Are You Suffering From Self-Abandonment?

Many of us abandon ourselves, putting aside our emotional needs and even our values. Are you neglecting yourself in some way? Find out with these helpful guidelines.
Are You Suffering From Self-Abandonment?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 February, 2023

There are two forms of suffering that no human being should ever experience. The first is abandonment in any of its forms, be it parental, partner, friendship, etc. The second implies disconnecting from yourself and neglecting your needs, emotions, values, and identity. Curiously, this dimension is the most difficult to recognize.

Although self-abandonment as such, might seem like a strange concept, it appears all too often. It’s true that you’re always with yourself. Indeed, no one can escape from their own skin. However, it’s also common that you tend to leave yourself to one side and place yourself in the hands of others instead of nurturing yourself.

This lack of reviewing, strengthening, and promoting your values such as self-concept, self-confidence, and values, usually begins in childhood or adolescence. Growing up in a dysfunctional and emotionally cold environment can make you detach from yourself. This can have a serious impact on your mental health.

It’s time to find out if you’re neglecting yourself in the same way.

The belief that our needs can’t be met is a really frequent dynamic in the psychological register of many of us.

Young boy on his back suffering self-abandonment
Adults tend to repeat the same pattern that they experienced in childhood. Therefore, if your needs weren’t met as a child, you also neglect them in maturity.


Gabriel’s partner consistently neglects him. This makes him perform badly at work. Anna spends every day attending to her dependent mother. However, every time her friend Clara calls her because she’s having a bad day, Anna immediately goes to see her, no matter how exhausted she feels. Robert vents his feelings by partying and drinking alcohol whenever he feels anxious or stressed.

These are some examples of how people put themselves to one side, rather like someone who forgets their glasses in a drawer on the bedside table. They try to move around but their severe myopia means they can’t see themselves in the mirror or walk down the street without bumping into other people. Self-abandonment implies completely dismissing or ignoring your internal psychological experiences.

It can cause situations as diverse and contrasting as subordinating others to validate your self-esteem, or becoming compliant figures with no authority. Ignoring your needs leads to the dissolution of the self, to a corrosive malaise that permeates every area of your existence.

Let’s take a look at the kinds of dynamics that usually manifest when you’re dominated by internal detachment.

Self-abandonment is a mechanism of slow self-destruction. It can lead to states of great helplessness, such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, or addictions.

1. You blame others for your own unhappiness

Maybe you had a difficult childhood and have been unlucky in love. However, the ultimate responsibility for promoting your well-being and happiness lies with yourself. As the psychotherapist Abert Ellis rightly said, the best stage of our lives comes when we realize that our problems are only ours.

Once you stop blaming your parents or society, you’ll be able to take control of your life.

2. Not thinking about what hurts and distracting yourself

After a stressful day, we all like to disconnect by watching tv or meeting friends for a drink. However, some of us choose any distractor that prevents us from becoming aware of our feelings of sadness, dissatisfaction, and emotional pain.

Maybe you turn to food as a cathartic mechanism to relieve your anxiety. Shopping, playing video games all day, or excessive drinking are also examples of self-abandonment.

3. You’re unable to set boundaries

Boundaries are psychological barriers that you set for others to safeguard your well-being and to provide necessary information to those around you. To set boundaries, you require open and assertive communication. However, this isn’t always easy.

If you’re defined by carelessness or detachment toward yourself, you feel unable to say no to any demand or request. You let things go, accept and agree to everything, and just go with the flow out of sheer inertia. This is explained by your inability to safeguard your own needs.

4. You lack emotional self-awareness

A study conducted by the University of North Carolina (USA) highlights the importance of self-awareness for psychological well-being. It claims that being able to connect and understand our thoughts and emotions allows us to have greater control over our lives. Moreover, it makes us happier in all areas of life.

On the other hand, self-abandonment makes you stop taking responsibility for your emotions and feelings. You hope that others will calm you down when you feel agitated. you believe that your partner is responsible for validating what you feel and filling those gaps that you can’t fill yourself.

If you abandon yourself, you live in a prison of suffering. You assume other people’s values and repress many of your own emotions and feelings.

5. You live in a state of constant avoidance

Avoidance means denying the problems that plague you and undermine your internal balance. Constantly making use of the most varied escape mechanisms means you procrastinate, won’t admit what’s disturbing you, and are trapped in immobility. This kind of existence, far from solving anything, causes you to always feel frustrated.

6. You experience excessive self-demand

When self-abandonment permeates way your psychological depths, it makes you become your own worst enemy. You don’t value yourself, don’t appreciate your achievements, and the critical voice inside you reaches deafening decibels.

In addition, you’re defined by a self-demand that prevents you from making any mistakes, puts pressure on you, and subjects you to insufferable states of anxiety.

Sad young girl waiting for others to act like I would
Self-abandonment causes avoidance to almost always be your primary response mechanism.

7. You hide parts of yourself

Insecurity, fear, lack of initiative. You’re a person of great value and notable skills, but you doubt yourself so much that you prefer to hide your bright side. You do it out of fear of other people’s criticism, judgments, and comments they may make about you.

Your rule of survival reminds you that, to avoid being hurt, it’s always better to hide certain aspects of yourself.

8. You’re a prisoner of your doubts

If you’re defined by self-abandonment, you’re dominated by ruminating thoughts, those that oxidize your worth and feed you with doubts. This causes you to stop trusting your intuition, acquired experience, and even your instincts. You perceive yourself as flawed even though others see you as decisive.

9. You act in dissonance with your values

Not living in harmony according to your values hurts. It does so because, almost without realizing it, you start acting and moving according to the values of your family or partner, which may be far removed from yours. It’s others who guide you and condition you in almost every aspect. This leads to a lifestyle marked by dissatisfaction and unhappiness.


Self-care is the opposite of self-abandonment. It’s the magic word that you should remember if you identify with any of the dimensions described here. You need to look inside yourself and order the chaotic and lonely universe that you put aside many years ago, for the most diverse of reasons.

It’s always a good idea to develop adequate emotional management skills, personal responsibility, and assertiveness. Start by looking in the mirror and connecting with the figure you’ve put aside for too long. You need affection, validation, and compassion. The moment you start to feel like your best friend, everything will change for the better.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.