WHAT IS ABANDONMENT?
The loss of a relationship can happen in many ways. A parent might simply walk out on his family. Drugs or alcohol take first place and cast the children into a distant second place. Death is sometimes viewed by a child as a form of abandonment. Any situation that removes the stability of love, nurture, care and trust can cause someone to feel abandoned. Even in an unwanted divorce and forced dissolution of a family, a child can feel abandoned by a non-custodial parent. A spouse can feel abandoned by a husband or wife who spends too much time at work. A child can feel abandoned by a Dad who brings his work home. Abandonment in its truest form is to give up, leave and never come back. That's a sad thing for a child to face.
HOW DOES AN ABANDONED CHILD ACT?
Most relationships begin with hopeful expectation. A newly adopted child will even do their best to just believe that this time will be different. They do their best to believe that they've finally been accepted unconditionally into a family who will "keep them." The beginning is a happy time. Slowly, the memories of past abandonment's appear in their consciousness like waves on a beach. The memories are relentless and the new found trust and belief begins to fade like waves going back into the ocean. The child begins to reject their new family in the mistaken belief that they'll eventually be abandoned. A sick feeling begins to develop in their gut making them uneasy and suspicious. Every action is then scrutinized under the lens of previous abandonment's. Eventually, they sell themselves on the idea that the current relationship will end in abandonment. That's when the trouble starts.
The child begins to push away in the belief that they'll be abandoned anyway. They do anything possible trying to cause you to give up on them. They will go to extremes in their attempt to facilitate the abandonment. They will tell you that they hate you and they want to leave you. If you do abandon them because you can't take anymore, that just helps them to know that they were right. They knew in their heart that you would abandon them and now it's been proven. Forgive them; they don't know what they are doing.
HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THE BACKWASH OF ABANDONMENT
Knowing the truth always sets you free! You are not being rejected. You are facing someone who struggles with the backwash or ripple effect of abandonment. The child is struggling with their own personal identity and lack of self respect. Being abandoned is often associated with being unworthy of love. Resist the temptation of falling into the trap of feeling inadequate or unacceptable. When you recognize the "push-back" against you and others in the family, take some time and form a plan to deal with the issue. CAUTION: You need to make a lifetime commitment or no commitment at all. Perseverance is not giving up. Persevere with others the way you would have them persevere with you.
STEPS TO CLIMBING THE MOUNTAINS OF ABANDONMENT
- Address the issue with the child. Tell them what you have noticed regarding their behavior related to abandonment issues.
- Verbally reassure them of your commitment for life. You need to be able to say these words: "I will never leave you or forsake you. No matter where you ever go in life, I will always be with you."
- Let them know that there will be consequences for their actions, but they are not part of a plan to get rid of them.
- Set healthy boundaries of respect and discipline.
- Make a plan of "Love In Action." Find ways to demonstrate your love and commitment on a regular basis.
- Let go. Stick to your plan, stay committed and let go. This might seem like the opposite of everything that you have just read, but it's one of the best things you can ever do. You cannot control anyone. You can only do your best through the way you act in love. Sometimes despite our diligent efforts, people abandon us anyway. The farmer lets go of his seed into the broken ground. He plans for the future, even when the field is barren while the seed is in the dark and broken soil. The farmer does not control the sunlight, rain or weather. The farmer just believes in the best. He goes and builds a barn to hold a harvest that is yet unseen. Let go and love.
Thanks for your time. Go and do something nice for somebody.
(If you have any advice for folks dealing with abandonment issues,
please share them so we all can help somebody.)
Psalm 27:10 New Living Translation
"Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close."
Isaiah 54:7-9 New International Version
7 “For a brief moment I abandoned you,
but with deep compassion I will bring you back.
8 In a surge of anger
I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness
I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord your Redeemer.
9 “To me this is like the days of Noah,
when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
never to rebuke you again."
"Their children are abandoned far from help;
they are crushed in court with no one to defend them."
"Once I was young, and now I am old.
Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned
or their children begging for bread."