Image Image

S2 EP203 – Self-Abandonment Can Kill You

Episode Summary

You were likely not taught that your feelings are a very powerful source of inner guidance. That you need to listen inside, being aware of your feelings so you can be present for the vital information they are offering you.


Hi everyone. Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding podcast. Today, I’m talking about why self-abandonment can be lethal to you – that it’s not just emotionally devastating, but also often physically devastating. Self-abandonment not only creates misery, it’s also really, really bad for your physical health.

My journey with self-abandonment has been a long one because, like many of us, I was brought up to ignore my own feelings – to tune into other’s feelings, but not to mine. Like many of us, I learned early to judge myself, and, to make others’ responsible for my feelings. And I also learned fairly early to turn to a number of addictions, particularly sugar, to numb my feelings.

Everyone I work with has learned to abandoned themselves in some ways.

Are you aware that these four common ways of emotionally abandoning yourself – staying in your head and ignoring the feelings in your body, judging yourself, numbing out with both substance and process addictions, and making others responsible for your feelings – may be killing you? Here’s why.

Most of us have learned to stay up in our minds, in our head, because when we were little, we just couldn’t handle our big feelings. Most of us had no role modeling of how to manage our feelings, so we learned to disconnect from our body, to dissociate from our body.

We had to learn to disconnect from our feelings to survive. And but the problem is we’re still doing it. And that presents a big issue because our feelings are a powerful source of inner guidance. Our feelings let us know when we’re loving ourselves, and when we’re abandoning ourselves. They let us know a lot about what’s happening with other people and the environment. And so when we stay up in our head, we just don’t get the information. But not only are we not receiving emotional information, we may also not be aware of physical information, such as the stress that can cause a tight stomach or a rapid heartbeat. Often, when I ask my clients what is happening physically in their body, they are either not aware of it, or they feel numb. When I urge them to pay more attention, they may become aware of tension in their neck or shoulders, or tightness in their chest or stomach. Our feelings are in our body, not in our mind.

Self-abandonment causes much stress, and stress has a disastrous affect on our health, even though you might not be aware of this. Stress is not only a major cause of headaches, sleeping problems, and lack of focus, but it can also be a cause of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.

Research indicates that 90% of illness is stress related. If you don’t want responsibility for your feelings, then you are abandoning yourself, causing not only the painful feelings of anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, emptiness, and/or jealousy, but the stress of these feelings may be causing illness as well.

What happens regarding stress when you judge yourself?  What happens when you tell yourself that you are not good enough, or that you are not lovable, or that your feelings are not important, or that you will always be alone, or any of the many other judgments that people level at themselves. How do you feel if you indulge your wounded self in pressuring your inner child with statements like, “What’s the matter with you? You’ve got to do things right. You’ve got to be perfect so you can get approval and then you will be okay”?   

If you put that kind of judgment and pressure on a child, of course they’d feel rejected and abandoned. How often do you do that yourself?  Are you aware that when you do this, you’re rejecting yourself? Which then leads to a fear of being rejected by others. All of this causes much stress.

Do you then further abandon yourself by turning to various addictions to numb out your feelings? We’re an addicted culture. We turn to food, alcohol, drugs. We turn to pornography and sex, television and the Internet and video games, and work and gambling and shopping and spending. There’re so many addictions that people have learned to turn to, to avoid responsibility for their feelings, to avoid feeling their feelings. If a child came to you upset and instead of attending to the child, you grabbed a drink or got engrossed in a video game, that child would certainly not feel loved. That child would feel rejected and abandoned. So does your inner child, which of course causes stress.

What addictions do you use to avoid your feelings? Are you aware of the stress you end up feeling when you reject and abandon yourself when you numb out with addictions? Are you aware of the stress to your body and the resulting physical problems you might be causing yourself with substance addictions?

And what about making others’ responsible for your feelings? Do you blame your parents, your partner, your children, your friends, or God for your painful feelings? Do you hand your inner child – your feeling self – over to other people, making them responsible for your feelings of safety and worth and lovability? Can you see that when you blame others for your feelings and make them responsible for your worth you have rejected yourself? Then, once you do that, you have to try to control the other person into loving and approving of you, which creates major stress and major relationship problems. Can you see that making your partner responsible for your feelings and your partner making you responsible for his or her feelings, and then trying to control each other causes much stress, which can then lead to illness? And it’s one of the quickest ways of destroying love in relationships.

So, self-abandonment not only affects your level of happiness, instead making you miserable, creating anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness, and emptiness, it’s also creating illness. You can’t keep avoiding responsibility for your feelings without it having a very negative effect on your body. Ironically, it creates the very feelings and negative consequences you’re trying to avoid with your self-abandoning and controlling behavior.

Over time self-abandonment creates a tremendous amount of stress. When we go into stress the body goes into fight, flight, or freeze, causing the adrenal glands to flood the body with the stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. The blood leaves the organs and the immune system and goes into the arms and legs for fight or flight. When this becomes chronic due to self-abandonment, you might get sick from the stress. Your organs and your immune system cannot manage chronic stress.

Learning to love yourself rather than continue to abandon yourself changes everything, and this is what Inner Bonding is all about. It’s about learning to stay present in your body with your feelings so that you can attend to them rather than abandon them. When I started practicing Inner Bonding, it took me practice, a lot of practice to learn to stay present in my body. Now, I know the minute I don’t feel peace inside because I’m in my body. So I know as soon as there’s not peace, that my inner child, my feeling soul self, is letting me know that there’s some stress and I can attend to it. I can tune into what I’m telling myself, how I’m treating myself, what’s happening external to me, and I can deal with it right away.

Inner Bonding not only teaches you how to get present in your body in step one, it also teaches you how to connect with your higher source of love and truth, which is very different than traditional psychotherapy. A big part of the Inner Bonding healing process is healing your false beliefs that are leading to all the stress and all the illness.

When we’re abandoning ourselves, we’re operating from so many false beliefs that we absorbed as we were growing up, beliefs such as:

  • I can’t handle my pain.
  • It’s weak to show feelings.
  • I’m going to be run over and taken advantage of if I feel my feelings.
  • I’ve got to avoid my feelings to be strong.
  • There is no point in feeling my feelings, as in the saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”
  • I can’t trust my feelings.

You were likely not taught that your feelings are a very powerful source of inner guidance. That you need to listen inside, being aware of your feelings so you can be present for the vital information they are offering you.

That’s what the practice of Inner Bonding does. It teaches you to get inside; it teaches you to connect with a higher source so that you can tap into what’s true and what’s loving to yourself. And that’s what develops your loving adult self who’s capable of taking loving action on your behalf, rather than ignore your feelings and stay in the self-abandonment and resulting stress that can kill you.

So when you’re aware that you’re feeling anxious or depressed, or you’re feeling angry or empty or guilty or ashamed or jealous or alone inside, these feelings are the way that your inner child lets you know that you’re not loving yourself, that you’re abandoning yourself. As you know, most people do all kinds of things to avoid their anxiety or avoid their depression, rather than tuning inside to how they’re treating themselves, both physically and emotionally.

To be emotionally resilient and physically healthy, you need to not be abandoning yourself, both on the emotional level and also on the physical level. It’s not just emotional stress that might kill you from self-abandonment. When you’re eating junk food and creating toxicity in your body, not only is that going to eventually make you sick, but it lowers your ability to tap into your spiritual guidance. Our higher guidance, our higher knowing, our intuition, whatever you want to call it, exists at a higher frequency than we do. In order to tap into it, you need to raise your frequency, which happens when you open to learning and you’re eating clean, fresh, organic food. My rule of thumb is to eat mostly the way that people ate a few hundred years ago, before there was any processed food, and if you can’t pronounce it, don’t put it in your body because it’s going to be toxic for your body.

It’s going to make it harder for you to be loving to yourself and harder for you to tap into your higher guidance. The junk food creates toxicity in the gut, the center of our immune system, and that toxicity not only goes into the organs, it also goes into the brain, creating so much stress that causes many brain disorders. Using sugar and processed and factory farmed foods can kill you in so many ways.

The practice of Inner Bonding teaches you how to be loving to yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, so that you are not creating the physical and emotional stress that can kill you.  

Self-abandonment is also the major cause of most relationship problems. If people were truly loving themselves rather than abandoning themselves and then trying to control each other, they would be in a position to share love, which is really what loving relationships are about. It’s about sharing love. It’s not about getting love, but the wounded part of us, which is the part of us that abandons us, is all about getting love and avoiding pain. Relationship problems cause much stress, stress that can be life-threatening. When you learn to love yourself and share your love, rather than abandon yourself and try to have control over getting love, you will be able to create very loving relationships – relationships that bring peace and joy and fun and learning and growth, rather than pain and stress.

Learning to love yourself and learning from your feelings and your higher guidance is what eventually heals your false beliefs. Clients often ask me, “How do I heal from a false belief? How do I no longer believe it when the belief seems very real and true to me?” The only way I’ve been able to heal my false beliefs and help my many clients heal theirs, is to start to act on the truth that you see around you and you receive from your guidance, and you take loving actions based on the truth. When you take loving actions based on what you see is true and what your guidance says is true, then you get to see that it’s a false belief. For example, it may have been true in your family that being what your parents wanted you to be got you some approval or that you were able to avoid disapproval or punishment, but now giving yourself up for approval may bring the opposite and might be making you sick.

False beliefs feel true coming from the wounded self, which can sound like it knows what it’s talking about, but the wounded self is ignorant and generally lies. One of the major ways of knowing that a belief is not true is how it makes you feel. Your feelings will let you know if you are operating from a false belief. When you are operating from a false belief you feel bad, scared, anxious, depressed, angry. These feelings are your inner guidance letting you know that the wounded self is in charge because your intent is to control or avoid something or protect against feeling your pain, and that you are operating from a false belief. The truth does not make you feel bad. The truth brings peace inside.

The truth not only comes from your feelings – your inner source of guidance, but it also comes from your higher guidance. But my new clients often struggle with hearing their guidance, asking, (quote) “I’m struggling with hearing what guidance says. I’m so used to measuring myself from society’s perspective. How do I hear guidance when I have never heard that before?” (unquote)


As I’ve said, this is a matter of frequency. When you’re open to learning and you’re eating really well, and you really want responsibility for your feelings, you’ll find yourself easily able to access your guidance. It does take practice, and Inner Bonding is the practice.

A new client recently asked me, (quote)“How can I respond lovingly to hopelessness and despair?”(unquote). Hopelessness and despair are wounded feelings, letting you know that you’re abandoning yourself. Those are some of the feelings that your inner child feels when you’re abandoning yourself rather than loving yourself. Your inner child is feeling hopeless and despairing, not just because of external events, but also due to having no loving adult to manage the challenges of life. Instead of focusing on what’s happening externally, do an Inner Bonding process to find out what you’re telling yourself and how you’re treating yourself that’s causing those feelings of hopelessness and despair. I’ve worked with so many people who have had those feelings, and it’s amazing how quickly they go away when you start to practice Inner Bonding and stop abandoning yourself.

Nadia asked me this question in Inner Bonding Village. (Quote) “First, thank you so much for creating Inner Bonding. I’ve made real progress in three months, which is a little surprising and very welcome. Through Inner Bonding, I’ve realized that my mind is going all the time, and a lot of what’s going on in there is not helpful. I realize I abandoned myself to almost everyone I meet or talk with. I want them to like me, support me, save me. But I never even knew that before Inner Bonding. I am hoping you can suggest how to approach people without abandoning myself. I’m going to a conference next week, and I’ve been thinking about how I could approach people without abandoning myself, but I’m stumped when I check in with my spiritual guidance.” (Unquote)

I often receive this question. When you’ve been abandoning yourself with others and trying to have control over getting people to like you, it’s hard to imagine what else to do. When this is extreme, it’s called social anxiety and causes much stress.

The way that you stop abandoning yourself is you shift your intention from trying to get approval and trying to get people like you to loving yourself and sharing your love with others. What if Nadia went to the conference to share her love with people, to care about people, to smile at people, and to really listen to them. What if she went to share who she is rather than get something from them? What if she let go of worrying about what people think of her, and instead think about what she has to offer them? What if she consciously set her intent before she went, to share love rather than trying to get approval? She would likely have a wonderful time!

But often my clients tell me that they do smile and they do listen well, and even then, they don’t feel connected with others and they don’t feel liked by others. However, smiling and listening can also be a form of control to get approval, and the energy of being nice and smiling and listening to get approval is totally different than the energy of sharing your love. The energy of self-abandonment feels totally different to people than the energy of self-love and the sharing of love. People can feel the difference between someone who values themselves and someone who is making others’ approval responsible for their value. And as I said, trying to get others to value you because you are abandoning yourself creates much stress.

It’s about your intention. If your intention is to have control over getting others to like you, they will feel pulled on by you and likely resist, because no one likes to be controlled. If your intention is to love yourself and share your love with other, then your energy will be welcoming.

A woman who just finished taking my Love Yourself course emailed me, and this is part of what she said to me: (Quote) “I learned to not take myself so seriously, and to not abandon myself. All of my life I have focused on everyone in my life, except myself. I became stressed, anxious, and depressed so many times. I am learning to follow what my heart feels, not my brain. I thank you for your work.”(Unquote)

Our wounded self wants to blame the past for current self-abandonment.  A client recently asked me, “How do you accept your wounded self if things were done to you by your parents, the ones that should have kept you safe and protected?”

Many of us have had the experience growing up of not feeling loved and safe. None of the people I’ve worked with were loved in the way they needed to be loved, or their parents didn’t role model loving themselves. So you need to let go of the past regarding what your parents did. We all have a wounded self. There’s no way of growing up without our wounded self. We need to accept that this was our survival. But we don’t need to indulge that part of us now. We need to set good limits. Like if there’s a child acting out, you don’t indulge that. You set good limits – kind, caring, but firm limits. And that’s what we need to do for our wounded self.

We need to get to know this part. We need to get to know the false beliefs that are fueling this part of us, but we don’t need to indulge this part of us in acting out, because that’s what’s hurtful to us, and that’s what’s hurtful to others. Remember that self-abandoning will lead you to feel unsafe and stressed.

One of the experiences that many of my clients have is being scapegoated in their families, which causes them much stress, and often they are very confused by why they are being scapegoated. I received a question about this at one of my events. (quote) “If family members scapegoat a member, why do they do this? What is so confronting to them about the person they are scapegoating? If the person who is scapegoated has a natural spiritual light, why is that seen as a threat to another person? I find this confusing!” (Unquote)  

If you are a person with a natural spiritual light and the people around you are operating primarily from their wounded self, they’re going to be threatened by you because you’re operating at a higher frequency than they are, and because they don’t know how to get there, they want to pull you down to their level. They want to take you down, to dim your light. They are very threatened by somebody who is a naturally loving or caring or spiritual person. This is threatening to a person who is operating primarily from the narcissistic aspect of their wounded self. Caring people are often confused when someone seems threatened by their caring and empathy. Family members who scapegoat feel one-down to the caring person, so they try to feel one-up by scapegoating the caring family member. If you don’t understand this, you may be abandoning yourself to try to get the approval of the scapegoating members of your family, but this will never work. And the stress of this might be killing you.

Many of the people I work with are caring, loving, sensitive people who have been scapegoated. Many of them have been scapegoated by their families because they seem to be higher souls than the rest of their family, and their family is threatened by that. Rather than continue to abandon yourself to try to fit in with your family, it’s far better to disengage and create a new family or group of friends who are also caring and empathic, and who support you in being all you can be.

Lila is in a relationship with Sam, and she asked me this question: (Quote) “Sam approaches everything out of fear. And he always focuses on the worst case scenario. Sometimes he has this anger outburst that scares me. How do you get somebody to the point to look at things differently?”

You abandon yourself and cause yourself much stress when you falsely believe that you can get someone to change – to be open and caring rather than closed and unloving. You can’t have control over another’s intent, and trying to get someone to shift their intent causes much depletion and resulting stress.

Because self-abandonment is a way to avoid your feelings, it cut you off from your intuition. You intuition is your gut feelings, but when you abandon yourself, you can’t feel your gut feelings, which inform you of many things that help your physical and emotional health.

I hope you can see why self-abandonment can kill you and start to learn to love yourself rather than abandon yourself.

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.

And I invite you join me for my bi-monthly masterclass and receive my live help, which you can learn about at

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 from our website at

If you want to do individual work with me or with one of our many trained Inner Bonding facilitators, please go and look under Facilitators -> Find a Facilitator, or call my office, the number is on the website.

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *