In 2010, 40% of births were to single mothers (50-70% for hispanic and african american women). Women between the ages of 18-29 make up for 75% of all unwed births. Knowing this, I believe there isn’t a teen pregnancy epidemic anymore, there is a much deeper problem. With so many children being brought into this world and being raised in single-parent homes, we need to address a different issue: Abandonment.
On April 15, 1981, I came into this world without my father to see me take my first breathe. Even though I was too young to remember or understand, the lack of my father at my birth and throughout my childhood had a huge impact on the decisions I made as a teenage girl and young woman.
This is my story:
After I left my situation with my son’s father, I knew I needed help. I knew I was stuck in a cycle of terrible beliefs that kept me attracting “Mr. Wrong.” On the outside, I was a pretty, educated, driven, athletic, and outgoing young woman. In high school, I was a star athlete and an honor roll student. I received a track scholarship from the University of Colorado at Boulder. By the time I was 25 years old, I earned my M.B.A. with an emphasis in Marketing, was promoted to Manager at University of Phoenix Online and bought my first house. On the outside, I “had it together.” However, that was just a front.
On the inside, I felt anything but those things. My world was so full of pain and anguish that it all came to a head the night I hit “rock bottom.” I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror because I didn’t want to face the one person I couldn’t stand: Me.
It was during this time that I was led to seek help with a cognitive therapist. This was someone who was only interested in learning my thinking – my “programs” or the “blueprints” of my brain. After several sessions of explaining my past and current situations, she was able to help me identify my wiring – the messages I tell myself that create my reality, my beliefs, and values. Digging deeper and deeper, she helped me realize two things:
1. I am a chaos junkie (hard to swallow this one, and will save this for another blog post)
2. I have major abandonment issues
Abandonment, especially in girls, is a real problem today and is something we ALL develop at some time or other in our lives. So why was I so messed up? Well, we are all different. Because of other events that happened in my life, I developed a deep fear. The fear of abandonment consumed me and it became harder and harder for me to lead a “normal” life. So what are abondonment issues and how do you know if you have them?
The feeling of abandonment or abandonment issues can usually be traced back to childhood. Abandonment issues in children have their roots firmly bound to the fear of being left alone in the world, to cope with all the problems alone. Abandonment does not have to be a physical activity wherein a parent dies or leaves. It would also amount to abandonment, if a child does not find the emotional support, guidance or love from the parents. Wherein, in spite of being a part of your life, the parents are emotionally unavailable for you and therefore aren’t a part of your life in the true sense of the term.
- It caused me to question my self-worth
- I developed low self-esteem and often blamed myself
- I suffered greatly from guilt, and convinced myself that I deserved to be abandoned and no one really loves me
- I didn’t trust easily and rarely share my emotions with others.
- I lived in constant fear, insecurities and uncertainty
- I suffered from nightmares
- I became depressed and angry
So how did I overcome this “issue.” Well, I have to be honest. I haven’t completely, although I am much better than I was 5 years ago! I actually started to visit with my counselor again to work through this issue. It is something I literally I have to work on every day of my life, sometimes every hour, every minute, or even every second. I constantly have to stop and ask myself: NOW…..is this reality or this my fear? And the answer is almost always: This is my fear.
Tips for overcoming abandonment:
Overcoming fear of abandonment is not impossible if once you realize that love manifests itself in this Universe in myriads of dimensions. Just the failure in a job or rejection in one relationship can’t possibly end the world for you. Break the shackles of fear by reading some tips, that are as follows:
- Loving someone does not mean changing your life completely for him/her.
- Love is not controlling, it’s about letting it go free.
- Start inculcating healthy habits like yoga and meditation. As the inner you becomes rich, serenity and peace will manifest in your life.
- Stop over analyzing any situation. Develop the habit of taking every experience positively. It can be practiced on daily basis.
- Forget the past and move on. Mistakes are a part of life and so are bad experiences. Don’t carry the burden! Delete it from the memory. Be a new person!
- Stop being obsessed with anybody and anything. Give a tinge of humor to life. Laugh off your troubles, just let life free for sometime! See how it feels to free yourself from fear, jealousy, attachments! Just be! Just exist.
- Enjoy your relationships! Just your girlfriend or boyfriend is never your entire world. There are parents and friends, spend time with everyone. Love everyone and as said earlier, don’t be obsessed with every and any relationship.
- Don’t think too much. Worrying is like consuming slow poison, it eats you daily! Stop worrying.
- Find out your emotional outlet! Yes, it can be writing, painting, dancing or any hobby where you create the real you. Just discover it!
- Stop expecting too much from anyone in a relationship. If there is love, it will surely blossom and will take the relationship to new levels.
I know…..this might be very difficult to do on a regular basis! Trust me! What keeps me motivated to not give up on overcoming this issue is that I know that all of us were not born to experience unhealthy emotions. God did not create us to feel abandoned or live in fear, to be angry or depressed, to not feel loved or feel that we aren’t deserving of love. For me, when these emotions arise to the surface, I just pray. I give the burdon to Him and replace it with only one thing: LOVE.
If you feel you are experiencing abandonment issues, I pray that you seek help. This isn’t something that you can overcome without support. Seek family, your church, someone you feel can help you sort through this issue so you can be free of it.
“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” – Karl Augustus Menninger