The feeling of loneliness, and the fear of not having anyone to care or love you, the feeling of rejection, is actually the feeling of being abandoned. The feeling of abandonment becomes inevitable when we lose those who have been very close to us.
“If we hold a space for our partners to express themselves without the fear of abandonment, we’ve taken a HUGE step towards cultivating love in our relationships.”
~ Kemmy Nola
Abandonment is not only faced by children, but is a very common issue faced by adults and old people as well. It does not only refer to physical absence, but also the absence of emotional support. Almost everyone has the fear of being left alone and having to cope with life all by themselves.
The effect of the abandonment may differ from individual to individual. Undoubtedly, the support of near and dear ones is of help in coping with this feeling. The feeling of abandonment deeply affects one’s life when it starts controlling his thoughts and actions. As the feeling of being deprived of love and support increases, symptoms of abandonment issues start showing.
Abandonment in Children
When a child loses both the parents, he feels abandoned. Behavioral psychology terms this condition as Abandonment Child Syndrome. Medically, abandonment issues are a type of psychological disorder. In cases where the child has been given up for adoption, bereavement is the cause of this feeling of abandonment. Also, cases where a child has very busy parents, who never find time for him, it has been seen that he begins to feel physically abandoned.
If the child experiences family issues like lack of bonding, having to see his parents separate or fight all the time, or is deprived of love and affection from his parents due to any reason, the child starts feeling emotionally abandoned.
Due to the mental stress of being abandoned, the child is more likely to fall sick very often. He would refuse to participate in general activities because of his mental state and inability to deal with rejection and ignorance.
Lack of Concentration
The child will find it very difficult to concentrate on school activities and studies. His mind would be so distracted towards the chaos in his personal (family) life, that he may not even feel like doing anything else. This will result in low grades and poor performance in school.
As the child is facing ignorance and rejection, he will develop negative emotions and thoughts. He may get angry over petite issues and become very frustrated.
The child may not eat properly or even starve himself due to depression. He may also suffer from sleep disorders like insomnia.
A child who feels abandoned, often regresses to habits like crying, daydreaming, bed-wetting, thumb sucking, clinging to a certain toy, blanket or pillow, throwing tantrums, etc. If he has been abandoned by one parent, he fears being abandoned by the other parent too. He also tends to develop a fear of darkness.
Ways to Help
It is easier to help a person recover from the feeling of abandonment, if proper attention is given to the person in his childhood.
- As a parent, once you discover that your child feels abandoned, start bonding with him.
- Give him more attention and try gaining his trust.
- Assure him that you will always be there for him, and that he would never have to face the world alone.
- Improve his self-confidence by encouraging him to participate in social activities, and guiding him in studies.
- If the situation and behavior of your child does not change, consult a child psychologist
Abandonment in Adults
As a person grows older, he recognizes his own flaws and drawbacks. The fear of people not accepting him or abandoning him for the same, tends to prevail. Also, if this adult has been an abandoned child, the fear will be very deep-rooted and strong. Losing someone close or being turned down by loved ones, can result in unbearable pain and disappointment, which can eventually lead to abandonment issues. This can result in serious mental, psychological as well as physical complications.
The abandoned person will question his importance and worth, considering the fact that his own parents/siblings do not count him worthy of their love, time, and affection. He may also feel worthless because of a cheating spouse or betraying friends. He would generalize their behavior, carrying the blame on his shoulders.
He will be under the impression that he has been abandoned for some of his wrongdoings. He would keep analyzing as to where he had gone wrong. This will make him guilty of a mistake he never committed.
This is a commonly-observed symptom. He will grow up to be very clingy, as he will always have the insecurity of people abandoning him. Due to this fear, he will hold on to people too tight, so they never leave him alone. This will include him clinging to his spouse/girlfriend, friends, or anyone he bonds with.
Due to his insecurities and guilt, he will feel inferior. He will withdraw from social activities. He may not mingle with people due to the fear of rejection. In most cases, people who feel abandoned, will be the first to initiate a breakup or walk out on their partner, with the fear that if they don’t, the other person will.
An adult mostly resorts to alcohol, smoking or drugs. He considers these habits as an easy way of dealing with the problems and fears. He tends to care less about his health, as he believes that he is the only one who cares about himself.
As he is already going through the feeling of abandonment, it becomes very difficult for him to believe that he can find someone who can love him, hence, he would always ask for reassurance. He may also seek for extra attention by an unexpected behavior or weird talks, only to see if the partner cares enough.
Sometimes people suffering from this psychic disorder become extremely complacent, i.e., being uncritically satisfied with oneself or one’s actions, and exhibiting unusual and extreme behavior, like doing the most disgusting household chores or sexual activity, which the partner might not be interested in.
Since a person facing abandonment issues is so desperate for attention, he may start blackmailing the one he clings to. This is only because he thinks by threatening that person, the person will not leave him alone. These blackmails may be threats of harming oneself physically.
Self-esteem is all about how worthy and important we feel. Our worth and importance normally depends on how much we are loved and accepted by our family, friends and other people around us. A person who feels abandoned thinks he is not loved nor accepted, hence, his self-esteem remains very low. Low self-esteem leads to insecurities, the feeling of being incapable of doing anything, and depression.
Ways to Help
- Relaxing the mind by practicing yoga can help greatly. Yoga will keeps the mind calm and free from an sort of negativity.
- Understanding the power of the mind and its capabilities improves self-awareness.
- It is a good idea to stop getting attached to people. Detachment does not mean not caring about them, but it means maintaining a distance and not relying on anyone else.
- Focusing on life and the future, and concentrating on the present.
- A busy life helps forget the past and takes away the attention from unnecessary things.
- Getting involved in activities to divert the mind.
- Aiming high, setting goals, and doing things that would add to the feel-good factor, works really well.
- If nothing seems to help the situation, talking things out with a friend or spouse or seeing a psychologist, would definitely help.
Abandonment in Elderly People
After a certain age, elderly people start feeling worthless. As their body gives up and they start losing mental and physical strength, they start feeling unproductive. In such circumstances, the self-esteem of an old person reaches an all-time low. This is the time when they need the love, acceptance and support of their family. So, if they are bombarded with ignorance, rejection and isolation, they start feeling abandoned. A lot of people opt to put their old parents in aged homes. Some migrate to other countries for work purpose, while some simply don’t find the time for them, in their busy schedule. All these reasons are responsible for abandonment issues in elder people.
Most youngsters fear a lonely old age, while most of the old people live with the curse of loneliness. Hence, they get into severe depression.
Other than depression, old people face symptoms like low self-esteem, feeling of worthlessness, loss of appetite, fatigue, withdrawal and sleep disorders, as children and adults do.
Ways to Help
Abandonment can be devastating for old people, however, with age comes maturity, and they can use their knowledge and experience, to get over the depressing feelings.
- Engaging in knitting, stitching or other fun things, can help as they take the mind off, of unwanted thoughts.
- Making friends, and spending time with other elderly people can make things lighter.
- Going out for strolls is not only healthy, but also relaxing.
- Meditating can be of great help as it gives peace of mind.
Abandonment – The Worst You Could do
Abandoning someone is a very cruel thing to do. One can be busy with everyday life and related problems, but abandoning near and dear ones, is a plain act of insensitivity. Mostly, people don’t even realize the damage they are doing by their ruthless negligence. One move of ignorance can change the life of someone completely. Everyone needs love and nothing in the world can replace human love, warmth, and affection.
Disclaimer: The images in this article are used for representative purposes only. The emotion or concept portrayed by an image is in no way associated with the gender or race of the individual seen in the image.