woman abandoning self in relationship

When partners find themselves in a relationship riddled with issues, we often find that the root cause is self-abandonment. Whether it’s one partner or both, self-abandonment can create conflict, resentment, and a general feeling of dissatisfaction. 

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So, what is self-abandonment? According to NAMI.org, “Self-abandonment is when you reject, suppress, or ignore part of yourself in real-time.” In other words, abandoning yourself is ignoring your personal needs, values, and commitments, at your expense. While this can show up differently depending on the person, there are some common signs that we are abandoning ourselves in our adult relationships. 

Common signs of self-abandonment in adult relationship(s):

1. Abandoning Needs 

Of course, identifying and communicating needs can take practice, but if we find that we are consistently ignoring or not expressing our needs in favor of our partner or our relationship, we might want to explore the reasons why. 

Needs vary from person to person but can include things such as spending time together, emotional intimacy, sexual intimacy, and needs for physical space. If both partners are actively working to meet needs, the result is usually an agreeable compromise and partners meet somewhere in the middle. However, if it’s consistently one person overlooking their own needs in the relationship, this indicates possible abandonment of self.

2. Abandoning Values

Again, values are as varied as the individual, but there are some common ways this abandonment shows up. We abandon ourselves when we ignore red flags, stay when we want to leave, or settle for mediocre or poor treatment. We could even go so far as to say that cheating on our partner is self-abandonment (assuming not cheating is a value), as we abandon our values in lieu of creating conflict or leaving the relationship.

3. Abandoning Commitments

The third way in which self-abandonment can show up in our adult relationships is when we abandon our commitments to others or ourselves, in favor of our partner or relationship. For example, we might back out of personal and professional commitments, change or eliminate our personal goals, or even end friendships because our partner doesn’t approve. 

It’s one thing to change commitments with or without influence from our partner, but if we find we are consistently needing to adjust our commitments for the sake of the relationship, we might want to explore this further.

Just like with most things pertaining to relationships, there is some grey area. The important thing to consider is whether there is a pattern in how we show up in our relationships, and whether that pattern nurtures a healthy relationship, or if it brings pain. If we usually find ourselves in pain when it comes to our relationship or relationships in general, it’s time to look inside and see if there’s any evidence that we’ve abandoned ourselves.

If you struggle with self-abandonment and are ready to make meaningful changes in the way you show up in your relationships, a relationship coach can help. You deserve whole, authentic love that doesn’t require you to abandon yourself. 

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