Sep
01

Emotional Abandonment, Rejection and Recovery

By
emotional abandonment, recovery, rejection

Darlene

When I try to conform to what other people want, I realize that I am rejecting myself the same way that I have been rejected by others. I can decide (even subconsciously) that I don’t see the point of trying or that it is too hard to stand up for myself, but that leaves me feeling the same way that I have always felt; empty, unsupported unlovable, unworthy and not good enough.

Rejected and emotionally abandoned.

Loving myself has so much to do with being there for myself. It has so much to do with not leaving myself the way that I was emotionally abandoned by others.

Rejection is not just when someone says “get out of my life”.  I was rejected by every single boyfriend that I ever had although I was always the one that left the relationship. I didn’t understand my deep feelings of turmoil in those relationships. I didn’t see the reality of not being accepted. I didn’t realize how hard I tried to conform and comply. I did not realize I had experienced emotional abandonment again. Sometimes I didn’t even understand why I gave up and left.  

And I was left with this huge feeling of restlessness about my life and why things didn’t work out, always sure that it was my own fault always looking to change myself, my reactions, my way of doing life. But in reality, I was always rejecting myself the same way that I was being rejected. Every time I saw the need to change me, I was agreeing with them. I was agreeing that the real me was somehow “wrong,” every time I tried to conform in order to make someone else happy.

All of this was combined with the underlying questions about why I was not accepted and trying to understand why I always had to change, and why I was still being rejected and abandoned emotionally by others, even though at the same time I was willing to accept that it must be me who had the problem.  

Today I realize that when people asked me to conform to their ideas of who I should be, that’s rejection. When people asked me to be who they want me to be, they are rejecting who I am. They are rejecting who I was born to be; my individuality.

When people who are supposed to love you do this, it cuts really deeply and it is very hard to understand. When we keep trying to meet someone else’s expectations that is the same as rejecting of our own desires. We don’t understand it this way because we have learned that we MUST conform and comply as a child in order to survive; which is a true fact. In order to find freedom and wholeness however, I had to realize I am not a child anymore. When I began to understand this concept I made big progress in overcoming depression and dissociative behaviour.

When I was a child I had to do whatever was necessary for me to survive. I had to try harder to be what they wanted, to please, to make everyone happy. What I am saying now though, is that I had to realize that I am not that child anymore. The truth is that I do not need to conform in order to survive. The truth is that I do not need other adults to take care of me; my survival is not dependant on anyone else anymore. I am not a pawn in someone else’s game.

I had to realize this truth; I can take care of myself now. Then I had to learn to honour myself, to value and appreciate myself for who I am, so that I could “be there” for me.  I had to stop rejecting myself in order to accept myself. I had to realize that in all of this learned behaviour, I had become the one who was emotionally abandoning me.

Looking forward to your comments on this one!

From surviving to thriving on the journey to wholeness;

Darlene Ouimet

Related Posts :  Click ~ Who am I  ~ will I like me?

                                Click  ~ Depression and Identity Crisis

Categories : Self Esteem

32 Comments

1

All of your posts always make me teary-eyed, Darlene. I feel like you understand me completely…or that we’ve been through the exact same experiences, even though we have not. Every entry you write resonates very deeply with me. I feel less alone because it finally feels like someone else out there understands how I feel. I feel very alone with the people I surrounded myself with since they all abandoned me after what happened. I wish I could talk to you personally one day, I think I could learn so much from you and how you got out of your situation.

2

Rejection is very, very, VERY hard for me as w/lots of other not so kind words. Since childhood, bein rejected seemed to be the one way to get peace only when the abusers found pleasure in other ways of torment but then it became a lonely life within a life until I was “wanted” in the same manner as before again. Today rejection is still a huge thing w/me. I don’t do well with this word b/c it hurts to much but I’m wantin to learn other ways to deal w/the harshity of society if there is such a thing.

3

Wonderful post, Darlene!

Because of my shame, I wore different masks for different occasions and for different people. I didn’t even need them to ask me to conform to their desires; I did it on my own. I was convinced people wouldn’t like the real me, so my masks protected me from rejection. I was rejecting my true self before I even gave people the chance to reject me. Even if they rejected me, it wasn’t my true self they rejected—it was one of my false selves. I reasoned that the rejection of my false self didn’t hurt as much, but until I validated my true self, EVERYTHING hurt.

Looking back, I can see why I experienced so much rejection, even from nice people. They couldn’t relate to my masks. When I learned to accept myself, I let the real me shine through and I’m accepted a whole lot more than I’m rejected now.

Thanks for sharing another great one! Hugs, Christina

4

Ladies … I never thought I wore a mask, but upon reading this I realize that I have been wearing one. Putting on the smiling face, radiating joy while inside I was in turmoil, doubt, second-guessing everything I do as a wife and mother. People on the outside think I’m a a great mom and wife … but am I?? Am I really?? Because I’m not always sure. It’s so hard to know sometimes what is true and ‘normal’ and what is false and destructive.

The more I uncover, the more the fog clears, the more sane I feel. You know what its actually like?? It’s like I have taken my power back!! That’s how it feels!!! And I might be a bit confused about some things – but I HAVE MY POWER BACK! … And it feels so good!!

You ladies ROCK!

I’m learning that conflict is healthy – bottling it up is no way of handling it!! My family have never done that with each other. Not that I ever remember anyway. So because everyone doesn’t confront the conflicts that count, I never did learn how to handle or resolve conflict. Anger always scared me – getting angry for any reason was communicated as wrong.

5

Amen to that!

Going through just this kind of stuff with parents right now. I’m not who they want me to be and I never quite seem to live my life how they Want. It’s taken me a while to work out its not my problem and just ignore it or fight back.

The big issue is that they can always find potential negatives. In all the unknowns and that can fire off negative thought spirals that can a while to undo.

For now I find that the less i talk to them the better i feel. It’s not going down well that Im not encouraging conversation. When I’m not so badly affected by it i might try for a better solution.

For now I feel I’m just way too old to need to explain, talk about or justify any goddam thing in my life. It’s my life and I am responsible for it…..

6

Being rejected by others is very hard to deal with and in my own life it has been very devastating to say the least but what has been more devastating than being rejected by others is the fact that I rejected me. I did not validate my own emotions nor my own individual right to be who I am. There have been many ways that I have caused myself a lot of grief by not accepting myself that kind of grief runs so very deep.

On my journey in recovery I had to come to a point where I had to say “enough is enough” I have had to really look deeply at my own self and realize that I was the main source for the greatest prejudice/stigma against me, I was the main source for the person who carried on abusing me over and over again thru out the years even when those who abused me had long stopped. I had indeed became what I despised.. much of these behaviors were coping mechanisms or self protection to keep from being hurt (which is very ironic because i continued to hurt myself to keep from being hurt!) … what I see now though is I threw myself to the wind literally!

there has been much freedom since I have realized that emotional validation and acceptance of me has to begin with me and not with others. Learning to be my friend has been a wonderful experience, I know that may sound odd however I believe that we have to be our own true friend.

I posted a status update on fb yesterday that said “Something to think about- If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? Often times the worse abuse comes from our own self!”

And this is so true in my own life, I would mental abuse myself (i call it mental rape) so severely that I lived my life in total defeat, I conformed myself until there was nothing left of me. Thankfully this doesn’t have to be the way the rest of my life is lived. In the process of recovering my own identity I realize that some people will not accept me because they only wanted to accept me for who they wanted me to be. However this is not stopping me from accepting in me anymore.

Thank you Darlene for sharing such deep insight!

7

Vickie,
Thank you so much; when I get comments like this I feel as though I have accomplished my goal and my purpose. Not to make people cry, but that others feel understood. Nikki, one of the readers and frequent contributors to this blog mentioned that also, that it would be great to have some sort of meet up one day with a bunch of the people from here so I am thinking that maybe we can arrange it one day!
Meanwhile, I am glad that you are getting some comfort from reading my posts. I am so glad to have you here too, and I love your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Jackie,
Rejection is a very hard thing for all of us. It is the affirmation of our deepest fear ~ that we are truly not valuable. (This is a lie of course, but it takes time to really believe that it is a lie when you have been hurt and devalued for a long time) As long as you are trying to learn other ways to deal, then there is HOPE!
Thank you for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Christina,
I totally relate to this comment. By the time I was a certain age, I didn’t need to be asked either, I learned to do it intuitively. I was thinking about this exact thing a bit earlier today, (I just realized that I commented about this in the post before this blog post!) that it seemed somehow worse to be rejected if I was rejected when I was the “real me” but for me, that was a new fear that came up in recovery.
You are so right though, until we validate our true selves, everything hurt! oh you said a mouth full of truth there!
And your late comment I have also found to be pure truth. People like the real me better!
Thanks for your wonderful contribution today!
Hugs and squishes, Darlene

8

Paulette,
Yeah for taking your power back. I remember the day that I realized that I was doing that. (it didn’t happen all at once for me) but that day I knew that I was NOT going to be a doormat anymore and that I had a choice about my own life and I was going to live the rest of it in the emotionally healthiest way that I knew how and it was NOT emotionally healthy for me to let everyone tell me who I was and how to feel or not feel, anymore! It takes time to uncover some of this stuff.. I had been someone else for so long that I didn’t think I ever even wanted to be me. Remember that the real ME learned as a young child that I wasn’t really what anyone wanted.. so the fear is understandable. So untangling takes time, but it is all good as long as we keep striving.
Thanks for being here! Hugs, Darlene

Hi Mike!
OH YES ~ you are so right. I was way too old to justify any thing I did in my life too… but I sure felt uncomfortable living with that boundary! Funny how we draw a few lines and they don’t like it; I think it threatens their control. Your comment reminded me of this one time that my husband didn’t want his parents to find out how much I paid for a horse.. I was like wait a minute.. I am in my 40s. I don’t have to justify what I pay for a horse… but I till kept the price a secret.. LOL (the fog lifted first and then I stood up for myself and took my life back in stages. LOL)
Thanks for your comments Mike! I totally relate!
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nikki,
OH I love your quote; “Something to think about- If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? Often times the worse abuse comes from our own self!” That is so true!
I sometimes wonder how parents would feel if someone talked to them the way that they talk to their kids too. In my case I learned that negative self talk from somewhere. (and it isn’t always in words now is it?)
Your last line wraps up my post beautifully you wrote “In the process of recovering my own identity I realize that some people will not accept me because they only wanted to accept me for who they wanted me to be. However this is not stopping me from accepting in me anymore.” Ah yes.. that is what I am talking about!
Thanks so much for your contribution to this post!
Hugs, Darlene

9

Without the emotional freedom to say !NO! my !YES! had no value The thought that I had the right to say !no! never entered my reality I felt totally powerless in situations that required me to stand up for my rights so I justified everything and avoided confrontation in the face of authority, Recovery meant that I had to confront myself about the ways in which I allowed myself to be devalued by others I realised that I was giving others permission to devalue me and if I was going to grow through this real living issue I would have to treat myself with respect and stand up in the face of authority figures

10

Your post here blows me away with how similiar it is to what I’ve been working on for my blog tomorrow. And I used the same line…’I'm not a child anymore’…That desperation…that overwhelming ache to be connected to someone at any cost is changing. Thanks for this Darlene and for the courage to share your story. You inspire….you really do.

11

Shoot, I just lost the huge comments that I had written back.. Lets try this again;

Hi Vikki
I had the same issue about not realizing that I could say no. I didn’t know that I had the right either.. and it sound so odd now. I was lost in the powerlessness that I had since such a young age. I had to also learn to value myself, to realize that I also allowed others to treat me the way that they did, and finally I cared enough about my self to stand up for myself. (well I think that happened in stages.. the first few times I stood up to myself felt like pretend, and I was terrified.. but it got easier and I started to really own my value.
Thanks so much for your comments and for being here.
Hugs, Darlene

Hi Nikki
(for the readers, this is not the same Nikki as the earlier commenter on this same post)
I love it when minds connect this way that you came here today and found that I had written a similar post to the one you were working on! I look forward to going over to your blog to read it! (click on Nikki’s name on her comment if you would like to visit her blog)
Thanks for being here and for your encouraging words. When I decided that I wanted to tell the world my story, I told my mentor that I wanted to “inspire others to wholeness”.
Hugs, Darlene

12

I said to my mom once a real long time ago that when I would wait out in the truck while my husband went into the store, I was afraid he would never come out after me. I thought he would leave me, I was 20 something years old. My mothers comment was I don’t know why you would feel like that I never left you with anyone, bingo, what she had not realized or for that matter neither did I was I was emotional abandonment at a very young age. Today I know if I feel like this I know between the Lord and I we can get home, I know this because it has happened.

13

Hi Diane,
Emotional abandonment is a huge thing. So many of us that have experienced it don’t even know that we have. How do you know you are missing something when it wasn’t there in the first place ~ that kind of thing. I talk a lot about the dysfunctional relationship that I had with my mother a lot, but the emotional abandonment that I experienced with my father is huge. I think that knowing that this happened was and is the first step in beginning to take care of myself emotionally. This is the re-parenting that I so often talk about. I can be there for me now, I can make sure that my own emotional needs get met. This is a big part of the healing process but the first step is to know that we were abandoned in the first place.
Hugs, and thank for your comments!
Hugs, Darlene

14

This so wonderful this is exactly what I found out in my journey of recovery that I have abanded mysef and now I am learning to love myself and give to myself love that child inside of me she crys out for love and now I am able to lover her. Loving her is loving me. Thanks for this..

15

Hi Angela,
YES.. loving her is loving me! Such an important truth. I had to see my inner child as separate from me for a long time but then one day I realized that “they” were all me. Thanks for being here,
Hugs, Darlene

16

[...] Related Posts: emotional abandonment, rejection and recovery [...]

17

Thank you for this. It explains it a lot more clearly than most books and it makes sense. It’s simple and not dressed up with fixings. It’s real and it may just work ;)

18

Hi Jes,
Thank you for your compliments. I am glad this resonates with you. I can tell you that this does work. I tried many many things before I looked at the truth about what really happened and whose responsibility was it really… and looking at it that way set me free. It is a process, but it really does work.
Hugs, Darlene

19

Thank you Darlene! Right now, I am having to face yet another abandonment of the usual kind, first emotional which will probably lead to the inevitable–the physical loss. I’m an extremely private person who has been led to this website due to excruciating pain that is eased by people sharing their story. So, thank-you Darlene. Tonight, I can try to rest knowing that I am not as strange as I have been allowing others to make me feel. I will try to recover with grace– I just can’t explain how I appreciate all of y’alls posts. <3 Kris

20

Hi Kristmas
Welcome to EFB
I love your comment “I can try to rest knowing that I am not as strange as I have been allowing others to make me feel” THAT is going to be my Quote of the day!
Hugs, Darlene
p.s. most of the time it isn’t that we “allow” it but that we have taken it from such a young age that we never realized that we had any choice.

21

I can’t believe that after 13 years of marriage my husband who was once so attentive and lovig is now emotionally vacant. I have tried on so many levels to talk to him but he always think I am having digs at him. I have penned books about communication and believe myself to be a very good communicator. I really do’t know what is wrong?! All I want to do is run away as fast as I can but I am stuck. I live in a country foreign to me and feel like I can’t get out. I don’t have the finances to go! Why does everything come down to money?! I am so distraught with my life right now. I have tried telling my husband I feel isolated and alone but all he ever does is turn it back to me. Well you this and you that. He just doesn’t get it. He used to communicate really well so I know he IS capable. He tells me he loves me everyday and it makes my stomach turn. He loves me? It is impossible. He will then ask for sex! Like that is going to fix anything!!!! I am ready to take my credit card, max it out, book a flight home and just run!!!!!!!!!!!! Can someone plese give me advice. I really no longer know what to do. Smile? I haven’t done that for months, literally. I am always miserable. As soon as i see him I can feel the pressure build up inside me. I wait for the next argument, the next conflict because I KNOW it is lurking. I believe he is so unhappy within himself that he then takes it out on me but again when I try to talk about it, it’s just another argument! I can’t cope much longer and fear the worst!

22

Hi Chezza
I had problems with my marriage too, and that is what actually started me on this journey that I write about here. I was suffering with one depression after another and my life felt so hopeless and it was in taking a closer look at what led me to be so voiceless and unheard in the first place that helped me so much in the end and that is the process that I write about here in Emerging from Broken.
There are hundreds of articles and active discussions. You are not alone.
Welcome to emerging from broken ~ the more current articles can be found through the home (the little house) button. I hope you will join us there.
Hugs, Darlene

23

I would be interested to know some ways that you put this into practice:

“so that I could “be there” for me. I had to stop rejecting myself in order to accept myself.”

24

Hi Ladybug
It was by finding out how my self esteem got so damaged in the first place that I was able to find out what was missing in the way that I was parented which led to me accepting all sorts of relationships with people only interested in themselves and what I could do for them. So once I discovered the lies I believed about myself because of the ways I had been treated, I was able to start to correct them and change them back to the truth about me. This was a huge part of the process of learning how to be there for myself and fill the voids that had never been filled in the first place,
Hugs, Darlene

25

I liked the rejecting myself perspective, it is something I have been thinking and you very clearly stated and helped me see a bit more clearly. over the years i have changed so much about myself because I simply don’t fit or faulted myself for others lack of understanding/empathy. sometimes you feel so alone in this…. it is so good to be able to go online and know that you are faaaaaar from the only person walking this path.

26

Hi all,

Darlene, what you said really resonated with me, about feeling so hurt and abandoned when others want you to be something other than you are. So many times in my life I would have conversations that would always start with the other person saying “Ive been thinking, why dont you?…..” or “Can I just say something?”…… or “Can I just make a suggestion?”……. My heart would sink when I heard things like this, as I knew I was going to be told that who I was, wasnt right and needed changing. It reminds me of a wonderful quote I once read – “Good advice is usually for the benefit of the person giving it”. That is so true! The reason people want us to change is because the way we are does not fit in with THEIR plans for us. They want us to make ourselves easier for them to control. Or sometimes, to destroy any success they see us enjoying. Nowadays, if anyone suggested I change ANYTHING about myself, I would ask them what is it about me that makes them feel uneasy. I have actually done this and the person in question was first left speechless, and then muttered something about it “being for my own good”, at which point I shook them warmly by the hand and thanked them for their concerns. But it wasnt always like this. I was raised to think that I was NEVER right, and everyone else always was. I was raised to never trust my own instinct, judgement or intuition. This was how I abandoned myself. I simply didnt know how to listen to myself, and therefore ignored myself. This is what comes of having parents who are not emotionally present to us. My parents werent remotely interested in instilling self-esteem into me. They didnt see me as a person and neither did I. I saw myself as they did, a non-entity who had no right to inconvenience them or anyone else, someone who had to “earn” the right to be on the planet. Cheers Mommie Dearest and Daddie Do Nothing Useful.
Love Sylvia x

27

Hi Mo
Welcome to emerging from broken
I am glad you are here! There are thousands of people in the efb community. You are certainly not alone! The current discussions (use the home button) have tons of comments if you join us there.
Hugs, Darlene

28

Hi Sylvia
Oh yes! Great examples of opening lines when someone is about to make a big judgement designed to control; yes.
Thank you for sharing; you have great insight!
Hugs, Darlene

29

Hi Darlene,
Read your article while looking for insight into my own situation. Get the part about childhood conformity as a survival mode, and also understand what you mean about taking ownership of ourselves and dropping the victim perspective in order to grow. But, and here I think is my (shared/familiar)dilemma. After being “abandoned” or rejected by my father at a very early age, leaving me feeling empty, I married someone whom I now believe is passive aggressive.
Knowing that this person was someone who I loved (was feeling loved by) we shared a very meaningful, passionate, and mutually respective relationship with. My partner began using abandonment tactics shortly after our marriage to emotionally “gain control”. After explaining this background information my question to you is: how can I gain control of myself within this relationship with out losing the desire of maintaining the closeness we experience when not dealing with the rejection I feel during these AP episodes intended to “make you feel as unhappy as I am”.
I have come to understand that my feelings within these episodes are “knee-jerk” reactions to my childhood environment, but how do I overcome this feeling when my spouse is utilizing this weakness of mine?

Thank you for your time and interest.
Chris

30

Hi Chris
Welcome to EFB
This is a complicated question, not something I could explain in a few sentences but keep reading; there is tons of info in this blog about how I got my life back and overcame those knee jerk reactions. Hugs, Darlene

31

I really don’t know where to start… Well let me say, THANK YOU!It is amazing to see all the damage,and the wake of damage that comes out of the damage… Being abandoned over and over again and not allowing the self to be sustained and repaired. wow I have lumps in my throat and heart right now. Changing to please, not respecting the self… So much time and energy have been put into this act or mask… or the many mask.Working this knot out is not too easy I know this is going to take time and energy on my part. Learning to truly love me for who I am. First finding which me is me… that alone is going to be a tough one…Off to journal! Again Thank You This is part of the Journey I have been on for the last four years. I never truly got this piece, I always knew it was there because I knew I had been abused, abandoned and rejected.

32

Hi Cheryl
Welcome to EFB
It really helped me to realize that I had never been taught to respect or even to care for myself and that made it easier to understand why it was so hard to work all this out. But it is doable!
Thank you so much for your comments! Glad you are here!
Hugs, Darlene

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