Archive for Self Esteem
My mother is a victim. In fact, she is the exact same type of victim that I was. She was a victim of her parent’s abuse and dysfunction and she learned to survive in that dysfunctional family system exactly as it was taught to her. She accepted it because she had no other choice and no other example. The cycle of abuse was “normal” for her. When she grew up, it was as though she couldn’t wait to have someone to pick on because she believed that’s how life works. It was “her turn”. Not her turn to ‘abuse’ or overpower someone, but her turn to be loved in the only definition of love that she knew; the false and dysfunctional one that she had been taught.
It was her turn to be right; her turn to have impact and her turn to be heard.
Abusers believe in the system and very often victims believe in the system too. The sick dysfunctional family system seems to have “worked for their parents” so why wouldn’t it work for them? It was the best that my (dysfunctional) mother had to hope for, but only because she didn’t believe there might be something better. She accepted the reality of the cycle of abuse, psychological abuse and dysfunctional family as “normal” and functional exactly as it was presented to her and the cycle of generational abuse continued.
She communicated to me that it was my job to restore her life and her self esteem; her mother had delivered the same message to her. I wanted to “save her” because I believed that if I could prove that I “loved her” then she would love me. This cycle of generational abuse stopped with me when I no longer accepted the role of victim but I also had to stand up to the myth that Read More→
If there is ONE place that I recommend starting the emotional healing process, it is starting with the damage. That might sound easy, but I had to actually find out what “the damage” to me was.
I had to find out how I got broken. What happened to my self esteem in the first place? How did my self esteem get so low? What happened to me? That was where the keys were and those were the keys that led to freedom.
I remember when I realized that my depressions and dissociative issues came from somewhere; I sat stunned, repeating to myself over and over ~ What happened to ME?
I had to look at the roots. I thought that I was born depressed. But the more I thought about it, how could that be?? There were actual events that caused damage and my depressions were in fact related to those events! I just had to see it. I had to finally SEE it.
The biggest obstacles in my way were avoiding looking at how I used by others, how I was objectified and not considered to be equally human, and how I was failed by others. By avoiding looking at the truth about that, I was able to excuse the damage they caused. I excused them because I had to. As a child, survival is of the utmost importance and if we start complaining about the people who are failing us, but are also in charge of our welfare, it is a pretty sure fact that we are not going to survive.
When I tell stories about teachers who were bullies or outsiders who devalued or abused me, I get a huge response. It is much easier to face the truth about someone outside of the family that hurt me and damaged me than it is to face the truth that my parents let me down, but the truth is that my parents knew about the bullying and the way it was effecting me, (I was sick in bed for months) and they avoided doing anything about it until I was so sick that the Dr whose care I was under, figured it out and MADE them do something about it. As I have written before, my parents tried to resist the Doctor, but he threatened to get a court order on my behalf.
If the damage, (including the emotional damage) is excused and ignored… there is further damage. I am saying Read More→
We are conditioned not to talk about family secrets. I was taught in so many ways that ‘some things are not talked about’ and I was so afraid of the consequences of bringing shame on my family that I ignored the solution to overcoming the mental health issues that I had. Rejection from my family when I was a little child would have meant death. I believed as an adult that it STILL meant death. I had to overcome that fear.
Even when the family members are dead, the victims of dysfunctional family situations are very often STILL just as afraid to reveal the family secrets, which is very telling about just how deep this fear goes when it comes to the belief system.
People told me that they didn’t have a choice about keeping the secrets even when they became adults. I agreed with them because not taking my choice about telling enabled me to have an excuse to not have to do the work that it took to take my life back. I had to look more closely at what it meant for me to believe that I didn’t have a choice. I had to see that it wasn’t that I DIDN’T have a choice as much as it was just that I didn’t KNOW I had a choice.
This belief that I could not, must not tell was rooted in victim mentality and I had to keep in mind that this “victim mentality” is how I survived a childhood of abuse and emotional neglect. Victim mentality was my friend when I was a kid. It saved me. It was hard to understand that victim mentality was not my friend anymore. My mind warned me constantly NOT to see things differently, believing with all my heart that the only way to survive this life was to operate in that same child mindset that kept me Read More→
Have you ever had fantastic exciting news and when you went to tell family, co-workers or perhaps your friends, you were met with a put down or some version of a put down?
Have you ever walked away from telling your exciting news feeling somehow defeated or dejected or feeling disappointed and rejected; as though your good news somehow wasn’t that good anymore?
I have had major issues with this in my lifetime.
People who were “supposed to love me”; family, boyfriends and people who were “supposed to be my friends” said things like;
“Well it can’t be that great”. What’s the catch?” Or “how did YOU get that award or offer?” What about; “Why you? Why would they pick you?”
These types of statements have a clear message attached to them. The message is “WHY would anyone see value in YOU?” Those statements communicated to me what the speaker THOUGHT about me and how they defined my value and worth.
There were often really devaluing questions about the motives of whoever was acknowledging me; Questions like “are you Read More→
I am important. And so are you.
I have just as much importance as any other human being on this planet and that includes the presidents, movie stars, doctors, lawyers, teachers, my parents, grandparents, geniuses, famous inventers, authors royalty and all others. And so do you.
A job, a profession, or a gift or title does not make some people more valuable than other people.
People are People.
I am special. I am the same amount of special as any other human being. And so are you.
I am valuable. I am just as valuable as any other person on this earth. And so are you.
I have a choice. I had to learn this truth before I tried it out, but today I know that I have a choice about the way that I am treated. I have choices about where I go and who I hang out with. I am not obligated to love. I am not owned by anyone. I can choose to say yes, or to say no. And so can you.
I can think for myself. And so can you. I had to learn this truth, and I had to learn HOW to do this Read More→
I was raised to believe that I had less importance than the adults in my life. At first glance that may sit okay with most people. Perhaps it feels “right” and “logical”. Perhaps I had no reason to believe otherwise in the first place. As children we are not born with truth filters. We learn what we are taught is the truth. We accept what is modeled to us AS truth. But the truth we are taught is often false truth.
Emerging from Broken is largely about how I uncovered that false truth and re wired my brain to understand and accept the true truth.
It felt right and even logical to accept that adults were more important than I was when I thought about it the way that I believed “importance was measured.” I was a child; a dependent child. I believed that the adults were important because they provided. They brought home the food and until I was a young teen, they cooked it. Adults provided me with clothing and shelter. They sent me to school where other important adults taught me what I needed to learn in order for me to become an adult myself. Adults met my physical needs and in many ways they had all the power; both good and bad. Looking at it that way, I could easily agree that Read More→
Some people act as though they believe that there is not enough love in the world to go around. They act as though they need to make sure that they are getting all your love and no one else is getting any of it as though if you love anyone else these controlling people will “miss out” on some of your love. In the past I put a lot of effort into trying to make these people feel like my love for them would never run out because I mistakenly believed that my love for them, could save them and if I could save them, they would love me back and that would save me.
And at the same time it seems as though these controlling and manipulative people also believe and go to great length to communicate, that if you love yourself, you will be spending your love allowance on yourself instead of on them. Heaven forbid that happens! This “don’t love yourself” concept is taught in tons of ways always with the threat of becoming a horrible selfish person if you do anything to nurture or acknowledge your own value.
They picked on the way that I dressed. They picked at the way I did my hair. They picked at me all the time to make sure that I was feeling bad about myself. To make sure that I was trying harder. To make sure that my self esteem was kept low. To make sure that I was always questioning myself and not questioning them. And all of it was presented as thought their judgement was “for my own good”. That this “picking at me” and criticizing me was going to make me a better Read More→
Earlier this week, in the midst of a difficult day where it seemed that everything required my time and attention and Iwas really short on time, out of the blue I got this comment. I got a comment from a lady telling me that my blog, Emerging from Broken; my work made a difference to her and then to the grade 4 through 6 students that she teaches.
The timing could not have been more perfect for me. It was the lift I needed. I speak about “the ripple effect” and I long to make a big difference in the world and although I get tons of fan mail and excellent validating comments on my blog every day, this comment is about a difference that I made when someone stumbled across my work. She understood my message and she changed her message. That is really Read More→
I reached a point in my adult life where I found myself wondering why some people who seemed to be so nice to other people, were not so nice to me. I realized as I grew in this process of emotional healing that it had a lot to do with my own inner value. It was as though people could “see” how much I would put up with. My worth, before I emerged from broken had a lot to do with what I could do for others. I thought that my value was in what I had to offer. A lot of people took advantage of me and used me. I did a lot of service work but wasn’t really appreciated for it. I tried not to do if for the appreciation, but when people treated me like I didn’t matter, it really hurt me. I bent over backwards to “be good enough to deserve acceptance.”
I had to learn to value myself ~ enough to call them on it. I had to realize that they were wrong to treat me that way and if I let it go, they were likely to keep doing it. I had to care enough about me to reject that kind of treatment. I had to realize that when people talk down to me, it doesn’t define me as beneath them. On the other hand I also had to learn that when people fall all over themselves to be with me, that doesn’t define me as worthy either. That was the false definition of love and acceptance that I had to come to understand in this process of emotional healing.
This was a huge part of my recovery process.
First I had to own my anger at this injustice towards me as a person. I had to own my equality and believe in myself. Instead of constantly asking myself what was wrong with me and searching my heart for how I could be worthy of love and respect, I started to ask myself why people felt they had permission to Read More→