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The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life Paperback – March 1, 2000

4.7 out of 5 stars 192 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Anderson, CSW, is a psychotherapist who has specialized in helping clients deal with heartbreak, loss and abandonment for more than 25 years. She has led workshops on abandonment recovery, conducts seminars and lectures, and has appeared on radio and television speaking on the related issues of addiction, parenting and abandonment.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (March 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425172287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425172285
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I wanted to take the time out to write a review of this book as I have benefitted from it from two points of view. I have been a psychotherapist for twenty years and as such have come face to face with the pain of abandonment in many forms. The loss of love through betrayal, death, changed family circumstances, ill health, divorce, etc. It is often the root cause of much of the pain that people present to my office with.
As well, being a person in this world, I too have been abandoned and despite the knowledge I hold as a mental health professional, experienced the full impact of that wrenching, soul-destroying, desperate fear and sadness.
As I reflected on my own loss, I found Susan's book uniquely helpful. It was especially useful to learn about the science of abandonment. It helped me to feel as if I was not loosing my mind and that despite all the information I held as a therapist, as a biological being, some of my experiences were natural and primal and although extremely painful...they were understandable. It gave me a real sense of hope and possibility.
Consequently, I have shared this book with many of my patients. Almost universally they have found it both comforting and helpful as a realistic tool toward healing and change. It is a book that I would not be without in the library of references I use to help others.
There will be times when someone is unable to fully utilize this book. When their fear of being hurt again is so intense that they hold on to the pain of abandonment as a way of never connecting again. A book that truly helps to transform is not embraced by anyone who unconsciously holds on to a wish to remain unchanged.
So, as a practitioner and a survivor, I could not recommend this book more highly!!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a classic abandonment case. Parents separated as a kid, we moved around constantly, was abused by many people, suffered multiple heartbreaks and friendship breaks that I finally became a closed off, untrusting woman.

My life was very unhappy. Not being able to trust people is a vicious cycle and deep down, I really wanted friends I could trust. My social and relationship life also sucked. I was untrusting in relationships but yet needy once I got entrenched and perhaps as a result of that, would subsequently be tossed away, like thrash.

I was very bitter. I joined therapy but couldn't seem to let go of the resentment I felt for all the pain I'd gone through.

So I picked up this book and FINALLY, someone understood what I was going through. Every "crazy" feeling I had experienced in the past, including wanting lovers that had treated me despicably, were explained in the book. I realized that even though I put up a front to the world, I was still grieving past hurts and some of them went all the way back to my childhood

I felt that I could finally be free of the demons that had clung to me. Susan Anderson really gets it but when it comes down to the exercises she recommends, in my humble opinion, she falls short.

The first two are okay even though the withdrawal exercise makes you feel like you are cultivating a dual personality. The third one for internalizing, was highly, highly disappointing. It was very abstract and I failed to see the connection between dreaming of a house and gaining a stronger sense of self.

I was very disappointed but I was determined to make myself learn the exercise, if it would mean getting better.
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Susan Anderson has masterfully articulated the experience of abandonment as only a survivor of abandonment could know. She is a survivor herself. Her book, The Journey From Abandonment To Healing, keeps a gentle, respectful tone towards the survivor, and is easy to understand throughout.
This book clearly articulates what I struggled to put into words about the abandonment symptoms I was experiencing. Abandonment is defined as an involuntary separation. Some symptoms include loss of control of the situation, separation anxiety and yearning for the lost love, hoping for the possibility of the lost love's return and the desparation caused by this desire.
The book also covers in great detail the physiology behind emotional withdrawal symptoms of abandonment, including the loss of opioids (hormones) which is similar to heroin withdrawal; the significance of extreme changes in appetite patterns; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; memory loss; the desire to self-medicate to endure the loss; and how society acknowledges those grieving over a death but not over a lost love.
Finally, Dr. Anderson gives some effective exercises in overcoming the crippling symptoms of abandonment. The exercises are not "pat" answers as found in some mainstream books and magazines. These are extensive, healing exercises requiring vulnerable, self-introspection.
I hope this helps someone else out there, too. It sure saved my sanity and all for the modest price of a book -- not an expensive block of therapy sessions!
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Format: Paperback
This is the first review I have written on Amazon.com, and I am writing it because I want to urge anyone profoundly heartbroken, devastated, and utterly unsure of how to survive, READ THIS BOOK. There are numerous breakup recovery books out there -- I've read scores of them -- but this is the first one I have found that is actually addressing _profound_ heartbreak, the kind of devastation that is simply not amenable to logic, conscious affirmations, and rational decisions to cope.
If you've tried bravery, common-sense, and straight-out endurance, try reading this book instead - because incredibly, Susan Anderson managed to not only help you understand what you're going through -- she also comes up with five amazingly original exercises that can actually HELP you endure the unendurable. I know. I've been using them. I cannot say enough about this book.
Anderson doesn't ever water down the agony -- twenty-five years of work with heartbroken patients has made her very aware of the intricacies of abandonment grief. But despite this realistic knowledge of the pain, she offers hope -- not the glib, "You'll recover eventually!" hope of most breakup-recovery books, but a nuanced, particular hope specific to each grief stage, and always attentive to the suffering you are undergoing at each moment. An incredible, generous and loving book.
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