I read an article about self-abandonment in relationships and it resonates with me.
Self-abandonment is behind a lot of our struggles in relationships and otherwise in life.
As the article points out, we can abandon ourselves in many areas of life. We can abandon ourselves financially. Relationally by depending on others to feel OK or loved. Healthwise by not taking care of our health. We can also abandon ourselves by abandoning our integrity when we don’t follow what’s right for us for the sake of acceptance, love, keeping our job or any other reason.
In the bigger picture, we can abandon who we are as a human being as described above. And we can – and often do – abandon what we are however we understand and label it. (Spirit, presence, that which the content of our experience – including our experience of who we are and the world – happens within and as.) Whenever we get caught in identifications/beliefs we abandon ourselves as what we are.
I know this from lessons in my own life. I was reasonably good at not abandoning myself in my twenties up until my marriage and moving to Wisconsin. At that point, I abandoned myself by going against my clear guidance and what I know was right for me (which was to stay where I was for longer and not go to Wisconsin). I abandoned my guidance and what I knew was right, and through this, I abandoned myself in many other ways. I abandoned myself in terms of education, work, financially, friends, meditation, art, my deep inner connection, and eventually health and more.
Why did I abandon myself in these ways? I did it – as I suspect we all do – from being caught in fear, identifications, wounds, and shoulds. I was caught by unloved parts of myself. I was caught by unquestioned stories. I was caught by unfelt feelings. (Feelings I was trying to avoid.)
More specifically, I wanted to live up to my ideal of being a good spouse. (She went there for a graduate degree and I left mine and much of what was most important to me to support her.) I wanted to avoid judgment from family and others if I left the marriage or didn’t live in the same place as my spouse. I acted on fears of being alone or not finding anyone else. I acted from the pain of a recent previous missed relationship opportunity.
I also see how I have been repeating the initial abandonment trauma which may have happened in early infancy. (My parents were loving and good parents in many ways, but for a little child even situations that seem smaller to an adult can be quite traumatic.) I have abandoned myself the way I experienced being abandoned back then.
The remedy is being honest about it. Recognizing the consequences. Looking at what beliefs, identifications and fears I acted on. Meeting the fear I tried to escape. Finding love for the unloved. Question the unquestioned. Feel the unfelt.