Revealing the Traumatic Event Which Changed My Life Forever

Abandonment
Abandonment

A poor life choice ultimately led to my separation anxiety and my fear of abandonment; the cusp of my depression. This blog has been in my drafts for several months now. I revisit it from time to time with hopes of toning down the tense nature a little. Over the Christmas holiday this year, I decided the best path forward for me and my mental healing was to tell the whole story; at least the story from the eyes, ears, and heart of a 10-year-old boy.

Some of the details are foggy and thankfully I do not recall the date nor my exact age; however, I still remember the most painful parts.

Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

I would estimate my age was about 10 years old the night my mother made a poor life choice. My parents were having marital problems at this time in my young life. You never know what someone else is going through. Things may look great on the outside however deep down inside, there is hidden pain behind that smile. I have written this numerous times on social media. Additionally, people should be thankful for what they have and for what they do not. Because that person in your life who seemingly has everything going for them could be hurting to the point where they can see no path forward.

You never know what someone else is going through. Things may look great on the outside however deep down inside, there is hidden pain behind that smile.

Me

From the outside looking in, we were seemingly the perfect family. We went to church every time the doors were open. We sang in the choir and dad sang in the quartet while mom served in the nursery. Everything was great however until those doors were closed. As a young boy, I heard the bickering and the name-calling. I could hear their discussions some nights from my bedroom but they would tell me to just go to sleep. How could I sleep when the only two people in the world that I loved were seemingly not happy with each other? Maybe the amount of arguing they did was normal however as a 10-year-old boy, who was clueless and immature, those discussions weighed heavily on me.

The Night my World Ended and My Fear of Abandondment Began

Dad was at another church singing with the quartet. Mom, my oldest sister, and I were home. Oblivious as a 10-year-old could be, I was completely caught off guard by the events that were about to happen. It started off as an argument between my sister and mom in one of the upstairs bedrooms. I could not make out what they were saying however soon thereafter, my mom came running down the stairs with a suitcase. I started screaming and crying, “Mom, where are you going?”. She would not say but the look on her face was one that I will never forget. It was almost as if my mom had been possessed.

Because my sister had blocked her from going out the front door, mom turned towards me. Still crying and confused by everything, I begged her to stay. Instead of comforting me as she normally would, I was physically pushed aside; almost to the point of me falling but not quite. She then bolted out the back door of our house and out to a waiting car.

Can Things Get Any Worse?

I would later learn that the person in the car waiting on my mother was the pastor at our church. A man who I trusted had just come to our house and taken my mother, who willingly left with a packed suitcase. My world had come crumbling down around me. I will never write or utter his name however I did learn later that he was sent to prison for other unrelated charges. Though I may never know, I believe that this sorry excuse for a man seduced my mother into believing a lie.

Separation Anxiety / Fear of Abandondment

The events of that night some 39 years ago have damaged my mental wellbeing. I have an almost constant fear of being alone. Fear of being abandoned. Fear of my bride leaving me. For example, just this past week we were traveling in West Virginia visiting with family for the holidays. It is nothing unusual for us to share the driving. We were out one day and I handed over the keys to her and proceeded to, as I do, open the driver’s side door for her. Upon closing the door and walking to the passenger side, my mind immediately started to wonder, ‘Was this when she would leave me?’

Other examples occur when she leaves for work or even just the grocery store. Recently she became semi-retired so now I only have to deal with being alone a few hours a day during the tourist season. She wanted to go back to work part-time for some extra money so we are trying to make this work. To add to my anxiety-driven depression, I feel bad that I am keeping her down and away from any dreams she may have. It is a daily struggle; which began as a 10-year-old boy, clueless of his surroundings and oblivious to this day why she briefly chose him and why she pushed me aside to do so.

So whether you wanted to know or not, now you do. The night my world came crumbling down around me remains stuck in my psyche. And I fear I am scared for life because of one poor life choice.

There Is a Bright Side

My parents would of course reconcile later in life. And I firmly believe they are together today with neither knowing the damage which was done 39 years ago. And honestly, I am OK with that because I love and miss my parents dearly. In glory with Jesus, there are no tears. It is because of this hope that I believe my parents are together with no memory of the bad times which I have shared above.

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If you made it this far, please consider commenting below, subscribing, and also sharing on your social media sites. Most importantly, I ask for your prayers. I write this weekly blog as an outlet in my fight against depression. However, my hope is that something I write here may help others who may be struggling. If you would like to help with my battle against depression, check out my online Etsy store and affiliate links. Most proceeds are donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by dialing 988. You may also text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. In emergencies, call 911, or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.

16 Comments

  1. I had no idea. I remember you as a happy, well adjusted young man, full of life and love. I especially remember you and Tammy in the haunted house! Love and prayers, kiddos. I can relate to depression. Keep on with your healing and artwork.

    • Thank you, Mrs. O’Dell.
      The fact that you never knew is the scary part of mental health issues. I had become quite adept at hiding my pain; so much so and to the point of almost giving up.

  2. Praying for you, Jack! I, too, know what childhood trauma can do to your thoughts about yourself and your value. God is faithful and His word tells us that our worth comes from Him, not the fallible people around us

  3. Jackie, I pray you are able to work through this childhood trauma to be the best version of yourself. I also struggle with parts of my childhood…my stepdad was physically and verbally abusive, I saw and heard things a child should never see or hear, I have anxiety from it and I have just recently admitted that to myself. God has helped me survive this far and I am hopeful for a better future. I always felt a connection with you in art class 7th grade, then computer class, I saw something in your eyes, you were smiling but I could see something that I connected to because I felt it too. I’m sorry your mom left you that night, I’m sure she thought she needed to, she was confused, and it had nothing to do with you.

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