Abandonment issues are so common. You don’t have to have been left on the doorstep of an orphanage to know what abandonment feels like. In fact, you can have two very loving, wonderful parents and still be vexed by the painful effects of abandonment. The question then becomes, can abandonment wounds be healed, and if so, how?
When I think about abandonment wounds and pain in the heart, I see a picture in my head of a very deep, excruciating third-degree burn. If you’ve ever had even a minor burn wound, you know how painful they can be. In hospital burn units, many times they will mercifully keep a badly burned patient sedated so they won’t have to feel the intense pain of their wounds. When we have deep emotional wounds like abandonment, we often try to sedate ourselves as well, with addictions of all kinds.
When we have a burn like I’ve described, we will do anything to protect it from even the slightest hint of a breeze, to avoid pain. We over-react, bark, snarl, and hiss to keep others from coming anywhere near the painful site. We are fierce in our protection, and react quite instinctively.
Like a deep burn, however, with the right surgery, therapies, skin grafts, and salves, we can ultimately heal from these kinds of wounds. As an abandonment burn survivor, I can tell you that it is possible to heal and become far less reactive to the relational distancing that was so crippling before. Someone who is in recovery for abandonment, like a bad burn, will always remember what the pain of the wound felt like at it’s most painful, but there is healing available. It’s not easy, like recovering from a third-degree burn, and you will have a scar…but the new skin will be able to be touched without the screeching pain of before.
The next question that begs an answer then is “How?” How do we heal these burns in the depths of our hearts? I’m sorry to tell you that there is no pill, technique, or other quick fix to heal abandonment wounds. It takes hard work and study. It takes courage, humility, and perseverance. There aren’t any shortcuts, and there aren’t any easy ways out. There are no substitutes for the journey into the depths of your heart where the wounds are found.
If you’ve read many of my blog posts, you know that I’m a big believer in the concept of self-differentiation. The cure for abandonment lies in the samurai-like training to master your self and your emotions. If you have big abandonment wounds, you have an over-reactive anxiety to perceived fluctuations in relational closeness and distance. You freak out if someone leaves you in some way, and you freak out if they don’t let you have alone time sometimes too.
You can find peace from this painful ride when you look inside yourself and master your own anxieties. When you no longer have to depend on someone else’s behavior to make you feel OK (enmeshment), you are no longer at their mercy. You become empowered and calm. THAT is healing from abandonment. This also allows you to love, and really love well, instead of the attachment that so many confuse with love. It’s not easy, and it’s not for those looking for the easy way out. You won’t find it that way. Time to reprogram the ole software in the mind, so the heart can heal. It works, if you work it.
If you want to get started, give us a call or email us at [email protected]. If you can’t make it to our office, we offer e-counseling via a HIPAA compliant, confidential online video conferencing service as well. Thanks for stopping by!
Healing Hearts provides counseling services to the surrounding communities of Indianapolis, Fishers, Carmel, Zionsville, Westfield, Noblesville, and Geist. E-Counseling is available for residents of Indiana. Call or text today to set up your appointment. 317-218-3038
© 2015 Nancy Eisenman, MSW, LSW