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Surviving and Thriving after Abandonment
by Author Carmen Love
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    ~~ Surviving and Thriving after Abandonment~~

Abandonment and rejection is something that happens to each and every one of us at one time or another in our lives. Sometimes it means the death of a loved one, a painful divorce, betrayal by a spouse or partner, rejection from a parent or family members, rejection from co-workers or even the loss of a best friend. This article does not suggest in any way that healing takes place instantly or that forgiveness erases painful memories. On the other hand, in time, and no matter how painful the devastation, there is healing. I further illustrate this with a story of a young man named Tyler who had been abandoned by his father in his early childhood years and then later rejected by his mother. He lived his life bouncing from one unhealthy relationship to another which only reinforced his feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, and additional heartache.

Whatever the circumstance, and no matter how many times it happens to us, rejection can be devastating and heart shattering. The heartache of feeling abandoned or rejected are further nurtured by future hurts, pain, and adversities, and the ultimate result is a gaping wound left in the depths of our soul we carry throughout our lives, for the rest of our lives. Furthermore, this hole in the soul only deepens in time and forces us to make decisions, usually unhealthy ones, as we try so desperately hard to fill it. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, money, and relationships never fill that empty space that only God can fill.

In my counseling sessions I oftentimes use the empty cup to symbolize brokenness.

~~~~~~~~The Empty Cup~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why cant I ever feel whole? Imagine me holding a cup in my hand filled with liquid. If someone comes along and pokes a hole at the bottom of the cup it will eventually empty its contents, and no matter how much liquid I continue to pour inside, it will continue to pour out. The key is in sealing the cup after its emptied with Gods love; his anointing oil. Furthermore, you can begin to pour fresh liquid into the cup, and as you continue to pour, there will be an overflow. The human heart is the same. We continue pouring in unhealthy substances trying to fill a void, and it continues to empty itself. As long as the soul wounds are still there, the greater the emptiness until Gods soothing ointment is allowed to seal it up once and for all. As a result, we begin to pour greatness and everything that God intended for our lives, filling our cup, healing our wounds; leaving our hearts and lives overflowing with blessings, security, and love.

~~~~Tylers Story~~~~~

Tyler is a twenty seven year old Hispanic male. His story is only one of millions and represents many who share the same feelings and insecurities. Negative patterns and generational curses continue to nurture themselves and thrive off of repeated attempts to feel that deficit of the soul. Tyler shared painful memories of how his father abandoned him and how his mother struggled with three small children. He struggled for many years with his emotions and self-identity, bouncing in and out of relationships, searching for love, acceptance, and security. He wanted the family he felt he deserved, and tried hard to emulate this to the best of his ability, yet continued to fail. After the divorce, Tylers mother never remarried. Instead, she became bitter and depressed. He never had a Godly example of what a real man looked like, which led to various pitfalls, failures, and only reinforced his insecurities.

When Tyler walked into my office, it was as warm and sunny as April. His profile was sharp and confident, rugged yet somber. He was a tall man, well groomed with a bright smile that touched my heart. His ruggedly handsome face was vaguely familiar. He was a carbon copy of his father, the man who walked out on his family when Tyler was six years old, and a man Id known for many years. I remember that day so well as if it happened yesterday. I can still vision what I had on and smell the scent of my mothers perfume as she cradled me tightly and tried hard to console me. I took deep wailing breaths while she embraced me.†Tyler stopped for a moment, leaning against the sofa, his head resting on the seat cushions, his eyes closed. He was in deep thought; his vision was still gloomily colored with memory. It was like a funeral or something. I mean, I just felt that way, like someone had died. My little sisters hearts were ripped apart, and I could do nothing to take away their pain which made mine even worse. And my mother, my poor mother, she tried hard for so long to fight back tears, but she lost, and they fell from her eyes like a waterfall.

He turned in his chair without comment, wiped his eyes and then turned back towards me and continued in an injured tone. How could a man do something like that? I mean, it just doesnt make sense to me. How could a man leave a beautiful woman and three children? Just up and leave like that? No explanation, just gone? My mother struggled every single day. She spoke very little English, and had no skills other than you know, just being Mom. She was so good, so very good at it to. Tyler stopped talking again, but only for a moment, then continued, wiping away his tears. A wave of scorn and fury flowed through him and I could see him shaking with anger. His eyes were misty and his face without expression. He leaned forward and cradled his head in his trembling hands, then shouted, I hate him! I hate him! He wiped away his tears and sat back again, and nervously, he began tapping his pencil on the edge of the chair. I will never forgive him for what he did to us! Never! And I hope that son of a gun gets exactly what he deserves! My mother didnt deserve that! My sisters didnt deserve that. I asked Tyler if he thought he deserved that, and he stated, No, I didnt. I was only six. I had time to bond with him and everything. I have a two year old son now, and I could never see myself putting him through what that man put us through!Tyler leaned forward again, this time the tension in his face was gone.

He stood to his feet and walked over to the window to collect his thoughts. He pulled the curtain back slightly and we noticed the great black clouds sweeping across the sky. My own mother has turned her back on me. She says I have a bad temper and that shes sick and tired of me drinking and throwing my life away. Sometimes I wonder when she looks at me if she really sees my father instead of me. You know, just the way she looks at me sometimes makes me wonder. Can you imagine being fussed at in a high pitched tone in Spanish? He chuckled lightly. Shes made it perfectly clear that she doesnt want me back in my little sisters lives until I straighten up. There is only one problem with that, I dont know whats wrong with me. Minutes later, the rain drove hard against the windows as if the day was mocking his sadness. I walked over and placed my hand on his shoulder as he wept; his tears synchronizing with the raindrops. He needed that release. He clutched my hand as if someone finally understood the deep heartache his father had left in his soul. Tyler was like a silent ocean, turbulent and unsteady. His father abandoning the family was like a knife driven straight through his heart, his emotions bleeding with shame, false guilt, unworthiness, and a sense of emptiness he could not understand.

"I want to heal. I really do, I just dont know how. For years my mother kept telling me to forgive him, for years, but I couldnt, something inside me just wouldnt let me do it. I was too hurt, and my life has been crazy ever since, and I blame him for it. But I can guarantee that my son will never feel this kind of anguish! Never!" Tyler sat back down, hesitantly at first, and began to speak in a much calmer tone this time. He was ready to listen. A blanket of relief covered him, and his heart was now willing and open to receive what I had to say to him, what God wanted him to know. He had finally and completely emptied himself and now it was time to allow the healing ointment to cover his soul wounds and for God to begin to fill his cup with something new, something better, something everlasting. It was time for healing to take place because he wanted it. He glared hard waiting for me to reply. I walked over, closed the curtains, and sat back down, this time scooting my chair closer to him. We could still here the pattering of the rain beating hard against the window pane but found it soothing, creating a more therapeutic environment.

The sound of the rain symbolized the watering of brand new seeds being planted and a new beginning about to take place for this young man. He understood the meaning of anguish at a very young age, before he had even begun to live, and now he was embarking on a new journey of healing. Before I began, I said a silent prayer asking God to be the potter of this clay (Tylers heart) that had grown hard and crusty over the years, and was now more pliable, mold-able, and could easily be reshaped. Not into what I wanted him to be. Not into what his mother wanted him to be or the expectations of others, but the man that God wanted him to be.

"Tyler, I said, placing a comforting hand on his trembling knee. Nothing hidden can be healed, and you took the first step of trusting again. After being abandoned and rejected, you trusted again. You trusted me enough to bare your soul wounds, believing that I would take good care of your injured heart. I heard you, God heard you. He knew before you were born these terrible things would happen. You see, God doesnt cause evil things to happen, but takes what the enemy meant for evil and can turn it around for your good and His glory. The good thing that came out of this situation is that you now know what it feels like to be abandoned, rejected, and thrown away like trash, and because of this awareness, you are able to be a better man than your father was by not repeating the pattern. Take what was passed down to you and do something different. Be aware of the generational sins and make different choices. This is how the curse is broken. Someone has to do something different. Tyler interrupted, Yeah, Iâm doing something different alright. Im sitting here balling like a little girl.No Tyler, youre sitting here emptying your soul of all the negativity and replacing it with something that will ultimately bring you and the people in your life, including your son, lots of joy. We create a self- fulfilled prophesy.

When someone especially early in life abandon, reject and betray us, we feel worthless and blame ourselves, creating a false sense of guilt that really belongs to person who hurt us. We subconsciously nurture these feelings through circumstances, people, and self-harm, feeding the monster instead of burying it once and for all. Instead of turning it all over and surrendering to God, we carry this dead weight around all of our lives and continue to repeat the pattern by engaging in relationships similar to the one we had with the person who betrayed us. We find our way back to the scene of the crime through unhealthy behaviors and toxic relationships. The false message is, Im worthless and everyone will eventually leave me like that person did. (fill in the blank) From that point, everyone you try to love or receive love from, will eventually leave because we have demonstrated in one form or another that we are not worthy of their love.

They try hard to love us and we act out in ways that reinforce we are not lovable. Our loved ones try even harder, with no full understanding into the depths of a pain weve harbored for so many years. So they remain with us for as long as they can bare it, and when theyve finally had enough, they leave. They have finally had enough and now theyre gone. Whats next? We can now return to that lonely place, that comfortable place, sitting alone in a dark space, clutching a pillow, sobbing the self- fulfilled prophecy of: I knew she/he was going to leave me just like he did.†This vicious cycle continues to perpetuate itself over the years damaging and destroying every relationship we encounter. Marriages, courtships, our children, job relationships, and close friends all destroyed. We can never resolve the conflict we had in our early childhood years with someone who abandoned us, with the person we are married to, or with our children, or others who love us.

The key is to find a safe haven to empty your heart then ask God to fill this emptiness with His love. Drugs, alcohol, illicit sex, adultery, gambling, and other unhealthy behaviors will never bring healing to a place that only God can touch. The human heart.


Tyler grinned and straightened his shoulders. The tension was gone from his face and he seemed relieved. He drew in a deep breath and let out a hearty laugh as if he had just been liberated from an emotional prison he could no longer remain in. Abruptly he stood to his feet and moved closer to me, and leaning forward he embraced me tightly. Falling to his knees he sobbed heavily on my shoulder remembering the comfort his own mother had given him when he was only a child. I reached to my left and pulled a box of Kleenex off the table and handed him one or two out of the box. He patted his eyes and blew his nose and then stated, I have never felt so relieved in my entire life.

"It all makes perfect sense to me now. I have been fighting with my sons mother for years now. She is the most beautiful girl I have ever met and I have ruined it for the both of us. She stood by me when I drank. She stood by me when I cheated. She even stood by me when I took the rent money and gambled it all away. Every time we fought shed yell, Tyler, why wont you let somebody love you? What is wrong with you? You will never find anyone who loves you like I do. You just keep pushing me away like you dont deserve to be loved. Tyler, I dont understand you!"  

"I did just keep pushing her away, and just like you said, when she couldnt take anymore she took my son and left while I was at work. I blamed her for a long time, and yes, yes, I sat in the dark with a twelve pack of beer many nights trying to drown all of my sorrows, sobbing and blabbering like a fool, repeating over and over again the words, I knew she would leave me. I knew she was going to leave me. And when I woke up the next morning they were still gone, and I had the biggest headache ever," he chuckled.

"Not only that, but I puked all over the house, and there was no one there to clean up after me anymore, no one to cook or feed me soup until I felt better. I was on my own, and the only one left to take my anger out on, was me. This is what brought me here today. Carolyn, thats her name. Shes been gone for nearly a year now, and I have been rattling my brain day and night trying to find ways to get her back. I need her. Ive tried everything. She said shes done with me and the only thing she expects is for me to take care of my son. Thats the easy part. I dont know what else to do, but one thing I know now, is that whether we get back together or not, its still up to me to change so that I wont carry these demons into another relationship.

I realize that no one can ever fill that void, that sorrow left over from my past but God, and I am willing to work as long as I can to resolve this inner conflict which has to do with me and no one else. I dont want to run anyone else away for loving me. One thing my mother did teach us was that God is a healer and only He can go back and bring light to those dark places. I will continue to come into counseling for as long as it takes, emptying my cup of all of the negativity and allowing it to be filled with something new, something better, something everlasting. I am worthy of love. I am ready to be loved. I am ready to give love.

~~~ Biblical scriptures for meditation and healing~~~ 

 King James Version (KJV)  Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Psalms 27:10: When my father and my mother forsake me, then the lord will take me up.

Deuteronomy 31: 6: Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: For the lord thy God. He it is that goeth with you; he will not fail or forsake you.

Psalm 34:18: The lord is night to those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit.

Author Carmen Love ©February 1, 2013


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