This post is for men and women.
Lately, I’ve been running into situations that have only reiterated to me the fact that most humans deal with abandonment issues at one point or another.
We live in a very imperfect world. We live in a world where humans have the potential for great kindness and great cruelty.
But here’s the tricky part.
Even among those who are kind, and who strive to be good, there’s still a great deal of imperfection.
And to put it bluntly—a lot of people still get left behind.
Trust me when I say that I’ve experienced this.
When my marriage ended back in 2017, I thought that my life was over.
It felt like everyone abandoned me within the span of 24 hours.
I had never felt so alone, and I almost gave up.
But I didn’t.
In fact, I learned to overcome my abandonment issues.
And in this post, I’ll explain how I did it.
The Basics: Understanding Why People Have Abandonment Issues To Begin With
Universally speaking, we do not live in a world where you can usually count on someone sticking around for you.
It’s safe to say that all of us have been abandoned by someone at some point.
I know that I have.
And odds are good that you’ve experienced this as well.
It isn’t easy.
Thinking that you can trust someone to be there for you, only to turn around and realize that they’ve left, can be a pretty big punch in the gut.
This can happen with parents, siblings, friends, dating partners, and even spouses.
It can happen with coworkers and bosses as well.
To be really honest, anyone in this world that you may develop a relationship with could, at any point, choose to abandon you.
And if we’re all being honest, that’s a pretty terrifying face-value thought.
The Alpha Mentality And Abandonment Issues
This is exactly why I espouse the alpha mentality.
Above all else, the alpha mentality tells us to take control of our own destiny.
When I was younger, I used to rely on the people I loved for many things.
I relied on them for guidance, support, friendship, companionship, and even love.
I relied on them to believe in me, and to give me a reason to believe in myself.
I thought to myself that if these people could love me, I must be worth loving.
We Often Rely On Others To Feel Good About Ourselves
Sometimes when people invest in us and believe in us, we see it as evidence that we’re worth that investment.
The only problem with this thinking pattern is that it all falls apart when they leave.
I’m not saying that I have a ‘magic cure’ for abandonment issues.
I’m not a counselor. I’m not a psychologist. I’m not a doctor.
And I’m not even an expert on this particular topic.
But I do have a lot of experience with it.
And in my own way, in my own life, I’ve managed to overcome it.
And so, in this post, I’m going to explain exactly how I did it
The 6 Steps I Used To Overcome My Own Abandonment Issues
Step 1 – I Accepted What Many Would Call The Coldest, Hardest Truth Of All
What is this truth?
That you can only trust humans to do what is in their own best self interest.
This is a hard pill to swallow.
This basically means that people are only going to believe in you and stick with you for as long as it serves them to do so.
The moment there ceases to be a benefit in it for them, they’re likely going to change and leave.
Step 2 – I Accepted The Fact That You Can’t Count On People To Believe In You Forever
Some humans are going to believe in you, and they’re going to want to stay with you.
But eventually, whether temporarily or forever, they’re going to go their own way.
There’s just no two ways about that.
This is another hard pill to swallow.
But it’s not all bleak, and I’m about to explain why.
Step 3 – I Came To Understand That The Answer Was To Be There For Myself
See, I’m the only one who is 100% guaranteed to show up for every day of my life.
My life is the only life I can control, and my choices are the only choices I can control.
Now, at first, this may seem like a very lonely way of thinking.
But once again, It’s not as bleak as it sounds.
The next thing I realized probably surprised me the most.
That once I began to release others from the burden of being expected to believe in me, and I started prioritizing my own belief in myself, I came to realize a very crucial and misunderstood truth.
I came to realize that everyone else also has abandonment issues, and that everyone else is only doing what they do, for the most part, out of a deep-set longing to be loved and desired by others.
Step 4 – I Understood That Everyone Else Feels Abandoned As Well, In Their Own Unique Ways
This realization was the loneliest realization yet.
But it was also the most empowering.
I came to understand the truth—that every single person in this world suffers from abandonment issues of some kind.
And that instead of living in a void, surrounded by people who are constantly giving up on me, I was actually living in a worldwide black hole of fear and despair, populated by every other human on the planet.
This is where I realized that even though I felt very alone, I actually wasn’t alone.
Because every other person feels that same fear, and the same sense of abandonment, that I was feeling.
Step 5 – I Learned To Rise Above The Darkness
This was the most important realization I’ve probably ever had in regards to dealing with other people.
I learned that if you become self aware enough to understand that everyone is hurt and looking for validation, you actually gain an incredible opportunity to rise above the darkness and become someone who gives validation, rather than being a person who needs it from others.
This is a very rare thing. A lot of humans can do this temporarily, but it’s very rare that this becomes our default state.
Here’s the truth, though.
The moment this becomes your default state is the moment you step into the great alpha mandate of tribal responsibility and leadership.
This is the moment when you realize that you have the power to make a bigger difference.
You realize that there’s a great need in our world for strong men and women who will stand up, set aside their own need for validation, and reach out a hand to care for others. I
If you can find the strength to become this kind of person, you’ll make a huge positive impact on the world.
And that leads us to our final point.
Step 6 – Become The Person Who Validates Others
It isn’t easy to be the kind of person who validates others. And sometimes, because you’re human and imperfect, you’ll slip back into needing someone else to comfort you and validate you.
And that’s okay, because none of us are perfect.
But I’ve also learned that the more you practice being the type of person who validates others, the better you’ll tend to get at it.
I learned this about three years ago.
I remember saying to myself, “Josh, it’s time to stop relying on others to make you feel better about your life. It’s time for you to start helping others. It’s time for you to be the one who shows up for the people you care about. And it’s time to be the one who doesn’t give up on them. It’s time to be the man who shows the way, rather than the man who looks to others to show him the way.”
At first I wasn’t very good at this. But as I worked at it and practiced, I got better.
And the better I get at it, the more I realize that there’s a huge need for it.
And the better I got at validating myself first and then focusing on helping other people, the more I came to realize that people actually flock to you when you’re capable of living with that kind of positive energy.
See, when you take on this mindset and you actually practice it with self awareness, you become an energy net positive in the world, instead of a sad, empty energy void.
And that’s really fucking rare. It also means that you’ll probably spend less time alone than you ever did before, because more and more people will be drawn to you.
I hope that this post has helped you to understand my process for overcoming abandonment issues in my life.
I’m no longer afraid of being abandoned, because I understand humans.
I understand that they can only be trusted to do what is in their own best self interest.
And I’ve learned that that’s okay. I’ve learned not to be bitter about it.
Because that’s just the way we are. We’re hard-wired for survival. And to be honest, I love humans. And that means that I need to be ready to accept them, both the parts that are easy to love, and also the parts about our nature that are difficult to accept.
Plus, when you finally embrace it, and when you come to just simply love others for who they are without expecting them to be something they’re not, and when you fill your own needs instead of relying on other humans to show up for you…
That’s when you step into true alpha power.
Go with grace, my friends, and never give up your power.
Until next time…
Joshua K. Sigafus