The Encarta® 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 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 our own inner child feels alone and abandoned when we judge ourselves. 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 avoid them with some form of addictive behavior, using food, alcohol, drugs, nicotine, TV, work, shopping, Internet, sex, anger, blame, and so on to avoid them?
When you ignore your feelings and instead turn to addictive behavior, you are again 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 most of your other painful feelings are being caused by you.
Making Others Responsible for You