Self Esteem and Seeking Validation from Others

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Low Self Esteem
I am because I am

I needed someone to validate my existence. I wanted someone who could tell me that I was worth the air that I breathed. But because I didn’t believe that I had value, I didn’t believe anyone who attempted to tell me that I did. If I met someone who liked me, I wondered what they wanted from me. I wondered if they were sincere; I was sure that they must have a hidden motive. If a waiter in a restaurant treated me like my business didn’t matter I was hurt and my mind would start spinning about why he was treating me that way. I would examine every single sentence that we exchanged, looking inward for something that I must have done to cause this attitude in him. By the same token if a waiter was really nice and attentive to me, I wondered if he was only doing it for the tip.

If friends invited me over, it wasn’t long before I questioned if it was because they wanted my company, or because they wanted me bring cooking or baking. Did they need an extra girl? Did they want to play a joke on me? I was always second guessing everyone and everything because of my history with abuse, but I also second guessed everyone, because I was always second guessing me. That was the way that my mind operated because that was the way my mind was trained to operate. If my mother told me that I looked nice, I wondered what she wanted; subconsciously I braced myself for what was coming next…. continued  

That was just the way that it was. All through the history of my life, people complimented me when they had a motive. Something bad was surly going to follow. I could not trust anyone because I had never learned that there were people that were trustworthy. To make matters worse, I was comfortable and even attracted to the familiar abusive types who DID have motives, and who were not trustworthy. I was so mixed up that I mistrusted the people that didn’t have wrong motives, MORE than I suspected the ones who did. The foundation for relationship was never built properly in my life. I operated from a faulty and dangerous platform.

This was the never ending spin that existed in my mind; I wanted someone to love me. I didn’t believe anyone could. I didn’t love myself. I couldn’t because I didn’t think I was worthy. I wanted to let live fully and free of the guilt and shame, but I kept thinking someone else could affirm that I was worthy of freedom. I thought someone else could change my low self esteem. I thought someone else could restore me and convince me that “ME” was good enough. But I didn’t believe it in the first place so round and round it goes.

I had shared my story with others several times with seemingly no success, partly because I was not having any impact on myself. I was so disconnected from myself I couldn’t even hear myself. It was in realizing that I didn’t relate what happened to ME, as having happened to me, that I realized why I was always in that emotional spin and always in my head invalidating myself. I also realized that I had to find a way to reconnect to myself and I did that by talking about the events of my past, big events, little events, sexual abuse and emotional abuse and HEARING myself. And then I listened to the feedback from safe people who heard me. I heard me, others heard me and validated me and through all of that I was able to finally really see the value that I have as an individual human being. Not the value that was given to me by someone else. Not the lack of value that I had been defined by others with. I had to hear and accept THE TRUTH about me by taking a look at the lies I believed about me.

The process of re-wiring the belief system is hard because I learned what I believed about myself from such a young age; it was all I knew. But consider this: I was not born all messed up.  I did not get the idea from my own mind that I was not good enough. I was not born with pre judgements about my own value. My self esteem (or rather lack of it) was given to me; it was taught to me. The lack of trust that I had was CAUSED by others. There were reasons for the depressions, the struggles, the nervousness and anxiety. But I wasn’t born that way. 

This understanding has been one of the most effective core truths on my journey to wholeness

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Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

83 response to "Self Esteem and Seeking Validation from Others"

  1. By: SMD Posted: 6th December 2012

    Darlene,
    Past memories are coming up for me lately, regarding my sister’s behavior in childhood. My counselor recently said to me, if your dad was coming into your sister’s & I’s room at night, then I would not tell my mom, since she wouldn’t believe me. I was worried about being called a tattle tale, even when problems were serious. It’s one thing to tell on little/petty things about someone else, yet there needs to be a level of trust that when something serious happens, you can go to your parents for guidance & support. I didn’t trIust that they would have my back. Most times I was dismissed for bringing up the truth whether it was my siblings or myself. What a mind screw! I really think that my sister & I were sexualized at a young age. I’m just remembering an incident where we were visiting my sister’s godparents and I walked into her under the sheets with their son. I was shocked & told not to tell. I had to carry that secret out of fear. Keeping secrets is sick, esp when you keep them to yourself & have no outlet. Then another time, our family had two boy cousins visit and I found my sister kissing them on the lips alot. It became a game to them. I was not comfortable with this and I think I did tell, because it got out from my mom that they are “kissing cousins”…like that’s ok. I accepted that as normal & rationalized that kids play & experiment. You can only use that one for so long. My dad used to yell at my sister that she was a “whore” & would shut the door and scream in her face. My mom would say no but my dad did not listen. No wonder yelling & anger is a big trigger for me. Especially rage (uncontrollable anger)!…So much uncovering I’m doing. It’s coming up more frequently & revealing incidents that show a pattern of abuse. I was put down a lot, yet if they yelled at me, I would cry and they viewed me (esp my father) as weak. Actually, crying is a genuine & normal reaction to abuse. I was waking on egg shell all the time. What added to my confusion is that they could be indulging, esp my mom with buying me little things I wanted. I think she did this out of guilt most times. Anyway, I’m feeling sad about all of this. Not normal yet I believed it was normal, since they pretended things were normal. I was the scapegoat for their issues & problems. I would listen to them & carry their guilt & shame, being the sensitive one in the family. Not fair!…Anyway, that was then this is now and I’m free from all of that. I make my own choices & maintain minimal contact with my FOO. That used to bother me so much that they were not there for me, yet I understand they were not capable emotionally & that hurt me. I don’t look to them anymore to get my needs meant and coming to that has been hard. Well I can go on & on but I need to attend to piece this together to form a new filter/grid of Truth. Thanks Darlene for being there for me & others!
    I am so grateful for EFB.
    Sonia

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 6th December 2012

      Hi Sonia
      It was really major for me to see where/how I got those messages that I was the one who was wrong; that I would be doing something wrong by telling. That I was silenced and shut down. Validating that I WAS confused and why I was confused; how I got confused. That is the process. Feeling sad, angry, abandoned or whatever else you feel at any given time is good and normal. These are the feelings that were shut down before.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

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