Are you abandoning yourself?


Have you ever experienced a time when you were wronged or mistreated and didn’t stand up for yourself?

In my late twenties I worked at a large international biotech company as a communications specialist. My counterparts in our Paris office were impressed with my work and invited me to come work side by side for a year in their European offices sharing US best practices.  I was elated! My excitement around this opportunity kept building until I accidentally picked up a transmission off our office fax machine. My boss–for no good reason–had “turned down” the opportunity for me even though the executives in Europe had signed off on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.   I was livid and I could feel in my bones this move was sabotage. Yet, in my youth and naiveté, I steamed in silence and never took this above her head or to the company CEO–who I knew and often wrote speeches for. I regret to this day, not speaking up and advocating for myself.

At the retreats I lead around the US, women share with me that every day in big and small ways–whether it’s eating when they’re not hungry, packing their schedules too full with activities or staying in a relationship that ended years ago–they abandon themselves. They squelch that still small voice–their Wise Self–who truly knows what’s in their best interest. Or they turn their back on her completely.

How do you abandon yourself?

I often negated my needs in my 20’s and 30s–especially when it came to romantic and platonic relationships. Trying to find–and hold onto–myself in the midst of complex human dynamics often felt squishy and nebulous. I threw myself “under the bus” more times than I’d like to remember. Recently my 14 year-old son and I talked about friendships (remember the “minefield” of friendship terrain in high school?). I tried to remind him that the most important thing is to be “true to you.” To not sacrifice who you are, for others. To choose friends who nourish your heart and spirit and let you show up warts and all.

One of the most powerful gifts I’ve received from my 17 year self-care practice (read more) is a strong and unwavering allegiance to self. I have learned the hard way–like most–that you’ll never win trying to please others. But you always win, if you stay in integrity with yourself–even if this means leaving a trail of disgruntled people in your wake. There is no sweeter feeling than when you “have your own back.”

SUPPORT IS HERE: It would be my joy to support you in developing an unwavering allegiance to self through sharing the art/science of self-care.  Join me at an upcoming women’s retreat or schedule me to lead a custom workshop or retreat for your team or organization in 2017-2018.  I’d love to support you!


Join us Nov. 11 in Texas for New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat; ideal for women in transition asking “What’s next?”

A GIVEAWAY FOR OUR TEXAS FRIENDS! I think everyone should get to experience the lasting effects of a top-notch retreat experience (read 5 reasons I take retreats) so my team suggested we give away one-spot to our almost sold-out Nov. 11 New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Retreat in the Texas Hill Country (A $225 value).  Want to enter to win? Just share in the comments section below one thing you learned about yourself in 2016 and “Like” our page on Facebook. We’ll announce a winner on Friday the 28th!

Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by work-life balance speaker/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Renee’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-care groups based on her award-winning curriculum.  She leads workshops/retreats around the globe and is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 14 year-old son. More on her background here.



  1. Laurie Bertolett says

    Another term that I use is the “betrayal of self.” We betray ourselves in many ways. One of them that you mentioned is in not listening to our intuition. As I mature, I am becoming more in tune with myself, through listening to my intuition. I used to give my power away to others- not anymore! I finally understand that I have the power, although it is imperitive that I use it in a healthy way. I would say that one huge life lesson that I am learning about this year is that I must continue my self-care, if I’m going to live more years on this planet. As a mother of a son with bi-polar, I am tempted (every day) to focus on him, and of his endless vulnerabilities in his life. I hurt for him, as I watch his friends hit milestones that he just is not able to accomplish (yet). If I become his caretaker and focus mostly on helping him, I loose my focus and begin to give my energy (power) away to him. This hurts both he and I. I must have a healthy program of self-care, or I will not be present for myself- and this is indeed, self-abandonment.

  2. I’ve learned that moving does nothing but amplify problems that already exist, especially when kids are involved. And moving back doesn’t solved them either.

  3. I am in a point of transition in my life and am fortunate enough to have the time to figure out what’s the best next step to take. I’ve learned that I can turn down job offers that aren’t the right fit and that’s very liberating.

  4. Hi Renée! I’ve learned that by holding true to myself in both personal and business dealings, I will organically attract the right types of people and opportunities into my “tribe.”

  5. Sheryl Grant says

    I’ve finally learned to feed myself with healthy, organic, vegan foods, as well as movement and meditation on a daily basis. I feel so grateful to not be continuing to hurt and abandon myself with foods the way I have for so many years!

  6. June Lien Abichandani says

    This year I learned that I’m a bit too hard on myself. I need sleep, more sleep. And, I need a creative outlet. I think it can all be summed up with one phrase: Put on your mask before you assist others. It’s such a simple idea, but it’s so hard to follow when you’re mommying. This year, as my little one turned two, I’m starting to figure it out.

  7. I learned that I have a lot to say. I’m working through my anxiety issues and have found that so much has been bottled up. I could never find the words before. It was almost as if I didn’t even know they were there anymore. Now I find that the more (quality) time I make for myself, the better I can express myself in other areas of my life.

  8. I’ve learned I can not continue to give in to my daughter, and must be the stronger role model she needs to find her true self in this crazy world we live in today.

  9. I’ve learned to not stress over the peaks and valleys of motherhood and to have faith in myself.

  10. I have learned that sometimes expressing myself assertively isn’t always the answer and being sill and quiet sometimes offers more answers than speaking up. And I have learned I “can’t pour from an empty cup” and sometimes I mismanage my multiple caregiver roles by forgetting to take care of myself.

  11. Hi Renee,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful words of wisdom and advice.
    I’ve learned that it’s sometimes ok to say no to requests, and to try to limit feeling guilty about saying no. I’ve also very recently learned that it’s ok to speak up for myself, and fight for what I deserve, and that this is not selfish. If I don’t speak up for myself and have my own back, no one else is going to. As a result I’ve learned that if I want to feel supported, I need to support myself. I continue to try to work on this as there is still much room for improvement, and it’s often difficult to not become overwhelmed with guilt or feelings of selfishness, and then abandon myself once again. Thank you again for your valuable words, and wishing you all the best,

  12. I’ve always tried so hard to be loved, molding myself into the person I think others want me to be. In romantic relationships this is highly destructive because I spend the first few months/years basically trying to be someone I’m not. Inevitably I reach a breaking point from all of the pressure that builds up around pretending to be someone else. On the brink or my third divorce, I’m learning to embrace who I am instead of apologizing for it.

  13. Renee Thanos says

    One thing I have learned about myself is how much I crave and value silence. Just allowing myself to have silence nourishes my soul.

  14. Carmen Tydings says

    I finally learned to schedule time for my interests. I signed up for a tap dancing class & I’m LOVING it. I haven’t tap danced in over 20 years but it’s coming back. I enjoy taking my time & having fun while meeting some fun new people.

  15. I’ve learned that I have subtle body cues which can give me a lot of insight. For example, I notice subtle excitement in my belly when I anticipate external validation is coming. I would like to feel just as valued by myself, and not prioritze external validation.

  16. I am learning to live with a great deal of uncertainty. Hard for this planner.

  17. 2016 has brought about many major life transitions. Graduating my masters. Moving back to Austin from Boulder with a long-time partner. Starting up a new, regulated career in a place with lots of past karma. I’m learning that my pace has slowed down significantly and I seem to have become a more highly sensitive person than I once was, with clearer intuition to boot. My needs are so amplified from what they were when I lived here before, so I’m still listening as I figure out piece by piece what feeds my soul and what robs me. The most difficult is that situations tend to present a bit of both. Learning how to walk away vs stay is a lifelong undertaking

  18. I’ve learned that quiet and reflective time for myself is essential to my being. With a full household, husband, kids, job, it has become increasingly important. Reconnecting with myself is everything.