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Any suggestions 4 getting over childhood abandonment issues?
October 26, 2006
5:11 pm
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Travlin_lite
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I never knew my "Father" or any "Grandfather's" Sometimes the notion comes to mind what "if" but then I come back to "what is" and have encouraged my Sons and have to say they have been good Dads not perfect but there when it counted.

October 26, 2006
5:53 pm
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on my way
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NAZZ...

Would it help to see him from an adult perspective now instead of from that little boy's perspective that was hurt? Not making excuses for him, but have either of you ever talked about it? Maybe if you had a fresh perspective it would help. Is there anyway you could get some answers?

October 26, 2006
6:34 pm
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lolli
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thank you for the book recommendation, taj! hmmm.... makes me wonder if there are any books specifically for family of origin abandonment...? i am going to search on amazon right now!

sometimes i feel like i can really empathize with children who were adopted (they were ultimately abandoned by their parents whether intentionally or unintentionally- even if it turned out for the best). so i'm going to look for books about healing from that too. maybe they will have some good info?

i'll let you know if i find anything helpful. hang in there nazz. i'm sorry your dad made you wait and wait like that. it was wrong that he did that to you - whether he did it intentionally or not.

i can empathize with that feeling of waiting endlessly - i think i must have gone through something kind of similar. whenever i remember waiting for so-called dad to pay attention to me (which only happened basically during abuse in my case) --i remember this feeling of boredom mixed with suppressed rage and desperate sadness.

hugs...

October 27, 2006
8:38 pm
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NAZZDACK
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He is dead to me as far as I am concerned. I do not call him and he does not call me. Our last interaction together was around 8 years ago. We had a disagreement where he forgot for instance how I had grown and years of weight training was close to getting his azz beat when he disrespected me. So yes I was in his face and began berate him hoping he would make a move so I could unleash on him. I'll never get over the fear he had in his eyes when it dawned on him I was no longer this defenseless child who had to take his BS.

But I can't lay the blame on him for the sickness I have in my heart. My mom has probably told me she loved me one time in a ten year span. I hate talking to her, but do so only to appease her since she is retired and lonely. She could care less what is going on in my life, how I feel, or my problems. She is proud of nothing I have done in my life. Nothing has never been good enough unless somehow I decided to turn into a religious fanatic who loves to gossip.

What sucks the most is not my history. It's my inability now to find love now. I've always desperately wanted to have a family of my own to put all this passion I have built up into something that would be my own. To give my future and kids a level of care, trust and love I have never had. What the problem is mentally I am too sensitive for the game dating has become. Somehow this passion is mistaken for some type of neediness or weakness that sends the gals running for the hills. So then I have to approach dates as a different person, which I despise and have chosen not to participate in.

So to summarize I am very much alone in this world. I don’t know what else to say here but it sucks.

October 27, 2006
8:47 pm
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lolli
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Nazz,

I am so sorry for your current and past pain. Please know that you are not alone here, for what it's worth...

and even though I don't have "the answers" yet, I'm pretty sure it is possible to recover and have good relationships. i'm still working on myself with the help of therapy, support groups, books, and this online group... but everything I've read and others I've met say it IS possible.

If you can find yourself a good therapist (maybe you already have?) he/she might be able to help you re-parent yourself so you can become whole again. Have you heard of this "re-parenting" stuff? I know it sounds kind of weird at first, but it is supposed to help those (like us) who had... ahem... less than ideal parents. If you want, I can elaborate...

my heart goes out to you...

((NAZZ))

November 3, 2006
1:55 am
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NAZZDACK
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I've never seen a therapist for fear it would hurt my DoD security clearance down the road. With all the medical information sharing going on, I have no idea if it will come
back to haunt me.

I remember asking my mom one day exactly what she saw in my dad to marry him. Essentially it boiled down to looks and money. She has always been honest, so I respect that about her. She felt she could change his alcoholism and desire to party. I suppose on a positive note I have always viewed the ladies I dated in the eyes of my future children asking the question "what kind of mother will she make,” not “how hot is she?”

Some good news to report is I was overseas recently on vacation and met a very beautiful, sweet intelligent lady and have been corresponding since arriving back in the States. After getting back I wasn’t so sure how things would go, and the first few emails were slow, but now speak or email almost everyday.

I think what ruined my motivation to date was a combination of my background along with how many gals desire the very traits I despise in my dad. So my choice to not change myself into this jerk personality resulted in years of bad dating experiences, exposing my sensitivity to rejection.

I’m hoping this chemistry with her is for real.

November 4, 2006
1:20 pm
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marriedagain
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HI Nazzdack:

I grew up without a mom or dad and I just live with it most of the time and it doesn't bother me much. BUT, there are times when it raises it's ugly head and I am at a loss and I will probably continue, my entire life, to work on it. I have been married several times and then I run...the runaway bride...only I run after the wedding. Most women want a family life and love the idea that their man sees unborn children in her eyes. I think that is very touching. Funny, but it seems to also be the trend that some girls like the "bad boy"..lol, but it's true. Speaking for myself, I can say that dealing with abandonment issues is a matter of learning to trust. But more so, being strong in who I know that I am, so that whatever happens I will still stand. I have spent many years working on forgiveness for my mom and dad and even if they don't accept it, it still does my soul good. Because there are days when I have to do things with my daughter and I cry because I can't understand how a parent could just leave a little girl in this big world to fend for herself. But the truth is this, I had to learn and now I am strong. You are a survivor and you will be strong too. Hope that helps, God bless.

November 4, 2006
1:51 pm
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lolli
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Nazz,

That is too bad that DoD is keeping you from seeing a therapist... and I can completely understand your reason for concern.

I say that is too bad because, therapy has helped me a tremendous amount more than I ever thought possible... but another thing that has really helped my recovery by leaps and bounds is that I joined a 12 step group. Have you ever tried this? They have 12 steps for almost EVERYTHING (including codependency, incest, grief, etc) - you don't have to be an addict anymore to go to 12 step. The reason I bring it up is because those are anonymous and you wouldn't even have to give your real name. It has helped me so much to see real people in person and hear that they have stories similar to mine. And some of them are further along in their healing than me, and that gives me hope. Anyway, that's my plug for support groups 🙂

Of course, this online community has been a godsend too!!! Just being able to hear your story and the things you struggle with... helps me know that I'm not alone.

Anyway, I wish you all the best in your new relationship. I sincerely hope it works out for you. You deserve it!!! It really touched my heart that you said you look for potential mothering abilities in a woman. I guess I've always been skeptical men looked only for the other stuff. It is so nice to know that I am WRONG about this and they they don't all do it! You are an inspiration.

hugs and healing ((nazz))

November 5, 2006
10:09 am
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hopeful for change
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Well I personally had major abandonment issues. What helped me was therapy. However the things that helped me the most outside of therapy, were Forgiveness being number one. I had all this anger, hurt and resentment, and pain going through my life with me. I had to forgive these people. It wasn't for them it was to set myself free of it.

I read a book called homecoming. It sounds farfetched I know, but it helped me go back and reclaim my childhood and get over some of these issues. Someone on this site recommended it. It was a tremendous help.

November 5, 2006
4:33 pm
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Inca
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Hopeful, thanks for the book recommendation. I was looking for some good reading on this specific topic.

November 5, 2006
5:58 pm
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hopeful for change
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its not really just a reading, its actually work. Hard to explain. But you kinda go back and see yourself at each age..you imagine it, and save yourself. Not putting it the right wording. But has released something in me.

November 5, 2006
6:17 pm
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armyleo
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Hopeful,

Sorry to interrupt, but something you said made me stop to ask.

Forgiveness.... I had all this anger, hurt and resentment, and pain going through my life

What did you do, how did you do that, was it just in an instant or a process?

November 5, 2006
10:04 pm
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lolli
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hopeful,

is this the book you read?

Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child by John Bradshaw

Is it a workbook? I read the excerpt on Amazon and it didn't appeal to me so much, but I don't want to miss out on something that could be helpful. Your description made it sound good.

Would you mind describing it a little more so I can see if it's for me?

thanks... and sorry if I'm asking for too much!

November 5, 2006
11:17 pm
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NAZZDACK
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Thank you for the kind words marriedagin and lolli. I created a smiliar thread a few months that was hard as heck for me to open up and speak about myself and this issue. I always lived with this shame of my past and feeling this way, resulting in me holding everything in.

I was speaking with my lady friend when she asked about my parents and rather than hide or skirt around the issue I finally let it all flow out of me as if "this is me, this is my past, this is what I want my future life to be like."

I'm relieved getting it out in the open is over.

Now all I need to do is to reduce the number of times I listen to nickelbacks "far away" and thinking of my new lady friend.

Take care all

November 5, 2006
11:29 pm
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lolli
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nazz,

you sound really sweet. she is lucky to have you!

🙂

November 5, 2006
11:44 pm
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Devon
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I might interject something here about surviving abandonment....

I have been dealing with this issue for many, many years (decades) now. Essentially, I have learned that dealing with having been abandoned is a life long process.

As I have gotten older, the pain has diminished and the episodes of insecurity are fewer, but I have never really been completely free of it.

The best thing I have been able to do for myself is to learn how to recognize when the issues are re-emerging in the present and to have a process/ritual I do for myself to help me to cope with it.

I think that one of the hardest things to handle is my own shame of being late middle aged and still having this occasionally interfering with my life...though it is far less so now than it was for me in younger years. I wasted a lot of youth on this, too....

I have learned to treat this like a condition I have. If I had the flu, I would not be ashamed. I would take medicines and get some rest and let my body recover.

If I have something eating at me that I can see is clearly a renewed appearance of an old apparition, I first treat myself with reverance. Take myself out of the situation, be good to myself, create an action plan if action is required. I take whatever time I need and I choose how I will respond to this. I refrain from being angry with myself over things I cannot control. I resist the urge to do something in the heat of the moment. Yes, it can be rationalized that you might miss something if you don't act now...but, if something is truly real and meant to be, it will be there after you have cared for yourself...and you will be stronger when you choose your action than if you are chasing your passion.

Passion is wonderful if you are driving the chariot. It is slavery if the chariot is driving you.

Take control. Set limits. Love yourself.

NAZZDACK: Like you, your father is human and inclined to make mistakes. It was his loss and his mistake to lose you. You offered him a rich opportunity for personal growth just by being born and he chose not to let this experience make him a bigger person. It is not about you at all. This decision was all about him...and probably also his relationship with your mother. You have never ever been responsible for his absence. Sometimes we as children will take on the baggage of our parents...perhaps as a way to avoid truly letting them go. We blame ourselves. We think, "oh, if I had only been a better child perhaps s/he wouldn't have left." Et cetera.

Choose a place to bloom and bloom where you choose to plant yourself. Create your own chosen family. Thrive against all the odds.

If you are finding that you are not "such a big person" and you are unable to forgive...and if you need revenge, use that energy to bolster you to an unrelated personal success of some kind...just for yourself. Use your pain to do something good for yourself...and for others.

Not everyone is big enough for forgiveness. I am not. I gave that up a long time ago. Just like I gave up on believing in a god.

You make up your own path. It is your life. You only have one life. You make of it whatever you do with it.

November 5, 2006
11:49 pm
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Devon
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PS: To Dear Nazz...

Quit thinking of yourself and your relationships as being the responsibility of your parents. You are totally responsible for your life. The people you bring into it and hold on to. You are responsible for your losses and failures as well as your spectacular successes.

Just be who you are. Don't create a personal identity completely based on not being like you absent father. Just let him go. Embrace who you are and enjoy it for as long as you possibly can.

November 6, 2006
12:08 am
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Devon
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Also...beware that your mother may have inadvertantly involved you in her own baggage about your father. It looks like she was abandoned, too. Do not forget that you and she can still be close, but that you and she have different perspectives about what happened with you father.

You can have your own opinions and perspectives without breaking your special relationship with your mom.

I am also not advocating that you be angry with your mom about dragging you into her baggage. I am only suggesting that this may have accidentally been the case. Your mother is human too...and she was likely very young...and lonely...and had no idea.

Who YOU are in your life and relationships is all that matters anymore.

November 6, 2006
12:17 am
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lolli
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Hi Devon,

You seem very wise! Lots of good advice/info in those posts.

would you mind elaborating on your "process/ritual" that you use to help you cope when your abandonment issues re-emerge? Is it like a mantra you say to youself? Or are there specific things you do in your case? I'm still struggling to find my own "tools" for when my issues re-emerge (and believe me, since I've been in therapy, I'm now recognizing them re-emerging all over the daggone place!).

Thank you so much for saying this:
"You offered him a rich opportunity
for personal growth just by being
born and he chose not to let this
experience make him a bigger
person."

It helped me "get it" in a way I haven't been "getting it" so far. I think that may become my new mantra.

Devon, I applaud you and admire you for how far you've come. thanks so much for sharing.

November 6, 2006
7:44 am
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hopeful for change
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Well forgiveness was very hard for me, and most people I knew that knew my sitation thought it was the last thing I should do. I was sick of still hurting over what my family did to me as a child, and it was still hurting me as an adult. I was reading a book, I think it was life matters or something from dr phil. When I realized all this about forgiveness. I was mad, hurt, angry, sad, heartbroken. I just didn't understand how a parent could do the things they did. One day I sat down and wrote my parents a letter, one to my mom and one to my dad. I told them every way I thought they had failed me. And they had failed me. I told them what it had done to me. I also told them that I forgave them.

I had wanted my whole life to have this family that I couldn't have. I started realizing that as screwed up as they were to me, they did the best they knew how, and they to had really screwed up childhoods. I tried to imagine what there lives were like as children and how they had became the way they had.

I just had to let it go for myself. Keeping full of anger and all that pain was consuming who I was.

My parents and I didn't talk for about a year after those letters, The weird thing is that now, six years later, we have the best relationship we have ever had in my entire 36 years.

One thing for sure is when I held all of there sins over there heads, how could they ever do anything to move forward. They couldn't fix the past, and either could I. I was and still a little am gaurded to what the future may hold. But.....its what has worked for us. And it set me free.

lolli, that is the book. Its more of a meditation kinda book, kinda differnt. It was helpful for me because, I had been abandonded and abused verbally, physically and emotionally and sexually my whole childhood. So I followed these steps in that book...and you see yourself at all the different ages when people had abandoned you, however this time, you are there for yourself. Its kinda like knowing now that you have yourself and no one can ever abandon you again. It might be kinda far fetched but I tried it, and it did seem enlighteneing.

November 6, 2006
12:01 pm
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lolli
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thanks, hopeful. that book does sound like it will be useful. i'm very much into exercises and meditations and letters right now. i think they help give structure to my healing. otherwise it's all a big jumble of feelings and there are so many and they are so intense, it is difficult to navigate through them!

i am so glad your relationship with your parents is better now. i don't understand how that could have happened either, but it DOES give me hope. do you think that during that year they got counseling? or do you think it is really just because you let go of your expectations? did they change at all????

hopeful, i'm sorry you were abused in so many ways. you are such a smart and kind person. you DID deserve to have that nice family you always wanted.

i guess this forgiveness thing just happens in time when all the other emotions have fully processed?... that is what i feel like i'm gathering from these posts.

because, like you, i recognize my parents' sad and abusive childhoods, and i do feel sorry that that happened to them. i can even understand that they did the best they could with me, given their resources... but for some reason i still feel like i "get" to be angry with them. does this make any sense?

but i guess the anger is just a part of me still holding on... wishing for that happy childhood i'm never going to get 🙁 maybe the sooner i accept that the past can't change, the better i'll be.

i think i will check out that book.

thanks so much for telling me about it!

🙂

((((hopeful))))

November 6, 2006
3:29 pm
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hopeful for change
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lolli, forgiveness isn't an easy thing when someone has wronged you so badly. But I think what most people get hung up on about forgiveness is that they think that sets the person free to hurt you again or pretend it didn't happen. That's not the case at all. It's kinda like when you carry it all around, and not have forgiveness you become the abuser to yourself, because your still tormenting yourself with it. I hope I said that clearly, as its hard for me to put into words.

I have never forgotten whats happened, I just tried to let it be in the past, and leave it there. I can't change anyone and no one can change the past. I certainly have not been a perfect parent myself. Although in comparison I think I have. I just gave my kids everything I wish I could have had, to my ability. And I will do the same thing when I have grandkids. It sucks my kids don't have the grandparents I wish they could have, but I can't change that either. But I promise them their kids will.

The thing that always killed me the most is I always just wanted my dad to love me and thing good of me, be proud of me. The two of us had the absolute worst relationship. I didn't want him to die and it be left like that. After a horrible ordeal as a child I still kept coming around. About seven years ago he attacked me, in front of my kids which sent me to the hospital.

At the time I also lost my marriage, as my husband chose meth. I had a serioius mental breakdown. I went to counseling and was dealing with both of these men. My counselor told me she didn't think I should ever give my father the chance to hurt me again. But I did, there was alot of space and time and I think he knew what he did. He never said he was sorry ever. I wished I could have that, but never have.

I think what the changing point for him, is that he almost died do to a clogged artery in the brain. Since then he has done a complete turn around to me. He never says he loves me or anything like that, but he comes over and just calls me for no reason, and is probably better to me than he ever has been in my life.

I know I am rambling here...but..one day about six months ago I was at my parents house with my kids. He was talking to my kids, and he said to them...I hope you know that you two have the best mom in the world. She has been through so much crap in her life that you wouldn't imagine, and she never ever let it affect you two, or stop being the mom she is. you two are lucky. I got tears in my eyes, because although he didn't say it to me....he was proud of me, I am getting tears in my eyes now. My kids said...we already know that. Little shits.

Things can change when people are willing, it took alot for me to really forgive...not forget...but we've moved on, and hopefully it will stay good. sorry for rambling.

November 6, 2006
6:03 pm
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Devon
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Dear Lolli: You ask "would you mind elaborating on your "process/ritual" that you use to help you cope when your abandonment issues re-emerge?"

I have no answers for you. Everyone is individual. There is no formula. Only a perspective shift.

Deliberate abandonment and human cruelty is the hardest thing to overcome. I suppose the one thing I keep in mind is "all of that was about them and their issues and had nothing to do with me at all."

Next there is the feeling... "OK...so they aren't or weren't there for me and it is not about me...great. Now I need someone to be there for me in their place."

Usually that person who comes to nurture me is me. I am a child, mother, and grandmother to myself all rolled into one.

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