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Book Review - The Journey from Abandonment to Healing

In an effort to expand the type of content available, here's a book review. This is a book recommended to me by both my brother and sister. It's called The Journey from Abandonment to Healing - by Susan Anderson. It's not specific to a significant breakup/divorce, it is also applicable to the loss of a friend or family member, but it is spoken mostly in terms of a breakup.

It speaks about the natural, human fear of abandonment. It is a fear we develop as infants and toddlers. Everyone has it. Or at the very least, starts with it. It is a fear that can be healed, but first one needs awareness, which is what this page is all about.

The fear of abandonment exists in the actions we take to appease those around us, particularly those close to us, in order to maintain peace, be liked or seen as "good", maintain a feeling of closeness, etc. It is what keeps us from being vulnerable, or being seen as human and flawed. It may keep us from getting our needs met because we have been taught that our needs are beneath those of our caregivers, and that in order for us to have peace, our caregivers needs must be met first.

It introduces and takes you through the 5 stages of healing your fear of abandonment after experiencing a significant loss. Those 5 stages are:

  1. Shattering – the painful tear in your attachment, a stab wound to the heart. Your sense of self is fractured and your sense of reality is destroyed. You’re devastated!

  2. Withdrawal – much like drug (or any addiction) withdrawal, you’re yearning intensely for your object of desire. You feel a painful aching, longing, needing a love fix but can’t get one.

  3. Internalizing – a critical stage, you blame yourself for your loss. You feel unworthy. Doubts and insecurity creep in, which slowly damage your sense of self.

  4. Rage – in your attempt to reverse the rejection, you express rage over being left. You’re angry about your situation and you’re impatient to get your life back in order.

  5. Lifting – life begins to distract you, lifting you back into it. Abandonment lessons are learned and you feel ready to experience life in a new way.

This book was very good at describing what I felt while I was going through the hardest time of my life. It was validating and made my experience make sense. It gave me useful tools to help navigate my rocky road.

When your world is shaken to the foundations, and you just don't know what to do, that's a normal reaction. For me, I had a low appetite for about 12 weeks. I had a hard time sleeping because my mind was racing. I was right in the middle of fight/flight mode, and for an extended period of time. I was focused on surviving. I used this adrenaline and extra energy to start working out. I used it to absorb as much information as I possibly could by reading, listening to podcasts, talking to my friends and family, and going through everything I think I could improve - and making meaningful, positive, and lasting change.

One cool thing the book does is it describes the body's physiological response. It talks about the parts of the brain affected, why they're affected, where the response comes from, how to use it effectively. It's really quite interesting.

I highly recommend the read, but if you want a little bit more detailed of an explanation, there are some sites available, just Google the title. Or send me a message and I'd be happy to discuss it!

I will spoil the end though. The book ends with love. Love yourself. Enjoy who you are. Share that love with others. Revel in the vulnerability and authenticity, and don't let anything bring you down. You're an amazing human being, and the right people will see you and appreciate you.

With Love,


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