Self Abandonment – Are You Abandoning Yourself?
One of the biggest breakthroughs I had in my journey of healing was about understanding what self abandonment is and how it happens.
At it’s core it basically means that you either don’t tend to your own needs or you give away responsibility to someone else to do it when you wont even tend to them yourself.
Self-abandonment plays a significant part in many people’s pain and confusion, which can often lead to feelings of shame. When it comes to feelings of shame, the urge to self-desert is hard for some people to resist, leading them on a painful cycle through more self-abandonment.
Much will change when you learn what it means to love yourself.
People who self-abandon may feel bad about themselves and think that they deserve to be abandoned. In essence that have internalised a childhood relationship with one or both parents or caregivers. It can be unconscious behaviour and it may feel so natural to not care for yourself that you don’t even know you’re doing it.
They may also avoid positive things in their lives because they do not want anything good to happen to them or they do not want to take care of themselves.
Self-abandonment can also mean not caring for yourself physically, like eating well and working out, not going to the dentist or being hygienic.
What Causes Self-Abandonment?
Self-Abandonment is characterised by the person’s unwillingness to carry out basic self-care tasks, or to take care of their own needs.
The reasons behind this is often linked with the person’s upbringing. People who self abandon may be lacking in love and attention, which can lead to them feeling unworthy of love. This can then backfire into an unwillingness that they have for themselves. The lack of self-care can then lead to that person being unable to take care of themselves, or carry out basic tasks such as cooking or grooming – which ultimately leads to weight loss/gain and increased risk for other health problems.
The person usually has no awareness of their condition because it seems normal for them.
Self-abandonment can start with self-criticism. These thoughts start to transform into self-loathing and self-sabotage. You might think you are doing things wrong or that you aren’t good enough. You may stop setting goals for yourself or not holding yourself accountable.
Self abandonment is when you stop believing in your worth as a person and decide to give up on life because of it. This can happen because of low self esteem, trauma, mental illness or depression, loss of a loved one, rejection, bullying, etc. It can be so subtle you don’t even know you’re doing it.
We all have an inner child.
One of the best ways I have found to get to know more about my inner child is through Inner Bonding by Dr Margaret Paul.
Dr Margaret Paul says “Inner bonding is the process of connecting our adult thoughts with our instinctual, gut feelings—the feelings of the “inner child”—so that we can minimize painful conflict within ourselves. Free of inner conflict, we feel peaceful, open to joy, and open to giving and receiving love.”
Inner Child and Relationships
Our abandoned inner child, who is often looking for love and safety, will often turn to others for attention. They do this in order to fill what is missing within themselves and find safety. Even when we don’t think we are appearing needy, our energy will be pulling on other people, because the child within needs to get filled to feel safe.
Many relationship issues are caused by this mutual state of inner abandonment. When each person is abandoning themselves and energetically needing the other person to fill them up, each person will end up feeling abandoned by the other.
There are exceptions to this, where a person is ill, elderly, or disabled, where they literally do need to be taken care of and may be needy.
Until you start listening to your inner child, you will continue to find yourself in situations where you do feel alone, abandoned and unable to have loving relationships.
When you love yourself, you will feel a deep sense of inner connection, safety, inner peace and contentment. Nothing outside of yourself will ever truly give you any loving feelings in a steady, ongoing way. Getting love from others is only temporary, because other people’s ability to love you will fluctuate up and down, perhaps not when you need it, but loving yourself and sharing your love with others brings ultimate joy and meets your inner needs satisfactorily .
I think the biggest thing to learn here is that people abandon themselves because they don’t realise the subtleties of what taking responsibility for themselves looks like, especially emotionally. But it can also be financially, physically, spiritually as well.
This can look like:
- Not comforting ourselves when we feel feelings, like loneliness, grief
- Don’t advocate for ourselves when someone else is say angry or disrespectful
- Expecting others to take care of our needs
- Make other people’s needs more important than our own
- Retreating to your head
- Numbing out with addictive behaviour like overwork, TV, drugs, food
- Judging ourselves for our feelings and avoidant behaviour and staying in shame rather than having compassion for ourselves
How Can I Prevent Or Overcome Self-Abandonment?
Self-Abandonment is the act of neglecting your own well-being for the sake of someone or something else.
One way to overcome this is to recognize what is causing you to abandon yourself. Once you pinpoint what is causing this, try finding ways to work around it. For example, if you are feeling exhausted all the time but still have a lot on your plate then cut down on some things or find more efficient ways of staying on top of things so that they don’t pile up. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your schedule then try talking with someone about it.
Try looking at your self talk, or listen to your feelings. Is it too confrontational to speak up when someone says something you don’t like? How do you treat yourself knowing that it’s too confrontational? Do you berate yourself or do you comfort yourself, soothe yourself? Can you cut yourself some slack and be kind to yourself?
Think about how you would want to treat a 5 year old child if they were upset, would you tell them off or would you give them a hug and tell them it will be ok. When you start to treat yourself kindly your inner child will trust you to take care of her/him, and will relax and be less stressed.
Why You Need To Combat Negative Thoughts With Hope & Love
The right mindset is essential for everything, but especially your relationship with yourself and for achieving your goals. Negative thoughts are the bane of your progress; they steal your focus and energy, and they will cause you to feel like you can’t do anything right and will sabotage your relationship with yourself. They also create self-fulfilling prophecies that make it impossible to achieve success. But most importantly, they can lead to depression and anxiety if not dealt with properly; feeling hopeless is the most common symptom of depression.
It’s important to deal with negative thoughts with hope and love, because negativity will always cloud any opportunity for greatness you have in life.
We know that we need to take care of ourselves and be aware of how we are feeling. If we abandon ourselves, we will be left with depleted energy levels and a lack of self-love and self-care.
Our relationship with ourselves is the closest and longest relationship we will have in this life.
It is important to take good care of yourself in order to live a happier life.