February 22, 2020

Can abandonment be left behind?

Kimberley Davidson, 32

This painting considers the impact of abandonment, real or perceived, in childhood and the importance of acknowledging early trauma in order to positively influence the trajectory of relationships and mental well-being in adulthood. When I was around 5 years old, I told my Dad I hated him and I wished he wasn’t my Dad. I remember it being a dark winter’s night, the red glow coming from our fire and the sound of our white Vauxhall Astra’s boot slamming shut as my Dad’s empty suitcase landed amongst the clutter, heavy with the weight of the harsh lesson he’d dealt his young daughter in trying to manage his own pain. That memory lived in my subconscious as a constant truth and then self-fulfilling prophecy. I possessed the power to make people who loved me, leave. So I resolved to only show people the emotions they liked, regardless of their authenticity. Fear of abandonment impacted every relationship I’ve ever had. After years of failed attempts at treatment for ‘depression’ I discovered person-centred therapy & attachment theory which, followed by a course of Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), pinpointed and desensitised this early memory.

The Empty Suitcase, 2018Acrylic148 × 210 mm or 5.8 × 8.3 inches