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What is self-abandonment?

Self-abandonment is what is called when we neglect ourselves: we do not act in ways that are in our best interest, we do not value ourselves, and we do not practice self-care. Examples of self-abandonment are second-guessing yourself or ruminating and overthinking; people pleasing or seeking validation from others; hiding parts of yourself; focusing on someone else’s needs, wants, and desires; and ignoring your needs. The main point of self-abandonment is that you are neglecting yourself and prioritizing the needs of others.

Why do we self-abandon and how does it affect us?

Body: We self-abandon for several different reasons. Sometimes, it’s because we felt abandoned by parents who were emotionally neglectful. Other times, we do not feel valuable or important enough to love ourselves, so we neglect our needs and our self-care. This affects us negatively by impacting our relationships and the way we care for ourselves. Oftentimes, people who self-abandon tend to go above and beyond to please others, such as partners. When they feel that those people do not do the same for them and observe this as an imbalance and feel resentful and angry towards their partners. Because of this, they may act out towards their partners, which makes them feel guilty and leads to more people pleasing. l Self-abandonment is a cycle that can ultimately lead to anxiety, depression, and burnout.

How do we stop abandoning ourselves?

Self-abandonment is a cycle of constantly neglecting ourselves and putting someone (or something) else first. In order to stop this cycle, we need to develop a loving relationship with ourselves and accept ourselves completely (flaws and all). We do this through practicing self-compassion, allowing ourselves to have feelings and needs, being authentic, and setting boundaries.  When we allow ourselves to become a priority and learn to love ourselves, we are able to see the value in ourselves despite the imperfections and flaws.

This page is also part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.