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Healing your Abandonment Wound

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The abandonment wound runs deep within me and has influenced many aspects of my life. Often seen as a singular issue, it’s truly much more than that. It’s a self-perpetuating pattern that shapes our thoughts, emotions, relationships, and sense of safety.

For me, like many of us, it first appeared in childhood. I longed for more physical quality time, protection and for a deeper level of emotional attunement to my heart and feelings. It feels important to note here that emotional abandonment can be just as impactful as physical abandonment.

As I grew older, the wound of abandonment manifested in intense jealousy, and I eventually faced intense betrayal when my partner cheated on me… a few times! The pain was compounded by the fact that two of the women were my close friends.

Trusting men to be faithful, to stay, to be present emotionally and physically always felt very difficult. I wanted to trust, to open up, but the deep wound of abandonment left me feeling suspicious, stuck and intensely self-protective.

Therapy helped me understand the depth of this wound, but I struggled to embody that understanding and truly transform. There was a missing piece that Tantra eventually revealed to me.

I needed to approach this healing through the body, cultivating a level of trust, openness, and surrender within myself first. I learned to create safety in my own skin, to reparent and attune to my own needs. I grew intimate with myself and others, finding joy and pleasure through a more body-led approach to life.

The biggest changing point for me in healing my abandonment wound was realising that it started with not abandoning myself and my own heart and deeply attuning and listening to my body. 

I also realised that just because my abandonment wound started in my childhood, that doesn’t mean that when it’s triggered, it’s only because of that childhood wounding.  If you’re in a relationship where your abandonment wound is constantly being triggered, it’s because that person is abandoning you in some way. Yes, childhood wounding can make this more extreme, however it’s unacceptable for the person you’re in a relationship with to excuse their abandoning behaviour under the guise of “it’s just your abandonment wound coming up again” or  “you can’t abandon an adult”. 

If you’re in a relationship where this is the dynamic, I strongly suggest feeling into whether this is the right relationship for you and having a conversation with your partner about how you’re feeling. A big part of loving yourself is not allowing people and situations that constantly trigger your abandonment wound to continue. Recognise what your body is a “NO” to and create clear and firm boundaries, likewise, listen to your body’s “YES” and follow them. 

Stop tolerating situations that aren’t expansive and start letting love be the deciding factor in your life. Ask yourself: “does this person, relationship, or situation feel like love to me?” When you prioritize love, you are setting the tone for your worth. When you have high self-worth and a high value on love, that is what you will attract more of. By making these conscious choices, you are effectively crafting the reality that you live in, one where love and self-respect guide your path.

There’s a common misconception that you must heal and love yourself completely before you’re ready to be in a relationship. While I agree that sometimes it’s necessary to go on an individual journey of healing and self-love to avoid inadvertently harming another, I don’t believe that is always the case. In fact, more often than not in these situations, I think it can be very beneficial to heal your wounds alongside a partner who is holding you in a loving and safe container. Let yourself be held by their unconditional love (as well as your own) and let that love support you in your healing process; it doesn’t need to be a solitary path. 

There is a deep healing medicine that can be found in relationships where unconditional love is present; when you are held with such deep love, everything that’s not love comes up to be healed.

Let yourself be held and connect with your abandonment wound – how does it feel in your body? If a need comes up, express it to your partner from this open and vulnerable place. When we surrender into this practice, it gives us the opportunity for our wounds to turn into healing and evolution with others. 

A big part of loving yourself is choosing to honour your deepest needs and desires, this includes the desire for a relationship AND it includes setting boundaries when your needs aren’t being met in this relationship (and all your other relationships, romantic or not). When you don’t let yourself feel and express your “NO” and process the deeper layers of your boundaries, it’s going to be hard for you to get clear on what you do want in a relationship… If you aren’t feeling and processing your boundaries, you’ll find it hard to know what your non-negotiables are because you aren’t feeling the full impact of your reality.  

Often when someone is feeling abandoned, they don’t want to say anything because they are afraid of losing love, so they begin a mission of being “strong” and independent – this is an act of abandoning yourself. 

If you want to heal your abandonment wound with others, you must first stop abandoning yourself and your own heart.

Continually check in and connect with your body. Ask yourself “what do I need and how am I feeling?” Feel what’s genuinely there without judging it. Sometimes your needs might be impossible, however it’s always good to feel into and know what your needs are. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to ask for them or have them fulfilled, but through exploring your own needs, you get to know yourself more deeply and are able to move in the direction of those needs. You’ve got nothing to prove, just trust and validate what you’re feeling. 

Tune into what you need every morning and throughout the day. Don’t overthink it, simply trust yourself and whatever answers your body gives you. Likewise, tune into this question in your relationships and trust whatever comes up. For example, is there something you need in order to not feel abandoned? Perhaps it’s more prioritisation or your partner following through on their word and doing what they say. If you’re single, think about your future partners; what do you need in relationship? Do you need to see them every day, live with them, spend more quality time with them etc. 

The process that unfolds from honouring and asking for what you need is that you’re not going to settle for an incompatible relationship anymore. It’s important to note that just because your partner can’t meet every single one of your needs, that doesn’t mean you’re incompatible. There will likely be some occasions where this happens and that’s ok. However, if you’re in a relationship with someone who can’t meet the majority of your needs, THEN maybe it’s time to end the relationship.

Although it can be hard, ending relationships that are incompatible will only help both people in the long run. When one chapter ends, it gives way for another chapter to open; a chapter of relationship where both people’s needs are being met and healthy and clear boundaries are being put in place. 

Getting clear on what you need from your partner also gives you the opportunity to fulfil your own needs. Just as relying on and feeling consistent love from someone else is a beautiful thing, so too is being able to rely on yourself and feel consistent love from yourself.

Experiencing self-love and receiving love from others are both exquisite experiences and a natural human need. Don’t shame yourself for not being strong or independent enough when you desire love from others as well as your own love. Even when you love yourself unconditionally and fulfil your own needs, you’re still going to need love from others.

Humans are naturally interdependent, which means we rely on each other for mutual support and love. This does not make you codependent or weak; it’s perfectly ok and normal to need and want love, there’s nothing wrong with you!  

When I realised this at an embodied level a huge weight lifted off my life. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be happy without the love of my partner; however, I would be less happy. Feel the depth of your desire for physical and emotional presence, know that it’s ok to want that and don’t settle for less.

It’s also important to remember that the fulfilment of your need for love doesn’t need to be constricted to your partner. Start finding and receiving love in all its forms; this could be love from nature, love from friends and/or love from healers in your life. When you start expanding your capacity to receive love, the less you will settle for anything that’s not love. Ask yourself: “how open am I to receiving love?” and “is there anywhere in my life where I’m letting situations that aren’t based in love continue?” Move away from what doesn’t feel like love and say “NO” to that. It doesn’t matter if you feel like your need isn’t reasonable; it’s not about your needs being reasonable. It’s about feeling into what feels right for you and acknowledging that. 

Just as you have a right to express your needs, the person you’re expressing them to also has a right to say no to those needs. If someone can’t meet your needs, that doesn’t make them wrong, it’s just an incompatibility between two people. When an incompatibility comes up, especially in relationships, it’s common for one or both people to try to villainise, shame or “fix” the other person as a way of avoiding that there’s an incompatibility. No one is the villain in these situations; both people have a right to their needs and neither deserves to be shamed for those needs. Remember your love for this person and try your best to communicate from an open and vulnerable space. 

Creating a reality where you prioritise love; where you feel safe, loved and cherished by yourself, your beloved, the world and everyone around you isn’t always going to be easy. There will be times when relationships need to end, jobs need to be quit and hard conversations need to be had. Hold yourself through the pain and heartache with loving presence. 

Likewise, when your abandonment wound comes up, stay present with what you’re feeling and hold yourself through that. It can be very easy to try and distract yourself when this wound arises… You might want to message the person who triggered it and try to resolve the situation through communication, or you might turn to social media, work or drugs for distraction.

None of these things will help you if you want to heal your abandonment wound; what you really need is to hold the part of you that feels abandoned and give it love. Rather than distracting, be fully present with whatever you’re feeling. It’s also a good idea to separate what’s happening in the now and what’s coming from past wounding. 

It might help to ask yourself if this situation is reminding you of another time where you felt abandoned. This might not always be the case; however, I find that when I drop into myself and breathe, I can usually remember a specific memory of a time where I felt abandoned, often from my childhood. 

This is where we have the opportunity to re-parent ourselves.

Feel into your younger self that felt abandoned and ask what they need or want. If they need to be held in loving presence, hold yourself in loving presence. If they need more quality time with loved ones, take action to make that happen. Everything you feel is valid and you are worthy of receiving love in the way that you need it. 

Once you’ve dropped in with yourself and feel safe and ready to do so, you can start releasing any stuck energy in your body. Energy becomes stuck in our bodies when we suppress or push down our feelings, this energy then cycles through the body, causing more and more pain until we release it. 

Feel into any times in your life where you felt abandoned and weren’t able to or didn’t let yourself fully feel your emotions in the moment. You might feel fear, betrayal, rage, sadness, anger or disappointment. Anything and everything you feel is valid; now give a voice to those feelings instead of pushing them down and/or shaming them. 

This might look like hand screaming, crying, throwing a tantrum, punching pillows, roaring or however else you choose to express your feelings! There is no right or wrong, just follow what feels right for you and keep giving yourself so much love. 

At the end of the day, this journey is not linear; you’ll have moments where you feel you’ve healed your abandonment wound and then boom there it is again. Keep being patient with yourself, holding yourself in love and committing to giving yourself what you need. 

It’s not about reaching a destination where you’re permanently “free” from your abandonment wound but rather learning to navigate its ebbs and flows with compassion and self-love. By staying present with your emotions, honouring your needs, and nurturing a deep connection with yourself, you pave the way for profound healing and transformation.

Embrace the journey, trust in your innate worthiness of love, and remember that you are deserving of a life filled with safety, connection, and joy! 

 



Picture of Chantelle Raven

Chantelle Raven

Chantelle raven is a gifted healer and sought after international speaker on sacred relationship and sacred sexuality. Her mission is providing education in radical self-responsibility and the sacred dance of masculine and feminine within and without.