5 signs of self abandonment and how to overcome

self abandonment
Photo by Jenna Day on Unsplash

Do you struggle with self abandonment? That means you have a habit of doing what other people want and have trouble discerning your own desires.

You may be so used to abandoning yourself, you don’t realize you’re doing it. Read on to discover 5 signs you self abandon, and the most likely reason you do.

1. Poor self care

Your body shows signs of needing rest but you push through anyway. You need time alone but you don’t take it or even ask for it.

2. Putting others’ needs ahead of your own

You don’t have the energy to listen to someone vent but you let them do it anyway. And you never ask them to reciprocate by listening to your problems.

You wouldn’t share those problems anyway because you don’t want to come across as a burden.

You don't have the energy to listen to someone vent but you let them do it anyway. Click To Tweet

3. Giving up on your dreams

Deciding to stop pursuing a passion because it’s not working is one thing. But self abandonment means you stop because of what other people think or say.

You can’t tolerate disapproval of your desires so you give them up. You’d sooner let your dreams die than risk challenging cultural norms.

4. Uncertainty over your likes and dislikes

self abandonment

As a result of giving so little attention to your own needs, you lose touch with them. You may be so used to doing what other people want, you forget what you like and don’t like.

An example is the mom who goes grocery shopping after her kids have flown the nest. She has no idea what to buy when her decisions are no longer dictated by other peoples’ desires.

5. Difficulty making decisions

You’d prefer that others make the decisions because you don’t trust your own judgment. When you do make a decision, you second-guess yourself.

You overthink things to the point of “analysis paralysis” which delays decision-making, sometimes indefinitely.

What causes self abandonment?

For most of us, self abandonment happens as a result of unmet childhood needs. If your parents never took care of your physical or emotional needs, you won’t, either.

Living with the pain of unmet needs feels familiar. So, you stay in a situation that looks like “home” to you. The one where other people’s needs come before yours. Even when they’re strangers.

Living with the pain of unmet needs feels familiar. So, you stay in a situation that looks like "home" to you. Click To Tweet

You have no blueprint for having your needs met. And since our refusal to meet our own needs is subconscious, we have trouble knowing how to correct the problem.

You may feel like you want something very much. But suffering the disapproval of others to get it is unthinkable. That life or death fear of rejection is different than the normal sting we hear about in self-help material.

As children, our parents abandonment (whether physical or emotional) felt life-threatening. They were our lifeline, our only hope for survival.

We deduced early on that displeasing them put our lives at stake. So, the healthy inward-looking nature of a child that helps them discover themselves, explore, and grow, gets thwarted.

In its place develops an outward looking creature desperate to please, first its parents, and later anyone in front of them. It feels very much like a matter of survival in a way that chasing our dreams does not.

Self abandonment is self protection

Give yourself a pat on the back for taking care of you the only way you knew how. You kept yourself safe by doing your best to assuage your parents negativity (and later, others).

Now that you know better, you can learn to reparent yourself. That means checking in with yourself to see what you need. Then meeting those needs yourself.

You’ll learn to set boundaries that let other people know what you want and don’t want. And you’ll see their respect for you, and your own self-worth, skyrocket.

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