It hurts, but it passes

• the DEF for Abandonment (A) is : “Not getting enough of your legitimate childhood needs met, & some needs NOT at all”. This applies to all 4 categories of NEEDS: Mental, Physical, Emotional, Spiritual. (A) is NOT just about someone physically leaving
• (A) did not have to be overt or deliberate. Our parents may have been oblivious to the damage they were doing, BUT the result is the same
• technically, you can not abandon another adult, only a child (there are some exceptions). So now when we FEEL abandoned, it’s left-over pain from the past
(PS. There are of course situations which will hurt any healthy adult, but not to the degree that ACoAs experience)
• being (A) continually as a kid in those 4 categories generates enormous amounts of terror, rage, hopelessness, loneliness, humiliation, sorrow...
• without an outlet for the intense, daily, unrelenting fear we lived thru during childhood, the accumulated pain gets buried & crusted over with defense mechanisms
• we carry that mountain of terror with us into adulthood. If not brought to the surface & safely re-experienced (OH JOY), it runs our life - in ALL areas, no matter how functional a person may look on the outside
• we always turn the original (A) into Self-Hate, in a desperate attempt to be in control of a bad situation (see pg. 54)

➼ At the heart of Self-Hate is a FALSE BELIEF: “It is OUR fault that we’re in pain AND if it’s our fault, then we can & MUST fix it/ change the person or situation, to make everything better”.

Whenever we have an intense emotional reaction to anything, in the present, we can be sure that:
-- ‘IF it’s hysterical, it’s historical’, meaning that the intensity is usually out of proportion to the present situation BUT is bringing up buried emotions from our childhood. The current event is in some way similar to our past experiences.
EXPL: Deb has deep, unresolved love-hate feelings for her talented but ne’er-do-well alcoholic father. Every time Deb get deeply involved in a love relationship
a. she chooses someone who is in some way like her dad
b. sooner or later she becomes enraged at her mate for his character flaws which remind her of ‘him’
c. she is merciless toward the current man, whether he ‘deserves’ it or not, because she has not yet dealt with the, pain, humiliation, loss of & disappointment in the original man in her life

-- When we can’t figure out what’s bothering us, we need to remember that : “ALL roads lead to .... abandonment”. No matter the current event - how real-life, practical or serious --- if we become devastated, self-hating, hysterical, paralyzed --- we can definitely say the situation is touching our old abandonment wound, which is VERY DEEP.
• the pain we feel at the moment can be from a present day event (a job loss, a breakup, being in a fire) - all of which are stressful. BUT ACoAs react even more intensely than others - who can be hurt, upset, have some sleepless nights... while the ACoA will be depressed for a long time, beat themselves up cruelly, become suicidal...
• this is from the accumulated suffering we went thru as kids, with NO comfort, outlet or hope of ending! To survive, the terror & rage got stuffed into a huge reservoir of the unconscious -- until some event in the present blows the lid off & we are literally FLOODED with painful emotions
• this will often be expressed by being out of control: panic attacks, suicidal thoughts or actions, rage attacks at others, self-mutilation, binges, fight & other self-destructive behaviors

a. OVER-sensitive ACoAs need to:
• accept that the current intensity of our pain is mainly from childhood and IS valid - because of real past trauma
• vent enough of those painful emotions in safe places & with the appropriate people, so that we’re not continually drowning in them. This will take more time than we like, because we can only do it in small doses & only as the emotions surface (usually, but not always, when we’re psychologically ready to handle it)
• have our early experiences validated AND explained, so we can fully understand & accept not only what happened but that it was not our fault
• learn techniques for calming our anxiety, especially for those times when we’re alone - like soothing music, meditation, journal writing, exercise, self-administered bio-feedback & EFT, etc
• share these emotions with the right people, so we don’t have to carry it all alone (“You’re only as sick as your secrets”) !

b. UNDER-sensitives need to
• be given accurate information about the emotional consequences of being abused as a kid
• be willing to dig into those experiences & face the reality of our trauma
• have permission to feel our feelings, whatever they are (break a Toxic Rule)
• learn ways to get those old emotions to the surface - visualization, writing, meditation, drawing, 2-handed Inner Child writing, rousing or sad music, etc.
• keep talking about what happened. Read about it. Get lots of validation & healthy feedback

✶✶ Please STAY AWAY from anyone who says:
• you’re wallowing in unnecessary suffering
• it was long time ago, so let it go
• the past is the past, move on

✶✶ THEY are telling you about their unwillingness to deal with their pain!
➼ YOU can do whatever it takes to recover! You don’t need anyone’s approval. YOUR healing & growth is all the PROOF you’ll ever need that this process works - because YOU’re the one who is gaining self-esteem & self-empowerment!
✶ ✶ ✶ ✶
Go to article "ACRONYMS" for meaning of all abbreviations
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Author's Bio: 

is a psychotherapist in private practice for 24 yrs in New York City, specializing in ACoA RECOVERY (adult-children of alcoholics & other narcissists).
She has appeared on radio, television & at New Life Expo, created & presented ACoA / Al-Anon intensive weekend workshops & ran an ACoA therapy group for 6 years.
She was an instructor at the NY OPEN CENTER  for 9 yrs, presenting her 12-week interactive lecture course “KNOWLEDGE Is POWER: 
What makes an ACoA”

She works with individuals & couples/partners, in person and by phone & Skype. FREE Intro Session, to see if there is compatibility.
For Testimonials, go to www.acoarecovery.com ("About Me")