!