Emotional Healing and the Causes of Low Self EsteemBy
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding” Khalil Gibran
I struggled and fought for some sort of “place” in the world for a very long time before I began to find my way out of that darkness that I talked about in my last post. I felt as though I didn’t belong; as though I was different then everyone else; as though I was somehow on the wrong planet. My healing began when I was able to face the causes.
That was where I found the answers to all my questions about why I had struggled so long with low self esteem, depressions, and dissociative disorders. It was scary to face the truth about my past, but looking back what was scary was that I thought “the truth” was going to confirm what everyone ELSE taught me about me. And what I had been taught about me was NOT the truth. I had been taught through actions, inaction, voice inflictions, direct statements and indirect statements, inference and intolerance, nurturing or lack of nurturing as well as rejection and that others WERE more important and therefore more valuable then me, all went into a big melting pot that became the collection of all the experiences that made up “my life” in order to form my belief systems.
The ways that I was treated and not treated, communicated to me that I was not really a valid person
And then on top of being defined as invalid, I had been taught, mostly in non verbal ways, that I was the only one that felt that way. That “my problem” was something that was wrong with MY thinking.
I was not seen as a person with value for so long, that I ceased to see myself as a person with value. “They” didn’t see me until I didn’t see me anymore either. As though I silently agreed that I really was not valid. Not part of the “we” anywhere.
And when I thought about friends of mine, I never saw them as valueless. I thought that this problem was only mine. I could not understand the low self esteem of others, could not understand why they believed that they were not good enough, because I could certainly see their worth! But even when they expressed these same feelings, I didn’t think that they felt like I felt. I thought they were WRONG about themselves, but I didn’t consider that I was wrong about myself too.
The way that I had come to see it was that I “must have” exaggerated all of my “hurts” and in my own mind had made them far worse than they ever were. I believed that I was not able to cope with “normal life” like a “normal person”. I did not realize that there were actual definitions of abuse and neglect that would confirm my feelings and suspicions. I never thought that I was valid enough to even look for them. And the truth is that I didn’t know what “Normal Life” was! I didn’t know what was acceptable or what was unacceptable and as long as I wasn’t talking about it, I didn’t find out. I was afraid to talk about it because I knew that I would not be believed. I wasn’t even sure that I believed me anymore! I was afraid to find out that “the truth” was going to be that they were right about me so I was afraid to look to closely at the past. Add to the bubbling melting pot, all the instructions that I had received for so many years AFTER I had already accepted that I was not worthy:
I was told “The past is the past, just put it behind you”
I was told “You can’t change it, just accept it ~ grow up ~ get over it”
I was told “Acceptance is the answer” ~ and I tried to accept the wrong things
I was told ~ “You are too sensitive”. “You are so dramatic.”
And “I heard” ~ “you are not enough, you are wrong, you are not worthy of your feelings, you don’t know what you are talking about, you are unlovable”, and I believed it.
It was always about ME… I was always the one who was defective. ME. They made sure that my focus was always on blaming myself and on improving me.
All the while I was searching for the illusive key that would make everyone see me as good enough. I thought that there had to be SOMETHING that would finally prove my worth.
And I could never seem to catch even a glimpse of that key to freedom, until I took a real look at the causes of how I had come to that point in my life. What had happened to me? Why did I think I was so unimportant? I took that chance that it might hurt. I faced the fear of what I might find. I had nothing to lose! Looking back today I wonder if it dawned on me that I was already in SO much pain that even if it caused me more pain, it was worth taking the chance that it might also relieve the pain. I embraced the hope for complete healing when I had my first break through in the first week of looking at the causes.
My worth was there all along, hiding inside me, covered by layers and layers of the damage that came from mistreatment, lies, psychological abuse and all other forms of abuse and emotional neglect. As I pulled those layers off, dispelling the lies and exposing the truth about what really happened to me, I was able to embrace the child that I once was and begin to see just how blameless and powerless I had in fact been.
By taking a look at the causes, and exposing all the lies that were attached to them, I began the process of emotional healing, and the darkness began to lift.
Please share your own discoveries and feelings. Don’t forget to subscribe to the comments or check back as we always have great discussions here.
Exposing Truth; one snapshot at a time;