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Abandonment and Forgiveness

April 28, 2013

During the last few months I have reported on this blog my personal circumstances, losing my home, financial crises and, more importantly, my emotional and psychological responses to this. What I haven’t mentioned is abandonment. I have hinted at it, I have suggested it, inferred and skirted around it – but I have never used the word. The reason was this – I didn’t want to appear needy. This is dishonest so I am changing that.

Abandonment can take two forms – real or imagined. Perhaps this was another reason I hesitated in reporting back on this subject, I wasn’t sure if it was real or imagined. Now I am sure.

Many  weeks ago I received three texts (SMS) from three friends on the same day saying very similar things: ‘I hope the worst has passed?’ ‘I want you to know that I still care’ ‘I am still here but very busy’ ‘I am on the edge myself’ ‘Take Care’. It was the ‘Take Care’ that did it for me – I knew that they had had enough and could support me no longer. They all have their own families and responsibilities and I am not blood-related. I get it. Their families must come first. This is the way it should be. But it was at this point that I truly went under. I thought to myself:

‘What is wrong with me?’ ‘I am unlovable’ ‘Nobody loves me’.

As I sat in the one room I could afford to heat in my apartment, staring at the walls, desperately looking for people amongst the mounds of worn clothes and empty boxes ready for my move into housing I was yet to be offered – I felt abandoned. I was again twelve years old.

There were two things going on here – when I was much younger, say around eight, my mum got up in the middle of the night, in a drunken/tranquilliser haze, and started packing a bag. I got up and asked what she was doing: ‘You’re going to the children’s home tomorrow’ she said. I can still feel the cold chills, fright and terror. I can still recall those images of how life would be in the children’s home – I really thought it was going to happen. The next day mum had completely forgotten the previous nights’ events and looked amused and confused when I asked if I was still going to the home.

I had been emotionally abandoned and the threat of physical abandonment loomed over my innocence.

The second aspect of this current abandonment was simple – the friends  who text me simply were not strong enough for me to lean on. My situation reminded them of their own hidden fragility. It was just too much for them and I was angry. Very, very angry.

I am still angry – I am human – but I did and continue to do a practice that I learned from ‘How to See Yourself As You Really Are’ by HH the Dalai Lama:

Visualise someone who you are struggling with. Imagine that they are bereft of happiness. Really see their humanity then say:

‘This person is alone and bereft of happiness. He/She is in terrible pain and suffering. How nice it would be if they were to be happy and receive the causes of happiness’.

‘This person is alone and bereft of happiness. He/She is in terrible pain and suffering. May they be happy and receive the causes of happiness’.

‘This person is alone and bereft of happiness. He/She is in terrible pain and suffering. I will do all I can to help him/her to be happy and to receive the causes of happiness’.

I didn’t always manage the third one – it felt false and so I only took the practice that far when I was able to shift my anger to a level where I was truly genuine in my compassionate intent. But I have to say – this practice WORKED without a doubt and I continue to do this daily.

I have said this before in some posts – We cannot change other people’s behaviour – we can change our response to that behaviour. And hell, if the Dalai Lama is able to do it with the Chinese – my ‘tiny’ problems are a breeze!

Until Next Time,

Matt Chase, A Work In Progress 😉

NB: The wording of the practice is paraphrased and not accurate – Please refer to ‘How to See Yourself As You Really Are’ if you are interested in this practice (Not an Affiliate link).

  1. pangirlbrit permalink

    Hey, I am sure you have heard this a million times already, but hang in there, I do care, and I do want you to be happy. I am here to talk if you need to talk. Just email me I am here for you, the best as I can be. 🙂 Hope things start to look up and get better for you soon.

    • Bless you that warms my heart. This post is really a reflection of what we all experience from time to time, I learned a lot about human behaviour during what I now refer to as ‘the crisis’ – some friends have stood solid during this, others sadly have not. It reminds me of the poem ‘The Invitation’ I don’t know if you’ve read it but it’s well worth the visit. Big hug!

      Matt, still here 🙂

  2. I’ve been down this road. In fact, I’m on a very similar road right now. It’s funny how we can suddenly become lepers when we lose our jobs and/or our homes. In fact, I’ve had people turn their backs on me,or silently slip away, under those circumstances. They stick around for awhile, then just move on since we may not be able to be the friends we used to be, or hang out like we used to. We can’t waste money on beer at the local pub any more. We can’t go to the movies or have lunch anymore because we can’t spend that money. Sometimes “friends” leave when we can’t help spin the wheels of their lives any more. Others leave because they just can’t help us face down our problems or they don’t want to talk to us anymore, afraid we have nothing else to talk about besides our state of mind or being. Some we unintentionally chase off with our depressed state. What hurts me most though is when our so-called family starts taking jabs at us. Our working family…or the other lot sitting around on disability not worrying about paychecks… So, how long is it going to take for you to find a job? I can’t believe that out of 1000 resumes that you’ve only had 3 interviews. Really? You must not be looking very hard….

    I love those jabs.

    Anyway, I just want to let you know that you are not alone in the fight for self worth.

    • Wow what an incredibly insightful response, thank you so much. A friend actually had a very emotional response to this post, strangely as it in no way referred to her (!) But she clearly personalised it as it pushed some buttons. The thing is this: I have no issue with friends not being strong enough to lean on – if they could do better, they would – I do have issue with people not being honest. I would find the ‘Abandonment’ much more palatable if it was accompanied by ‘I’m sorry Matt, this is just too much for me… It’s triggering my own stuff too much’.

      But the wonderful outcome of all this is this – I know who I am now. So who knows? Maybe, just maybe…. This was all supposed to happen… 

      Much love,

      Matt 🙂

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  1. The Stigma of Mental Health | Matt Chase
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