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How self-abandonment leads to loneliness and what you can do about it

Updated: May 28

Girl laying in grass body only
Self-abandonment is the root cause of loneliness

Have you ever experienced the paradox of feeling alone amidst a bustling crowd? It's more than just being physically alone; it's about feeling emotionally disconnected — a phenomenon that often stems from not being true to yourself and neglecting your own needs, which is rooted in self-abandonment.

Self-abandonment meaning

Self-abandonment refers to neglecting one's own needs, desires, and well-being in favour of others'. This often leads to various psychological and emotional issues.

What does it mean to self-abandon?

It's a subtle erosion of self-worth and identity, where our desires take a backseat to the perceived expectations and demands of those around us. Psychologically, this behaviour can be traced back to various underlying causes, such as a deep-seated fear of rejection or an ingrained compulsion to constantly please others, often at the expense of our own well-being.

Symptoms of self-abandonment

  1. Low self-esteem: you constantly doubt your worth and abilities.

  2. People-pleasing behaviours: you want approval from others and you often prioritise others' needs before your own.

  3. Neglect of your own needs: includes ignoring your needs for adequate rest, you time, eating healthy, resting, exercising, and doing things that bring you joy.

  4. Can't set boundaries: a boundary is a hard "no", you cannot set a boundary while also caring about the other person's response to it. If you self-abandon often it is likely you struggle to set and keep healthy boundaries, allowing people to take advantage of you.

  5. Suppressing emotions: you avoid or ignore your feelings and emotional needs (see my article on the dangers of emotional suppression), which can lead to resentments, emotional numbness or rage.

  6. Overworking: you use work or other activities to distract you from your needs or from confronting with what is going on for you.

Is self-abandonment a trauma response?

Our propensity for self-abandonment isn't always a conscious choice; rather, it frequently emerges from learned behaviours shaped by past experiences. During critical developmental stages, such as childhood or formative years, we may have adopted this coping mechanism to navigate challenging relationships or environments. Over time, however, what begins as a survival strategy can morph into a insidious pattern that undermines our ability to foster genuine connections and sustain healthy relationships.

Self-abandonment in relationships

The repercussions of self-abandonment are profound, extending far beyond momentary solitude. By consistently neglecting our own needs, we inadvertently sabotage our sense of belonging and connection with others. Relationships built on the foundation of self-neglect often lack authenticity and depth, leaving us feeling isolated and misunderstood despite being surrounded by people.

Breaking the self-abandonment cycle

Recognising and addressing our tendencies toward self-abandonment is pivotal in reclaiming our emotional well-being and forging meaningful connections. It starts with cultivating self-awareness — an introspective journey that requires us to acknowledge our own worth and inherent value independent of external validation. This process involves prioritising self-care, setting boundaries that honour our needs, and nurturing activities that replenish our spirit.

How to recover from self-abandonment?

First step is to become self-aware, start to pay more attention to the signs and symptoms of people pleasing, difficulty setting boundaries, suppressing emotions, or neglecting your own needs. Self-care is paramount and isn't just about pampering ourselves with bubble baths and massages; it's about honouring our physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological needs. It encompasses practices that foster resilience and promote holistic well-being, such as mindfulness, therapeutic practices such as sound therapy, healthy lifestyle choices, and seeking support when needed. Equally important is establishing boundaries — clear guidelines that delineate what is acceptable and respectful in interactions with others. By asserting our boundaries with compassion, we communicate our self-worth and create space for genuine connections to flourish. I always say that if you are worried that if you set a boundary that the person will leave, then so be it, they are obviously not people who genuinely want the best for you.

What is the best therapy for loneliness?

In the quest to overcome self-abandonment and loneliness, sound therapy can be a powerful ally. This practice uses the therapeutic properties of sound vibrations to bring back balance and harmony within the mind, body, and spirit. Through sound baths and one on one sound therapy sessions, you immerse yourself in frequencies that vibrate through your entire body, and help re-set and bring you back to a place of quiet and peace. From this place you are more in tune with your true and authentic needs and are closer to the true you than you have likely ever been. By integrating sound therapy into a self-care routine, we can complement our journey towards self-discovery and emotional resilience, enhancing our ability to reconnect with ourselves and others in more authentic ways.

Break the cycle of loneliness with authentic connections

As we embark on the journey of self-discovery and authenticity we pave the way for authentic connections that are grounded in mutual respect and understanding, not only with others, but with ourselves. By embracing our true selves and nurturing healthy relationships based on reciprocity rather than sacrifice, people pleasing or a desire to be liked, we transcend the cycle of loneliness perpetuated by self-abandonment.

Reclaim your power

In essence, the path to overcoming loneliness begins with reclaiming a sense of self and embracing the inherent worthiness that lies within. By dismantling the barriers of self-abandonment and fostering a compassionate relationship with ourselves, we not only alleviate loneliness but also cultivate a profound sense of belonging and connection in our interactions with others. It's a transformative journey—one that invites us to honour our authenticity, prioritise our well-being, and forge relationships that enrich our lives on a profound level.

To book a private or team sound therapy session, email us or book here.


This article was written by Nicole Sultana, she holds a Post Graduate Degree in Spiritual Care, is a Certified Therapeutic Sound Practitioner and a Death Doula. She is the founder of Sound Consciousness, a company who provides wellbeing strategies and therapeutic sound practices to help you reach peak levels of performance whether you are trying to excel in your career, be the best parent you can be, or trying to create your dream life. 

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