Self-Abandonment After Abuse : Why Are You Abandoning Yourself in Life?

Self-Abandonment After Abuse : Why Are You Abandoning Yourself in Life? self-abandonment after abuse : why are you abandoning yourself in life?
Photo by Atharva Tulsi on Unsplash

When we’re discarded by someone we thought we loved, the first thing that comes to mind is, “They gave up on me and left me for someone else.” We mostly think of abandonment as being emotionally or physically dumped by another person. However, that’s not even the case, because you abandoned yourself a long time ago.

By sticking to that toxic relationship and trying to make it work, you were already ignoring your own needs and emotions.

By sacrificing your boundaries and your values, you were already abandoning yourself.

By constantly going out of your way and trying to make them happy, you were turning your back on yourself.

By hiding your emotions and needs so that you wouldn’t upset your partner, you were further rejecting yourself.

Those are some of the common examples of self-abandonment when you’re in a toxic relationship where your partner takes the center stage of your life in front of your own.

What is Self-Abandonment?

Self-abandonment is when you ignore your own needs, emotions, wants, and values. It’s a destructive habit where you may find yourself prioritizing other people’s feelings and problems ahead of your own. You may even feel that you’re not worthy enough to take care of yourself and that your concerns don’t matter at all. When you abandon yourself, you easily get swayed by other people and dismiss your personal needs to make them happy.

Self-abandonment also occurs when we experience an emotion that requires our attention, but we choose to distract ourselves or ignore it as a way to temporarily relieve those painful feelings. You might choose to distract yourself with social media, binge-eating, drinking, or any other form of relief that dulls the pain. It’s like divorcing yourself from the present moment in favor of a temporary soothing that numbs the pain.

Self-abandonment prevents us from authentically connecting with our inner selves, and over time, we feel increasingly disconnected from our emotions and feelings.

Examples of Self-Abandonment

People Pleasing — Doing anything to make others happy or please them, even if it means disregarding your own needs. You always say “Yes” without considering how you feel about it or how it affects you emotionally, physically, or mentally.

Suppressing your emotions — When you abandon yourself, you lose touch with your true deep emotions and push them aside. You might use unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcoholism, binge-eating, staying busy with work, or even seemingly beneficial habits like burying yourself in social media or educational content. However, this escape is a form of self-abandonment, as you’re avoiding your real needs and emotions. You may also deem your emotions as ‘wrong’ and try not to feel them.

Hiding Your True Self — You avoid expressing your thoughts, feelings, or opinions to others. You believe your goals, interests, or dreams don’t matter. You prioritize fitting in rather than giving your legitimate needs importance in your life.

Ignoring your needs— When you abandon yourself, you disregard your own well-being. You choose to neglect self-care because you believe you’re unworthy and your needs are invalid.

Harsh Self-Criticism — You are excessively critical of yourself and constantly focus on your faults and flaws. You say hurtful things to yourself because you feel you deserve it. You become your own harshest judge and jury.

Perfectionism — You set extremely high standards for yourself and never feel that you’re enough or that your efforts are sufficient, no matter how hard you try.

Lack of Boundaries— You allow others to take advantage of you without speaking up or defending yourself, letting them walk all over you.

What Causes Self-Abandonment?

Self-abandonment is a coping mechanism that often develops during childhood due to invalidation, abuse, or emotional neglect from those closest to us, usually our parents or caregivers.

Growing up in a chaotic or abusive environment can prevent you from learning about your emotions and yourself, as well as how to care for yourself during moments of distress. Such environments can lead to beliefs of being unworthy or unlovable.

As a child, you’re vulnerable and depend on caregivers for emotional and physical safety. In unpredictable environments, you adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms (like hiding or ignoring emotions) to maintain peace and survive. When inner experiences and feelings are consistently disregarded, they become normalized or ignored. These feelings of unworthiness or feeling unlovable can persist into adulthood. So, when you enter a toxic relationship, it’s like self-abandonment 2.0.

Self-abandonment might be a survival mechanism when you’re in a narcissistic relationship. You may choose to abandon yourself to avoid conflict, keep the peace, or prevent angering your partner. In a toxic relationship, you’re subjected to emotional abuse and verbal torment, making you feel that your thoughts, opinions, and feelings are inconsequential.

Constantly being shut down causes your system to shut down as a protective measure. A toxic partner might ridicule your needs, desires, and self-care, prompting you to ignore them. This further solidifies the belief that you’re unworthy of love and that taking care of your needs doesn’t matter.

When you don’t heal, you may continue self-abandoning long after leaving the toxic relationship, because the seeds were planted long ago. Your toxic ex-watered and fertilized these seeds through psychological torture, and now they’re flourishing, affecting your present life. These subconscious beliefs dictate your emotions and actions, even after you’ve physically left the abusive relationship.

How Do You Deal with Self-Abandonment?

Self-abandonment is a learned behavior, which means it can also be unlearned or rewired. Coping with self-abandonment involves building a healthier and more loving relationship with yourself.

So, ask yourself: “What can I do now to nurture a loving relationship with myself?”

Is it taking full responsibility for your life? Is it prioritizing self-care? Is it seeking help to heal past wounds? Is it investing time in self-discovery? Is it taking a break from digital distractions for self-reflection? Or is it learning about the misery of your narcissistic ex?

These questions can help guide your journey back to yourself.

Remember, no one is coming to rescue you from yourself.


A healthy relationship with yourself involves complete self-trust and making your needs a priority, even if it feels forced at first. Regardless of where you go, you can’t escape yourself. You’re born alone, you live alone, you sleep alone, and you die alone. You’re the closest entity to yourself. That’s why it’s essential to rebuild trust in yourself, treat yourself kindly, and accept who you are.

While this isn’t an easy process, your past emotional baggage shouldn’t hinder you from pursuing it. Your passion for living and thriving should drive you forward, even when the process is uncomfortable. When you’re truly committed to it, you’ll find a way (think of it as a matter of life and death; in a sense, self-abandonment is a form of ‘death’ where you’re living someone else’s life or your past life, while ignoring your present life).

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these toxic patterns (in less than 2 months) , then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.

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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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