All right, loves—today’s going to be an interesting conversation. We’re going to be talking all about abandonment…our favorite thing in the entire world, right? Something we all look forward to experiencing.
There’s a word I’m going to use that may not be familiar to you, but I love it. It’s a term created by Susan Anderson, who is amazing. She has a few books on abandonment. One is called The Journey from Abandonment to Healing, and in it, she describes this phenomenon called “abandoholism,” which I just love, because being abandoned can absolutely be an addiction.
I know that’s awful to say, because you’re sitting there going, “Michelle, how dare you even insinuate that I like this? I hate being abandoned.”
I would argue that you fucking don’t hate being abandoned. I would argue that you like it. I would argue that you’re kinky for your own suffering, because there absolutely can be an addiction to being abandoned.
How do I know? Because I once was an abandoholic myself. I could take or leave alcohol, but give me a man who’s going to consistently abandon me? I’ll take that any day.
An addiction to being abandoned looks like you being consistently attracted to people who are perpetually hard to get.
You’re always having to chase them. You’re always having to do something for their love, for their affection, for their attention, their validation, whatever it might be. And when you finally get it, it’s a total thrill. It’s an unbeatable high.
This addiction to being abandoned is all about wanting to be chosen. “If I can just be thin enough, pretty enough, smart enough, feminine enough, successful enough, then he will love me.”
Now, this is just a projection of childhood wounds. It’s just another version of “If I could just be a good girl, then Daddy would love me. If I could just get good grades, then Mommy would finally love me.”
This is why inner child work is really fucking important, because if you don’t do that work, you’re going to be running these unconscious loops forever. We go really deeply into this when we talk about projections and projectional love and patterns in my program The Connected Woman, but for now, just know that these cycles only augment this addiction to being abandoned. You’ll play this cycle on repeat over and over again so that you can finally get that hit of validation, of being wanted, of being chosen rather than being abandoned.
But even when you get that high, it’s very short-lived, right? They never actually choose you. Even if they just want to have sex with you, you think, “Good enough. They’re choosing me.” No, bitch. You and I both know you don’t fucking want that. You and I both know that’s not good enough. But until you admit that to yourself, you’re going to continue to loop more of the same shit. And that’s on you, boo.
Yes, these cycles come from trauma. Yes, they come from core wounding and old patterning, but at some point, we just have to decide that this ain’t it. We have to acknowledge that we want more than constantly being abandoned.
That in and of itself can shift so much. If you sit down and say to yourself, “I fucking want more. This isn’t good enough,” choosing that for ourselves creates a deep shift.
That’s really what it takes to end the cycle of being abandoned: choosing ourselves over waiting for someone else to choose us.
In every moment that you are wanting somebody else to choose you and put you first, you are abandoning yourself. You are not choosing you. You are being abandoned by everyone…including yourself.
Being abandoned by yourself is a rejection of these unhealed wounds that your inner little girl has. She is longing for your love, not someone else’s.
This is how being abandoned by yourself works: it’s like my inner Little Michelle is saying, “I am longing for your love, Big Michelle. Why aren’t you loving me?” And my response to her is, “I will, but only if we can get so-and-so to love us. If I can just get him to love me, then we’ll be healed.”
No, no, no, no, no. That’s not how it works. We have to give that love to ourselves.
If you’ve grown up in an environment where your attachment to your parents was insecure, you’ve been conditioned to believe that being in love means feeling insecure.
If you grew up without a secure parent, or both parents were not secure and you had an insecure attachment style, then your nervous system is literally wired for insecurity.
Therefore, you are only going to feel attracted to people you feel insecure around. So actually, even though you consciously think, “I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel good in this dynamic. He treats me like shit. I’m a second option, and I don’t want to be an option. I want to be a priority,” your nervous system is saying “I love it here! It’s so comfortable.”
Why? Because this is what we know. We know what insecurity feels like, and familiar = safe.
This is also why the second you actually start to feel safe, when you realize being abandoned isn’t in the cards with this guy, you no longer fucking want him.
Let’s say that by some miracle, this unavailable man takes some potion and he’s like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I’ve been so blind this entire time. You are the woman of my dreams. I choose you.” You would be elated at first. You would be over the moon. You’d go, “Oh my God, finally. See, I knew that if I could just change myself enough that he would finally choose me.”
So he chooses you, and then fucking two weeks, a month, a year in, you’re like, “I fucking hate it here.”
You know why? Because you don’t feel insecure. You don’t feel unsettled. Everything is smooth sailing. You’re not having to fight for his love. You’re not having to prove why you’re worthy of his love and attention. It’s just freely given to you.
It’s a very secure relationship, but that’s going to feel wildly unsafe to you, because it’s not familiar. It’s uncharted territory, and you don’t know what to do with yourself.
So what happens next is that you will start to self-sabotage. Sound familiar? Do you know yourself in this pattern?
This was me. When someone was nice to me, I was like, “Ew, what the fuck?”
I remember years ago, I was seeing this guy who would compliment me a lot. He was so upfront about how he felt about me. We would be intimate, and I remember him saying, “Look me in the eyes.” And I thought, “Are you fucking okay? Why would I do that? Why would you want me to look you in the fucking eyes?”
That amount of intimacy did not feel safe to me. So naturally I binned him, which I feel so bad about, because he’s actually one of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet in your entire life. He’s actually such a good soul. But when I didn’t have to fight for his love or chase him or have to prove myself, I really wasn’t interested.
This is why you will perpetually chase the guy who’s not into you, because you can then prove how worthy and deserving you are of his love. And that’s a never-ending cycle, because he’s never going to see it.
In short, we don’t feel safe being with someone who’s actually available, because they’re not making you question anything. When you’re addicted to being abandoned, you are going to be more excited around someone who makes you question their interest in you.
Now, let’s pause and talk about what being abandoned actually looks like. There’s more than one kind of abandonment, after all.
Firstly, there’s being abandoned physically. I remember in a past relationship, we got into an argument, and he went away and didn’t speak to me for an entire week. He did not answer my text messages, my phone calls, nothing. He would just leave me on read. And that was…deeply fucking traumatizing. That’s emotional abuse, actually, because that’s stonewalling.
So that was a physical abandonment; we’re in a relationship, yet my partner’s just fucked off. That’s a more obvious example of abandonment.
But there’s also being abandoned emotionally. That happens when you’re in a relationship, but your needs aren’t being met. They’re not really seeing you. They’re not really hearing you. They’re not taking into account what you need.
There’s emotional abandonment in that, because they’re not very attuned to what you need. Not that it’s their responsibility to be attuned to what you need, because it’s actually your responsibility to communicate your needs, but they have no interest in meeting them.
If this is the case in your relationship, what are you fucking doing? What are you doing staying in that kind of a relationship? That’s on you, babe.
This is where we get stuck. We can get trapped in this cycle of, “They don’t meet my needs, they’re not meeting my standards…how can I make him meet my standards? How can I make him show up more? How can I make him commit?”
How many fucking podcast episodes and blogs and everything else are there on how to get a guy to commit? Like, give me a fucking break. If you’re literally Googling a podcast on how to get your guy to commit, you have a bigger issue.
Why are we sitting around worrying about what he’s doing versus worrying about what we’re doing? Like, how does it actually feel to be in a relationship where you’re having to Google how to get him to commit?
Let’s start there. Let’s talk about how you are continuing to abandon yourself over and over and over again every time you’re Googling how to get him to commit. Why don’t you fucking commit to you? Why are we asking people to do something that we cannot do for ourselves?
This is why I preach this message so hard in Connect Woman and everything else I do.
My life’s work is to connect you to you, first and foremost. Because if you don’t have that, you don’t have shit.
We need to be connected to ourselves first and foremost, because every time you’re up in his head worrying about what he’s doing versus worrying about what you’re doing up in your head, you’ve abandoned yourself.
You are not superior to a drug addict or an alcoholic. It’s the same thing. They’ve chosen heroin. You’ve chosen abandonment. There’s no hierarchy. It’s the same thing.
I’m not even being funny when I say that. My partner is an addiction specialist. He works in trauma and addiction, and there is no separation in the brain between being addicted to food, to heroin, to alcohol, to men, to codependent relationships, whatever it is. No matter what, you’re always seeking the next high. You’ll continue to seek out partners who abandon you until you heal the original source.
If you’re ready to escape this cycle and get reconnected to you, join Connected Woman. The link’s below. We’re starting up real soon, and you don’t want to miss out!
Join The Connected Woman, a 12-week shadow work course for women who want to go from feeling anxious AF about their love lives to feeling confident, secure and having unfuckwithable self-worth: https://michellepanning.com/the-connected-woman
Ready to do the work? You can find all courses, masterclasses, and more right here: https://michellepanning.com/all-offers
I get it, girl. I’ve been there too. For years, I was going through the same experiences with men over and over again that left me feeling confused, anxious and pissed off.
I silenced myself in dating and relationships because I was terrified of being judged, rejected and abandoned. It all changed when I went through a break-up and thought “enough is enough. I cannot continue to repeat the same relationships with different men! Something HAS to change!”