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S2 EP189 – Self-Abandonment: How Are You Abandoning Yourself

Episode Summary

If you feel alone, empty, anxious, depressed, hurt, angry, jealous, sad, fearful, guilty, or shamed, you are likely abandoning yourself both physically and emotionally. Learn how having compassion for yourself, rather than ignoring or judging yourself, can totally change your inner and relationship experience. 


Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding Podcast. Today I want to go more deeply into an important topic that I’ve mentioned many times, which is self-abandonment.

The Encarta(r) 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 physical and emotional 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 feeling worthy and safe?

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, and who we’ve agreed to take care of. But if you are a physically healthy adult, you can be left, but you can’t be abandoned by others. Only YOU can abandon you.

So, what are the ways you might be abandoning yourself emotionally?

Self-judgment is a major form of emotional self-abandonment.

How often do you judge yourself with comments and lies to yourself such as:

“I am not lovable.” “I am unworthy and undeserving of love.”

“I’m not good enough.” “I’m inadequate.”

“I’m stupid.” “I’m an idiot.”

“I’m ugly.” “I’m not attractive enough.” “I’m too tall, too short, too fat, too thin, too dark, too light, and so on.”

“If I fail, I’m not okay.” “I’m a failure and I will never amount to anything.”

“If someone rejects me, I’m not okay.”

“Everything is always my fault.” “It’s my fault that he or she doesn’t like me.”

“I’m selfish when I take care of myself.”

“I’m alone and I will always be alone.”

“No one will ever love me.”

Do you ignore the pain you are causing through the lies and self-judgments coming from your ego wounded self? Do you judge yourself for your anxiety or depression? Do you ignore the deeper core pain of life – the loneliness, heartbreak, grief, and helplessness over others that are a part of life?

When you ignore the painful feelings you are causing, or you ignore the painful feelings of life that are caused by others and events, the message to your inner child is that he or she isn’t important to you. Your feelings don’t matter. Now you not only feel the anxiety or depression or many other painful feelings coming from your lies and self-judgments, but you exacerbate your painful feelings by ignoring the feelings that you are creating.

Telling yourself these lies and judgments is like telling them to a small child. The child would feel very anxious, depressed, and rejected at hearing these statements from you. Likewise, your inner child feels anxious and depressed and rejected by you, when you judge yourself and allow your ego wounded self to lie to your inner child.

Just as a small child feels rejected, alone, and abandoned when a parent is harsh and judgmental, so your own inner child feels rejected, alone, and abandoned when you judge yourself. Self-judgment not only creates anxiety, depression, and aloneness, it also creates feelings of emptiness, anger, hurt, fear, guilt, and shame. Then what do you do when you have judged yourself and created all these painful feelings?

Do you attend to your feelings, exploring what YOU are telling yourself or doing to cause them? Or do you ignore them by staying focused in your head rather than in your body? Do you avoid your feelings with some form addictive behavior, to numb them out?

Since you are doing anything but loving yourself, and your inner child always needs love – or at least some way of filling up the inner emptiness and aloneness – your wounded self turns to old learned addictive ways of avoiding pain, such as junk food, nicotine, drugs, or alcohol, or to activities such as TV, work, shopping, social media, gambling, spending, sex, masturbating to Internet porn, or anger, blame and so on.

Turning to any of these addictions pacifies the pain for the moment – which is how they became addictions – but because they are all ways of abandoning yourself, they only lead to more pain in the long run.

If you feel anxiety, depression, anger, hurt, and so on as a result of your self-judgments, and you further abandon yourself by turning to various addictions to numb out the pain and avoid responsibility for it, you cause even more anxiety and depression.

Most people want to believe that their anxiety or depression is being caused by other people or by events. Certainly, we all experience anxiety or depression regarding painful and challenging life events, but this is different than ongoing anxiety or depression. You might think that your feelings of rejection and abandonment are coming from others not attending to you with love and approval, but feeling abandoned, unless you are ill or disabled and unable to take care of yourself, is coming from how you are treating yourself.

When you ignore your feelings by staying in your head or turning to addictive behavior, you are obviously abandoning yourself. Once you have abandoned yourself, it is very common to then project this self-abandonment onto others and feel abandoned by people or by God, rather the take responsibility for causing your painful wounded feelings with your self-abandonment.

Once you judge yourself and then ignore the pain you have caused, or you ignore the pain caused by others or by life events, it is quite likely that you then turn to others for the love, compassion, and approval that you are not giving to yourself. Your soul, your inner child – the feeling part of you – needs love, compassion, approval, and attention. Giving your inner child away to others for love and approval is another form of self-abandonment.

Now you are not only in pain from the self-judgments, and from ignoring your feelings and turning to addictions, but if you are making others responsible for your feelings, that will also cause anxiety and depression. Rather than lovingly attending to your feelings with an intent to learn about how you are abandoning yourself, do you pull on someone to give you attention or approval? Do you try to get someone to have sex with you? Do you give yourself up to try to get love, rather than learn to love yourself so you can share your love? Do you get angry and blaming as a form of trying to have control over others giving you the love you are not giving to yourself?

Other than the anxiety and depression that is physically caused due to a toxic gut which causes toxicity in the brain, which I will address shortly, or unhealed childhood trauma, or very painful life events, most current, ongoing feelings of anxiety and depression are caused by these forms of self-abandonment – judging yourself, ignoring your feelings, numbing your feelings with addictions, and making others responsible for your feelings and wellbeing. Your anxiety, depression and other painful wounded feelings are often the way your inner guidance is letting you know that you are rejecting and abandoning yourself.

We all need the love and comfort of others, but when you abandon yourself with your self-judgments and ignoring your feelings, the wounded child part of you turns to others in a needy, controlling way that may actually push others away. Because the child part of you is desperately needy for love, you likely become manipulative to get that love – getting angry and blaming or becoming overly nice or compliant and trying to do everything right. You have handed your inner child away to others for adoption, hoping another person will give you the love you so desperately need. You become addicted to approval, attention, validation, or sex.

The more you make others responsible for giving you the love, attention, and approval you need and are not giving to yourself, the more your inner child feels rejected and abandoned by you, leading to more addictive behavior to fill the emptiness and avoid the pain of your self-abandonment.

The way out of this is to start to practice Inner Bonding – paying attention to your feelings, putting your attention inside your body instead of always focusing in your mind and focusing outside on others. The moment you feel anxious or depressed or other wounded feelings, consciously decide that you want responsibility for causing these feelings and then notice what you are thinking or doing that is causing your pain. Your painful feelings that come from your thoughts are your inner guidance system’s way of letting you know that what you are thinking is not true and is not in your highest good.

Ask the highest part of yourself, “What is the truth?” Notice how you feel when you attend to your feelings and tell yourself the truth rather than lie to yourself, judge yourself, ignore yourself, and make others responsible for your feelings.

You may be stuck in the vicious cycle of self-abandonment that feeds upon itself. You will not permanently get out of this cycle and heal your anxiety, depression, and other painful wounded feelings until you stop abandoning yourself, and instead open to learning about loving yourself, devoting yourself to your Inner Bonding practice.

I’ve been talking about emotional self-abandonment, but what about physical self-abandonment? Are you suffering from the high cost of physical self-abandonment?

Some years before COVID, I was sitting in the airport at my gate in Chicago, on my way home from the East Coast, having just completed a wonderful Inner Bonding weekend workshop at Kripalu in Lenox, MA. A very obese woman, who was obviously not well, sat down across from me, and was then attended to by another woman and by her husband, who was also not well.

I felt sad for these people. They obviously knew nothing about physical self-care – or they didn’t want to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing.

We were in the air for about an hour when a flight attendant asked if there were any medical personnel aboard. I immediately knew it was about the same woman. After a doctor or nurse attended to her, the pilot announced that we would be doing an emergency landing in Des Moines to get the woman to a hospital.

As a result of having to make the unscheduled landing, we were about an hour late. For me, it was just an inconvenience. I was not thrilled with getting home an hour late and not getting enough sleep, but I knew that I would be okay. However, many others had connecting flights they were going to miss, and of course I don’t know what consequences that had for them.

I started to think about how many people are affected by someone who doesn’t take responsibility for his or her health and wellbeing. Whether due to alcoholism, drug addiction, food addiction, eating junk food, never exercising, not learning to manage their stress, or not getting enough sleep, these people are physically abandoning themselves. They are not only letting themselves down, they are also letting down many others, such as close family members and good friends. In this case, the woman had negatively affected many people she didn’t even know.

I don’t know whether or not the woman on the plane even cared that her choices to physically abandon herself affected so many others. I do know that she seemed to be very demanding of the woman attending to her and of her husband. Both of them seemed scared of her reaction if they didn’t immediately attend to her every need. At one point, the attending woman had to take the ill woman’s shoe off because her foot hurt, because the ill woman was way too obese to take her own shoe off. And then the ill woman got annoyed at the attending woman for how she put the shoe back on.

It seems to me that there is a kind of narcissism going on with people who don’t seem to care about the effect their physical self-abandonment has on others. In my brief exposure to the ill woman, this seemed to be the case.

While I understand that people turn to many addictions to avoid their pain, in today’s world with the Internet, anyone who wants to learn how to manage their painful feelings can find the help they need. But of course, they have to want the help. They certainly have the right to keep abandoning themselves, but what about the high cost of this self-abandonment? What about the high cost on people who care about them? What about the high cost to our health care system? And what about the high cost on their own inner child who is deeply suffering from the physical pain of living in an ill body?

If you are physically abandoning yourself, I hope today you consider the high cost to you and to others who care about you. I hope you consider learning how to love yourself by learning how to create a healthy body for your wonderful inner child, your beautiful soul, to live in.

Self-abandonment is pretty much the opposite of self-compassion.

One of the most important jobs of the loving adult is self-compassion for your experiences, feelings, and needs. Yet how often does it occur to you to choose compassion for yourself.

How much of the time is your wounded self in charge? When your intent is to control, which puts your wounded self in charge, you might find yourself being compassionate toward others’ feelings and needs while not even being aware of your own – caretaking others in order to get their approval, and hoping others will then attend to your feelings and needs. Or you might not care at all about others’ feelings and needs and just pull on them to take care of yours.

Any time your attention is on others while ignoring yourself, your inner child will feel abandoned.

Self-judgment is a form of control. The wounded self believes that if you judge yourself, you can get yourself to do it “right” and then you will get the attention and approval you seek. The wounded self is always focused on getting love, compassion, connection, attention, and approval from others, and it often uses self-judgment in the hopes of becoming “perfect” enough to have control over getting what it wants from others.

When we move into the intent to learn – when loving ourselves and learning about what is loving becomes our highest priority – we stop ignoring, judging, and numbing ourselves, and we stop pulling on others to give us what we are not giving to ourselves. It’s when we choose love rather than control that we start being able to feel compassion for ourselves.

Compassion, like love, peace, and joy, is not a feeling that is generated in the body.

These energies are what God is. When your intent is to learn, your heart open and the love that is God is able to enter. Compassion is not an experience you create; it is an experience you open to. When your intent is to love yourself, you will begin to feel compassion for yourself.

This is what your inner child really needs. When you are truly in compassion for yourself, you will find that you no longer need or seek approval and attention from others. When you are able to have compassion for the existential feelings of life – your sadness, sorrow, loneliness, grief, and helplessness over others – as well as compassionately learning from your wounded feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, and so on, your inner child feels loved, seen, acknowledged, understood, and valued.

I find that when I move into compassion for myself when others are angry, blaming, distant, needy, and pulling, I can easily discover the loving action in the moment toward myself and others. 

Compassion for myself brings great clarity and a deep sense of safety.

Instead of trying to get others to change so that I can feel safe, my safety comes from my own loving actions toward myself and others.

This may sound simple, yet it is often difficult to remember to do. Most of us are so used to responding to our painful feelings of loneliness and helplessness from our wounded self that we completely forget about compassion for ourselves. I have found that the more I practice compassion for myself throughout the day, the more I am able to remember to open to compassion at those times when painful feelings are present.

You cannot abandon yourself and be compassionate with yourself at the same time. The two are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the quickest way to move out of self-abandonment is to invite compassion for your own feelings into your heart. Compassion fills emptiness, pacifies fear, soothes anxiety, relieves depression, creates inner safety, and opens the door to peace and joy.

You don’t have to spend any energy seeking compassion from others. It’s right here for you, as available as the air you breathe. We live in an ocean of love and compassion. All you need to do is open your heart to it through your intent to be loving to yourself.

Self-abandonment isn’t just about you. Self-abandonment also mirrors planetary abandonment, and vice versa.

I’ve been deeply interested in health all of my adult life – not only mental and emotional health, but also physical health. I’ve eaten all organic for over 60 years, and through the years I’ve read everything I could to understand what creates physical and emotional health. But with all I read and all I did, before Inner Bonding I knew in my heart that some important understandings were missing regarding physical health. Inner Bonding provided a major missing piece regarding physical and emotional health, and research has now discovered another major “missing piece” which is gut bugs!

As humans, we live with non-humans that are essential for our survival – our gut bugs.

We all have good gut bacteria and bad gut bacteria, and it’s the balance that is critical for excellent physical and emotional health. We become physically ill and sometimes anxious and depressed when the bad gut bugs overwhelm the good ones. 

So what creates the imbalance?

  • Processed food, fast food, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, and GM foods feed the bad bacteria.
  • Industrial oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola, corn, and soy wreak havoc with our gut as well as with our brain.
  • Antibiotics and other drugs destroy our good bugs.
  • Polluted air and chlorinated water also destroy our good bacteria.
  • And so does stress and lack of exercise.

In other words, anything toxic can create an internal imbalance and internal pollution, just as toxicity on our planet has created environmental imbalances.

This internal and external toxicity can make us sick – even kill us – and it can make our planet inhospitable to life. Our oceans are in peril of dying, global warming is causing huge problems, our food system is polluted, and we are daily losing many species of animals and insects. Our internal pollution mirrors our external pollution, and our external pollution mirrors our internal pollution.

So what can we do?

Each of us CAN do much to change all of this, and one way we change it is by how we treat ourselves. As you heal your internal pollution, both physically and emotionally, the outer will begin to heal as well.

Here is what you can do to begin to heal yourself and therefore contribute to healing the planet:

  • Eat foods as close to natural and local as possible.
  • Read current books on health, such as “Brain Maker,” by David Perlmutter, MD and “Food Fix,” by Mark Hyman, MD to understand how to create healthy gut bacteria.
  • Find and do exercise that you love.
  • Practice Inner Bonding – take responsibility for your feelings, learn to manage stress, and learn to be loving to yourself and others.

As you let go of junk foods and junk thoughts and create internal physical and emotional balance, this will begin to be reflected externally. If people are not purchasing toxic food and unnecessary drugs, the food and drug industries will have to change – as is already beginning to happen.

Recent research indicates a major connection between gut toxicity and brain toxicity, which creates anxiety, depression, and brain disorders such as ADHD, Autism, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s. Gut toxicity also creates organ toxicity, leading to cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and other degenerative diseases. If you then treat all this with drugs, you only add to the toxicity – a toxic vicious circle.

Our planet will get cleaned up when we clean ourselves up. As within, so without. It’s very important for all of us to know that we can each have a major impact – not only on our own health and wellbeing, but on the health and wellbeing of our planet.

I hope each of you recognize how very important it is to take seriously your individual physical health, emotional health, and the health of our planet. Your self-abandonment or self-love isn’t just about you, it’s about everyone and all of life.

I invite you to join me for my 30-Day at-home Course: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

And you can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And we have so much to offer you at our website at

And, if you enjoyed this podcast, I would really appreciate it if you tell your friends about it, and if you give it a review wherever you heard it.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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