How to Overcome the Feeling of Abandonment

3 steps to love and trust again

Being abandoned can be one of the most difficult situations any of us will ever have to face. Abandonment issues can trigger depression, mistrust and irrational amounts of fear. These issues affect daily life, careers, friendships and romantic relationships. But if you've been abandoned, you're not alone — even though you might feel that way.

Step 1: Acknowledge the depth of your hurt

If you are to overcome abandonment, you must first be realistic and identify why it affects you to the extent that it does. Abandonment is a complex issue. Similar to dealing with the death of a loved one, abandonment involves a deep sense of loss.

But unlike grieving over a departed friend or relative, there is little or no closure with abandonment. In some cases, there are no goodbyes and no last words; just loss. The finality of death is certain, but abandonment issues deal with the uncertainty of whether the loved one will ever return, why they left in the first place and whether or not the one abandoned will ever be able to trust the one who abandoned them again. And like being rejected, being abandoned may usher in an extreme loss of self-worth. Knowing why you hurt so badly is the first step in overcoming abandonment.

Step 2: Identify your symptoms

If you have been hurt deeply by total abandonment, you will usually deal with your pain in one of two ways: You might become overly needy and require constant attention and reassurance, or you might go to the opposite extreme and resolve to never allow yourself to become deeply invested in anyone ever again.

If you're part of the former category, you deal with abandonment by attempting to fill the empty space in your heart with anyone who is willing to give you attention. You will often come on too strong too early in a relationship, thus scaring off your potential mate or friend and reinforcing the idea that you aren't worth loving.

If you're part of the latter category, you keep friends, relative, and romantic interests at an arm's length, and will not become deeply emotionally involved, so that if and when abandonment occurs again, the hurt is not as deep. You must be honest enough with yourself to figure out which of these categories you fall into.

Step 3: Take action

The best and most practical way to deal with abandonment is to surround yourself with close friends and relatives that you trust. On your own or with the help of a professional counselor, you should gradually take steps to become close to those people and rely on them for increasingly important things.

Life coach and licensed psychologist Nando Pelusi, PhD, says it's important not to raise hopes too high — people with abandonment issues want to feel absolute certainty that their relationships will always remain strong and steady, but in reality, nobody ever has that certainty.

However, with time, and perhaps counseling, those who are dealing with abandonment can begin to trust again. It's also important to watch for telltale signs and clues that might let you know who can be trusted and who can't. If someone continuously drops the ball with the little things, they're probably going to fail at the important things too. So an element of discernment is required before you can plunge confidently into serious relationships.

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Anonymous's picture

Im 59 yrs old woman.Lost my father at the age if 15 from a heart attack. My mother the same time to alcohol. Put a gun to my head when I was 17 and said I wasnt worth living. It should have been me not my father..Got her back 10 yrs later. She was good to me. Was engaged at 23 he was living with someone the same time. Married at 29 to an alcoholic divorced at 49. Have 3 grown beautiful children. My mother had a stroke 2 yrs age the same time I got engaged to a controlling man. My mother passed away 1 yr ago.My sister was POA and executrix. I had so say in anything only her children and her husband were allowed. Se gave away things without a me. The will was 50/50 . We havent spoken in a year. I bought a house with my fiancee who is 68. We moved in with my 23 yr old daughter who is a teacher. a nice young lady. He didnt like her around. Didn't like her boyfriend around. finally became verbally abusive and physically abusive. Gave me a choice. Him or my daughter. So I left. That was 5 months ago. We were speaking going to get back together a few times he always backs out. Said I couldn't give him what he needed. 3 days after I moved in he grabbed me dragged me down the hall threw me in to my daughters room(she didn't finish unpacking, had a full time teaching job worked long hours) Cursing at me. So my walls went up immediatley and I was doubting things. I tried to be attentive but his words were demeaning and hurtful..Thank you Im trying to heal myself counselors were working. SiO I feel important enough to be able to let go of people who hurt me. Guess I think no one loves me enpugh to stick around..Help Please

Anonymous's picture

The right one will stay. You are so worthy of love....true unconditional love. It's a fact! I know how you feel, because I felt it for so long. The thing that worked for me was to trust my intuition....that feeling in my gut that something was not right. If it's not right, let it go, so the right thing can come in. I know that it is exhausting to keep going through abandonment. As you change your outlook and begin to trust the right people, things fall into place. Truly listen to yourself and your will always tell you the truth.
I love you, God and the Universe love you and this too shall pass. Nothing stays the same forever and you hold more power than you are giving yourself credit for. It is all within you and I believe in you. Change your thoughts and the rest will follow. This is what I know for sure:-)
Love and Light!!

Anonymous's picture

Thank you for your precious words
This is just a brief summary of a much bigger dilemma.
I have been disabled for 13 years after severing the sciatic nerve in my right leg.
My parents have passed away and I have one brother who lives 7 miles from me who hasn't wanted to contact me (due to his wife, I think- vicar's daughter and nurse)! I've tried so much to contact him.
My children live abroad, as I did for 20 years, so I feel abandoned.
I am having my leg amputated in May 2016.
I need a brotherly hug.....
I have support from friends, but there's nothing like a family,
God Bless...whoever you are X

Anonymous's picture

Abandonment is a horrible feeling that can destroy you if you let it. I've been abandoned my a mother, further, exes, and children. It's the worst feeling in the world. The only way I am able to deal with all of it is to trust in something higher than myself. I've trusted professionals and family but none can or will truly understand our feelings unless they been there and admit that they feel that way. I've known many including people in my family and my grown children who have these issues and do not talk about them. I've had very little encouragement from others which is why my higher self is who I trust now and am able to deal. I don't know if the pain with ever be gone completely but I know I don't deny it anymore.

Anonymous's picture


Anonymous's picture

I really needed to read this tonight. It is so powerful and inspiring. Thank you..

Anonymous's picture

I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. Just remember that you are not worthless. Your life is worth living. God put you on this earth for a purpose and don't ever think about leaving this life because I can promise you that wherever you go, your life will not be as blessed as this one. I know that you are going through a hard time but all pain has to come to an end and God has something wonderful in store for you.

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