Abandonment occurs when a mother physically, emotionally or psychologically removes herself from her children. She does this by ending or ignoring her responsibility to parent her children, or ending her relationship with her children. The child who has been abandoned by his mother develops low self-esteem. Child experiences confusion and asks questions to himself about why his mother left him/her. Children of this kind feel guilty, of something that it made their mother leave them behind.
He is fearful of developing bonds with other adults: teachers, stepparents or caregivers. The child believes that if he begins to love the new adult, that person will also leave. He grieves for the lost relationship. As he grows older, he starts grieving over any hopes he has had for a happy reunion with his mother, according to Gerlach. Abandonment plus distorted boundaries, at a time when children are developing their sense of worth, is the foundation for the belief in their own inadequacy and the central cause of their shame. Abandonment experiences and boundary violations are in no way indictments of a child's innate goodness and value. Instead, they reveal the flawed thinking, false beliefs, and impaired behaviors of those who hurt them. Still, the wounds are struck deep in their young hearts and minds, and the very real pain can still be felt today. The causes of emotional injury need to be understood and accepted so they can heal. Until that occurs, the pain will stay with them, becoming a driving force in their adult lives.