Self- Abandonment might sound like a sibling of childhood abandonment and you are not that far off to connect them like that. Another fluff in the self-development world? More wounding and more healing? Well, my take on this subject is this is not about blaming yourself or anyone or assuming you need lifelong healing. Talking about self-abandonment is important as it brings our conscious awareness into how we treat ourselves internally and externally every day.
Before I go further down the rabbit hole of this topic, let us start with what is self-abandonment. Merriam Webster defines it as surrendering one’s selfish desires and also a lack of self-restraint. Well, that is not the psychological definition of the matter we are discussing today so let us check elsewhere. National Alliance on Mental Illness states that self-abandonment is when you suppress, reject or ignore parts of yourself in real-time. Okay, so this is exactly what we are talking about in this blog post.
For example, the other night I was exhausted after a very trying and tiring day and all I wanted was to cry and sleep. Well, a loved one of mine was going through a rough time so instead of tending to my own mental, emotional, physical needs, I abandoned myself and held space for the other person. A lot of times women tend to do this way more than men as we are taught to be loving, caring, giving, good girls who will eventually become nourishing mothers. This does not mean men do not deny their needs for their loved ones. Just that women do it naturally and mostly without even realizing that they are doing it.
Self-abandonment also looks like but is not limited to this:
- Lack of trust in one’s feelings, thoughts, and instincts
- Always ask others to decide for you
- Hiding parts of oneself to fit in
- The feeling of low self-worth
- Needing validation from others to feel you are on the right path
- Codependency in friendships and romantic relationships
- Not taking a stand for yourself
- Unaware of one’s core values
- Detaching from likes, hobbies, and goals that are unique to you but, alien to your group
Every day we do a lot of people-pleasing knowingly or unknowingly and if that slowly takes away our own identity from us or blurs the boundaries we have with others then there are further self-abandonment issues involved there. If you constantly feel drained after being with a group of friends, your family, coworkers, or even your partner, take a step back and analyze what is happening here.
Sometimes, we stay in situations that are wrecking our mental and emotional health just because we are scared we would be alone if we stood up for ourselves or left that toxicity behind. My only question is what is worse, being alone and thriving or numbing one’s pain and loneliness in a crowd where you are feeling suffocated? It is your life and your choice. As I always say this blog is a non-judgment zone.
Now if you have identified that yes, you have self-abandonment issues, what do you do about it? Well, these are things that have worked for me so far:
- Sitting with myself and untangling my own feelings
- Writing down my values and non-negotiables
- Honoring and respecting my thoughts, feelings, and gut instincts
- Doing things that makes me feel good without looking for external validation
- Setting strong boundaries without feeling guilty
Small acts like drinking water as soon as I feel thirsty rather than putting it off because I am helping my son with a Maths sum and letting a call go into voicemail when I am doing a blog post are all things I have started doing that has signaled to my mind and body that I am honoring myself.
A huge part of this journey is you taking responsibility for your own life. This is not an easy feat if you are healing from a traumatic past and in this case working with a therapist will help you a lot.
Belong to yourself first. Take one step at a time with love and compassion. Once you fully love, appreciate and celebrate yourself you reach a place of confidence, and everyone and everything that comes to your life from then on will enrich your life.