The Encarta(r) World English Dictionary defines “abandon” as: “to leave somebody or something behind for others to look after, especially somebody or something meant to be a personal responsibility.”
As adults, our own wellbeing is our personal responsibility.
Do you abandon yourself, making others responsible for you, and then feel abandoned by others when they leave you or don’t take responsibility for you?
As an adult, another person cannot abandon you, since they are not responsible for you. We can abandon a child, an ill person or an old person – someone who cannot take care of themselves. But if you are a physically healthy adult, you can be left, but you cannot be abandoned by others. Only YOU can abandon you.
What are the ways you might be abandoning yourself?
How often do you judge yourself with comments to yourself such as:
“You are not good enough.” “You are inadequate.”
“You are stupid.” “You are an idiot.”
“You are ugly.” “You are not attractive enough.”
“If you fail, you are not okay.”
“If someone rejects you, you are not okay.”
“It’s all your fault that….”
“You will never amount to anything. You are a failure. You are not reaching your potential.”
…and so on.
Just as a small child feels alone and abandoned when a parent is harsh and judgmental, so your own inner child feels alone and abandoned when you judge yourself. Self-judgment not only creates inner feelings of aloneness and emptiness, but it also creates feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, hurt, fear, guilt, and shame. Then what do you do when you have judged yourself and created all these painful feelings?
Ignoring Your Feelings
When you feel alone, empty, anxious, depressed, hurt, angry, jealous, sad, fearful, guilty or shamed – what do you do? Do you attend to your feelings, exploring what YOU are telling yourself or doing to cause them? Or do you ignore them by staying focused in your head rather than your body? Do you avoid your feelings with some form addictive behavior, using food, alcohol, drugs, nicotine, TV, work, shopping, Internet, sex, anger, blame and so on to numb them out?
When you ignore your feelings by staying in your head or turning to addictive behavior, you are abandoning yourself. Once you have abandoned yourself, it is very common to project this self-abandonment onto others and feel abandoned by people or by God. Yet, as a physically healthy adult, the feeling of abandonment is being caused by you, just as many of your other painful feelings are being caused by you.
Making Others Responsible for You
Once you judge yourself and then ignore the pain you have caused, or you ignore the pain caused by others or by life events, it is quite likely that you then turn to others for the love and approval that you are not giving to yourself. Your inner child – the feeling part of you – needs love, approval, and attention. We all need the love and comfort of others, but when you abandon yourself with your self-judgments and ignore your feelings, the wounded child part of you turns to others in a needy, controlling way that may actually push others away. Because the child part of you is desperately needy for love, you likely become manipulative to get that love – getting angry and blaming, or becoming overly nice or compliant and trying to do everything right. You have handed your inner child away to others for adoption, hoping another person will give you the love you so desperately need. You become addicted to approval, attention and/or sex.