The experience in the city of abandonment is often cold and windy. Abandonment comes in many different forms. I will do my best to visit several of the neighborhoods in abandonment.
Downtown abandonment is called total abandonment. Total abandonment can be a willful or unwillful abandonment by a parent in your life. The willful abandonment could have happened when you were born illegitimately and one or both of you parents abandoned all of who you are. This abandonment might happen for various reasons. If you have been adopted, you would have definitely visited the downtown of total abandonment. Willful abandonment can be if your parents sent you to live in foster homes, with relatives or sent you to boarding schools.
These types of abandonments are intentional by one or both of your parents. Some of their intentions were totally selfish. They didn’t want you. They wanted to live their own life to chase their dreams, lovers or careers. Some parents’ motives may have been to give you a chance at a better life. Still the abandonment of the total self is a city of origin for influences toward what may have control over you.
The neighborhoods around downtown break up into several suburbs. Each suburb represents a part of you that was abandoned or neglected by one or both parents. We will make short trips into these neighborhoods since you may have been to that neighborhood before.
The abandonment of your spirit is our first suburb to visit in the town of abandonment. If one or both of your parents have abandoned you spiritually you wouldn’t have received spiritual training or encouragement to develop the spiritual aspects of yourself as a child.
Spiritual abandonment feels as if your parents decided you didn’t have a spirit. So they spent very little or no time communicating spiritual matters. Your contact with a community of faith would have been absent. Another form of spiritual abandonment would have been if one or both of your parents were so rigid religiously that you weren’t allowed to explore honest questions of a spiritual nature.
The next abandonment you may have experienced is abandonment of your emotions. Emotional abandonment is a confusing area of town. It’s as if the city engineers forgot to put names on the streets. You travel down a road, and you don’t know the name of the street you are on to get to another street that you don’t know.
One or both parents may have emotionally abandoned their child. It was unintentional. I don’t think Mom and Dad had a business meeting and said, “Hey, let’s abandon our children’s feelings.” Remember more than likely your parent’s feelings were abandoned as well. They were probably raised under the bad idea that “Children are to be seen and not heard.”
Such a parent might have also raised you. In this family, several things occur to the emotional part of your being when it is abandoned. You learn that feelings are not valid at all; you can be taught that you are not to identify, trust or feel a feeling. If you’re feeling full, you can’t listen to your body communicate the full feeling; you will still “have to eat what is on your plate.”
You can’t cry if you feel like crying, “Big boys don’t cry.” You get so many mixed messages that your emotional self is not vocal, not trustworthy or not important. You then in turn have very little training on how to identify or communicate your feelings. You also will have little training on how to utilize feelings in a decision-making process. This can lead you to stay totally in your head or be so emotionally based in decisions you keep making more bad decisions.
You will rarely learn what it’s like to be emotionally honest and available in an intimate relationship. I think you can see how visiting the suburb of emotional abandonment as a child can definitely be a genesis for the influence of out-of-control behavior.
Abandonment of your gifting is another stop on this tour. This suburb is confusing as well. It’s like you are in a part of town that speaks a different language and has a different currency than you. One or both of your parents have not investigated your particular gifts. They may not have allowed you to experiment with various sports, music or art to see what your natural aptitude might have been.
Another form of abandonment would be not to allow you to develop a gift they knew you had. You may have been athletic, musically inclined, just like to fix things or ask a lot of questions. Your parents wouldn’t allow you to develop a gift they actually knew you possessed. This lack of accepting and nurturing your giftedness can definitely be a genesis for an out-of-control behavior.
The abandonment of affection is familiar to many trying to gain control over in their life. All babies come with a built-in need (not a desire) to be touched, hugged and have physical affection. This need for affection is until death. The abandonment of affection starves the soul who experiences this. You are confused because your body really wants a hug, cuddle and pat on the back or just a time to wrestle, and yet it’s as if Mom, Dad or both don’t see that your body needs touch. The abandonment of affection is definitely a place for an influence of behaviors that can get control over you.
Financial abandonment has two neighborhoods. The very rich live somewhere on the north side and the poor, in debt, and struggling live on the south side. The interesting thing about this town is there are no roads to travel on. Nobody knows how to get to one another’s place, and it seems as if it’s all guesswork.
If you have been financially abandoned, you probably know exactly what I mean—you may not understand finances at all. Nobody taught you about saving, investing and how money actually works. Often you were exposed to either the “work/spend existence” model or the “mystery” model of money.
You feel inadequate even if you earn well. Parents who neglect the financial aspects of their children again rarely do this intentionally. I find that financial abandonment can continue way on up a family tree. This financial abandonment can most definitely be an influence in controlling behavior.
Sexual abandonment is very common in our culture as well. Cities are rampant with billboards everywhere for you to exchange sexuality for something whether it is love, or a good time without mentioning the consequences of pregnancy, disease, shame and a whole lot more.
Sexual abandonment also tends to run down a family tree. It’s as if in some families you are really not sexual. You get either no message at all or confusing things like, “sex is bad, nasty and save it for the one you love,” as one client told me her parents insinuated.
Being sexual is part of being created in God’s image. Both Adam and Eve were sexual beings before they ever engaged in any sexual behavior. Being sexual is part of who we are and always will be a part of who we are until death.
Managing sexuality without clarity from one’s parents is difficult. The culture attempts to steal sex from its adolescents. Sexual abandonment is a common place that I have seen control evolve from. The roots for out-of-control behavior stemming from sexual abandonment can be some of the strongest roots of all.
The suburb of moral abandonment is a smoggy city. Things are not real clear here. It’s not anyone’s fault for the smog; it just is. Morality tells us what is absolutely right and absolutely wrong, and it is imperative to navigate life with as few crashes as possible.
Morality has been given a bad rap in a culture that wants us to be led by our feelings so others can manipulate us. Parents can avoid this by being real clear with right and wrong for various reasons. Some parents fear being misunderstood or judged by others. Some parents are unclear on moralities, even the basics, due to issues in their own life like lying, stealing or monogamy. Regardless of the reason for moral abandonment it is a bastion for the influence of what can later get control of your life.
This town of abandonment is a big city with many suburbs. Some of us have lived in just one part of town. Some of us have been moved from one part of town to another during developing years. Regardless of the city of abandonment you have lived in, you can break your ties to them so you can live where there is acceptance, love, and peace.
Now that you have taken the tour take a moment to reflect on your own journey as a child. Did you visit or live in any of the suburbs of abandonment? For some of you, this might be a key to understanding the influences that led to the behavior you are currently trying to get control of.
Doug Weiss, Ph.D., is a nationally known author, speaker and licensed psychologist. He is the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and the author of several books including, Get A Grip. You may contact Dr. Weiss via his website, drdougweiss.com or on his Facebook, by phone at 719-278-3708 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.