Abandonment and Neglect Trauma
Abandonment is a psychobiological condition in which earlier separation traumas interfere with current life. The symptoms of PTSD of abandonment range from mild to severe. They can show up in a variety of ways including high levels of anxiety, insecurities, self-sabotage in relationships and failure to achieving long range goals. Another symptom of abandonment is a tendency to reenact our abandonment scenarios through repetitive patterns, such as being attracted to the unavailable.
Other frequent issues that arise following abandonment trauma include diminished self-esteem and heightened vulnerability within social contexts. These symptoms in return can leave the victim feeling the need to defend themselves from further rejection, criticism, or abandonment. These reactions can create emotional tension and jeopardize emotional connections.
Victims of abandonment trauma can also have emotional flashbacks that flood them with feelings ranging from mild anxiety to intense panic in response to triggers that they may or may not be conscious of. People with PTSD of abandonment can have heightened emotional responses to abandonment triggers that are often considered insignificant by others. For instance, depending on circumstances, when they feel slighted, criticized, or excluded, it can instigate an emotional hijacking and jeopardize their personal or professional life. Conversely, there can also be a tendency to under-react to anger out of fear of breaking the connection and their extreme fear of ‘not being liked’.
Neglect is a type of maltreatment that refers to the failure by a caregiver to provide needed care, although financially able to do so or offered financial or other means to do so, to a child or in some cases a dependent adult. In order to experience neglect, a person must be reliant on others for their physical and emotional wellbeing. This vulnerability means that victims of neglect are predisposed to experiencing related trauma later in life.
Types of Neglect:
Physical Neglect – Those neglected need the same basic necessities as everyone: food, clothing, shelter. However, they are reliant on others to provide these necessities. If a provider is not ensuring that their trustee is given these essentials, it is considered neglect. Physical neglect might mean that a parent is neglecting to provide adequately nutritious meals consistently, or it might mean that a parent has literally abandoned their child.
Educational Neglect – Failure to provide a victim (in this case, usually a child) with adequate education in the form of enrolling them in school or providing adequate home schooling.
Emotional Neglect – Consistently ignoring, rejecting, verbally abusing, teasing, withholding love, isolating, or terrorizing the victim. Emotional neglect can also include subjecting the victim to corruptive or exploitative situations (such as illegal drug use).
Medical neglect – The failure to provide appropriate health care for a victim (although financially able to do so), thus placing the victim at risk of being seriously disabled or dying.
Neglect can lead to problems later in life which may include:
Physical Consequences – This includes failure of the brain to develop properly due to malnutrition and other medical issues and poor physical health in general, which can lead to an array of problems later on.
Psychological Consequences – This includes low self-esteem, problems maintaining healthy relationships, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, suicide attempts, cognitive/learning disabilities, social disabilities and other issues.
Behavioral Consequences – This includes juvenile delinquency, alcohol/drug abuse and criminal or abusive behavior.
Without proper care, victims are in danger of not developing properly due to malnutrition, physical injury, or illness. But the hidden danger of neglect – the one that may not be apparent for many years but which can stick with a person for their lifetime – is the risk of PTSD that can affect them psychologically and emotionally in the long-term.
Treating Trauma at Milestones
At Milestones at Onsite, we want you to know that we stand behind you one hundred percent. We want to support you and walk with you into your recovery. We believe in unconditional love and provide a safe environment for you to do the work that has been needed for a long time. We are here to help and we’d be honored to have the opportunity to show up for you and help you discover joy in your life.