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  • Jayne Green (B.Ed;M.Ed)

The Many Faces of Abandonment: The Echoes of Emptiness



Children can feel abandoned for a variety of reasons, and the experience of abandonment can have a profound impact on their emotional and psychological development. Here are some common factors that may contribute to feelings of abandonment in childhood:


  • Separation or divorce of parents: Children who experience the separation or divorce of their parents may feel abandoned by the parent who leaves the family home. Even if the parent remains involved in the child's life, the loss of daily contact and routine can be deeply distressing for the child.


  • Neglect or emotional unavailability: Parents who are emotionally unavailable, neglectful, or preoccupied with their own problems may be unable to provide the love, support, and attention that children need to feel secure and valued. This can lead to feelings of rejection, abandonment, and low self-esteem.


  • Physical or emotional trauma: Children who experience physical or emotional trauma, such as abuse, neglect, or a life-threatening illness, may feel abandoned by the adults who are supposed to protect them. Traumatic events can shatter a child's sense of safety and trust, leading to a sense of isolation and despair.


  • Institutionalization or foster care: Children who are institutionalized or placed in foster care may feel abandoned by their birth parents and may struggle to form attachments with their caregivers. The instability and uncertainty of these environments can further compound feelings of abandonment and insecurity.


  • Death of a parent or loved one: The death of a parent, sibling, or other loved one can leave children feeling alone, scared, and abandoned. Children may struggle to make sense of their loss and may feel like they have been abandoned by the person they loved and relied on most.


  • A Sibling who is Institutionalized: A sibling whom you are close to can suddenly be taken away from the home and put into care. This can create feelings of abandonment within the sibling who is still left at home, who may feel that they too may be taken away and abandoned if they do not behave well and please their parents. This can cause problems such as co-dependency in relationships with intimate partners and fear that they will become abandoned as an adult. Often this type of abandonment can also lead to a person always being meticulous and controlled in their emotions and behaviors for fear that if they do not please others, then others may also leave and abandon them.


These are just a few examples of the factors that can contribute to feelings of abandonment in childhood. It is important to note that every child's experience is unique, and the impact of abandonment can vary depending on the child's individual temperament, coping skills, and support system.


If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of childhood abandonment, it may be helpful to seek the guidance of a mental health professional who can provide support and guidance.


If any of this sounds like you, then seek the help of a good professional and licensed therapist.

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