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5 Signs of Abandonment in a Child

The feeling of loneliness, the fear of not having someone in your corner who loves you and care for you, the feeling of rejection, when you combine them, that is actually the feeling of being abandoned.

 

Little girl abandoned by adults…

The feeling of abandonment is actually inevitable when we lose someone who we care about especially love ones who have been very close to us.

If we hold a space for our partners without the fear of abandonment we are creating the room for a beautiful relationship, but the problem is when we cannot let go of the fear and create a nightmare for the relationships that we are presently engaged in.

The effect of the abandonment may differ from individual to individual. Undoubtedly, the support of near and dear ones is of help in coping with this feeling. The feeling of abandonment deeply affects your life when it starts controlling your thoughts and actions. As the feeling of being deprived of love and support increases, symptoms of abandonment issues start showing.

 

A child sleeping and living on the streets of Manila.

A child sleeping and living on the streets of Manila.

Abandonment in Children

 

She was a normal little girl, her life was in her mind perfect and so at the age of 7 when she heard her parents shouting at each other in the wee hours in the morning she was in shock that was new to her. It all sounded like gibberish to her, but she knew it was something serious. She felt helpless, so she sat up in bed waiting for the thunder and lightning to stop and so it did. She tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t and decided to go and check on her parents, her dad was by himself looking aimlessly at a blank television screen, she went and hugged him and felt his muscles so tensed that it scarred her, with a husky voice totally unfamiliar to her he said, “go back to bed”.

She complied with his request, but still the sleep would not come. It was morning, she was hoping that things would go back to normal, but the silence was deafening and before long her father with a packed suitcase told her he was going away for a while, that was the last day she saw him for another 21 years.

Her mother was not communicating with her, just grunts and crying all the time. She could not take it and asked when her dad was coming home, her mother with fire in her eyes, said, “I wished your father was dead!” It did not compute, but her stomach churned and she was reminded of that horrible day when she had a box of milk and it got her.

After a couple of years her mother told her she was leaving to get a job so that they can be comfortable again, she packed her things and took her to be with her Aunt who she hardly knew, sure her Aunt was a very nice lady, but all she remembered of the Aunt was that she smelled funny and she lost a tooth and she would not fix it.

Here she was with her Aunt’s family, she now had to adjust her life to this new family. Her Aunt’s children would remind her in not so many words, ‘you are a stranger here, you need to adjust’ and that she did.

She was doing very well in school, however there were some noticeable changes and signs that I will share with you:

Teenagers strolling past abandoned buildings and seemingly on their own.

Teenagers strolling past abandoned buildings and seemingly on their own.

Sickness: Due to the mental stress of being abandoned, she was sickly, most days she would spend a few hours at nurse’s quarters. She would refuse to participate in general activities because of her mental state and inability to deal with rejection and ignorance.

Lack of Concentration: She found it very difficult to concentrate on school activities outside of studies that was because she would lock herself away with books. Her mind would constantly go back to that morning when she heard the parents shouting at each other, that she lacked the energy to play and do anything like a normal child. Even though her grades were good, she was dying inside.

Negativity: She is now facing ignorance and rejection, she started developing negative thoughts and emotions. She may get angry over petite issues and became very frustrated. Disorders: She did not eat properly and so never really learned to cook, she could go an entire day on crackers and cheese. She also developed a sleeping disorder afraid that if she shut her eyes, something may happen and change her world completely.

Behaviour: Some common behaviours of children who feel abandoned, often regresses to habits like crying, daydreaming, bed-wetting, thumb sucking, clinging to a certain toy, blanket or pillow, throwing tantrums, etc. These children will also suffer from the fear of being in the dark. If they have been abandoned by one parent, they fear being abandoned by the other parent too. In her case both parents were gone, so there was no escape.

It is easier to help a person recover from the feeling of abandonment, if proper attention is given to the person in his/her childhood. As a parent or guardian, once you discover that your child feels abandoned, start bonding with them.

  • Give them more attention and try gaining their trust.
  • Assure the child that you will always be there for them, and that they would never have to face the world alone.
  • Improve their self-confidence by encouraging the child to participate in social activities, and guiding them in studies.
  • If the situation and behaviours of your child does not change, consult a child psychologist.

Young boy with pencil, pen and paper on train, with no adults in sight.

Abandoning someone is a very cruel thing to do. One can be busy with everyday life and related problems, but abandoning near and dear ones, is a plain act of insensitivity. Mostly, people don’t even realize the damage they are doing by their ruthless negligence. One move of ignorance can change the life of someone completely. Everyone needs love and nothing in the world can replace human love, warmth and affection.

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