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Issue #13: WTF – Abandonment?

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WTF does that even mean!?


I was sitting down the other day with Nardia – my wife for those who are new here or don’t know that yet..


We happened to be looking at some of my business.


More so the brand and everything that entails (she’s really good at that stuff).


She came to this piece that said “loving challenge”. Then she blurted out the above, “What is that even?”


So I explained.


This is a key aspect of my coaching – not just my coaching but the coaching approach in ELA.


It is to be challenging but always loving.


A strong firm hand and a soft kind heart.


I will challenge you but I will be doing so because I know you can handle it and because, to me, that is the ultimate form of respect. I care enough to be truthful. Anything less is disingenuous.


Now, it’s not always challenging. However, in my experience, a lot of the men who read my emails and content and find their way to working with me and my team need a little loving challenge; that respectful yet firm shake of the psyche.


A loving invitation into discomfort AND growth and potential.


Growth and change need confrontation – and we might wander our way into it. But in my experience, most guys who need the work we deliver – need a jumpstart to that confrontation. Often.


Every new level needs a new confrontation.


Today I am going to do just that.


I am going to bring a challenge. But know that it comes with love – I think you can handle this uncomfortable truth.


Here goes…


As a fully functioning adult human, you can’t be abandoned by another adult.


To say otherwise completely disregards the concept of sovereignty.


For some of you – this is not challenging.


For others that might trigger you up the wazoo!


So then, some context. And an explanation.


I first shared this in a conversation with one of the guys in the Everyday Legends Academy. We’d been exploring historical abandonment in his life and a subsequent, and current, fear of abandonment.


And how it was so fucking prominent in his life.


Makes sense;

Was abandoned as a child by a primary caregiver – fears abandonment now when people get close.


We’d dug into plenty of things, all with loads of compassion, but there was a sticking point.


To me, that sticking point – as very often is for many of us men with big things in our lives – was a definition that needed upgrading so an old one – and ALL the shit stuck to it – could be let go of.


He once was abandoned.


He can no longer be abandoned.


It landed – “This was a life changer for me. Seriously.”


On daddy-daughter time. Communication happens in many formats

It allowed him to reclaim the narrative in his life where this was playing out.


Until it came up again in his life when he was discussing it with someone – his new look on feeling abandoned and claiming his sovereignty – when they stated “true, but people sure can desert you…”


They can.

We can.


People we are committed to can leave, desert, cheat, break our hearts, plain ghost us and disappear.


But being abandoned is an interpretation. A significant interpretation.


Something that can happen to a dependent.


My student asked me: “Is it the act of desertion that drives the feelings of abandonment?”


A great question. An accurate one. The key here is feelings of abandonment.


We must differentiate between feelings of abandonment and a belief of being abandoned.


As an adult with sovereignty, if someone is to leave us, that can be the most painful thing in the world. But it’s only ‘abandonment’ if we label it so.


If I label it as such I now become a victim of it – “I am the victim of abandonment”.


This doesn’t disregard the immense soul-crushing pain that can come when someone we’re connected to no longer chooses us.


But if I choose to be a sovereign individual I can see it as heartbreak and desertion, and through the heartache and despair, and snot and tear-covered cheeks I can eventually see the shit-wrapped gift – that I am still sovereign.


And that person simply (definitely) wasn’t to be my person forever.


Of course we can be left by others.


But choosing to be ‘abandoned by them’ makes me powerless to feel, learn, and move ahead. It no longer makes me the author of my life. I make them the author.


It doesn’t have to mean “I was abandoned” and now my deepest fears that I’m not lovable/worthy of love etc etc etc are true.


It can simply mean “I was crushed”.


Here’s the kicker:


Here’s the entirely infuriating thing for most people still running the abandonment story and fear on repeat – that very fear of being abandoned by others often acts as the lens for seeing the world and interactions with others.


Every situation where someone leaves, doesn’t stick around or show up for them, when someone says ‘no’ or doesn’t choose them, is seen and interpreted as another abandonment. Further strengthening the story.


The painful irony is that by continuing these behaviours (that step away from sovereignty) that person, in effect, abandons themselves.


The moment I make someone else choosing me more important than my own sovereignty is the moment I abandon myself.


Don’t abandon yourself just to keep someone. 


Because that is the ultimate abandonment.


This is clearly a deep and challenging subject.


For some it’s a nice idea to read about, maybe be hit in the face with.


And that is my hope, that this idea can land for you cognitively so that the deeper integration of it and the work to overcome any past abandonment wounds and ongoing stories and beliefs and identities can be worked on.


Those with deep abandonment wounds, from genuine abandonment as children, might need some deeper therapy and support around this. If this is you – go seek it or reach out to me and ask what might serve you.


The point remains – you can’t now be abandoned as an adult with the choice of sovereignty.


And if the roots are deeper – which they likely are – you get to work on those.


And now…


Three more Uncomfortable Truths about yourself…


And so, with all that said – here’s three more important yet uncomfortable truths –


Especially for those of you with historical abandonment issues that still have a prominent seat at the table of your lives.


And Nice Guys – these are for you. Like, this needs to be your new Ethos and mantra.


P.S. For those of you eager to delve into and learn alongside me, my team, and other men like yourself in our coaching community, take the straightforward and secure route by exploring ELA. It will help bring crucial clarity to your current situation and guide you toward the best steps for your journey. – start the ELA Exploration process here.