Any family that is governed by shame also practices consistently abandoning others. By abandonment we don't just mean to physically abandon; we are also talking about emotional abandonment. Anytime a parent ‘shamed' us they also abandoned us. They abandoned the very core of us that is intrinsic to our soul.
The shame tells us, the child, that we are not acceptable the way we are and, in order for us to survive the shame, we had to abandon ourselves. By abandoning ourselves we had to disbelieve our inner belief (that everyone has when they are born) that we were OK.
A Core Principle of Human Development
When a child is raised in a shame based, dysfunctional family, his/her only way to survive is to suppress any autonomous feelings and believe what the adults tell him/her. The shame speaks louder than words and soon becomes the overriding driver in his development. He will develop ways of behaving and being in order to fit in with the family rules that say ‘You, the child, are wrong and we, the parents, are right.'
There are common threads that are prevalent in all dysfunctional families that are at the roots of abandonment. These are:
The parents see the child as an extension of themselves
The parents do not see their child as a perfectly formed human being in their own right
Any anger or aggression that the child displays is quickly snuffed out because it threatens the parents
The child has to please the parents at all time to ensure his own survival
The child cannot depend on his parents because they are not functional enough to see that the child has separate needs than they have
The child cannot see his parent’s with a critical eye and question their authority because this would threaten the child's existence with his parents. No challenging is allowed
Because the parents have not accepted some of their own feelings to be ‘allowable' such as anger, jealousy and sexuality, the child is not allowed to express this feelings either
The child is not allowed to challenge the parents' authority status.
By playing out this game of pretense, the parents have to abandon their child in order for them (the parents) to survive. If they didn't abandon their child the child may feel safe enough to challenge these threads, which are common to dysfunctional families.
In functional families, the children are allowed to:
Make a list of the times you felt abandoned by your parents when you were a child. Give the details to include your age, where you were and what happened: