Self Worth; Where does it Come From?By
There are little messages that we get when we live in an abusive or dysfunctional environment, or even if our home environment is not abusive, but we are being devalued or mistreated in any way somewhere outside of that environment. Remember that all abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and spiritual abuse is all equally destructive to self esteem and self worth.
Our self esteem suffers so much when we are being abused or mistreated and it is extremely confusing to a child. Other messages factor in to complete and to complicate the picture. So a lesser message piggy backs on an already seriously damaging message and confirms the suspicion I already have; I just wasn’t worthy.
My parents divorced when I was 13. My mother constantly said she didn’t have enough money to live on. I don’t know if that is true, I didn’t have access to the books, but as a child we can only base our judgements on what we see and what we hear. We base our conclusions on what we believe to be the proof.
My mother said that she didn’t have enough money to raise us kids and that our father didn’t give her enough child support. She constantly complained about the power bill; we were not allowed to have heat in our bedrooms and she complained about groceries. To this day her voice rings in my head “I never wanted to be a single mother” This was a statement that she made as an excuse for everything. As a child the message that I heard is that she didn’t want me and that her love for me was conditional and the condition was that unless she had someone to help her raise children, she didn’t want children. By the time I was 15 years old, when she said that she never wanted to be a single mother, my mind replied “ oh ..so that is why you are not a mother at all”
My father acted like he paid child support so that was all he had to do. I remember when I got my first period, I was 13 and I had to go to my father’s for the weekend after school. I needed money for sanitary napkins. When I asked him for some money, he would NOT give it to me unless I told him why I wanted it. What a nightmare that was. As an adult I told myself that it was his right to know why I wanted a couple of dollars. But the problem was the belief that developed when I was just a young teenager who didn’t want to tell her father that she needed pads, complicated by the fact that I believed he didn’t trust me with two freaking dollars to go to the drug store. And so the conclusion that I drew was that he didn’t have to, or want to give me anything extra then what he paid my mother for child support, that I wasn’t worthy OR trustworthy.
I stole my clothes when I was in grades 7, 8 and 9; not because I was a bad kid but because my mother didn’t buy them for me. I didn’t steal tons, just what I needed.
Remember I am talking about my belief system and how it formed. So here was the conflict. My mother had an amazing wardrobe both for work and for social. She has several full length evening gowns and shoes which she wore every weekend to attend the singles dances she liked to go to. She had money for her, but not for me. My mother had a diamond dinner ring made for herself from the diamonds out of the wedding set my father bought her. I knew that it cost her about 750.00 to get that ring made. Jeans were $20.00. How come she didn’t have enough money for me, but she had enough for her?
I learned my “worth” by the messages that I received. I was not as important as her dresses, her diamonds, her boyfriends, her girlfriends. I was in her way and I cost money, precious money that could have been put to better use and spent on herself.
And my father washed his hands of me the day that he left.
Those are the messages that I got, right or wrong and when I write about this stuff, it isn’t for the purpose of exposing my mother and father, but exposing MY belief system. (I don’t have any resentment anymore.) Those were the conclusions that I drew from the decisions that they made, from the things that they did and said. And from those messages, I drew the conclusions that I did about myself, my value, my worth and lack of it.
What are the conclusions that you drew about your worth or lack of it? Can you link it to a message you got that caused you to draw that conclusion?
Exposing Truth ~ One snapshot at a time.
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