Abandonment occurs when a parent walks away from forming a relationship with their child, leaving the child with overwhelming feelings of not being worthy of love.
If a parent decides to leave the family for self-serving reasons and makes no effort to maintain a relationship, if a parent dies by suicide, or if a parent is unable to form a relationship with their child due to an addiction, etc., feelings of abandonment can occur. Intentionally or not, all of these situations communicate to a child, “You are not worth being connected to.”
Being abandoned as a child can lead to problems later in life such as addictions, anger, depression, and low self-esteem. But facing these feelings head on, talking them through, and realizing personal worth despite a parents’ failings, are effective in bringing healing.
There are different levels of abandonment and neglect. A child is considered neglected or abandoned if they are left alone in circumstances where they suffer serious harm, lack adequate food, housing, clothes, medical care, even education or supervision.
Another common childhood experience is being emotionally abandoned by a parent. When parents are dismissive to the point that it communicates, “You don’t matter,” or “Your feelings aren’t important “, making the child feel unloved, unaccepted and misunderstood.