I am a jargonophobe. I hate jargon. My core competence is to never use the phrase “core competence.” I do not leverage, I do not synergize, I give a maximum of 100%, and I prefer to think inside the damn box. I keep it simple. Unless stated otherwise, everything in Affection Deficit Disorder defaults to cisgendered and heteronormative, because it’s written in the first person and those are the eyes I see through. Why does it require so many neologisms to say that?
So, as you can imagine, the first time I heard someone say “I abandoned myself,” I cringed. It came across as prime grade psychobabble, and I effectively closed my ears to anything else the speaker had to offer. Which is a shame, because it turns out I abandoned myself all the time.
I always ditched me in favor of Him… whoever He was at the time. I stood me up. Hell, I would have ghosted me if I weren’t so easy for me to find.
Plans with a girlfriend were immediately tossed out the window if I got a booty call (I labeled it “a last-minute date.”) from a guy. I’m guessing you’ve had a similar experience, or you would be reading a different blog. Sure, I knew I was abandoning her; I just assumed we gave one another a pass for that behavior. But it took a while before I realized I was also abandoning myself. I made my plans, my schedule, my free time all second best to his. I treated myself like you’d treat an annoying kid sister.
I listened to his music and read his books, abandoning my taste. I played his sports, abandoning my hobbies. I moved in with him, abandoning my support network. I wore higher heels or flatter flats, I cut my hair or grew it long, I put on more make-up or no make-up at all. I learned another language or pretended I didn’t speak one, whatever it took to hang on to… oh, hell, I can’t remember his name. There were so many, and each of them seemed breathtakingly vital at the time. Spending time with them was always more important than spending time with myself. Being who they wanted me to be was always more important than being who I actually was.
So I applaud the term “self abandonment” and hereby declare it not to be psychobabble, but an accurate description of the classic love addict behavior of tossing ourselves away if only it will get us a shot at what seems, at the time, to be salvation. Remember: Romantic love is not salvation, no matter what the country western ballads tell you. Anyhow, what good is salvation if you’re not there to appreciate it?