Written by Marissa Halstead
There are many people in the world who struggle with self-abandonment. It often starts in childhood when we attempt to make sense of pain we’ve experienced. In our youth, we are ego-centric, meaning we make sense of things based on “me.” Sometimes, when our needs aren’t met, we come to the conclusion that we are unworthy of having our needs met. Unfortunately, this belief can carry on with us into adulthood if we do not change it. When we believe that we are not worthy of having our needs met, we abandon ourselves and never learn how to “be there” for ourselves.
Since our belief follows us into adulthood, it manifests itself in our relationships, behaviors, and feelings towards ourselves and others. We desperately want to have our needs met, but we have learned that the cost of desiring such a thing is too high. We’ve minimized or ignored our needs so many times that it is just easier to not care about ourselves anymore. The hard truth is that easier does not always mean better. Self-abandonment is self-destructive.
What does the Cycle of self-abandonment Look Like?
This brings us to the cycle that we get stuck in. The cycle of self-abandonment in adulthood might look like:
- Over-giving in relationships: You perceive and strive to meet all the needs of the people around you, but you realize that people are not meeting your needs in the same way.
- Inner anger towards the people in your life: You desperately want to be taken care of and since people aren’t taking care of you, the pain comes out as resentment.
- Expressing anger: Your anger can come out as passive aggression or outbursts of rage, such as snapping at your spouse.
- Reinforcing shame: You feel shameful about your anger so you try harder to meet others’ needs to make yourself feel better.
- AND THE CYCLE CONTINUES…
While our actions might have helped us to survive in childhood, it is unhelpful in adulthood.
Who tends to abandon their self?
People who self-abandon often are people-pleasers who hide parts of themselves by not sharing their feelings. This suppression of feelings is what causes this pent up anger that comes out in the cycle. Unfortunately it can end with other people taking advantage of you since you have a track record of not standing up for yourself.
If this sounds like you…you are not alone! This cycle can change. You’ve done the best you can for so long, but something needs to change. You are worthy of being nurtured. You are worthy of having your needs met! This change starts with your relationship with yourself. In part two of this series, I will go into detail about how to change this self-abandonment cycle with tangible steps to help change your self-talk.
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