Often the physical absence of parents can lead to abandonment depression.
Sometimes, a child may experience neglect trauma or abandonment depression due to the death or absence of parents or caregivers.
The article delves into abandonment depression, a condition in which it is difficult to develop and sustain healthy, long term relationships and offers insights
It is difficult to break the vicious cycle of abandonment depression, but in overcoming abandonment issues, it is crucial to understand the stage of grief and mourning process stages.
Bowlby studied the mourning process that children who were hospitalized for a physical illness went through when they were not able to have their mothers around them as they were used to at home.
Mourning could take two courses
One type of mourning enabled the individual to relate to and find satisfaction in new objects. This is considered to be a healthy way to mourn.
Bowlby also discovered a second kind of mourning that pathologically prevents a person from developing new relationships and outlets.
This kind of mourning proceeds through three phases.
1.The protest and wish for a reunion
This phase that may last a few hours or several weeks, during which the child appears acutely distressed at having lost its mother and seeks to recapture her by whatever limited means he possesses.
He entertains strong expectations and wishes that she will return.
He tends to reject others, such as nurses and doctors, who offer to do things for him, although some children will cling desperately to a particular nurse.
2. Hopelessness sets in
The child sinks into deep depths of sadness and may even stay put at one place for long, with little or no movement.
He tends to cry for long hours at stretch or sporadically, and becomes withdrawn and inactive. He turns passive and makes no demands as the mourning state deepens further.
3. He begins to show more interest in the surroundings
This is usually welcomed as a sign of recovery.
The child no longer rejects nurses, but accepts their care, food, and the toys they bring. He may even smile and be sociable. But when the mother returns to visit, it is clear that he has not recovered.
Instead of greeting her, he may act as if they are strangers, instead of getting close to her, he may remain distant and apathetic; instead of crying when she leaves, he will act nonchalant and turn his attention to something else.
Apparently, he has lost all interest in her.
If a child has to stay in the hospital for a prolonged period of time, he will become attached to a series of nurses, each of whom leaves, thus repeating again and again for him the original experience of losing the mother.
In time he will detach all deep emotional feelings from relationships and act as though neither mothering nor any other human contact has much significance for him.
He learns that when he gives his trust and affection to a mothering figure, he loses her.
He tries again and loses the next. And so on.
Eventually, he gives up taking the risk of attaching himself to anyone.
He becomes increasingly self-centered and, instead of having desires and feelings toward people, he becomes preoccupied with material things that wonʼt let him down such as sweets, toys, and food.
He will no longer find gratification in relationships and will settle, instead, for immediate self-contained gratification.
A child living in a hospital or institution who has reached this state will no longer be upset when nurses change or leave.
4. The child has constructed a defense against being hurt
He ceases to show his feelings even to his parents when they come and go on visiting days.
They, too, are swept into the orbit of disappointment and pain as they realize that the child is more interested in the presents they bring than in them as people.
There is recognition that when my patients go through a separation experience that they have been defending themselves against all their lives, they seem to react just like Bowlbyʼs infants in the second stage of despair.
Abandonment depression is indicative of impaired thinking
The separation brings on a catastrophic set of feelings, which has been called an abandonment depression.
Someone who is suffering from abandonment depression is prone to chronic anxiety, severe depression, and unhealthy codependency.
Also watch this video on abandonment depression:
Steps to recovering from abandonment depression
Timely professional intervention and therapeutic or counseling help is imperative.
If you are looking for a self-help guidance tool, it would be a good idea to check the abandonment recovery workbook. A powerful workshop in a book!
Say yes to the company of loving and caring friends and family.
Let go of past disappointments and stop censuring yourself. Be gentle on yourself.
Tim is a Licensed Self-Centered Therapist. Tim works best and most effectively with Self-Centered Adults, Young People and Families. Clients from the fields of Entertainment, Real Estate and Mental Health have found their way to Tim’s Read more personal brand toward the long lasting relief of a lifetime with internal psychological, spiritual and philosophical pain. The kind of pain that breeds overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression; encourages thoughts of confusion and discourages the truth in one’s potential or abilities. All of which lends itself toward self-destructive behaviors which double down as “proof” of our unworthiness.
Tim works within an eclectic psychological orientation, which has an emphasis on the psychodynamic theories of Self and Person-Centered Psychologies. Translation: Our first understanding of ourselves comes from the first people we know. From there, the other relationships we participate in tend to reflect those aspects of ourselves previously learned.
Depending on the kind (or unkind) of education you received - truly knowing yourself may still be lost to you. Utilizing professional yet still emotionally intimate relationship established between you and he, Tim can be of support to you as you do the internal work 4 yourself, w/yourself AND without feeling that you have to do it all by yourself. Alone.
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