Working Through Abandonment Issues in Your Recovery
Abandonment happens when an important relationship ends without shared grieving and without mutual agreement for the relationship to end. An example of abandonment would be someone you love leaving you with little or no warning. If you have abandonment in your past it can definitely bring up feelings you may have buried deep down once you begin your recovery. So how do you begin working through abandonment issues in your recovery?
Feelings of abandonment are often triggered when someone is rejected by someone they love. Other triggers include social situations such as not being invited to an event by a friend. These triggers leave someone feeling inadequate, lonely, rejected, and betrayed. The first step in working through abandonment issues in your recovery is to recognize your triggers.
For someone who is struggling with abandonment issues they may have feelings of fear and insecurity. They often can end up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy which means they are so afraid of being abandoned that it ends up happening again because they are subconsciously attracting someone into their life who will abandon them. Having abandonment issues can affect a person’s ability to have a happy and healthy relationship. Fear is at the root of abandonment issues in your recovery and if you are working a strong program a fourth step and lots of prayer can help with this fear.
According to psychotherapist Sue Anderson there are 5 stages of abandonment. The first being feelings of shock, panic and despair the second being feelings of yearning, obsessing and longing, the third is looking for ways to blame yourself for them leaving, putting the person on a pedestal etc. The fourth stage is the rage stage where unhealthy thoughts of revenge or retaliation are common. It is important to work through abandonment issues in your recovery by allowing yourself to go through the five stages of abandonment. These stages are normal and the reactions are normal because they lead up to the fifth stage of abandonment.
The fifth stage is lifting. Life begins to take up more space in your mind and the person who left you less and less. You may become more open to the possibility of love again. In order to work through abandonment issues completely and totally most people have to come to terms with the original cause of the feelings which usually happen in childhood. A shift in perspective and thinking has to occur and the old patterns of thinking which now gone leave room for new beliefs are and thinking to come in. Self-love and getting a relationship with a higher power is another great way to work though abandonment issues in recovery and also are recommended by a therapist Laura Frisbie. A higher power will never abandon you. In fact C.S. Lewis says “we should never put all our happiness into something we can lose” and you can’t lose a higher power.
Working the 12 steps and building new relationships with individuals such as your sponsor are great tools the program offers and recovery offers to work through abandonment issues.