If you’ve been abandoned, you’ve experienced deeper pain than most people can understand. You probably feel isolated and afraid that something similar may happen in the future. The fear and pain is even greater when a relationship that was supposed to be close or intimate ends in abandonment.
But your abandonment is not your fault. You can gain greater understanding of it. You can heal from it. And you can move forward.
Has Someone Abandoned You?
Abandonment happens when someone charged or entrusted to help meet your needs or keep you safe has failed to do so, either because they were unable or unwilling to do so. Your experience of abandonment may be:
Physical: Leaving someone without necessities and/or alone in an unsafe and unfamiliar environment. Abandonment often coincides with neglect so that safe and clean food, water, shelter, clothing, or living conditions are difficult to maintain or impossible to access.
Emotional: Someone may share a home, a family, or a relationship with you, but be unwilling or unable to do their share to care for and meet your emotional needs. Emotional abandonment is common when parents divorce, when someone is in the grip of addiction, or when they are living with a severe, unmedicated, or untreated mental illness
Spiritual: Spiritual abandonment happens when someone entrusted with your religious or pastoral care has neglected to help you, or has harmed you in a way that prevents or turns you away from your faith. People often feel spiritually abandoned if their faith community has ignored their concerns, has mistreated them without consequences, or has harshly condemned or judged them.
Abandonment and Abuse
Abandonment causes undeserved and inappropriate pain and suffering. Even if abandonment happens because someone is mentally “checked out” (rather than harming or neglecting you out of malice or cruelty), the hurt caused by abandonment is a type of abuse. It’s important that you do whatever you can to get help as soon as possible if you see any signs of abandonment in your relationships.
Reconnect and Renew
Even if you have many positive relationships, abandonment is traumatic and it can make you feel like you have no one to turn to. So how do you heal from that?
Professional Guidance: Being abandoned is not good for your physical or mental health. Do your best to make and keep appointments with your doctor or therapist.
Spiritual Practice: The pain of spiritual abandonment is among the most difficult. But there is always hope. Scripture promises that God will “never leave you, nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). If you feel like you’ve lost your faith, don’t despair. There are people who care and who are ready to pray for you anytime.
Caring for Yourself: In whatever ways you can, make essential self-care tasks your priority. Eat when you’re hungry, stay hydrated, and get good rest whenever possible. When you start to feel overwhelmed, do simple things you enjoy to help you stay grounded as you heal.
Abandonment is painful to face and difficult to overcome. TheHopeLine offers a community of support to help you understand and process your abandonment and move toward safety, stability, and connection.