ABANDONMENT Pain, Now (Part 3)


PREVIOUS: Abandonment pain, NOW (#2)

STYLES of reacting to old abandonment

1. UNDER – aware (Part 2)
2. OVER-aware
On the other hand, ACoAs can be hyper-attuned to the slightest slight, even when it’s completely unintentional or accidental. Everything that hurts them is taken as a personal affront, meant to humiliate & punish. This is the Victim position of the WIC (co-dep triangle), who believes everything is about itself – the narcissism of not even imagining that others are concerned mainly with themselves, not us!

Fear of Abandonment (FoA) rules our life:over-aware
• For all ACoAs, our default position is that we will always be abandoned, sooner or later – it’s just a matter of time
• We look for (A) everywhere, real or imagined. There’s an element of paranoia, which is always based on genuine childhood danger & trauma  (Post: ACoAs – Projecting)
As a result:
• we may deliberately make ourselves un-available OR un-likable, so we won’t become attached & then have to re-experience being disappointed
• OR we desperately cling to people (even if it doesn’t show) & we watch them like hawks for any hint of disapproval, anger, lack of attention… which might signal imminent abandonment

EXP: As Cicilia was walking downtown she noticed her friend Joe across the street, who didn’t even acknowledge her, much less smile or stop to talk. The ‘sensitive soul’ became enraged, & feeling invisible, she obsessed about the slight for a few days & eventually fired off a nasty note, breaking up the friendship! (Sensitive souls can be very harsh when hurt!)

It turned out that Joe was so preoccupied in his own head he never saw Cici, but she didn’t bother checking it out first – just assumed that it was deliberate & disrespectful. Looking at her scathing email, Joe knew this was not the first time she had over-reacted. He decided it wasn’t worth arguing about it or justifying himself, again. If she couldn’t communicate more reasonably – then so be it.
Healthy: a responsible reaction from her would have been: “I saw you on the street today & you didn’t say hi. What’s up?”

ACoA IRONY: We’re desperately afraid of being abandoned &Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 10.26.56 PM yet tend to only focus on things in our environment that are potentially abandoning, while ignoring all the positive strokes being provided by:
— people giving us complements, anywhere
— kudos & rewards at work
— friends, mates, children… who do love us

• Whenever we feel devastated, self-hating, hysterical, paralyzed … but can’t figure out what’s bothering us, we need to remember that: “ALL roads lead to = abandonment”. No matter how real-life, practical or serious the current event (rational), we can definitely say the situation is pushing a very big abandonment button from the past.
This triggers Self-Hate. Realizing that, we can then look for what has recently happened to set off our negative reaction. This can lead us to the source of the pain, with the opportunity to do some loving repair work with the WIC.

• It’s always helpful to remind ourselves that ‘If it’s hysterical, it’s historical’, because the intensity of our feelings is usually not in proportion* ⬇️ to the present situation which was somehow similar to repeated childhood abuse or neglect. We can react with tears or rage. Either way it’s a window into what happened to us as kids – so it’s very useful info.

• The pain we feel at the moment can be from a real event (a job loss, a breakup, being in a fire) – any one of which of is stressful. BUT ACoAs react much more intensely than others – who may be hurt, upset, have some sleepless nights… while the ACoA will be depressed for a long time, beat themselves up cruelly, become suicidal…

* ACoAs have a hard time accepting that extreme emotions are ‘out-of-proportion’, because in that moment they FEEL so real, we can’t see the bigger picture. We don’t want to hear we’re over-reacting!
IMP: That makes us so angry because we think we’re being told that our feelings aren’t real or legitimate. NOT SO. It is NOT a negation of our emotions – only being realistic about their origin of the intensity.

NEXT: How ACoAs Abandon Others – #1

ABANDONMENT Pain, Now (Part 1)

abandonment -1 

I know you don’t love me,
but I’m desperate

: ‘Self-Hate’ posts


• Abandonment (A) is: “Not getting enough of our legitimate childhood NEEDS met, & some needs not at all”. This is child-abuse & applies to all 4 categories of PMES – Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual. (A) is not only about someone physically leaving, just like being “abused” is not necessarily about being hit or injured.

• As a child – being continually abandoned in PMES ways generates enormous amounts of terror, rage, hopelessness, loneliness, humiliation, sorrow…  MAINLY terror. And we carry that mountain of fear with us into adulthood. If not brought to the surface & safely re-experienced (OH JOY), it poisons our life – in ALL areas, no matter how functional a person may look on the outside.

• The original (A) did not have to be overt or deliberate. AND our parents may have been oblivious to the damage they were doing, BUT the results are the same  (see: They did the best they could”)
• We always turn the original (A) into Self-Hate, in a desperate attempt to be in control of a bad situation (“I caused it so I can change it”)

➼ At the heart of Self-Hate is a FALSE* BELIEF: “It is MY fault that I’m in pain AND if it’s my fault, then I can & MUST fix it by changing the person or situation, to make everything better”
*Q: Why is it FALSE?
A: Because the severe pain we experienced as kids came FROM the unhealthy & abusive adults, & is their responsibility.  Our pain is NOT just our ‘perception”! It really happened

Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.28.37 AM• Without an outlet for the intense, daily, unrelenting fear we lived thru during childhood,
the accumulated pain gets buried & crusted over with defense mechanisms
• Technically, you can not abandon another adult, only a child (there are some exceptions). So now when we FEEL abandoned, it’s left-over pain from the past
(PS. There are of course situations which will hurt any healthy adult, but not to the degree that ACoAs experience)

Mental Health is about many things, one of which is BALANCE. Living in a healthy middle ground (most of the time) is not only a foreign concept to ACoAs, but IF experienced, even briefly, is considered BORING & undesirable!
Each of us blends our own personality with our childhood experiences, creating the ‘sensitivities’ (buttons / triggers) which identify our damage.

EXTREMES – Unhealed ACoAs (& some in Recovery) have only 2 speeds about most things: Too Much or Too Little, very high or very low. ‘Gray’ is NOT even thought of, or is seen as a cop-out!

Using T.E.A, this refers both to:
— how we think (T), in the form of the Cognitive Distortion: ‘Black & White Thinking’.  (“I’m all bad & they’re all good /  I’ll only try if I can do it perfectly / No-one loves me / All men are dangerous”….)
• We were not taught to think correctly nor broadly, with nuances & from many different perspectives. So even very intelligent, educated ACoAs can not always some up with alternative ways of considering a problem, about ourselves or in relationships
— how we feel emotionally (E). We torture ourselves with panic, depression, rage, shame, hopelessness, guilt, & self-hate, OR swing to unrealistic, sometimes delusional hope & excitement – both based on incorrect thinking.
• We were not given permission to actually have emotions – not taught to identify them, how to express them correctly, how to self-sooth, or to put them in perspective re. a given situation.
As a child: Getting very upset when I’m injured or someone terrifies me – is appropriate. NOW: Getting hysterical because I can’t get or do something I want – is not!
ALSO, we were not taught to consider other people’s feelings – since no one considered ours!

• All ACoAs are capable of responding to life from either extreme – sometimes over-reacting, based on specific ways we were repeatedly wounded, sometimes under-reacting to current people or situations, based on what kind of abuses we were trained to ignore, but each of us unconsciously lives more often at one end than the other.
NOTE: this is not a description of Manic Depression, which is chemical rather than emotional.

NEXT: Abandonment pain now – #2