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Soul Sickness and Core Wounds, Pt. 1: Abandonment

There are only so many fundamental ways that a human being can hurt. These wounds are markers of soul sickness, and if they’re not addressed, they can show up in our lives as addiction or mental health crises. One of these archetypal issues is abandonment. This can manifest as loneliness and being unable to find a sense of belonging.

While compared to other forms of abuse, abandonment may seem trivial, the truth is that it cuts deep. Part of the reason abandonment has such a profound impact on us is that we’re wired to respond to it strongly. The circuitry in our limbic brains is based on our own survival system. At one time, if humans were abandoned by their tribe, this meant not just humiliation but certain death. Abandonment is a form of trauma, and when triggered, it can lead to stress responses and patterns of behavior that interfere with our ability to have healthy lives and relationships.

At The Sanctuary, our mind-body-soul-spirit treatment program empowers people to fully heal from issues like PTSD, depression, anxiety, and addiction. We do this not by merely treating the symptoms of these issues, but by addressing the core wounds that caused them in the first place.

Let’s take a closer look at what abandonment is, how it affects your life and how you can heal from its draining effects.

What Causes “Abandonment Issues?”

When people think of abuse, they typically picture a physical or verbal assault. But in reality, many forms of abuse can be much subtler than that. One of these is neglect.

Emotional abandonment can even take place without someone physically abandoning you. This person can be a parent, caretaker, partner, or other close relationship. While we think of familial abandonment as involving an absent parent, this can simply be the result of someone dismissing us or delegitimizing our feelings. Narcissistic parenting, for example, often leads to abandonment wounds. Narcissistic parents may overly criticize their children, not allow emotional expression and hold them to age-inappropriate expectations. This is why children of narcissistic parents live in a constant state of higher stress and fear. And they often carry this way of relating to the world well into adulthood.

This kind of treatment creates deep-seated feelings of rejection. In order to be healthy, we need to know that we matter. Ideally, our caretakers would convey this to us via warmth and affection, which are as vital to us as air and water. In fact, research shows that removing children from human contact created severe developmental problems that followed them throughout their lives. Feeling invisible, it turns out, is an existential crisis.

This is all the more present during times of COVID, when caring for our souls presents an extra challenge. Many of us are dealing with more stress and less access to our loved ones and communities. These feelings of isolation can easily trigger abandonment-related pain.

The Impacts of Abandonment on Our Lives

Though sometimes hard to detect, the effects of abandonment are very real. They can also be hard to manage. And when left unaddressed, they can significantly impact our relationships with ourselves and others.

When we’re abandoned early in life, there’s no way to make sense of this experience. Our response, then, is to internalize it. When that sense of rejection is triggered later in life, we respond from the unhealed part of ourselves. We take on the role of our inner child, who is far more helpless and victimized than we likely realistically are.

Abandonment issues commonly lead to insecure attachment styles, which present problems in adult relationships. As we grow older and gain life experiences, it’s not uncommon to see these rising to the surface as our past traumas are triggered. Whether or not we realize it consciously, we might approach relationships from a place of fear, by either clinging too tightly or avoiding closeness altogether. This comes down to a belief that we’re not worthy or capable of healthy intimacy. And this can stick with us for a long time until we choose to do something about it.

Healing From Emotional Neglect

You probably know what your coping mechanisms are. Usually, they’re what gets us into treatment in the first place. But while it’s easy to get caught up in our behaviors, what’s more, important is their underlying cause. While we may feel like victims of our circumstances, the truth is that we have the power to comfort our own inner child. And to do that, we can use the parts of ourselves that are strong, compassionate and self-aware, and have already learned so much from our experience. Through your healing process, you can learn to be your own source of love, reliability, and support. And from that more centered place within yourself, it becomes much easier to communicate your needs in relationships with others.

At The Sanctuary, everything we do on a day-to-day basis repairs the soul from these deeply held wounds. We start each day together with a mindfulness practice. We connect with ourselves and the Earth by walking our Medicine Wheel and setting our intentions each morning. We’re then ready for our full schedule of group therapy, individual healing sessions, and family-style meals.

The Sanctuary’s treatment program is an intensive one, with far more clinical hours than rehabs typically offer. Clients here attend two to three individual sessions per day, which include a wealth of different healing modalities that let you reclaim your own, innate ability to heal. And it all takes place within a supportive community of therapists and peers who are here to support your journey to mental, emotional, and soul-level wellness.

Empower Yourself to Live Your Own Best Life

Your emotional wound is valid. But it’s not all that you are.

The process of identifying and working through the reasons why we don’t feel well lets us transform our pain into growth. We often need a boost – an immersive experience – to break the hold that longstanding patterns have on our lives. Thankfully, The Sanctuary’s integrated, holistic treatment program does just that.

When our clients embark on their healing journey, they start to see huge changes in their confidence and what they attract into their lives. And while they may believe that they come to The Sanctuary for a “problem,” what they discover here is their power and purpose.

You can not only recover from the emotional aftermath of abandonment, you can thrive. Contact us today to take the first step on your journey to the life you were meant to live.