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.


Initial notes…..

  • Self abandonment
  • In many areas (life, internally)
  • And different levels (as who and what we are)
  • Abandoned myself when got married / moved to Wisconsin (abandoned my guidance, what I knew was right, education, work, financially, friends, meditation, art, deep inner connection, eventually health)

7 thoughts to “Self-abandonment”

  1. Very insightful but is it possible you are abandoning the idea that you did certain things for love? Your partner required your support and you gave it to them. Clearly there were other motives for your move to Wisconsin but I wonder if disregarding love makes the current situation easier to deal with?

  2. Yes, thank you. That was absolutely a part of it. Love for her and myself. Wishing to support her because I cared deeply about her. I would say that the more honest and accurate I can be, the easier it is to deal with something. So acknowledging the love and care actually makes it easier.

  3. Perhaps I am wrong but it felt as if you were expressing regret for loving someone and then suffering a trauma. For loving your parents and then being traumatised by them. Is it possible that this is not abandonment of the self but acknowledgment of your humanity, your ability to feel, to be aware, to be awake? And from this experience and the initial abandonment trauma, your ‘self’ will continue to evolve? As this post indicates, you have already become more honest and accurate about yourself from the very experience that made you ‘abandon yourself’.

  4. No, I don’t think it’s regret for loving someone. More that I was caught in fear and unquestioned stories at the same time, although I know that’s very human and those patterns are caused by innumerable things – including what’s passed down from ancestors, culture, parents, and perhaps even past lives.

  5. Yes, I can relate to that. The use of the term self-abandonment seems critical perhaps, as if you had a choice when you were a child. You simply did what you could at the time, it was not your fault that your parents caused you trauma.

    Perhaps this is a projection of my own journey but as I initially awoke to my fears and unquestioned stories I made critical judgements about my past indiscretions. Later it hit me that I was merely repeating the thought patterns that caused me to retreat from my self/humanity in the first place. It was only when I saw it under the gentle light of love and acceptance that significant change began to occur.

  6. Yes, exactly… 🙂 For me, it helps to remind myself that I am often repeating the initial traumatizing situation. For instance, I felt abandoned by my parents when they didn’t come when I cried (not because they were heartless or bad parents but because they thought it was the right thing to do). And I repeat that abandonment when I feel something uncomfortable, and leave myself through distractions and ignoring how I feel. (Or even battling with how I feel.) It really helps me to see that I am repeating the initial traumatizing situation, and that there is another option. Which is meeting the discomfort – and the impulse to leave myself – with presence, patience, and love.

  7. Which brings me back to my first comment. Is using the idea of abandonment of the self a way of abandoning feelings of loss. In other words, while it is absolutely important to understand intellectually what is happening in terms of repetitive behaviour due to seminal trauma, have you been able to release the trauma physically? Have you been able to cry for your loss? I see the irony of my initial questions since I entered into a intellectual discussion out of my own fear perhaps, but on reflection what I really wanted to say is this sounds like a sad situation and I relate to your loss. Losing a partner is painful and it sounds like you are being very patient and understanding about it.

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