I hear the phrase, "I have abandonment issues" quite often from different people and spent a long time using this phrase myself. Abandonment is one of those universally human issues. At some time or another we've all been abandoned by someone. A parent or both parents. A lover. A spouse. A friend. An employer. A community. But I've come to realize over the past year that the person who has abandoned me the most consistently has been me. Yup, me.
Every time I ignored my gut feeling on something, I abandoned myself. Every time I lived someone else's dream, I abandoned myself. Every time I substituted someone else's judgment for my own, I abandoned myself. Every time I refused love, help and kindness, I abandoned myself. Every instant I spent suppressing my needs, every time I stuffed down my emotions, every breath I withheld, I abandoned myself. That's a whole lot of abandonment issues right there. And all self-inflicted.
After going through a major grieving process beginning around this time last summer, I settled into the stark reality of seeing my own responsibility to stick with myself, to support myself, to not leave myself when the going gets tough. I had spent so long shutting down, self-medicating, distracting myself, getting sick, staying sick, blaming, hiding, contemplating suicide and otherwise self-loathing that I'd forgotten that the only one that can really take care of me, is me. That the only one who can really love me, is me. That the only person that can consistently be there for me, is me. What I'd been looking to others for for so long, I began to find within my own soul.
So, I no longer say I have abandonment issues. I am learning to be the greatest influence in my own life and to take responsibility for supporting myself come what may. It is the scariest and most liberating thing I've ever done.