The Deidré Wallace System

3. How It All Starts: Abandonment In Childhood Can Effect Relationships In Adulthood.

2 Posted by - August 27, 2014 - My Step-By-Step Relationship System, Uncategorized

Blog 3. How It All Starts: Abandonment In Childhood Can Effect Relationships In Adulthood.

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As a relationship therapist time and time again I observed the following:

There are many effects from being abandoned as a child. This is one example.

It could be said that we all fall somewhere between having been abandoned or under-protected and smothered or over-protected.

Abandonment can also refer to any feelings of rejection experienced whilst growing up – not heard, not seen or ignored. Smothering can refer to a parent being overprotective and not allowing a child emotional freedom.

We have all probably experienced these emotions to some extent. However, when they are deeply felt and experienced repeatedly this is when the emotions felt, become ‘part’ of our belief system we carry about ourselves and others. This could lead to intimacy problems later on: either a fear of being rejected or ignored or a fear of relationships due to having been smothered or overprotected.

Here is the one example of abandonment. (I’ll be blogging about other examples as well as the consequences of overprotecting).

This is the sort of fictional story I have heard time and time again with regards the sad consequences of abandonment. Please note that when I use a ‘he or him’, this story could so easily be reversed – he could be a she, or the partner could be a he:

He was orphaned as a baby and he lived in a children’s home until he was fostered as a teenager. As an adult he then met someone who pursued him relentlessly. Finally he succumbed and began living with his devoted partner. He was totally surprised and remained surprised that anyone would want him. Having been abandoned you would think he would be over the moon to have finally found someone who loved him. Unfortunately, he couldn’t settle down. His fear of being rejected was far more powerful than the reality of being loved. In other words the blueprint of rejection had been internalized and had become part of his belief system. So he had affair after affair.

On one level his partner had taken on the role of his mother. For the first time he felt loved especially as his partner had pursued him without letting up. Even when his partner had caught him having an affair, the partner’s unconditional love meant he was forgiven each time. However deep in his psyche was the anger and rage he harbored towards his mother for having abandoned him – another behavioral blueprint set up from his childhood.

So each time he had an affair it was like he was unconsciously getting back at his mother, symbolized by his devoted partner. He didn’t realize that what he was doing was that by ‘attacking’ his committed partner, he was actually acting out his rage towards his mother.

However, on another level, he deeply needed to be loved. But fearing that he would once again be abandoned he set up the affairs. It’s a case of ‘if you abandon me then at least I’ll have someone else to go to’. Or simply put, before you abandon me I’ll abandon you’. So through his fear of intimacy he was warning his partner, via his affairs, that his partner shouldn’t come in too close. He had not experienced intimacy as a child so he couldn’t bear anyone becoming too intimate for fear that they might abandon him. Not being able to commit to only 1 person is often the direct result of a fear of close intimacy – an intimacy that he had not received as a child. Having not been held and loved and nurtured, an intimate bond would be very scary and intimacy with another human being would feel odd.

Sadly, 10 years later his partner died leaving him utterly devastated. What he had feared had finally come true.

I had heard so many similar stories from my clients.

Sadly, we most probably can all relate to this story in some way. To some extent we have all been abandoned because from the minute we are born, we all have to deal with the fact that our parents cannot be there for us every minute of the day. How we deal with this reality becomes our relationship or emotional blueprint.

(Not everyone who is abandoned goes on to have affairs. I have used this example to show how we can use certain situations, in this case an affair, to show how if we fear intimacy, how we can keep intimacy at bay. We often all use situations either consciously or unconsciously to keep intimacy at bay because we all know, that nobody can be there for us every minute of the day. We all often abandon someone either, our personal or even business partners, before they abandons us. I will blog more about affairs later on as it’s quite a large topic).

How we choose our partners or how we even pull or push people toward us or away from us, will depend on our early childhood experiences.

Experiencing emotional abandonment or rejection on any level consistently through childhood will probably mean that trusting another person will be hard. Finding a person that loves you is one thing but fear that they, like everyone else, will abandon you creates all sorts of problems. We often create what we fear.

Often when we have repeatedly experienced negative emotions and feelings, our expectations are that others will treat us in the same way in adulthood. We ‘bring’ what happened in childhood into adulthood. Unfortunately this is not always constructive.

This is why it is so important to understand our childhood – so we can understand how we relate and what our ‘knee-jerk’ reactions are. How we deal with situations may not always be positive and it may be undermining what you so deeply want and yet cannot somehow achieve.

Note: © 2014 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace

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21 Comments

  • K Loud Beatz February 1, 2016 - 4:18 am Reply

    I really enjoyed this Article .. Thank you.

    • Deidré Wallace February 7, 2016 - 3:58 pm Reply

      I am glad you enjoyed this article and thank you for your comment. Much appreciated.

  • Paud June 13, 2016 - 8:38 pm Reply

    Recently I was told my abandonment issues could be
    Oedipus connected father died when I was six I developed seperation anxiety at night when separated from mother couldn’t sleep without her around I cannot figure whether this was I feared his return or guilt

  • ejesh July 9, 2016 - 2:05 pm Reply

    And how can we fix it?

    • Deidré Wallace January 23, 2017 - 6:32 pm Reply

      Dear Ejesh

      The best way is for both of you to begin to understand yourself and what you may be projecting onto the relationship. The best way is via relationships therapy. Sometimes we cannot see things ourselves. Sometimes we need a little nudge and a therapist will help you do this.

      Good luck and never give up.

      Deidré

  • Branden Trey Bell December 2, 2016 - 8:18 pm Reply

    I was abandond by my ma during my 9th bday. She said she was going to get my preasents.. She fell of the earth for 2 years. Leaving me to journy the system until i hit 18. Im 20 now and i have progressed dramatically over the years due to my self induced isolation in juvie. And a suicide attempt when i was 15. i hung myself and life went black. I awoke standing and crying knowing i dont want to die. But its because instead of overcoming my pain. I learned to live with it. Yet exept Beyond select moments of belonging ., i feel almost nothing. Do you have any insight. I need help finding a brighter understanding.

    • Deidré Wallace December 3, 2016 - 3:52 pm Reply

      Dear Brandon

      The fact that you have written this comment tells me that you have already turned a corner.

      Life can throw us many experiences which at the time can feel horrific. However, there comes a point when you feel you have just had enough – and then slowly via help (of what ever sort) you can start journeying out of the pain. Then at some point you will, believe me you will, reach that point when you suddenly realise that what you have experienced is something you can tell or teach others about. This is when you realise that all that you experienced wasn’t for nothing. It has a value. Go and help others because you will now have knowledge that others may need.

      You see, normally it is the tough ones that go through hell so that they can teach what they have learnt. This my dear, is the lesson. Find a way of helping others and you will help yourself too.

  • Jane December 7, 2016 - 12:37 am Reply

    This is a very interesting article. My boyfriends mother left when he was 9 years old and has no relationship with her now, he even says he hates her. He has had a few bad relationships in the past, manipulative and spiteful women, and cheated in them all. Is there anything I can do to help him and show him I’d never reject him? Or will our relationship end in him cheating on me also and not being able to break the cycle?

    I’d love to hear what you think.

    • Deidré Wallace January 23, 2017 - 6:28 pm Reply

      Dear Jane

      Without knowing either of you I cannot comment however continue reading my other blogs as they may give you further insight.

      And thank you for sharing your story. You have already begun to grasp the most important issues most people struggle with.

      Much appreciated,
      Deidré

  • Mike March 25, 2017 - 12:58 am Reply

    My mother died when I was 2 1/2 years. Although I had a father who was present physically, he was absent emotionally. I wasn’t beaten or abused, but he simply couldn’t be present with my sister or me because he was so devastated by his wife’s death. Consciously, I don’t hold any feelings of anger or sadness, but subconsciously, I feel I’m holding onto negativity around her absence, and my father’s. I’m very anxious that because I’m holding negative emotions around what happened, that I’m passing this behaviour onto my children. I can see some affects of her not being in my life. Not fully engaging in life, low self esteem, not feeling worthy of praise or good things happening in my life. Wanting to not be seen or heard, but feeling alot of anger that I’m not seen or heard. I’m currently enrolled in a trade school for welding and I’m seeing this as an opportunity for me to beat myself up endlessly if I don’t execute my work on time, or if I don’t perform the techniques of welding to my satisfaction. I have unrealistic expectations of what I’m capable of. My mind is full of these thoughts and it’s affecting my relationships with my three daughters. I find it very difficult to be with them as a conscious being, listening to them and responding to their statements or questions in a way that tells them that I’m paying attention, as I’m constantly distracted by my own thoughts. So, I’m fearing that they will grow up with the same sense of abandonment I have.

    • Deidré Wallace March 30, 2017 - 4:22 pm Reply

      Dear Mike

      Thank you for taking the time to share your story. Even just being aware as you seem to be – is a good start. However it might be worth investigating group therapy. In your case this might be more beneficial and i wish you well in your journey of self-discovery.

      Best Wishes,
      Deidré

  • Eugene Keys June 3, 2017 - 7:50 pm Reply

    Wow. I thought I was the only one that experienced such horrible experiences that I feel blessed just stumbling over this site.

    • Deidré Wallace June 21, 2017 - 1:42 pm Reply

      Dear Eugene

      Yes, unfortunately you are not the only one. However. I am glad you found this site. Yay!

      Do make sure you also subscribe. Thanks.

      Best Regards,
      Deidré

  • Elizabeth gromack November 21, 2017 - 9:50 am Reply

    Hi enjoyed the site, keep it up. We all need help as humans in this world and more importantly we all need ❤️ .

    • Deidré Wallace November 21, 2017 - 2:06 pm Reply

      Dear Elizabeth,

      Thank you for letting me that you find this site useful.

      Much appreciated.

      Best Regards,
      Deidré

  • Zita January 17, 2018 - 5:48 pm Reply

    Really enjoyed your article. A true story of me! Since I was a little girl I knew there was something wrong going on in my relation to my mother. My older sister was born premature and I was the healthy, happy child. So I was sadly neglected. As an adult, I have experienced many problems in my social interactions. Although I have made a great effort to forgive my mother and to be kind to her, I have no serious feelings for her. I know it was not an intentional mistake, but my social problems have paralysed my living!
    Keep the good work on!

    • Deidré Wallace January 29, 2018 - 2:43 pm Reply

      Dear Zita

      It is once we gain understanding that healing can begin. I wish you well with your journey and I hope you continue to read my blogs in order to gain a deeper understanding and consequences of how human beings relate to one another.

      Best Regards,
      Deidré Wallace

  • Sheryl Bailey January 29, 2018 - 9:51 pm Reply

    Thank you for this article. My mother physically bailed on my three brothers and I when I was two years old. My father remarried when I was six and my stepmom was a great mother who loved me unconditionally. She died when I was 19. Then my birth mother came back and remarried my father and rejected her children again. She also kept us from our Father until the day he died, just a couple of years ago. She also turned my only daughter against me to hurt me. I’m so messed up now, And I’m 62, alone because I can’t connect with anyone, and if it weren’t for my dog, I’d kill myself.

    • Deidré Wallace January 31, 2018 - 11:10 am Reply

      Dear Sheryl

      Thank you for sharing your abandonment experiences however – please do not give up.

      Sometimes we are sent experiences in order to help heal not only ourselves – but also those around us. Let me explain:

      First of all, you can find more information on the family system and how it is set up, in Blog 34, 35, and 36.

      I would also suggest you consider therapy, however this can be long, tedious and often it doesn’t always address the family issues quite like family constellations work.

      Family constellation work is quicker and often more effective. It usually has instant resonances within the whole family system. It also involves only one member of the family participating yet the reverberations of the work is deep and it can cause many positive shifts within the whole family system.

      I am not sure where you live but if you Google ‘family constellations’ in your area, I am sure something will pop up. The workshops are worth it even if you have to travel far – because in the long run what you would have paid for therapy and the time it takes, family constellations often turn out a lot cheaper. And you may also meet a few nice friends too.

      This way, and without complicated explanations, you can heal not only your own life, but the family system that all your family member are involved in and are possibly playing out.

      So do let me know how you get on.

      Kind Regards,
      Deidre

  • Jeffrey d bollig April 5, 2018 - 4:42 am Reply

    Hello my name is Jeff I have recently married a woman that I had a relationship with 17 yrs ago do to life events we split up ,she had a daughter when I was dating her that was six at the time anyway her daughter whole is in her mid 20s now never really knew her real dad who passed away when she was 4 she has recently discovered that she has a half sister from the same dad that ppllassed away, his family wants nothing to do with either girl and the ones that have spoken up have just told her that he did drugs and had a very dark history my step daughter is struggling with all this and is trying to find closure how do I help her and what advice can I give her

    • Deidré Wallace April 5, 2018 - 11:48 am Reply

      Hi Jeffrey

      If I may say, you are not qualified to really be of help, so all you can do is:
      1) Be a listening ear and,
      2) Try to nudge her to get professional help so that she can heal and move on.

      But remember – that we can never save any one else. This they have to do all by themselves.

      i hope this helps.

      Best Regards,
      Deidré

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