*Abandonment *Abuse *Perfectionism *Insufficient Self Control *Addictive Personality
Children that were abandoned by a parent(s) tend to take on one of two behaviors in their relationships. They either cling to others displaying behaviors of being controlling, overly possessive, jealous or needy believing these behaviors will protect their relationship because they are fiercely afraid of being left “abandoned.” Or, they take on the opposite behavior to where they refuse to be vulnerable and are excessively afraid to get close to others because they don’t believe that important relationships will last.
When the abandoned child becomes an adult, they’re usually attracted to partners who are not available and cannot be there in a committed way, and they will usually end a relationship first or find any reason to say something is wrong with the person or the relationship once the relationship becomes too serious or overwhelming in fear that they will be abandoned by their partner. This wound is often referred to as a person having mommy or daddy issues. This wound leaves the following mental residue in the child which causes them to sabotage their adult relationships:
Emotional Deprivation – is when a child is raised in an environment where they are neglected and do not have parents or other family members that provide them with their time and attention. When a child is not nurtured and cared about and isn’t shown or given affection with physical touch, or when the child did not hear words of empathy and compassion, or affirmations and expressions of love or appreciation, they tend to withhold affection in their adult relationships. By the child not having loved ones that shared concern for their well-being and the things that happen to them, and by them not having parents or loved ones who was tuned in to their feelings and needs, making them feel important and valued, the adult-child will suffer from not being able to communicate and express their needs in a relationship. In most cases, the adult-child does not know how to ask for what they need and quite honestly may not even know what they need or know that they even need it. Adults that suffer from this residue are uncomfortable with receiving affection and usually are not affectionate and will deprive their partner of it because they don’t know what affection looks like or feels like. Most times it is not that they don’t want to be affectionate, it’s that they just don’t know how to be. They do not initiate physical touch and they are not comfortable with expressing or showing emotion and this causes their relationships to suffer and/or end.
Defectiveness – this is when abandoned children become adults that develop the mindset that they’re unworthy of the love, attention, and respect of others and believe that no matter how hard they try, they won’t be able to get a significant partner to respect them or feel that they are good enough or worthwhile. Because these children were never validated, they tend to lack confidence and have very low self-esteem. They tend to be timid and shy and don’t know their value or worth. These adult-children will often become victims of adult subjugation in relationships. The behaviors they will take on are of being overly passive or submissive, letting the other person in their relationships (be it with loved ones, friends, or romantic relationships), have the upper hand to avoid or pacify conflict instead of confronting it.
Self-Sacrifice – These adult children will often put their partner and others’ needs before their own, or else they will feel guilty. They are often considered as being too nice and usually end up taking care of everyone they’re close to out of fear of being abandoned, or losing the love or friendship or being rejected if they don’t succumb to other’s needs. They worry a lot about pleasing other people because they believe that this is the only way that they will be loved and accepted. They often will accept being treated poorly because they don’t know or believe they are valuable and was never taught or shown how they should be treated.
When a child experienced or witnessed any kind of abuse be it verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual, they are left with the wounded residue of the following behaviors:
Fragmented Personality – children become adults that have a great tendency to tune out reality or have reality distortion. They experience excessive fears, shame, guilt, and they have difficulty feeling, empathizing, bonding, and loving. They often feel that they cannot let their guard down in the presence of other people or else those people will intentionally hurt them. If someone acts nicely toward them, they assume that he/she must be after something. Sometimes they will take on multiple identities to safeguard true self. These adult children prefer to operate under an alter ego to create a safe fantasy world so that they don’t have to deal with reality. They often perceive things that don’t exist; they create dramas and stories in their head out of fear, such as making accusatory statements like “I know you’re going to leave me!” They are pessimistic most of the time and will assume the worst and believe that everyone is out to hurt them. They repress emotions, have illusions, delusions, they minimize critical situations to avoid having to deal with them or they exaggerate situations making them out to be more than what they are. They suffer from paranoia, neuroses, catastrophizing, and denial.
Trust Disorders – This residue will show up in either (2) ways:
The first way is that the adult-child will have a high level of mistrust and are reluctant to trust safe people even when a person has proven to be trustworthy. They lose good relationships because they put their partners through too many tests and trials without acknowledging the consistency of their passing them all.
The second way is that they will repeatedly over trust abusive, self-centered people that consistently hurt others, despite the painful betrayals they have experienced. This is from the comfort that they’ve become accustomed to and unconsciously will repeat the behaviors that they are familiar with even when those behaviors have caused them pain in the past.
When these children have trust disorders, they often will have a lot of self-distrust, constantly doubting or second guessing own choices, decisions and feelings. And they will often have deep skepticism of a higher power due to not understanding how a God would allow them to be subjected to such harm.
Social Isolation – these adult- children will suffer from this residue because they don’t think that they relate well to other people and/or they feel that they don’t fit in with any sort of group. They will often feel inhibited, afraid to show emotion or are afraid to initiate conversation, afraid to show vulnerability for fear of rejection. They can be socially awkward because of their lack of self -esteem or because of their inability to identify with themselves, not knowing or understanding who they are.
Co – Dependency – these adult-children often feel helpless and are afraid to live life on their own without the support of someone else. They feel that they are not capable of making a decision without the aid of another person. They are highly concerned and worried about making the wrong decision out of fear of punishment or rejection. They need constant validation and attention from others to make them feel happy, relevant, and secure because they didn’t get those emotional needs met from their parents and didn’t feel protected as a child.
The adult-child will take on this behavior because they believe that it is their fault that their parents abandoned them or didn’t love them. They seem to think that they were the cause for their abuse, neglect or for them being deprived. And because they did not experience unconditional love and affection, they believe that they weren’t good enough or they didn’t work hard enough to receive it. So they take on perfectionism believing that this is what they have to do in order to be valuable and to receive love and acceptance.
Unrelenting Standards –they become adults who must be the best at most of what they do and feel there is constant pressure to achieve and get things done. Their relationships suffer because they push themselves and their partners too hard. They are never satisfied or they feel that most everything they do or sometimes what their partners do is never good enough, and could be better. They idealize and have unrealistic expectations.
Approval Seeking -they can place an extreme importance on other people’s opinions and sometimes put a high level of significance on appearance and social status as a means to get attention.
Punitiveness –adult-children believe even the smallest mistake deserves punishment. Usually hold themselves and others to very high expectations. They find it hard to empathize or forgive mistakes, their own and those of others.
Insufficient Self Control
This behavior stems from a lack of confidence and a lack of understanding of self. They struggle and are in a state of identity crisis not knowing how to identify with who they are. These are the adult-children who lack self-discipline and want to quit a task at the first sign of frustration or failure. They will justify quitting by convincing themselves that it wasn’t meant to be, or by making self-talk like, “I really didn’t want this anyway.” It is very hard for them to commit or be loyal to anything or anyone. They tend to be irresponsible, unreliable, and have the attitude that they can’t fail if they don’t try. They often are indecisive; they don’t use definitive statements or words, and they will often engage in risky activities that can result in painful consequences and they tend to justify their immoral behavior and decisions.
Entitlement – when the adult- child has insufficient self-control, they hate to be constrained or kept from doing what they want or they feel that they shouldn’t have to follow the normal rules and conventions other people do. They are often a victim, and believe that they should get special treatment or favor because of what they’ve been through. They often can have a Spoiled attitude – either got most every material thing that they wanted as a child and received very little time, attention, affection and discipline, or the very opposite and they were a child that got nothing material or emotional and was often being punished, neglected and deprived. These adult-children deeply have a desire to be punished, disciplined, and held accountable because they feel that if someone really cared about them, that person(s) would not let them continue their disrespectful or bad behavior without dishing out some consequences. They also tend to be very jealous, controlling and they harbor anger which will usually surface in a rage or violent outburst when they are threatened of losing control or when they don’t get their way.
This behavior is adopted in adult-children to make up for the lack of sufficiency and love that they were deprived of as a child. The adult-child develops a behavior where they are afraid of being alone and often feel like they have an empty soul. They have the tendency to experience chronic depression and anxiety. They are always in search of doing something to give value and meaning to their existence in hopes that it will replace their childhood wounds, and make them feel important, relevant, whole and complete.
Sometimes these adult- children will pour their entire being into something and become an extremist of that thing to where they neglect or pay little time and attention to all other areas of their life. They have a need for a frantic busyness (type “A” personality). They need something to distract and numb pain of past events so that their mind does not get busy thinking about them. They lack focus and are unable to complete most anything that they start. They do not know how to balance life arenas, (relationships, job, social activities, hobbies, personal care etc.). They will often trade one addiction for another to fool themselves into believing that they were able to quit a bad or unhealthy habit. They can be addicted to love/relationships, drugs, alcohol, sex, partying, sports, food, you name it, and surprisingly some adult-children are addicted to drama and pain because it is familiar to them and they need it to function because it would be unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and dysfunctional to them without it because we are unconsciously comfortable with the things that we know and that are familiar to us.
Most children that suffered from one of these (5) most likely suffered from more than (1) if not all at some point throughout their transitioning from being a child into their adult life. All (5) stem from not being raised in a home environment where the child felt safe, secure, loved, important, or wanted. If you were abandoned, neglected, or abused as a child and have not healed or received help to heal, you are still that wounded child in a grownups body. Unintentionally and unconsciously you are still hurting and bringing those wounds into every relationship that you engage in as an adult. This article is to bring about your awareness so that you are able to at least evaluate or identify if you suffer from any of these childhood wounds and find that they are indeed sabotaging your relationships. If you have been suffering in your relationships and find that you are not able to engage in or maintain healthy relationships I would suggest that you face these wounds and get help to surrender them so that you can move forward with your life being able to have healthy and loving relationships that last.