I woke to feed the cats. I wandered to my desk and punched in a search on “PTSD, Abandonment Rage, Brain Chemistry.”
I found a fascinating article on the subject.
“The emotional volcano of abandonment unleashes a torrent of primal emotions that overwhelm us. Molten lava spews from the rock bottom of our emotional core ripping up through our freshly opened abandonment wound. No wonder the event is traumatizing! Technically speaking, being rejected by one’s love object triggers primal abandonment fear – the fear of being left by one’s source of vital sustenance. Abandonment, our first fear, is in response to being expelled from our mother’s womb. This sensation is stored in the amygdala – the site of emotional memory responsible for conditioning the brain’s fight/freeze/flight response. The emotional memory is intact enough at or before birth to lay down traces of the feelings and sensations of birth trauma as well as some prenatal antecedents. These primitive feelings can be reawakened by later events, especially those reminiscent of unwanted or abrupt separations from our attachments.
In adult abandonment, these primitive sensations become activated, creating terror and panic. As the old infantile urgencies emerge into the current crisis, it precipitates a symbiotic regression in which we feel unable to survive without our loved one. We become suffused with the intense stress of helplessness, especially as we try to compel our loved one to return but remain unsuccessful in doing so. This failure to compel can cause us to judge ourselves as having what Michael Balint calls a “limited capacity to perform the work of conquest – the work necessary to transform an indifferent object into a participating partner.” Balint suggests that experiencing this ‘limited capacity’ is sufficiently traumatic to produce a fault line in the psyche which renders us more vulnerable to break down emotionally when faced with problems in our relationships.”