Most people who live with dissociative identity disorder have known abandonment. Abandonment for children is when the child is experiencing mental anguish, but their caregivers are not attuned and ignore their silent cries for help.

This article will tackle abandonment and hopefully, after reading it you will understand and accept yourself better.

What is Abandonment?

Abandonment isn’t just something someone does to someone else, it is also a deep-seated fear that many who grew up in a dysfunctional home know too well. Children have very distinct needs that must be met for them to feel happy and secure.

Some of the emotional needs of children include:

  • To be listened to and understood
  • To receive nurturance
  • To feel appreciated
  • To know they are valued
  • Receive affection
  • Know they are loved

If there is conflict, abuse, or the above needs are not met the child feels overwhelmed by life and events that happen to them and they will dissociate to protect themselves.

To be clear, it is not only children who need these needs met, adults do too.

The Symptoms of Abandonment in Children and Adults

It is not uncommon for children to worry if their caregivers are leaving them alone with another adult. Separation anxiety is a normal part of development in young children. However, children who are either physically or mentally abandoned or both develop separation anxiety that goes beyond the normal span of time in their development that can also lead to problems in adulthood.

In children a fear of being abandoned presents as follows:

  • Constantly worrying about being abandoned
  • Anxiety or panic when made to attend school or daycare
  • Unusual clinginess to a caregiver
  • Fear of being alone especially at bedtime
  • Frequently being ill without an apparent physical cause
  • Isolating away from other children
  • Having low-self esteem

While the symptoms of abandonment are pronounced in childhood, abandonment causes big problems for day-to-day living in adults. Some of the ways that abandonment presents itself in adulthood are as follows:

  • Being a person who always wants to please others even at their own expense
  • Giving too much in relationships
  • Having an inability to trust
  • Pushing others away to avoid being rejected
  • Feeling insecure in relationships with romantic partners and friends
  • Codependency with another
  • Always feeling a need for continual reassurance that they are loved
  • Fearing others will abandon them
  • Feeling a need to control the actions of others
  • Persisting in unhealthy relationships
  • Not being able to maintain relationships
  • Jumping quickly from one relationship to another
  • Sabotaging any relationships, they do form
  • Having a lack of emotional intimacy

Adults who experienced abandonment when they were children often find themselves drawn to others who will treat them badly and who eventually leave them. This behavior further perpetuates feelings of abandonment, fear, and mistrust.

Recognize yourself yet? I know I did.

How You Can Heal

Abandonment issues are anxiety-related and considered an anxiety disorder.

Abandonment is not in itself a medical condition and needs a mental health professional to recognize it by listening to their new client’s report of symptoms and through observation.

These issues can only be treated through psychotherapy. There are many forms of psychotherapy available to explore to find help in healing from abandonment.

Abandonment and dissociation are tightly linked, and it is safe to say that had we had at least one adult in our young lives who had not abandoned us but believed and cared for us then we would, despite the abuse, most likely not have become a multiple.

Treatment can help you learn to identify negative thought patterns and replace them with more realistic ones. Progress may be slow because of the coexistence of dissociative identity disorder however healing will happen if you persist.

The work in therapy will include grieving the past losses of parental love and nurturance and help to reduce the mystery of why you were abandoned. Treatment will help you understand one critical reality, that the abandonment was not your fault. It is not today. It was not then. It never was.

It was the job of the adults in your life to meet your needs as a child including being there for you to pick up the pieces after an abusive event. They were not so you grew up with all kinds of negative impressions about yourself.

Perhaps you thought you were a bad child.

Perhaps you thought you did not deserve love.

Perhaps you thought there was something wrong with you.

If that is what you are feeling, while your feelings are validated, they are not true.

Remember that.

Once a therapist has helped you deal with the abandonment issues you can then go on to rebuild or build your life while establishing healthy boundaries and finding someone who will truly appreciate and love you.

Ending Our time Together

The abandonment of a child is a horrific thing that leads to misery beyond some people’s comprehension. We who live under the influence of dissociative identity disorder understand better than most just how life-altering being abandoned as a child is and the confusion plus anxiety that it brings.

While there is a long list of how abandonment affects us, we are absolutely not without hope.

As multiples, we can come to our own rescue with the help of a qualified mental health professional. We can learn to nurture and love ourselves in all our forms from the youngest to the oldest alter and we must if we wish to live in peace.

Overcoming abandonment issues takes effort and tears but the effort is well worth it.

“Heal yourself, find yourself, know yourself, correct yourself, see yourself, love yourself, be yourself, respect yourself.” – Unknown

“There is strange comfort in knowing that no matter what happens today, the Sun will rise again tomorrow.” – Aaron Lauritsen

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