When abandonment occurs, especially early in life, the capacity for intimacy will have to be learned. It's important to know that abandonment doesn't always have to be someone leaving on purpose. It can be perceived abandonment. At times a parent can be working two or three jobs to make ends meet and the child can feel abandoned though the parent is sacrificially providing.
Abandonment can also come in the form of the death of a parent. The loss of a parent or close loved one slices deeply through a young heart.
I believe it was Mark Laaser who said, "Even though intimacy is the opposite of abandonment, the fear of intimacy is the fear of abandonment." In this case intimacy is feared because in the past it meant ripping pain when the loved one left. There have been countless movies made along this theme of past painful love resulting in a broken heart leaving our protagonist fearful, cold and distant. Along comes a hero or heroine who is first rejected, but stays consistent and persistent eventually thawing the ice around the cold, cold heart.
And that is what it takes to grow trust as the spouse of a person who struggles with abandonment. Trust must be built with a secure, giving uncommonly consistent attitude. This includes staying present and being emotionally available especially when your partner is being most unlovable.
If abandonment is part of your story my prayer is for you as you courageously seek healing and learn to trust and be close, maybe for the first time in a long time. Throw yourself headlong towards God.
Which leads me to just one more thing, Columbo. If your feelings of abandonment are with God you are in good company. I certainly felt that following the revelation of the affair. Not that I'm the good company I speak of. I'm referring to David in Psalm 13. I think psalms like these of David sometimes took years and years to pen. The slowness of God can be maddening, but he comes, eventually he comes.
A David Psalm
1-2 Long enough, God— you've ignored me long enough.
I've looked at the back of your head
long enough. Long enough
I've carried this ton of trouble,
lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies
have looked down their noses at me.
3-4 Take a good look at me, God, my God;
I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me
or laugh when I fall on my face.
5-6 I've thrown myself headlong into your arms—
I'm celebrating your rescue.
I'm singing at the top of my lungs,
I'm so full of answered prayers.
Here's a musical rendition of Psalm 13 by Shane and Shane