Low Self Esteem and Relationship DisastersBy
I’ve written a lot about my childhood belief system; how it developed and how I came to believe that I always had to try harder; that it was my fault if others were unhappy and even that it was my job, my task to make others feel better about themselves. This all tied in to why I ended up in such serious depressions and need so many coping methods. It was in realizing some of this stuff that I was able to move forward and recover my life. Taking a look at the mother daughter relationship with my mother and how one sided it was, and the father daughter relationship with my father and how nonexistent it was; adding individual events, and adding the way that I was regarded, (before, during and after) mixed in with the way that I learned to regard myself, all added up to the bigger picture of who I was and where my problems started.
With the back ground that I had from my unhealthy dysfunctional relationships to my parents, believing that I was not worthy, not lovable, not good enough for the love and regard that I thought other people had, coupled with the fact that I had learned to try harder and harder and was willing to get angry and frustrated at myself when I “failed”, is it any wonder that I started to have trouble in relationships as I got older?
I was attracted to guys who were “troubled” and I thought that it was my job to love them enough that they would feel better about themselves. Deep down I was pretty sure that if I could love them enough ~ they would realize that they were lovable, and then they in turn would love me back. I was very attracted to these broken guys but I went into the relationship with the idea that I had to “earn my love” from them. I didn’t realize that I felt that way, but I looked back on my relationships and that is the way that it played out. I carried the beliefs about myself and about the way life worked, into my relationships.
The guys had their own belief systems that they brought to the table with them. I picked the ones that needed me to “restore” them, and it seemed that what “restored them” what made them feel good about themselves, was if I put up with devaluing treatment. It was as though they were saying “Will you still love me if I do this?” (for example, forget to call me and ignore plans with me) And if I did accept that treatment, (I always did), then they upped the ante. “What about if I do this….?” and maybe the next thing would be flirt with another girl in front of me or call me a nasty name, or stop talking to me (punishment) because I made a better joke then he did which took some of the attention away from him. There are a billion examples and ways that we can be “asked” to prove our love; their worth, and our worth (or lack of it) in a relationship. There are a million ways that we can be “manipulated” and taught that the way we are isn’t acceptable ~ and if I wanted to be accepted/loved then change was the silent message. I was used to not being accepted.
When I was 17 I had a big crush on a neighbour who was 20. He drank, but I didn’t mind because he liked me better when he was drinking. I didn’t have the self esteem to take that as an insult. I wanted him to notice me. All the girls thought he was dreamy, and I thought that if he noticed me, then I must be okay. I sought my value through other people, just as I had learned to do my whole life.
He used to come over to my house at around 10:00 pm at night and with no prior phone call or any prior arrangement, he would beep the horn from the driveway, and I would grab my jacket and go with him. I was “sure” that I could prove to him that I was the right girl friend for him, but I never considered that he was the wrong boyfriend for me. I accepted that kind of treatment from him for almost 5 months until on New Years Eve, he didn’t ask me out, but he showed up at my house at 1:00 in the morning after the party he was at, raped me, and then demanded that I call him a cab. That was what it took for me to realize that he was “not the one”. That was also when I reached a new depth in giving up on myself.
P.S. It isn’t surprising that I had these beliefs, I have written a few blog posts about how my mother expected me to define her; to make her feel loved and valued and how by her actions it was obvious looking back on our mother daughter relationship, that she thought my purpose in her life was to restore her value. I just accepted that as “my job” and carried that with me into all my future relationships. See ~ The beginning of Broken ~ Family Foundations about my mother’s expectations in our dysfunctional mother daughter relationship.
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