Abandonment Issues- Withdrawl and Internalizing

Teri and Tamara have done a wonderful job of explaining abandonment and the first stage of the process- Shattering. I want to reiterate what Tamara said, this is different than the normal stages of grief and loss. Everyone experiences these stages. The abandonment we are discussing goes far beyond that. it pushes something in us that causes us to react to things differently than "normal" grief and loss would. I am going to discuss 2 stages today: Withdrawl This stage is much like withdrawal symptoms when someone stops using drugs or alcohol, or any addiction for that matter. It is the aching, longing, the craving to have that person back. They yearn for the person to come back. The needs they were filling are more readily noticed and the void feels huge! The same as an addict, you feel the loss of appetite, not being able to sleep, staying awake trying to figure out how to get them back. You feel the true loss and separation in this stage.

Internalizing This is the most critical of the stages for 2 reasons- 1. You are very vulnerable. You are walking around with an open, gaping wound! You are susceptible to being hurt even worse because of your wound. If you latch on to someone at this stage, you could easily be taken advantage of and hurt even more deeply. 2. You beat yourself up during this stage, making you even more vulnerable. You bargain with yourself. "What if I would of? I should have, could have...". Because you are doubting yourself, your self-esteem is taking a beating. This makes you a target for someone to treat you bad and to get into a bad relationship- which could start the cycle over again.

It is important during the stages of withdrawl and internalizing that you understand what is going on. Get support from family and friends who will help you and support you. This is a great time to seek counseling as well.

Tomorrow Joleen will discuss our last 2 stages. Thank you for reading.

Adapted from "The Journey from Abandonment to Healing" by Susan Anderson http://www.abandonment.net/

*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville