For most of my life, I struggled with abandonment issues.
I never knew when the wave of sadness was going to hit or what exactly would trigger my fear of abandonment. It could’ve been a song, a sound, a person, a laugh, a circumstance, an event, a picture, a show, a smell, someone walking hand in hand with their dad.. doing father daughter things- even as simple as a gas run! It could have been just about anything…then the waves would come crashing down and giving me endless emotions and anxiety. Feelings of despair and and overall feeling of not being good enough. Not being loved enough.
All of a sudden, I’d be treading water for dear life without remembering how to swim; trying to hang onto whatever is left from the wreckage. Praying to overcome those feeling. Begging to feel ok for just a moment.
Questioning.. why me!?, what did I do to deserve any of that!? Questions, and questions, and questions. Never any answers.. Just unanswered questions.
Although we have all our own reasons and our own experiences, and we all process it differently. Through tease arch, I found that our own unique coping mechanism was formed, depending on how young and impressionable we were during the first time we experienced a monumental loss or trauma. For me, my first trauma began when I was a baby.
Abandonment issues are not black and white. Like me, you may not be able to even pinpoint any specific abandonment. You could have grown up in the most intact household and have more fear of abandonment than someone whose parent(s) physically abandoned them. To the plain eye, you may have had such a life that others would question WHY would (you) have abandonment issues!? As if it’s their business to even know WHY. If you choose to share your journey with anyone, they should be accepting and loving towards it, because it was YOUR experience. You carry the trauma. So YOU deserve support. No questions. Just SUPPORT.
My abandonment triggers are countless. I am a woman who had a lot of trauma triggers with anxiety in my life. To make it worse, I have mental health issues and paranoia.
My first trigger happened when I was a babe. My Dad abandoned me. He struggled with Addictions, and in my mind, struggled with “Peter Pan syndrome”. He didn’t want to grow up. How I viewed it was that he wanted to have a care free, party life. He didn’t have time or room for me.
There were only a few times he reached out or saw me before I was 12. I spent twelve years questioning why.. was I not worth it? was I not a good enough daughter? WHY?! Every time I’d go to my Gramma Shell’s, she would have to sit through and hear me say WHY! She never knew what to say. No one ever knew what to say. I always asked her if she talked to him. If she knew anything. I just wanted to know what he looked like. Sounded like. How his hugs felt. I was just a child yearning for her dad.
At the same time, I had been being raised since I was toddler by another man. My Step Dad Mike. He was good to me. He came to every recital I had and always brought me flowers. He would always take me to his shop and let me build whatever I wanted. He’s take me on “daddy daughter dates” and we’d go dancing or go to dinner. So even though I longed for my real dad, my step dad had earned the title of dad as well. I wasn’t at a loss of a dad. For that I was grateful as a child.
Once my dad came back in to my life, it was for a short weekend and then he disappeared again for a while. As I grew into my early teen years, I started to find closure. I longing for him started turning into hate. I started feeling like, “FINE- he doesn’t deserve ME!” That’s when he came back in a third time. I was Leary to see him in the beginning. I’d make excuses to cancel our “dates”. But you have to understand, in my eyes, he never made any attempt to see me. I “wasn’t” important to him, so why would I give him any part of me!? In my head at that time, it was TOO many years too late.
That last time, he actually stayed. But my feelings towards him stayed negative. And they actually got worse because his time spent with me started being his time spent with my mom. All of a sudden he was with my mom and I was being pushed away. Without even knowing it, they abandoned me. My emotions went deeply negative. I pulled away. I struggled mentally. I started cutting myself. I found the wrong friends. I felt worthless on a new level. Not only had I again lost my dad, but now I lost my mom. The one person who was always by my side. My best friend. I lost her to him. I lost him to her. And at that time, I was not at an age or in a place to understand. I was still a young child. I still needed parents. I still needed attention.
Fast forward to now. I am 31 years old. I have found an understanding. I have found full forgiveness. I have built personal relationships with both my parents. It wasn’t easy, but I have them now. I have the relationship that I need from them. It took me a long time, but I understand why my dad left. I am GRATEFUL my dad left. Yes, grateful. Because my dad left, I didn’t have to be exposed to a alcoholics lifestyle. Because my dad left, I got to have a step dad who was 100% dedicated to me. Because my dad left, o got to have a normal childhood. I didn’t have to be exposed to things children shouldn’t be exposed to. Yes, I had to learn what abandonment was and how it felt, but it helped me. It strengthened me. It helped make me the Woman I am today. And because of that, I am and forever will be grateful that my dad left me.
None of that meant I had bad parents. I actually have amazing parents. My mom and I are best friends. My dad and I are best friends. It just means that I have a scar from a wound – a scar that is now healed, to an extent, always will be. And that’s okay. I am happy with my life. I have many blessings. I know my truth. I love my parents. I love my family. I love ME. And for most of my life, I didn’t know those feelings, but I do now.
I am exactly where I am supposed to be in life. I am exactly who I need to be at this time in my life. I am me and I have so much worth. I am loved and I am safe.