Abandonment. When one deserts you and never returns. When one leaves you in the middle of a situation when you need them. When one promises to be there but does not show. Harsher words describe as “ditched,” left to fend for yourself, or being “stood up,” could be a form of abandonment. There are many meanings to the word “abandonment” depending on each individual who defines it. Have you ever felt abandoned?

I have heard quite a few horror stories relating to abandonment and have experienced a few, maybe lesser dramatic degree of abandonment. Regardless, most people probably wouldn’t want to be abandoned. I think it is one of the worst feelings in the world. It’s like waiting for a cab that never arrives when they promised they would, so you expected them to. Ok, I’ve never been in a cab, but I could imagine how that would feel.. but feel even worse when it’s more like waiting for a ride from a friend you made plans with, who decides to not show up.

What defines abandonment to you? I’ve heard of love stories that have gone sour. Loved ones who decide to leave and never come back, someone taking away children with them. Even loved ones who threatened abandonment, sometimes using their own child as pawns. I’ve also heard stories of people leaving their loved ones behind due to unfortunate circumstances (war, for example), but sometimes moving on with their lives starting another family, even when they already had one. The ones left behind may have felt abandoned.

I’ve heard of plenty of cases of accidental abandonment, and may have experienced quite a few times. Back in the day when some of us used regular land line phones before the boom of cell phones and electronic communication, it was pretty common that one would tell the other to hold and then unintentionally forget to switch back over, thus making the other person who was waiting the whole time to feel a little abandoned. Back then it was “easy to forget” because the regular phones didn’t have an indicator to remind that another person is still other line. Sometimes you just couldn’t tell if one or the other was still actually there or hung up. So the person on hold could wait a long time and not know.

I think one of the worst habits I make, (which I may have mentioned before), is waiting for people for a very LONG time. When it’s waiting for someone to show after making plans.. I’ve waited 9hours before for a friend who didn’t show up. When it’s waiting to see someone I haven’t seen, I’d wait months. I had the patience equivalent to a rock and hope like Rocky. It’s normal to make plans and expect that people who help made those plans, to show up. But more so in the past, I had friends who made it a habit to not to show up. Either they bail last minute or more often, just not show. No explanations, not even a return call. I was pretty easy going, so I’d let it slide every time and go on as if it never happened.

But of course I felt alone and abandoned. It was slowly eating a hole inside of me and I didn’t even know it until it was too late. I’d hang on to that hope, wondering and waiting all day and night, only to find out at the end of the night they weren’t going to show. Wondering if something bad has happened to them, that caused them not to reach back to me, was always the worse. Sometimes I don’t even know what my logic is.. I look out at the entrance thinking Oh maybe that’s them, or Oh, I’ll wait 5 more minutes, then maybe they’ll show. Then another 5 minutes, and another. Or it’s just the fear of leaving and them right before they show up, and feeling like abandoned them instead. Why am I being so unfair to myself as others?

Life has its interesting way of kicking me in the head and telling me to wake up. After repetitive abandonment, life’s challenges, and maybe a few close calls to death… I realized how much time, and the whole “You’ve got one life to live” phrase holds so much importance. I realized how much I took time for granted. Abandonment has costed me time that I would never be able to take back. It makes me wonder about all the people who have abandoned people. Why? Have they ever been abandoned themselves? Do they ever think about how other people feel? Do they know what it’s like to be abandoned?

At what point in life is it OK to abandon someone? I don’t recall abandoning someone intentionally, so I can’t say I haven’t done it accidentally. I’m not perfect. If I ever chose to abandon anyone, there must have been a pretty good reason I did.. I think. Regardless, I think there are cases where abandoning someone is a good idea or even life saving. Abandoning an abusive relationship for example. I have heard plenty of situations where people have left abusive relationships. I think that is vital to anyone’s health and safety, and probably one of the most difficult for people to do, especially when they love the abuser. If you want to protect the innocent people you love also, in extreme cases, sometimes abandoning them, everyone, or taking a person(s) away to abandon the dangerous, could save lives too.

So how do you define “abandonment?” When is it OK to abandon someone? Have you ever been abandoned or ever abandoned someone? What was the situation and why? How does it make you feel? Whether the situation, each individual defines abandonment differently in essence of the people around them or their past.

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