How do you recognize an abandonment wound and how can you heal from it?

flower sad girl

An abandonment wound occurs when you have been abandoned as a child, in a physical, emotional, or spiritual way. . “As an adult, you have the ability to be your own parent, as it were, and to give yourself that care that you did not receive in your youth.”

An abandonment wound makes you crave connections with others, but at the same time constantly push everyone away.

Longing for deep relationships

Sonja comes to me and says she feels stuck in her life. She feels that there is no one for her and that her life is filled with narcissists and psychopaths. She also grieves for a world filled with harmful individuals.

She longs for relationships with other people but often questions their reasons for wanting her. Meanwhile, she wonders why other people are more likely to form friendships and relationships when it is difficult for her to make and maintain a connection, especially deep ones. She desperately wants a healer or mentor to work with her, but she convinces herself that she doesn’t need him and that it’s better not to ask for help.

Harmful Behavior Patterns

During the collaboration with Sonja, it becomes clear that she has to build trust very carefully. The slightest comment that could be taken as criticism will make her withdraw, isolate or become condescending or dismissive. She is not willing to accept praise for her hard work.

She is always looking for things that are wrong in her life that she has yet to achieve. Sonja’s example is not about one individual, but about several who are all living with an abandonment wound. All of these people have a certain pattern of behavior that causes significant damage in their lives.

Adoption, Divorce, Absent Parent

divorce, absent

Many people who have been literally or figuratively abandoned suffer from an abandonment injury. You can think of adoption, divorce, a parent who leaves his family… But it can also take the form of a perceived abandonment. For example, if as a child you do not understand that your parents’ divorce has nothing to do with you. Or if one of your parents works long hours and doesn’t spend time with you.

A child will suffer an abandonment injury if his needs are not met or incompletely met. When you are young, you have such a desire for connections with others. If there is not a nice atmosphere within the family or if your parents cannot provide that connection, then an abandonment wound arises.

What does a healthy parent-child bond look like?

Parents can be perfect on paper, yet not aligned with their feelings or suffering trauma themselves. They cannot ensure that their child feels safe or that they have a healthy relationship with each other. In order for children to feel safe, they must have a healthy, spiritual, emotional, mental and physical connection with their parents.

You need a physical loving environment. Your emotions need to be seen and heard and taken seriously by setting appropriate boundaries. As for the mindset: you need to be recognized, with the affirmation that you matter and are special. Healthy self-esteem starts with the parents. It matters what they say and do. The most important thing is that you know that you are loved, even if you make mistakes.

The spiritual healing of a family

A household consists spiritually of a web of relationships. You can think of a household and all the people who live in it as one person. To keep that person healthy, all family members must work together for overall health. When a member is seen as a scapegoat (the “problem child” or the target of all disowned emotions and problems), a member is out of balance or struggling, or when a member is the “golden child” (who gets all the attention), the entire household must be spiritually healed. The whole web of relationships has to come back into balance.

Not to be heard

A healthy connection between a child and its parents means: you feel safe, you have a bond with your parents and you can stand up for yourself. You matter, you are listened to and you are accepted. An abandonment wound often occurs when you are not heard. Your parents treat you as if you don’t have an important opinion or as if your emotions don’t matter.

An abandonment wound occurs because you have been abandoned in some way. You were not cared for enough, in a physical, emotional and/or spiritual way. This wound is best recognized in cases where the child is physically abandoned. But I’ve worked with many individuals with separation injuries whose parents were emotionally absent. Or they themselves suffered from traumas so that they could not sufficiently care for their child.

This is how you recognize an abandonment wound

Winter Depression

A separation wound can be recognized in many ways. One is if you don’t trust others enough to take care of you. The wound makes you long for connections with others, but at the same time constantly pushes everyone away. Some are aware of this, but there are also people who feel that they have to arrange everything themselves because they do not trust their environment.

There are also times when someone with an abandonment wound does not trust authorities, such as teachers, doctors, therapists, and other people in authoritative roles.

Which is also typical: someone with an abandonment injury can feel that no one likes him or that he is left out. When you’re young, you don’t understand that there might be something wrong with your parents. You believe that there is something wrong with you or that you are different from everyone around you. You do not see that you have instinctively isolated yourself, to protect yourself.

Feeling ‘different’

It’s common for people with abandonment injuries to feel out of place in the world, thus perpetuating the belief that they are different. An abandonment wound makes you feel bad and isolated from others. You can be an adult and still feel like you don’t live up to the cultural and social norms of society.

Most people who ask me for help and want to be “normal” progress by realizing that it is normal not to be aware of everything around you. It can actually be healthy to live your life honestly rather than just existing within the ‘approved boundaries’‘.

The world is dangerous…

It also happens that people with an abandonment injury constantly feel that they have to defend themselves. In their eyes, the world is made up of dangerous individuals. You often deal with self-loathing by excluding people with different political affiliations or other social skills. You subconsciously focus on the aspects that make someone else. If you work on your self-loathing, you can stop focusing on others. You can accept the aspects of yourself that you have ignored.

Response to Criticism: Fight or Flight

Any form of criticism is experienced as painful. Any perceived rejection by others is felt deeply and in a very sensitive place that is part of your abandonment wound. This is typical of people who are stuck in this behavior pattern: defending yourself by making yourself invisible. You can also panic. Basically, a fight-or-flight response.

When someone gives a little criticism, you can react with anger, feel worthless, and suicidal. Or when someone slightly rejects you, you can instantly believe that the world is filled with horrible individuals. A flight response would be to leave the situation completely or withdraw into yourself, but still, be physically present. You bury a part of yourself deep so the world won’t see you’re upset. You can also have an internal dialogue, but not react in real life or enter into a confrontation.

Healing an Abandonment Wound

There are a number of ways to heal from your separation injury. Usually, it takes some time. You have a deeply rooted behavioral pattern that you cannot get rid of easily. You often heal in steps and with each step you make more progress. The first step: recognizing the wound and the ways in which you respond to it. In this way, you can accept what you are about to do, but also understand that it is normal that you have developed such a defense strategy because you were not well enough taken care of in your youth.

You have to understand the consequences of this: you didn’t get enough self-esteem as a child, so you now feel that you don’t matter in this world. Understandably, this makes you feel rejected, have developed a defense strategy, and feel unwelcome or isolated from others. You protect yourself from the possibility of experiencing such trauma again.

Massages and Craniosacral Therapy

As an adult, you have the ability to understand your trauma. And to be your own parent, as it were, and to give yourself that care that you missed in your youth. You can use my book The Body Deva to work with your inner child and give it the attention it deserves.

I sincerely believe that you can rebuild your self-confidence and trust in others through therapy (and the right therapist). You can change your life by working on your body. You can heal yourself and your connection to the world in so many ways, just by being touched in a loving way. This way you process emotions through your physical form and you feel safe and strong again.

Thanks to massages, craniosacral therapy, Zero Balancing, and other forms of therapy, you can regain the confidence to let others take care of you.

Listening to your body

There are great teachers who can be of great support because they have been through the same things you have. Their job is to help you so that you can heal from your wound, just like them. A good spiritual teacher lets you focus on your inner self and take responsibility, after which you eventually (and hopefully) surpass your own consciousness.

Furthermore, it is recommended to spend time in nature and do exercises to ground yourself, but also to meditate. With my meditation course, you can create a safe haven within yourself, ground yourself and learn how to deal with emotions.

When you get the wound, you develop self-hatred and self-rejection, leaving your body (and your life) behind. By learning to love yourself and to listen to your body, you can find peace in yourself again and learn to trust yourself. Your body becomes a place where you feel safe. You can slowly focus on yourself again and heal your wound in a loving and healthy way.

Focusing on your inner self

In one of the exercises in my book, you have to ask yourself what age you are. This may sound strange, but if you’re reacting to your trauma, you’re probably doing it not as an adult, but as a child. If you use this method of self-examination, you can find out why it feels like you’re five years old when you get angry. Or as a teenager when you are being stubborn or sad. By being aware of this, you can focus on the aspects of yourself that require healing, but you can also consciously change your response.

What you can also do: look for the wound in others. It is important to be able to study the wound from a distance before looking deeply into it. When you are ready to focus on your inner self, first look at the aspects of yourself that keep you separated and viewed in a negative way. It takes a lot of courage to become aware of your ignorance and self-loathing, but you achieve a lot with it. In this way, you can make those aspects of yourself your own again, so that you heal an incredible amount.

If you are fixated on someone, list five good things about that person: physique, religion, tradition, political affiliation, good deeds… See the person as a human being and by doing so, you can heal the division in yourself. See the person as a mirror in which you see something that you have rejected or rejected in yourself. This way you can heal the important parts of yourself.



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