A ‘perfect’ childhood is rare for the larger percentage of society. In fact, there is rarely such thing as perfect because the word in itself is only best applicable to the individual.
The feeling of abandonment however, often manifests itself in the lives many adults both consciously and subconsciously.
Parents become absent in the lives of children for many reasons, some of which are too complicated for an individual to understand as a child, other reasons may seem absurd or selfish and never make sense, and that is only understandable.
Abandonment and rejection issues generally filter into many everyday routines which naturally affect friendships, work, relationships, securities and even sleep patterns but as adults, at times it may be difficult to identify what and when past rejection claimed responsibility for issues and stresses within everyday life.
Within friendships, walking away maybe the hardest or simplest thing to do. In relationships, heartbreak feels both strange and familiar, this tends to be because the feeling has already been experienced but masked.
When these issues are identified however, they should be confronted and not swept under the carpet. This tends to be the easiest option because emotions trigger other emotions like a dominoes.
There are 7 steps I have learnt are best applied to dealing with situations such as these:
Accept: The past is the past… It cannot be altered, just learnt from.
Confide: It doesn’t make you weak, or less of a person by taking the confident steps into seeking counselling. A counsellor can help anyone put issues into perspective. It can be quite overwhelming for a person to realise and understand how the lack of a parent can be responsible for so many habitual actions within daily happenings. Speaking with friends/ people you trust is always a great release, but with professional help at times resolutions are able to be found and applied. It makes you stronger than ever dealing with it, then pretending it doesn’t exist or making excuses.
Forgive: When possible, let it go. In many situations, it is not always possible to completely forgive the absent parent. But forgive yourself. Often its easy to believe that because they left you, it was because of you. Do NOT harbour the blame, it is unnecessary emotional baggage. Use logic, spirituality, therapy, and personal fulfilment as tools of forgiveness.
Honesty: Do not hide true feelings about past experiences within a developing relationship. At times, its easy to attempt the provocation of reactions that may seem immature or foolish. A good partner will try and be more patient, provide support and it allows them to understand traits and behaviours that may present themselves within your shared lives. Also, they can be an insightful listening tool.
Progress: Break the cycle. Don’t make the same mistake as the absent parent and don’t allow yourself to make the same personal mistakes fuelled by the feelings of negativity, inevitably caused by abandonment.
Reflect: Painful and upsetting memories are easier not revisited but if you look back in life and try to view things with a non-biased viewpoint, it could be easier to analyse things from the absentee’s perspective. Consider questions to try and understand as opposed to judging with a patchwork heart.
- Was it detrimental for the family if they remained in the equation?
- Were they recovering from something they were struggling to control? An addiction? Past issues?
- Why did the absent parent leave? Consider the actual reason versus what the absent parent decided was justified to make the decision.
Release: Do not internalise your true feelings. Its not advised to wear your heart on your sleeve, but in the cases you cant help it, try and secure a safety harness. Not everyone is willing to listen, but on the reverse, not everyone is willing not to care.
As much as your past influences the present you, do not allow it to determine your future. Just a reflective thought.
Words by Billi John
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