Abandonment is one of those secret hurts that manifests itself in so many ways such as loneliness, depression, anger, and fear. I know this firsthand because I experienced all of these feelings growing up but at the core of all of it was abandonment. As I matured in my faith I have found three things, why we feel abandonment, how it manifests itself as destructive behaviors, and the solution for it.
The very moment that my mom gave birth to me, she gave me away. I didn’t know at the time, but the moment that I needed my mom the most, she abandoned me. The same recurring message was sent to me again when my mom divorced, and again when she divorced a second time.
I felt as though all of these people, the people most important in my life were leaving me, and why? It was like a message that was being sent to me (my heart) that said, Dear Joseph, I’m leaving you because I don’t love you.
When the people most important in your life are leaving you, it’s hard not to wonder if something is wrong with you. You add on top of that, growing up in a community that is largely very different from you (racially) along with a lot of racism and you could say I was a pretty broken child inside.
How did I cope with all of this? All of the feelings that I had, anger, loneliness, depression, and fear had become a part of me. I started to believe that people really didn’t love me, that I had nothing to offer this world, that I was a failure, and maybe that was the very reason why everyone had left me. I ended up partying a lot trying to get girls to like me, to see something inside of me that I thought my biological mother had missed.
I drank alcohol and I ended up flunking out of my freshman year of college. I had no idea where I was going, who I was, and if anyone really cared about me.
As I look back, I found that I had used those things as an escape, a place to getaway from the reality that I didn’t want to face. For some of you, the place to escape might be drugs, alcohol, prostitution, abuse, pornography, violence, romance novels, or even behaviors such as putting other’s down in order to make yourself feel better.
All of these behaviors often stem from a core issue of abandonment. When the people we love hurt us and then leave us, we begin to feel as though something is wrong with us, that we have nothing to offer. This can’t be farther from the truth, which brings me to my next point, what is the solution?
I tried a lot of things in this world to try and escape the hurts that wounded me for many years. I also knew a lot of people who tried things such as drugs and violence to escape the pain they felt from experiences they were hurt by. But what I can tell you is that all of those things, all of the things that the world has to offer will only provide temporary relief which is why it’s so easy to become addicted to those places of escape.
Since their so temporary and fleeting, there is no way they will ever satisfy and give you the peace that each one of us so desperately desires.
When I finally found God which took me several years to finally give my life to him because I was so afraid, so hurt, so fearful that God might do the same to me. I also had a hard time believing that God’s promises were true when my experiences told me that promises get broken all the time.
I also thought how could a loving God put me through so much pain, how does that show me that he cares about me? Well, I got an answer one night when my girlfriend’s mother called me. Her mother knew I was adopted but didn’t know I was hurt by it. That night she called my girlfriend to tell me to look up a scripture that God wanted me to know.
Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!
I couldn’t explain it but I was in tears that night. I knew that God was speaking directly to me and It really put me in tears knowing that he really did care about me.
Have you struggled with feelings of abandonment? Share your experiences below.