Abandonment is a form of emotional abuse. Meet another couple—Marty and Charise. Marty and Charise were in their late twenties. Marty was in the ministry and loved it. Charise was an elementary schoolteacher. They were a delightful couple to everyone who knew them. They had two children, a boy and a girl.

Marty’s “crack” began early in his life. You see, Marty’s mom became pregnant with him her last year of high school. Marty’s biological dad abandoned Mom and has, to this day, never seen Marty.

Marty’s mom did the best she could by living with her parents so she could go to college. She didn’t date for years, but when Marty was twenty she married the man who became Marty’s stepdad. Mary’s stepdad was a traveling salesman who didn’t take much interest in Marty. Thus both Marty’s dad and his stepdad abandoned him. Three years after they were married, Marty’s stepdad divorced his mother.

Marty thought he had dealt with this because of his faith. But he made comments about the time someday when Charise would leave him. After the first couple of years of marriage, Marty closed down emotionally. He wouldn’t receive the love she had for him and doubted her motives. He had outbursts of anger disproportionate to the situations. Marty’s abandonment crack started to show up. He didn’t want it to, but he seemed powerless to stop the crack from growing in his life and marriage.

Abandonment can go very deep into the heart of a man or woman. Sometimes this crack starts even before we can talk. One or both parents may have abandoned us. We could have been put up for adoption. We could have lost our parents to death or divorce.

Regardless of how or why abandonment occurs, the pain is real. Sometimes we don’t trust or let others into our hearts. Sometimes we use anger or a set of diversion behaviors to aid us with abandonment. For some the diversion is over involvement in activities, relationships or causes. This over activity keeps the soul too busy to stop, feel and process pain that could be occurring in our hearts. For others, diversions can be a constant regurgitation of negative feelings or focusing on what they don’t have or what’s wrong with the world. This negative rehearsal also can keep the soul so busy as well as not be able to stop, process or listen to the real pains in their hearts. A heart in pain if it is not actively healing will create some sort of distraction. Some spouses continually set themselves up for abandonment. This cycle of abandonment keeps a soul chasing love or acceptance, picking people who won’t or can’t return this love or acceptance and then they get hurt and repeat this cycle with the same person or another person all over again.

As with abuse, you can face and heal your abandonment—again, owning it, placing the responsibility where it should be, getting counseling if necessary, moving toward forgiveness, and grieving your losses.

Characteristics of someone suffering from Abandonment

  1. An inability to let others into your heart.
  2. Generally not trusting people.
  3. An isolated lifestyle.
  4. When you hurt you have nobody to go to.
  5. An inability to see or accept your flaws
  6. Focusing on the flaws of others.
  7. Critical.
  8. Success is feared to be short-lived.
  9. Believing people will leave you.
  10. A general insecurity of self at the core
  11. Being so successful you don’t need anyone

If you find yourself struggling with abandonment you can attempt to work on this yourself. You can walk through a self growth process I wrote in the book “Get a Grip” (Siloam 2007). If you are still not successful you may need to try counseling or speaking with someone in the therapeutic ministry in your local area. Of course you can always set up a phone appointment with me to see if you really need to go the profession route for your healing.

It is possible you’re reading this section and you think it has some application for your spouse. You can read this section together. If they believe this is an issue they can take the steps we already discussed. If they are unwilling to reach out to heal, then you might consider marriage counseling so you can be more successful in your marriage.

The ten minute marriage principle will help strengthen your marriage, however if you or your spouse struggle with the wound of abandonment, you may need to apply some extra work to really receive the full results that you desire to have in marriage. To be more successful in life and to thoroughly enjoy the Ten-Minute Marriage Principle, you’ll need to deal with the emotional wound of abandonment.

Excerpt taken from: The Ten Minute Marriage Principle

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