"Letting Go" is a popular topic in recovery from many things-- childhood issues, addictions, codependency, and unhealthy relationships, just to name a few. Today we will finish with this week's blog series on what it means to "let go":
As Natalie discussed yesterday in Part 4 of our blog series on forgiveness, it's important to try and hang onto forgiveness, once you have gone through the steps of the process. While she discussed some different ways you can make the commitment to forgiveness, what happens if you are struggling with this, and the memories continue to come back?
This week, we are discussing abandonment issues, and the struggle that individuals with abandonment issues go through. Part 1 and part 2 describe abandonment issues, and part 3 begins to describe the stages that abandonment issues can take.
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 more stages today:
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.
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
Many times, our clients feel confusion when the term “abandonment issues” comes up in therapy. After all, don’t we most commonly think of the literal term, “abandonment”, as being physically abandoned (like an infant who is left on a door step for someone to find) ?
So, what exactly are abandonment issues?
Teri, Tammy, and Natalie have all shared some great tips so far to making our communication better. Here are a few more to add to your "relationship toolbox":
Remember that communication breakdowns aren't always personal. Many times the issue at hand is linked to some deep rooted unresolved issues. Try to empathize with your partner as they are trying to heal from a painful past.
Are you starting to understand that healthy communication is achievable? It is how you handle it that is important! Have you tried any of the tips so far? Here are 5 more to help:
Remember this isn't a competition. Having a win/lose mentality will only hurt your relationship and break down the connection and intimacy you have with your partner. This mind set actually creates two losers, not just one. There is no room for comments like, "I told you so" in healthy communication.
As Teri mentioned yesterday, disagreements can be healthy, as long as it's done in a respectful way. Healthy conflict can be one of the ways you and another person grow closer. It's natural for people to disappoint us in our lives, but how we handle it is key. Continue to follow tips for healthier communication steps this week, and you'll find yourself more successful at tackling difficult conversations.
All relationships have conflict at some point. Many couples try to avoid it mostly because they don’t know how to make fighting work “for” their relationship. Conflict within communication can be a good thing if done correctly. It allows each person to be honest with themselves and their partner about their opinions and desires. This week Imagine Hope wants you make your communication better.
As we have learned this week, anger is a healthy emotion, as long as it is channeled in a healthy way. Dealing with anger constructively can actually help our marriages become stronger-- and closer. In order to not allow anger to become destructive, it's important to learn how to deal with it effectively. Today, we will finish up with two more ways to deal with anger that can actually help you improve your marriage:
Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that we all experience. It becomes unhealthy when we bottle it, don’t fight fair, and use it to manipulate. Here are some additional tips to help you deal with anger-in a HEALTHY way:
Like Tamara mentioned yesterday, carefronting is a healthy formula to address issues and frustrations experienced by couples.
Anger is normal. We all feel it from time to time. We shouldn't see anger as "bad" or try to avoid getting angry. However, HOW we show our anger and process it can be what gets us in trouble.
This week we are sharing tips to help deal with your anger in healthy ways.
Have Some Fighting Rules
Getting angry during a fight is common, but sometimes unhealthy expression of anger can cause a fight to get intense.
Freedom #5: To take risks in one's own behalf instead of choosing to be only "secure" and not rocking the boat. We have all probably been in a situation where we've had something bothering us, but have been too afraid to bring it up or make a change because of how this confrontation might effect things.
By now, you are aware of what "enmeshment" is and how to know if you are in an enmeshed relationship (see earlier blog posts this week). What are the dangers of being in an enmeshed relationship?
Loss of self. When you are in an enmeshed relationship, you lose your identity. You ultimately lose the parts of your "self" that made the other person fall in love with you to begin with!
Our belief systems change. When we get too close to someone and enmesh with them, sometimes the things we believe in (religion, politics, moral issues, concepts) can start to change. This may or may not be a good thing. Meeting new people can open our minds up to thinking in new ways and exploring things we've never realized before.