Abandonment Wounds

Let's get personal


Claudia Rose

6/9/20232 min read

red blue and black abstract painting
red blue and black abstract painting

Let’s talk about core childhood wounds. More specifically, let’s touch on abandonment wounds. This specific wound has cost me a lot of wonderful relationships over the years. From the outside it’s difficult to understand. From the inside, it feels impossible to comprehend.

Do you find it difficult to ask for what you want or need in a relationship?

Do you tend to neglect yourself or people please?

Have you ever felt panicked or anxious when someone significant left your life or you felt that they might leave?

If so, this is not your fault and is likely due to an abandonment wound resulting from childhood trauma. Though relationships have challenges, these reactions may stem from a deeper wound.

When these wounds are triggered, we may not be able to think as clearly and our reactions to situations may appear to be disproportionate. We may cry, scream, withhold our feelings or panic. We will likely regress back to the reaction we had during the origination of the wound.

How does someone acquire an abandonment wound?

I will share my own experience as an example. This will be a shortened version for reader respect and a detailed version will be posted at a later date.

My mother and step father (who adopted me at three years of age) were divorced when I was in 4th grade. They shared custody and my father was able to see me on weekends. For reasons not detailed here, my father stopped coming to pick my siblings and me up for visits. This sudden halt in regular visits during my middle school years created a layered abandonment wound for me.

I observed this wound a few years later when I began to date. I would begin to have anxious thoughts when I did not have definite plans with boys I liked. I began to self-sabotage relationships with men who did not follow through with plans they made. I experienced panic when plans changed with little prior notice of a date.

All of these years later, I can see that I was protecting myself from the perceived reoccurrence of rejection as the original wound had hurt me deeply.

In 2009, I was in touch with my birth father. We were getting to know each other better as I’d only known him since 2005. We’d made plans to have dinner and spend some time watching movies later in the week. He overdosed less than 48 hours before we would have been meeting. This abandonment wound is deeper.

I began to see myself struggle with this wound when it was time to let go of relationships. I also began having increased difficulty with panic regarding perceived abandonment and actual abandonment. I did not want to feel the "loss" of my birth father again via the loss of these individuals, so my abandonment wound was triggered into panic. I am able to acknowledge the thoughts and reactions now.

What can we do?

The first step is recognizing where your wound lies. Your reactions to situations may tell you enough. However, deep meditation can assist you as well. Notice how the past is still present in your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Before reacting in highly emotional situations, take a pause, acknowledge any “past” type feelings. These parts of you were created to protect and defend. If they aren’t needed then let them move along.

Recognize that this wound, at its basic level, is a disconnection from love and self-worth. Find a way back to knowing that you are enough and you are worthy just as you are.