Abandonment Wound?


Got a giggle at the bus comment, wish we had an airplane for that!
I cant take credit, it's borrowed from the Ken Keasy/Cassidy/Merry Prankster days and had to do with being willing to go along with them all on the big bus ride to higher levels of cosmic LSD ridden wherevers. They described the binary interactions with society as a whole as dealing with someone that wasn't on the bus, or someone that was.
Ken famously funded the big actual bus ride across america with money from his writing (One flew over the cuckoos nest) and the electric Kool aide acid tests in San Fracisco.
I think it fits us. We are all on this bus together, and all of the outsiders that say we are weak or faking it or undeserving of empathy or, in this case, abandonable are watching the bus from the curb. I am on this bus, not sure where I got on, not sure where I get off, but riding along hoping to get FURTHER.


@Friday is probably annoyed as hell by me…

People have different issues, and different things that they’re working with.

I have all but zero tolerance for emotional blackmail & acting out childhood traumas on me …the same way most people have zero tolerance for being assaulted by someone acting out combat trauma.

Neither of which can happen HERE.

No one can leap out of a page and pin someone to the floor because they heard a high pitched whistle incoming, nor in reverse be grabbed up by the throat and smashed into a wall because they startled someone else. We’re online. There’s no physical violence here, for people who don’t tolerate it.

Ditto the emotional violence I don’t tolerate.

We’re all just words on a page. Real people, and real lives, are behind those words…but physical & emotional violence requires less distance than that. Real life interface is necessary.

The awesome thing, for me, about the polar opposite sides of the same problem attempting to reach the middle, and the overlapping issues the inherent structure contains? Is that there’s f*cking useful stuff, there. Because it’s making the problem itself more 3 dimensional. More faceted. With more solutions/tips/tricks. The last thing that is, is annoying. My not being able to implement shit I want to -when & how- gets annoying… but not having killer resources, and new ways to look at things, and great minds all kicking the same problem around looking for those solutions/tips/tricks/understanding. That’s just badass.


great minds all kicking the same problem around looking for those solutions/tips/tricks/understanding. That’s just badass.
This is why we like you Friday. 18 words that describe why anonymous group therapy works.

Don't want to hijack the thread.

Abandonment is a qualifier in my book. It is often traumatic, you can not escape it when it happens, and it will be the first thing you think for a lot of tomorrow mornings. If the cops use it to bring suspects to their knees ( well, your buddy up the hall just told us the whole story and if you can't do better on him, he is going to get the plea bargain and you are gonna get.......) it's pretty easy to know that it is a universal handle allowing grasp of the deepest inner fears (survival).


So, is there anyone else who reacts to the whole "abandonment" thing with the thought., "That's ok, I don't need 'em anyway, I'll be just FINE ALL BY MYSELF!" ? I think I've been telling myself that as long as I've been telling myself anything. Seems unreasonable to expect anything from anyone. People say stuff they don't mean all the time. Or get in over their heads, with good intentions. Seriously, why would I expect anyone to care? The cavalry is NOT coming over the hill. At least not with the intent to rescue. Not very darn often. Not often enough to waste precious time waiting for them to show up.

On the topic of abandoning other people..... Like I said, I don't have any particular expectations that way, for the most part. But I do have a few friends where I KNOW (or have known), pretty much beyond a doubt, that they'd do anything they could to "not abandon me". If it happens anyway? All is forgiven on my end. And, alive or dead, I really hope they don't beat themselves up. In fact, it would pain me to think they'd beat themselves up, even if I ended up dead. I'd feel GUILTY if I knew they were beating themselves up! Because, with that handful of people, I'd deeply believe they'd done the best they could and the best they could is enough. No matter what. It just IS.


So, is there anyone else who reacts to the whole "abandonment" thing with the thought., "That's ok, I don't need 'em anyway, I'll be just FINE ALL BY MYSELF!" ? I

But I do have a few friends where I KNOW (or have known), pretty much beyond a doubt, that they'd do anything they could to "not abandon me". If it happens anyway? All is forgiven on my end
This kinda sums up my views. Like I don't think adults can be abandoned cos they, for the most part, will manage. But there's people I'd stand by til I couldn't. N people that would stand by me til they couldnt. N "couldn't" is totally subjective, cos different people have different boundaries.


Wow, these are wonderful comments. To be fair, and I can't entirely remember, but this therapist called it an 'emotional wound', with (I think?) abandonment being part of it. I think what is missing here is context, In her case, her mother could not love her as she wished, as society would define, or as she loved her own children. She had to come to the point of being able to acknowledge and say, "My mother didn't love me", and deal with the pain and fear of how that must have felt as a child to the present. How it manifested itself. She did not blame her mother (intergenerational trauma), nor did it sound like she expected others to fill a role or emotionally manipulate. She was kind of the other end of the Bell curve- denying the pain existed. or that it had any effect on her.

I have to agree with @enough here (Incredible story of The Bus btw 😁 )
t's pretty easy to know that it is a universal handle allowing grasp of the deepest inner fears (survival).

After today I believe this is true. And this is why: I can remember my own or other's experiences, such as being abandoned (as an adult) 25 miles out from warmth at -45 degrees C; being left to 'walk home' from a strange area 25 miles with no transportation; being in a position of immediately being without food, resources or shelter, while trying to hide it at work. Etc. There are so many examples.

And it could go the other way: the homeless or unconscious person (I) walk by and do not check on; anyone in need I turn away from.

I think what she/ Pete Walker might be driving at here is not that it is used as emotional manipulation, but the opposite: denial it had any effect at all. As @scout86 said:
So, is there anyone else who reacts to the whole "abandonment" thing with the thought., "That's ok, I don't need 'em anyway, I'll be just FINE ALL BY MYSELF!" ? I think I've been telling myself that as long as I've been telling myself anything. Seems unreasonable to expect anything from anyone

Me too. But it could be argued that that is a protective mechanism, if one believes everyone will abandon (not if but when). Since, quite frankly- if one's family can't love them who knows them best, who could? And how, as a child, could we ever do anything but internalize the fault is inherent within us? I think it's more obvious to others but not obvious to those of us who have experienced it, that the extreme independence (and pushing people away) is actually itself on the far end of the Bell curve too. And I too, can't recall all the negatives. But it does explain why I learned (as an adult) that the neighbours next door who had 6 boys would call my dad when they were alone and heard a strange noise, and my dad would come and check everything out and leave them feeling relieved (my dad never told us, either, to protect their dignity, for lack of a better word). On the other hand, I can recall my sister and I hearing a sound and staying up all night at the door, her with a boiling pot of water and me with a baseball bat taller than me (we were about 4 and 11). But neither was it 'a big deal'. Nor did we tell anyone later.

I don't believe grown adults should run around using such terms as abandonment willy-nilly, but I do believe after today that Pete Walker is on to something. (Even my dad said the worst thing that stuck with him was at 6, and he went through A LOT. But the same type of background, though he had good parents/ good people. And really, in many ways my mom the same). He helped many people. Even then, one guy blew his brains out with him in the guy's kitchen. But my dad tried. And literally 100's of others said later, "If it wasn't for your dad (X- I would have killed myself/ lost my marriage/ not gotten this job/ lost my job/ not been able to make a life after prison, etc).

I remember it said Mother Teresa helped the poorest of the poor, those alone and abandoned. But they were. I remember one story where an adult man threw his mother away in a garbage can. (No judgement, it actually didn't surprise me, for several reasons but now I realize because I 'got it', not just the stress and burn out and overwhelm but abandonment ). But today I see the opposite of abandonment is caring. And sometimes people care when we can't even ask for it, like the EMT's say the silent ones nay be worse than those screaming at an accident scene. But just as equally, it is me abandoning someone to desert them in their time of (even greatest) need. I don't want to ever do that again.

Another important part I think I get from this, is Walker/ the therapist saying about it leaves a person with a constant stream of negative thoughts, and fear and terror, as well as catastrophizing, and feeling 'alone' (hard to explain). I used to think I just had a 'monkey brain' -always so many thoughts. But the real truth is, my thoughts are negative/ toxic. Not mean to others (usually) or the such- not that way. Hard to describe- worried about everything that is going wrong/ could go wrong/ may be wrong, and trying to stay a top of it to fix it, all the while staying sane (~sort of). And never being able to relax or feel safe. It's like the bottom levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of needs without a doubt. I could be on a beach in Spain and still I'd be there with 'my brain'. Plus thoroughly self shaming/ abasing/ self-rejecting. No ability to have a voice or backbone. I want to change that too. So far this has given me a bit of understanding to recognize it and do it. A break in denial is a pretty remarkable thing too. I think. But I feel it'd be unlikely I would have gotten to this point without others not abandoning me. Even if I never asked for it, nor expected it, nor ever though it was possible.

Sorry for the long read!!
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Also I think what may be helpful here, is that I think it may be helpful to not fostering anything like emotional manipulation or identifying at all as a child but rather the opposite, self-care and self-compassion. Because I have a feeling anyone who can relate to this has felt like they've been pretty much an adult or 'adult' even as a child. I think she said specifically (we) got stunted on the child development part that develops self-compassion, and that's a big roadblock to cbt (you can 'know' things but not feel/ believe them, about yourself as true). And better emotional regulation, and decreasing being so constantly on edge. The whole thing is exhausting, life is hard enough.


So, is there anyone else who reacts to the whole "abandonment" thing with the thought., "That's ok, I don't need 'em anyway, I'll be just FINE ALL BY MYSELF!" ?
Yep, with varied results of course. this is probably a common thread like one of the stages of grief, because abandonment is loss and loss is grief and grief is "mappable". Self-blame, bargaining, denial, all of the parts of the grief models probably exist with abandonment and telling yourself that the abandonment doesn't matter is another common thread. Common with me for sure.


I agree too re grief/ loss. Except that I have found after years (uncomplicated) grief alone doesnt poke a wound or pour salt in it the way even a word can for me. Hope that makes sense.

But, working on that too! Isn't the word of course, but my reaction to it, or what underlies it.


I came back to this, because the word (or feeling) 'abandonment' came to mind. And 'feeling' something, is supposedly ok?

And I was thinking that abandonment is usually thought of (I think?) with some sort of responsibility, or obligation, etc. And it is, with children, animals, or the vulnerable. But abandonment outside of that, I don't equate to those. I think of it as ceasing to matter, or being actively attacked (like the difference between a dead neglected houseplant, vs an aggressively attacked weed), or absence of any presence or care. It's actually just being/ living de-valued. But I would think there would have to be an element of surprise, or expectation. In that, if no turning towards was expected (or perhaps hoped for, as in the case of family, or societal expectation of some degree of it, at least), there can be no feeling of it. So that trust, or hope, is a killer. I realize it even applies (just for me) spiritually, in that I often wished my concept of 'God' was either non-existent or negative, because then I wouldn't just see it as even (S)He divides people on one side or the other, and after years of the other I don't believe God cares for me. Or it's pretty weird to call it love or care when there's silence and and 50 years of absence. But without digressing, because even a person who is an atheist can understand the emotional and physical impact (eventually) I have come to realize something about an 'abandonment wound', that even if it's totally ignored and put to the side, there is something more than self-fulfilling prophesy and behaviour. There is also recognizing what is the familiar, what a person has lived, experienced or experiences each day, and can't be denied or ignored. It really influences one's thoughts and decisions, apart from self-value. Like, I had to find out if they still carry a death benefit (with my Employer), and it's illegal to not get at least cremated of course, but knowing I'd end up in a garbage can already, it seems to me there is a whole different way of seeing one's self and the world. It's hard to ignore some things. It's hard to believe differently. it's hard if not impossible for others to 'get it', but they don't care anyway so I doubt there is reason to understand. I say that apart from depression. I say it in factuality.

ETA, was also thinking about this, the 2nd-worse thing to being targetted, is being a burden. Not as a child, I think to some degree some security or needs filled still over-rides being tagretted (since it's likely internalized as the child's fault, anyway). But being a burden or someone being required to fake it and you know you're a burden, or told so, then being abandoned is peferable if it includes leaving. JMHE though.
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How great that this thread came back around today. It fits in with my personal journey and i have had a realization recently that I want to share;
Abandonment implies that there is no return to what was before, at least thats how I read it. Otherwise it is just relationship ebb and flow, abandonment kind of puts the cap on it, and unabandoned is close to coming back to life. right?
so if that's a true statement, abandonment implies borders between the abandoner and the abandoned. Follow along here, if abandonment means a border, then it is truly a give and not a take. It is a gift to be abandoned by someone capable of abandonment. For one you get all the days between now and the eventual abandonment. And it is OK to stop having emotional ties to the abandoners, starting NOW. thanks for all the time I was going to waste on thinking you were more than you were, thanks for the ability to see you for what you are. Borders are a gift, even if something you want lies beyond the fence, you have been made aware another source is necessary, this route to the desired thing is blocked. Don't waste your time, move along, move along.
My abandoners were my parents, and they would say that about me. They are gone and i no longer need a better past thanks to therapy. No more wasted time, just the thoughts I have about sharing what it took me a long time to learn, hope it isn't wasted, hope this helps someone


Yes @enough you are right.

If my need was to prove something else was possible, the whole thought was a waste of time too.

I hope it helped you too, thank you. 🤗