Abandonment issues

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by toughlovin, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Copa wrote in another thread started by Trying..... “If you are worried about YOU FEELING LIKE YOU ARE ABANDONING HIM, that is a different thing all together. You could tell him. I am pulling back, because that is what is good for you right now. Know that I love you with all my heart. And pull back.

    I think my hovering and breast beating only made things worse. I am not saying you do that. I do. But pulling back is not abandonment. My g-d they are men, not babies.”

    Wow wow wow!!!

    This really spoke to me and I stayed awake last night thinking about it and I am still processing this and could definitely use some discussion around this. When my son was 14 we went him to a wilderness program and then to a therapeutic school. The wilderness program was great but he was very upset that he was going to the therapeutic school out of state and not going home. We left him there and he literally tried to keep us from leaving by staying by the car. It definitely felt like we abandondoned him there. Now we flew down every month for a year for their family weekends! And although he hated it the program did him a world of good and he did very well the first year he was home and it probably saved my daughter as she blossomed with him away.... but I am still haunted by that memory of leaving him there.

    This is all of course magnified by the fact that my so was adopted so he already has abandonment issues which I am very well aware of.... and have always been very sensitive to..... and so I think often adoptive parents are ..... so this is my issue to. I dont want my kid to feel abandoned so I bend over backwards to make him feel that I will love him no matter what he does to me no matter what he says to me..... but yes at what point is enough enough? And really it is time for him to grow up and act like a man!

    Thoughts on this?

  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have three adopted kids and none are problems now but I also make very sure they know I am here forever and will watch over them even after leaving this world. I never take for granted that God gave me these angels and that they are as much a part of my heart and soul as anyones kids are and have gone overboard to let them know it. So I get it. An example is every time we speak we both say "Love you" at the end. I am very huggy too. And i keep up the positive talk.

    I am very close to all three of them. Maybe the extra show of love helped?

    Although we can disapprove of our adult children's choices the only way I would abandon.a child would be if he or she were a danger to the family in a blatant way. This includes Bart, currently doing well, who can sometimes give me verbal vomit. The bar is high for me....stealing our bank account, assaulting us, and that sort of thing for me.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  3. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    Always my fear even though my son is not adopted. He also knows how to play on that. He uses it to manipulate me to some extent. I have told him basically what was said above about it is best for you.
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi tl. I will respond in a bit. I am on cell and it's hard. But I do have lots of thoughts on this.

    As you know my son is adopted too. He had a significant history already before I first met him when he was 22 months. The piece of this I would like to focus on is not necessarily the abandonment part in them but the rescue part of it, in me.

    I really think part of my issue with my son is that I had this serious heroes journey going on in my life, that covered over some serious and painful feelings on my part of abandonment, trauma and helplessness. So what came up for me when my son suffered was my own repressed pain. And I was not a happy camper.

    So this is what I want to talk about. To what extent is the important and powerful abandonment story something that I could locate in me? You see. As long as I do not acknowledge it in me, I will act it out in terms of him.

    I will be back later tl. Until then
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Can't quote.

    No matter what he does to me. No matter what he says to me. I will love him.

    There is so much here. Thank you tl.

    One. What circumstances in my life does this repeat?

    Two. Life requires choice. At the most basic, aversion to painful, ruinous consequences and seeking reward and sustenance and pleasure.

    That implies what does that do to me if I override this decision process (saying no to hurt) to reassure my son in order to take away his pain? Am I a universal shock absorber? Can I not even allow myself to feel let alone say "ouch"? Does my sin need to hear my ouch in order to grow as a responsible conscious person?

    So the corollary is how does that affect him, my suppressing complaint?

    Remind me to talk about the oral period in infancy where there is no conscious separation between infant and mother. There is the need to separate to be fully human.
  6. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Adoptive parent also. Had mine in placements more than half his teen years. Tried to put all kinds of guilt on me for it. But I'm teflon about most negatives he puts on me.

    My question is who has the abandonment issue, you or him? You have guilt about potentially causing him psychological harm. But the other option years ago and even now is to let him continue on a path of self-destruction? That guilt is emotional but not logical. Should be offset by the huge gift you gave him of treatment. Would he still be alive if you hadn't?
  7. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Smithsmom, you brought up a good point about OUR maybe feeling abandoned too. Some people NOT adopted have abandonment issues too due to crappy parents that WE survived. And just other random reasons. We cant hang on too long until its bad for them because of US. That can hurt grown kids too.

    Also you have been a real warrior parent for all of your kids. You have not left any of them. They certainly know and appreciate it and you (even if they sometimes dont show it).
  8. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    One of my beliefs about birthmothers who intentionally surrender is that they are the smart ones, the strong ones. They recognize and acknowledge that they cannot do a good job of parenting this child. They have the strength to put other needs above their maternal instincts and emotional bond to this baby. Isn't that what we do when we put them in a placement? We acknowledge that we are not what this child needs. We are not enough. Our feeling of loss and inadequacy is similar to the feeling of abandonment of the child. But there is a greater good. Ultimately the adopted child sees the greater good of both the birthmother's decision and the treatment decision. A manipulative child will try to put guilt in both places. A mature child will see the wisdom of both decisions.
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  9. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Well, Sonic was taken from his birthmother by CPS due to her drug addiction. She made no decision although she never did what she had to in order to get him back. Took us four long years before her rights were terimnated and we could legally adopt him.

    Jumpers birthmom was a love and we got to know each other well. She definitely did it because her family shunned this half black child she was carrying and she knew she couldnt raise another child without parental help (her two year old was half hispanic. I guess hispanic was okay but not black). We llove this smart and caringcbirthmom and hope to see her again with Jumper. We have been in touch and she is interested in the only girl child she had. She also wanted to protect her from the birth father who is a serious felon and drug addict.

    Princess came from Korea Back then Korean girls who did not have a "daddy name" are usually shunned and have to prostitute. Princess understands that herhbirthmother had no good choice but I know she would like to meet her some day. I would too. I would give her s big hug. We have her full name. I dont think she will look until we are gone. I think she is afraid she would hurt us, although she wouldnt.

    So my kids all know their stories. That has not stopped Princess from feeling abandoned sometimes and Sonic, maybe due to his autism and living in the moment, has told me cheerfully "no thank you" every time I ask if he wants to find his birth family. DCFS has sent letters telling him they would be happy to try to arrange meetings for them but he truly isnt interested.

    i hope all three feel good about their birthparents. I told Sonic that his birthmom was too sick to take care of a baby but that underneath the drugs I know she is wonderful because HE is. I believe this too. She lived in one of tje poorest and most gang infested parts of Chicago. I cant blame her for her choices.

    Sonic is the least interested in his past but Jumper has already had some minor contact with her birthmom and doesnt act abandoned or upset over being adopted either. She is engaged and wants to both give birth and adopt children. And she wants to name her first boy as our last name, which IS a boys name. She is very attached to us.

    It hasnt all been easy. We adopted a lovely brilliant six year old from Asia who never could attach and ran off after he married but first he had asked his sister Princess to marry him. He didnt get family. And we adopted a total psychopath who molested the younger kids and we insisted he go. Right away. That is when we decided to stop doing foster and adopting.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  10. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    This whole thread is fascinating to me as I got my foster son when he was 13 and he had been through significant trauma. While he has had many issues, he is the one who is never disrespectful or mean to me. Even when he is angry he does not express in a nasty way towards me. When I point out things about him that are not positive he usually tries to be objective and many times agrees with me. He never lies to me, even when it reflects poorly on him. My biological daughter is a completely different story. She is ungrateful, rude, at times downright mean to me. She lies, tries to manipulate and is basically an unpleasant person about 80% of the time. I get frustrated with her sometimes and have to give myself a break. I would never abandon her, but sometimes I need time away from her whirlwind of chaos.

    I wonder if my son secretly fears I will abandon him because he's not "really" my son. To me he is 100% mine and I express that to him all the time, but he was older when he came to me and he had been through a lot. Now I'm wondering if that's why he's always on his best behavior with me- because he fears abandonment.
  11. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    He may, but honestly most older kids who are adopted act out and dont care if you reject them. They expect it. You have a very nice young man there

    My biological son is a bigger problem than all tjree of tje others put together. Sometimes things font work out the way they should.
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  12. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Eliz, obviously none of us know if there's some undercurrent of abandonment in our kids cause many of them just don't know. Yours probably had therapy that helped him look at the world more objectively. Maybe those lessons are what he uses now. I firmly believe that there's a lot of nature in what makes us who we are. So objective, logical people will be that. Emotional people will always be ruled by the most prominent emotion they are feeling. While a million things will happen to influence who we are, I believe that our true nature will out. I also have a foster daughter now over 40 from a horrific background. But a kinder, gentler more loving person you would never meet. Her life is entirely what she made it by sheer hard work and determination. Its who she is, not her childhood, horrible birth parents, truly evil step father, abuse, etc who made her who she is. Its who she is in spite of all that which inspires me. She was truly abandoned in horrible ways. But never let it affect her path
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  13. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for this discussion.... it is really food for thought for me. I really dont think I have abandonment issues myself.... although there may be some. I had a a great relationship with my mom and I knew she loved me unconditionally and she was always always there for me and is really my model of a great mom. However my dad left her after 38 years of marriage when I was 23 and that created a lot of insecurity in me about marriage etc..... and luckily for me I married a man who was willing to put up with some of my insecurities as I worked through them because I was certainly worried about him leaving me. I did work through that and we have been married now for 33 years and I dont really think that is an issue for me now. So I dont think that is really related but who knows.

    I do think though that my son has always had issues and has always been sensitive and felt things deeply and as his mom I always felt things for him..... so I was aware of his insecurities and issues and felt his real or my imagined hurts on his part around his adoption. When he found out he was going to that therapeutic school we were driving him from the wilderness program in NC to the school in Alabama. We woke up in the morning in Atlanta and he was gone. He left us a note that he couldnt go to the school and had taken his backpack and was walking north. I completely freaked out, was scared out of my wits and we called the police. Here we were in a place we didn’t know, in a state we didnt know, that he didnt know wnad he had disappearted in the middle of the night and he was 15 years old. The police came.... and then he called.... he had figured out after walking all night that was not going to work and so he called and the police took me to pick him up. I got out of the car to hug him and he looked at me and said “I left you a note!”. Like why were you worried?”. Then we took him to the school and I think he was traumatized being there because he didnt not want to go and I think he had not choice and it was traumatic for all of us. He really hated it there..... and yet when he finally came home he looked great, it was the only year he did well in school, he wasn’t using drugs, he got a really nice girlfriend, things looked really good for about a year.....And we literally flew to AL every month from many states away to see him. So no matter how he felt about it, that is hardly abandonment. And given some of what we realized later about some issues with our daugther, she needed him to be away because she was not doing well with him home and she blossomed and it made a huge difference for her.
    So I dont really regret that decision, in hindsight, even though I question it, I think it was probably a necessary and right decision given what we knew at the time.

    And honestly geez louise we have been there for him over and over and over again. Yes when he was 18 we kicked him out of the house when he threatened to bash my teeth in..... totally necessary to do that. I dont think he blames me for that. We have gotten him so much treatment. Yes without our interventions he most likely would be dead by now.

    I really think at this point he knows that I love him, that I will always love him. I dont think he really questions that. I also think he knows we will always be there for him. Actually I dont even think he thinks we will abandon him.... I think that is my fear that he fears that. I think he has fears of abandonment..... but I think that is more related to romantic relationships than to me. I think he knows I will be there for him no matter what because I always have been. Always. Yes I have set boundaries. Sometimes he doesn’t like those boundaries. No I wont always let him live with me. But I have never completely cut off our relationship and I dont think he thinks I ever will.... and I cant imagine I ever would.

    OK so writing that out clarified that for me. I dont think he is afraid of me abandoning him. He has abandonment issues but I really dont think they are around me. So I need to stop letting him manipulate me by using my guilt or fear around abandonment, or wishing for closeness, So. I think maybe I can step back, maybe even pull back.....not contact him if he his not contacting me......we have this program that is staying in touch with him so it is not like there is no one staying touch with him.

  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is a very hard age from what I have read. Because a child grows up believing in a stable family and then it feels like the rug is pulled out from under them and they feel they cannot trust life, that what appears true and real is not to be trusted.
    Not to pathologize things, do you think there is residual trauma for many of us?
  15. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Yes yes yes.... gosh I had always thought my parents had a great marriage (everybody did) then boom it was not. So much hidden and not talked about. So that is what it was like the rug pulled out from under me just as I was navigating my own relationships. So I couldn’t trust relationships... the boyfriend I had at the time, that I thought I wanted to marry didn’t last.....when I met my husband I wanted some kind of guarantee.... In his own sweet way he tried to give it to me but of course I couldnt trust it anyway because my dad had given it to my mom and left her after 38 years.... I finally had to accept in life there are no guarantees and that like my mom I am a survivor and I would get through whatever came my way. (Whch I have, it just hasnt been divorce!!!).

    Andn yes also to residcual trauma. I think we probably have all had traumatic events related to our kids.... and that time when my son disappeared and walked 10 miles in the middle of the night is one of many of mine.
  16. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    My Dad died when I was 9 leaving me in a horrible situation. Fear of abandonment ruled my life, maybe less so over 60 now. But I definitely would have a different life path were it not for that. Wish I could say why its harder for some than others. My father died, it wasn't his choice. But left me with years of horrible emotional abuse. My life was far worse for the abandonment if that matters.

    Again, not sure if this makes it worse, but my Dad was the only nurturer in my life, the only support, love, etc. So when he died I had nothing emotionally. Free fall to raise myself.
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My father left when I was 8 and when I was 11 he disappeared altogether. I had issues too smithmom. Of course it matters.
  18. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Part of why I don't understand the abandonment feelings of adopted kids (for those adopted at birth) is that they never had that parent. I understand the need to identify with physical characteristics, similarities of habits and other genetics. But thats not abandonment. Wanting to know why, the story of conception, birth and placement for adoption I understand. But if abandonment is loss of bonding....
  19. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    So then Copa, for the child who was pulled from abusive parent to good situation there's less feeling of abandonment? Even though the birthparent made no attempt to change or voluntarily surrendered there's no abandonment? Eg Eliza's son?

    My oldest foster daughter always professed love and forgiveness for birthmom who let her be abused and chose abusive husband over kids. Boggles my mind. I know her older sibs had less forgiveness.

    Yes foster kids always idealize birthparents. But isn't there some level of anger and abandonment?
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My own son was in an orphanage type situation. When I met him he was on his last legs. He was being raised in a pack of 5 or 6 other toddlers. There was no stimulation. There were three shifts of caretakers. The plus, is that because he was removed at 2 weeks, from his birth parents, because of threats, he was not abused I don't think. My son had minimal contact with birth parents, but no relationship.

    My own son feels rage at his bio-parents because of drugs, and because he was drug-exposed at birth and got the Hep B. I have not experienced him feeling abandoned. Just anger.
    In my experience, my son does not express feelings of abandonment. Nor does he feel he had any kind of break or good fortune.

    What he does feel I think is a kind of discontinuity. A break. The only way I can explain it is it looks like he feels like his life began from an explosion, and that he cannot make sense of the pieces. There is no story that he can tell himself or imagine that makes him feel whole.

    Maybe that is what people talk about as abandonment. The inability to make a coherent story that makes one feel good about themselves. And then the searching for reasons in the self (badness), to justify this inability to find coherence. That is my son's overwhelming feeling: that he is somehow defective, damaged, ruined, because of who his birth parents were, how they lived, and how he was affected by them. But that is not abandonment.