A good percentage of my clients have suffered abandonment as children (perhaps not surprising, considering my strongly placed Neptune and Pisces Ascendant.) The effect of abandonment is insidious, but is rarely discussed in psychological or self help literature, let alone astrology books.
Childhood Scenarios of Abandonment
In her excellent book “The Journey from Abandonment to Healing”, author-therapist Susan Anderson lists several scenarios in which a child experiences the feeling of being abandoned (excerpt from page91-92):
- Illness of one of your parents
- Death of a close family member, one you counted on for attention and emotional support
- Loss of a beloved grandparent
- Parents preoccupied with fighting, bickering, or their divorce
- An earthquake in your family structure – your father or mother moving out
- Older sibling leaving home – one who had been your champion, role model, or supporter
- Workaholism in one or both parents
- Alcoholism in the family system
- Chaotic family – sometimes when you most needed them, one or both of your parents weren’t available
- Moving – breaking social ties, being new kid on the block over and over
- Parents dealing with prolonged conflict or grief; they emotionally withdrew from you
- Depression, mental illness in the family
- Birth of other siblings, relegating you to an emotional back burner
- Death or illness of a sibling, which absorbed your parents’ full attention
- Parents whose behavior is defined as self centered, narcissistic, or insensitive
Astrologically, each of these scenarios will have a correlating measurement, both natally and through transit or Solar arc.
Legacy of Abandonment Wound
The psychological effects of abandonment during childhood vary – and some children are more resilient than others (usually owing to the help of a remediating, supporting figure coming to the rescue of the child’s self concept.) In general, repeated experience of abandonment will be internalized as beliefs that sound something like: “I’m not worthy of love/I’m unlovable/There is something wrong with me/I cause other people to reject or leave me.”
As adults we usually get over these beliefs to one extent or other, but these old feelings may resurface when we’re faced with fresh rejection or abandonment.
Some of us repeat the pattern of abandonment in our adult relationships through choosing emotionally unavailable partners. It’s as if we’re unconsciously hoping to cure the original wound through playing out the same scenario again and again, hoping for an alternate outcome.
Abandonment and Anxiety Toward New Life Experience
Study suggests that survivors of childhood abandonment tend to respond to new situations in life with worry and anxiety rather than excitement– thus they tend to be hesitant to try new activities or seek out new relationships.
Possible Horoscope Signatures of Abandonment
Astrologically, the planet Neptune and the 12th house have been linked with abandonment issues. When Neptune is in hard aspect with the natal Moon, Venus, Saturn or the Angles (Ascendant or Midheaven) or with key midpoints such as the Sun/Moon midpoint, there could be a seed of insecurity from feeling abandoned and rejected as a child.
Similarly, when the 12th house ruler is strongly placed in a natal chart, or the inner planet is located in the natal 12th house, there could be a legacy of childhood abandonment, subtly undermining the present relationships.
Working with Abandonment Issues
Abandonment wound is characterized by a sense of emotional hunger. When feeling such hunger, you may find that your craving for instant gratification increases, in the form of food, drink, sex or any other behaviors that serve to temporary shut off the pain.
Perhaps Neptunians’ susceptibility for escapist, addictive behaviors originate from not being able to bear the pain of abandonment they suffered.
Like any other Neptunian disorder, abandonment issues need to be healed through emotional and spiritual work (there may even be a support group
for abandonment survivors in your city.) Most of us benefit from having others that can support us in the healing process.
Many of the healing methods focus on being in the moment (another facet of Neptunian experience), and being present to our own pain in a compassionate way. Others focus on using our power of visualization in a positive way (another Neptunian activity), through reawakening the old, broken dreams and taking positive actions to pursue them.
It takes true courage to work through the insidious effect of severe abandonment trauma, but we become more empowered by choosing to do the healing work, and learning to celebrate our individuality rather than perpetually mourning over the separation.
Did you experience abandonment as a child, and if so, how do you think it affects your attitude today toward relationships? Does your horoscope reflect it? Please feel free to share your thoughts through emails or comments.