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Abandonment Issues Coming Back Up

Hello everyone. I’m really angry right now. And a little sad as well. So, for some context, my dad struggled with a heroin addiction for most of my childhood. I am now 20 years old and my parents divorced when I was 8 due to my father’s addiction.

So, because of the addiction, my dad wasn’t always around and that is always something that I’ve struggled with.

But now, my mom is starting to date again and because of it, she isn’t spending more time with me. And I wish I could say that as a 20 year old college student, I am an independent woman who doesn’t care what her parents do, but my inner child is screaming. This relationship is really triggering my abandonment wounds from my childhood.

And what’s even more confusing is that my dad is starting to date again and even though we don’t talk much, I’m angry that he is happy and moving on. And he also is spending more time with his girlfriend and so we went from talking every once in a while to never talking. Like I never wanted to talk to him, but now that I can’t, I’m like freaking out.

Since both of my parents are now dating other people, I feel like I’m losing my parents all over again and I just can’t help but feel scared, lonely, angry, and sad. It’s like I’m 8 years old again right back when my parents told me about the divorce.

I feel emotionally stuck and I don’t know what to do

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I feel you. I was in a situation, where I thought I had to fight for the love of my parents. Obey and do what they want, and it never came, and I was left with the desire to be loved.

Seeing your parents move on might feel like they abandon you on an emotional level, but also might want to consider that they move on with their lives for their own good.

Maybe if you try to think of it not loosing your parents, but gaining step parents. Ask your mother to introduce you to her new friend, and hang out together a bit, so you get him to know. The same with the new girlfriend of your father. It will show them that you care about your parents, and that you want to become a part of a bigger - and even stronger family - even if those 2 branches now go separate ways.

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Yeah this is brutal.

It’s like…when your parents divorced you lost both parents in a way…your dad to drugs, your mom to all of the responsibility she had to pick up when your dad left. In a lot of ways, the wound you received from your dad was that you weren’t important enough for him to change, you weren’t important enough for him to stick around. And in a lot of ways, you took that wound to productivity – finding ways to achieve in order to prove your importance. And the world rewards that! They give attention for accomplishments. But it feels like you’re in this lull right now where you don’t have anything pulling your parents attention to you, but more than that, their attention is actively being siphoned away from significant others. And it feels like you’re just being cast to the wayside, like you don’t matter at all, like you never really did, like it was just something to bide their time while they were licking their own wounds, and now that they have the opportunity to date, it’s as if you never mattered in the first place.

It is an absolutely brutal place to be in. Having your wound re-opened, or “lanced”, is something that is excruciating.

One of the things I want to encourage you to hold onto in the middle of this is that God doesn’t waste your pain. Typically when you have pain re-opened in your life, it’s not just for the act of being hurt, but it’s actually to bring YOUR awareness to the fact that you are still wounded. Often times, when we find ways to cope, over time, it can feel like we aren’t actually wounded anymore. But healing is what changes the wound, not coping. Time isn’t what heals you, healing heals you, ha. And in that sense, when you have your wound re-opened, it is actually most often the KINDNESS OF GOD bringing you back to a place where you can experience more wholeness and freedom.

So try to hold onto the idea that this is happening for you and not to you. And from that place, get curious about it – okay, what am I supposed to do differently? What am I supposed to learn here? What is it that I’m supposed to get out of this experience? How do I become wholehearted? In what ways is my heart broken, and how can I bring those pieces back to you, God?

I think these may be some helpful questions to start off with, but really coming back to the believe that even while you feel externally abandoned, the fact that you’re getting to bring awareness to your wounding is actually proof that God is still with you. Because most people live blind and numb to their own pain, and so they never get the chance to heal.

Hoping this bit encourages you and maybe gives you some platform points to journal about.

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@Sarah I’m sorry that you had to grow up while working through both divorce and a parent experiencing addiction. Those are two very hard things to work through at any point in your life, especially when you’re so young. My parents divorced when I was 9 and it threw my entire life off balance. I’m 28 and I still have emotional scars from the after math of the divorce.
It is very understandable for you to have all the hard feelings that you do. Divorce and addiction are heavy. It sounded like in your post that you didn’t know why you were feeling how you are, like you didn’t think you should feel like you do. But your feelings are totally valid. It’s okay to be hurt by your parents moving on and changing their relationships. It’s okay to be confused by the changing dynamic in your relationship with them. It’s okay to be confused and angry.
I don’t have the answers on how to make it better, but I encourage you to spend time mourning the divorce, whatever that means for you.My husband works through his pain by writing but for me, crying through art works much better, a friend of mine has to talk about it with someone… whatever works for you. Let yourself feel all the things. All the messy parts, the parts that don’t make sense, the parts that you might try to think yourself out of feeling. All of it. Part of working through it, is just to allow yourself to feel it. It’s going to hurt and it’s going to be frustrating but in my experience it also helps relieve all the pent up and unexplored feelings.

hello!

I see this is sort of an old post, but I just wanted to comment. I can really relate to a lot of the things you said. It’s like, maybe you didn’t have what you wanted with your dad when you were younger, but now it feels like that chance is just gone.

My mom isn’t around anymore, but my dad recently remarried. It has been really weird and I’m often a little embarrassed to admit that it’s been hard for me. I’m 32. I have a husband and a daughter. But I was always very very close with my mom, and only recently realized that I was NOT as close to my dad as I thought. Then, he meets someone that makes him really happy, and they really love each other, but honestly my inner kid tends to scream “you’re not my mom!” (see why I get a little embarrassed to admit that at 32?)

His wife is lovely, and I genuinely get along with her when we’re together. But she’s changing the relationship my dad has had with the family and I am being forced to admit that some of the things I wanted out of our relationship, which I never had anyway, are actually impossible now. Not for lack of trying on my part or his, but just realizing I was wanting him to be an idea of the dad I thought he was when my mom was alive. But, my mom was the buffer, and now that’s all changed. And it hurts. A lot. And now I officially see the relationship I wanted with my dad can’t happen the way I always thought it would, and that new boundaries will have to be set.

However, the new boundaries I have to set with him allow for a new type of relationship. It’s not the one I always wanted, and I am honestly really hurt and confused that I keep putting myself in positions to be hurt, because I’m expecting him to be someone he’s just not going to be. And as much as I know I need to be, I’m not really ready to give up on that idea, honestly. It would be nice to be able to talk to him the way I did when my mom was around. But everything is changing, so I get to decide now how I want him in my life. How can I make this work in a way that doesn’t leave me feeling hurt and defeated. It’s not going to be what I always thought I’d have, and I’m still letting go of that. But this has taught me a lot about who he is, without the buffer of my mom, so now I can really forge a relationship with him and his wife, and I get to set the terms.

Sorry, I started to ramble there. Guess I need to work on it a bit, too. It’s just such a weird thing to see your parents just… be with other people. It’s hard to see the relationship I wanted become impossible, but looking forward I can try for new things. I can take all that disappointment and hurt and use to to create a new relationship with him that won’t leave me feeling worse, because I can see it in a new light now. Even if ti’s painful.