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ADHD and Abandonment: A Powerful Lesson

Abandonment has been an issue of mine for as long as I can remember. I’d have an absolute panic going to school, hugging my mom relentlessly asking her not to let me go. When she went to work, I’d hold on to her leg and she would drag me around the house, explaining that while she loved me she also had to help others (a school counselor) and I would have fun when I got there (which, I might add, I always did).

Then there was my grandfather’s death when I was in high school. My calm, comforting, patient, understanding grandpa Pete. He was always my island of calm in the storms of my life. And watching him succumb to ALS when I was in high school, it literally crumbled me. I remember at his funeral I locked myself in the bathroom in a ball on the floor sobbing uncontrollably at his departure.

And then of course there was my biggest sadness; the loss of my dad to suicide. A tragedy at 19 I almost never recovered from. The complete and total devastation to my spirit and questioning of how I might move on took years to sort through in ways other than addictive behaviors that kept me going.

I think with my ADHD, and the variety of traits that go along with it, abandonment hits even harder. As when I feel abandoned, the impulsivity kicks in and I do anything and everything I can do in that moment to relieve that pain. It is a disorganized, reactive, approach lacking any attention to detail or rationality. And I would bet I’m not the only one that struggles with this type of abandonment and ADHD dilemna.

I’ve had years of therapy, done EMDR, hypnosis, and a number of other methods that have helped significnatly. I mean significantly. Thank goodness for these techniques, as I feel they have played a key role to alleviate some of the physical symptoms and get more to the root of the cause. Yet I do still feel that abandonment quite strongly, even when I am not being abandoned. It is simply irrational.

What I’m excited to share, is my ‘aha’ moment tonight with my spiritual mentor, Gigi Azmy of Anchored Awakening. Literally brilliant. One of those moments that you think, ‘this will change me’.

As I was relating my latest percieved abandonment experience, and the texting that followed, she asked me: “What are you so afraid of with abandonment”? I thought, logically, that people leave me. Which is true. They do. But the reality is everyone does at some point, that is just part of life.

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And how do you react to that, she asks? I think about it a bit, and I talk about my impulsivity; the holding on tight, texting, hanging, ignoring, attention-seeking, lashing out, etc. Basically ANYTHING I can think of to get their attention and make sure they are still there. In an impulsive, non-rational way or relationship building way.

She then asked, “And how do you feel about abandoning yourself?”

What? Hmmm. Wow.

I had to sit with it for a minute.

It took me aback. As while others abandoning me is scary, what IS even scarier is that I abandon myself. That i step out of my power, out of who I am as a person, and come from anyplace other than love when connecting with people.

That I resort to an irrational, scattered, confusing person is DEFINITELY scarier than others abandoning me. As if I am not here for myself, showing up as who I am in my best version, what does the rest matter?

So as of tonight, abandonment is no longer my biggest concern. Abandoning myself is, which is what I do each and every time I give my power to someone else over a perceived ‘abandonment’. Even in death. As my connection to myself, my power, my spiritual guidance and my internal joy is the only thing that ever threatens to take my joy.

And that is a powerful lesson.

ADHD and Abandonment: A Powerful Lesson


Kathryn Goetzke

iFredKathryn Goetzke is the founder of iFred, the International Foundation for Research & Education on Depression. Kathryn is also an entrepreneur, philanthropist, strategic consultant and global depression advocate. She is the entrepreneur and innovator behind Mood-lites™, a brand that achieved over 35 million dollars in retail sales and Chief Mood Officer at The Mood Factory. Please consider a donation to iFred today.


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APA Reference
Goetzke, K. (2018). ADHD and Abandonment: A Powerful Lesson. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 20, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/adhd-and-abandonment-a-powerful-lesson/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.