the wound and fear of abandonment
The abandonment wound sits in the first center of the chakra system at the base of our spine – the root chakra.
The root chakra is here to provide us with health, energy, safety, security, and a sense of belonging in its optimal state.
It’s the foundation of our aliveness on this planet and is actually formed in our foundational years or even the mother is pregnant. Naturally, it’s concerned with the physical body and from a physical point of view, the Root controls the adrenal glands, kidney, and bladder.
The adrenal gland sits in the root and regulates the cortisol levels in our body. The root is what gets us out of bed in the morning giving us the energy to do the things we do. When we feel out of alignment with this energy, we can find ourselves depleted, exhausted, and lifeless. On the contrary, excessive root energy can drive our survival instincts and cause stress in our body which then manifests as anxiety, fatigue, adrenal rush, eating disorder etc. Of course, in Human design, the Root center is also known as the Stress center.
Now think of the wound of abandonment. This is the birthplace of the fear of abandonment.
This is when the first time, your human body or mind, or soul, experienced abandonment. This is the wound of being left out in the cold. This is the wound of having nowhere to belong. This is the wound of being a victim of life having resources to survive withheld from itself. It’s the feeling of helplessness.
While as an adult, abandonment from a loved one means emotional turmoil and heartbreak, as a child, survival is at stake if he/she is abandoned by her caregivers.
This will naturally cause stress in the body as the adrenal releases cortisol to fight, flight, or freeze in response in order to cope with the situation. As you can think of it, this is obviously very traumatic to deal with. It can occur in varying degrees for everyone – for some it manifests as a real abandonment from their parents, for some, it manifests as a wound inherited from the parents, while for some it could be from a close loved one like a grandparent. In some cases, if you dig, there might be no real evidence of having this wound even though you strongly connect with it. This simply means that most likely you picked it up from people, media, and situations around you and made it yours as a form of attachment. Abandonment doesn’t have to be only physical, it can also be emotional where one or both of the parents were wounded and couldn’t be fully present for their child in his or her foundational years. I also think because of mixed influences, there can be a fear of abandonment even if there was no real abandonment if the child was scolded or threatened that he’d be left if he doesn’t behave in an appropriatte way. This can form layers and layers of this fear as the child comes to an understanding that his/her perfection or talent or behaviour is what will keep them away from abandonment resulting in being a perfectionist all their life – an example.
Few other things that could have been responsible for this wound:
- lack of boundaries
- lack of clear communication or affirmation from caregivers
- your needs were dismissed/judged/criticized as a child
- lack of support or guidance to model an example of self love, self trust, self reliance
- you had to mature at a young age
The hurt was so traumatic that you would want to avoid at any cost.
This is how the wound becomes the fear. The emotional and physical stress was so deep that as a child you couldn’t handle it. Of course, you don’t want to feel this way ever again. And this is how the wound now becomes the fear that we carry with us day in and day out hoping that this wouldn’t repeat itself. The thing is, however, what we focus on expands.
And so, even though this was something you DON’T want to experience again and you try all your energy to AVOID this fear to manifest in life, you somehow find yourselves in cycles of abandonment over and over again.
This causes long term hurt and trauma because it’s a re-affirmation of the core wound – “see, yes, you are ______, you deserve to be abandoned. here is another proof!”
Or on the contrary, you can be on the other side, where you have armed and defended yourself so tightly so that the abandonment can’t touch you, but nor can love or acceptance, the very things you wanted or craved as a child. And so, you still find yourself hurt and stuck in this cycle.
Most often, we find it plays it out in our romantic relationships, but doesn’t have to be necessarily. This is based on unhealthy attachment and so can be formed with anybody you share a codependent relationship with – money, career, friendships, authority figures, etc. A codependent relationship is primarily a relationship where your power is outsourced.
If I talk about myself, two and a half years ago I believe my abandonment wound was amplified to the core when I was ghosted by a long-term friend I really love and care about. It was heartbreaking and shocking because wasn’t ghosting for strangers or acquaintances. Well, guess not. Anyway, I buried myself in work to avoid pain post that experience but it tugged at my heart every now and then. And while I completely removed myself from the situation in order to avoid any further bigger abandonment, in the coming two years I had to face this wound right in my face everywhere – from clients to people I wanted to collaborate with – everyone seemed to be on the same bandwagon of tugging this wound – and it triggered so bad! This is when it was clear that I can no more carry this with me and I was almost forced to address this by cosmic forces.
Some of the ways in which this wound of abandonment manifests:
- getting attached too easily/quickly
- people pleasing and perfectionism
- difficulty with emotional intimacy
- avoiding deeper relationships, moving on too quickly to avoid being hurt
- low self-worth
This is when we see how the stress is regulated in our body with a slight trigger or threat of being abandoned. You can find yourself stressing about that one unanswered text, or perfecting that email pitch, or being scared of your boss more than necessary. I am not saying these shouldn’t cause upset as it’s your ultimate right to feel the way you feel – but think of the discrimination between feeling ungrounded and stressed (anxious, breathlessness, high blood pressure, depression, acting out, feeling unsafe etc.) and feeling heartbroken, upset or disappointed.
If you examine your response and find yourself in patterns over and over again where you are responding out of fear and codependency – like your life depends on it, it’s time to take some actions to heal this wound and release yourself from this projection cycle.
This in the first place looks like releasing your objects of attachment from blame and shame.
When you recognize that the fear of abandonment has been running the show , you recognize that what you experienced in these dynamics and connections through this time have been biased. Once you release the blame, you can experience a sense of freedom of that unhealthy attachment. Try chord-cutting meditation and see yourself being free from these wounded attachments you formed simply because you carried the seed of it.
The next way out is to take responsibility for your healing and look at your core wound.
This should ideally be supported by a coach or a therapist but in case none of that is available, make sure you are resourced and informed. One of the ways I personally love is taking a meditative journey in your subconscious. We do have a guided healing meditation in Jewel. Another way to hack in is automatic conscious free flow journaling but remember your body will only reveal when it finds itself in a relaxed and safe space. Emotional freedom tapping technique is another brilliant tool to interrupt the old neural pathways and have the subconscious reveal itself as your release the old patterns.
Because the body is so stuck in operating out of the same pattern, breaking cycle can be discomforting to the body and can cause discomfort. Learn nervous system self regulation and self soothing to support this transition as you break cycles and form new neural pathways.
The new neural pathways can be formed through conscious imaginings, visualizations, scripting or repeated affirmations.
Most importantly, while these are tools to support your process, the key idea is to stop abandoning yourself.
Here is a journal prompt you can kickstart this process with : How do I abandon myself? And how can I turn it around and stop abandoning myself?
We learn to treat ourselves the way we learned we deserved to.
When we have a trauma around abandonment, we learn that we deserve to be abandoned. And so long before we started accepting abandonment behaviour from outside, we learnt to give it to ourselves. We abandoned ourselves when we stepped outside our authentic behaviour to fit in. We abandoned ourselves when we pretended that everything was okay instead of tending to our upset. We abandoned ourselves when we chose to spend our time doing something we thought we needed to do to gain approval instead of something that we desired to. We abandoned ourselves when we say yes to obligations we don’t have energy for. We abandon ourselves everytime we don’t honour our needs, wants and desires.
The root chakra is the centre of needs.
What are your needs? How can you start providing for yourself?
And if you aren’t able to . . . question, why? Why am I not able to accept my needs just the way they are?Who told me they were ‘too much’?
These prompts can open a whole gateway of healing for you. I am sending you much love on your healing journey
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