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

Please join in by leaving your feedback, feelings and thoughts about this post and don’t forget to subscribe to the comments, or check back to read them. We always have great discussions here.

Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;

Darlene Ouimet

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

  1. By: Sherie Posted: 11th February

    Just figured I would share something I wrote to my 8yr old self as an exercise while working on The Artist’s Way recently. After writing it, I realized it didn’t just apply to my Child self, but to my Whole self. No matter which side of myself I voice or use to read this, it applies to the entire rest of Me.

    Sherie,

    Hey there, how’s it going? I ask, more to “hear” myself say it, in the words of the You that reads this. I guess though, that you’re entirely in my mind. Because if you’re real, you so very much need to hear just how totally, fully awesome you are. How much you are loved, even when you’re feeling miserable and invisible. More than that, you need to understand how absolutely little those big Monsters really are. You’re just so little yourself yet, they seem too big to handle. No matter how unloved or insignificant you feel, you are *always* bigger than those Monsters, both the ones you will face in Life, and the ones you create inside your own head.

    And no matter what you go through, you will have Me loving you and holding you tight, closer to You than anything else, even the pain.

    Sherie

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th February

      Hi Sherie,
      Thanks for sharing this. I like these kinds of exercises; I find them really helpful in recovery and I have done a lot of this kind of writing.
      Thanks for sharing this with us here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Susan Posted: 11th February

    Shanyn – your poem took my breath away….beautiful, true, pure. thank you!

  3. By: Kellie Posted: 11th February

    Darlene,

    This is a hot topic for me. I am somewhere in that stage of life — past figuring out THAT I am different, and some of the reasons WHY I am different — where my “give a damn is busted” if you will. Last Christmas (2009) witnessed my most recent friendship implosion and I just decided “F*&% ’em!” I know this isn’t the healthy conclusion that we are all striving toward, but for now, I am working on learning to love myself and stand up for me for a change. Who knows if I’ll ever get back on the horse and try again. Not today, though. Not today.

  4. By: Lisa Posted: 11th February

    Shanyn, I started crying with the verse before the last, the words, “Dear Me, I love you, ya know?” and continued through the final verse…all those things sounds so wonderful. I am overwhelmed by those beautiful words. I think I will use this poem to help me through the rough patches.

    THANK YOU!

  5. By: Gabrielle Posted: 11th February

    Shanyn, You gave me goosebumps, especially with that last verse. Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem. I don’t know you, but I can see your beauty. Enjoy that little child inside!

  6. By: Kellie Posted: 11th February

    Shanyn, sometimes I type stuff in a document file and copy and paste — maybe this will help avoid lost thoughts in the future. As it is, what you wrote here is very good I think. 🙂

  7. By: Shanyn Posted: 11th February

    Thank you all for your loving words about my poem. You encourage and inspire me…thank you for your love!

  8. By: Paulette Posted: 11th February

    Shanyn – loved the poem … touched my heart completely and squeezed my eyes for tears! The childhoods we missed out on … {hugs}

  9. By: Hold Fast Posted: 11th February

    Shanyn, Your poem is beautiful. I could feel my little me relaxing and understanding. Thank you!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th February

      Hi Mary,
      Your words make perfect sense to me! I love how you say at the end of your comments ~ “but I don’t care, isn’t that wonderful? It felt good to write whatever I felt and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks….ha that’s a good feeling right there…” YES YES isn’t it wonderful. That is freedom!
      Thanks for your wonderful supportive and encouraging comments too!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Hold fast!
      I agree, that poem is just so…….. wonderful

  10. By: Mary Posted: 11th February

    Darlene…thankyou my friend, I sit here at 3.30am cause I can’t sleep and read this whole thing. What you wrote rings so true to me as well. What you have written here helps immensely for even though I think I’m going well on my own journey to healing there’s always more, some word, some sentence that stands out that makes me take pause and think in a way I perhaps didn’t stop and think about enough. Why was it so important huh? the validation of others? I mean who cares in the end what the waiter thinks of me? What anyone really thinks of me, once I grasped this that it’s what I think of me that truly counts it was such a huge stepping stone, huge! Everyone else will always see us through their eyes, their story not ours so it makes no sense anyway. We all have our own life, one that is so precious and I’ve read all the comments and you all make such good points as well. thank you all for being so honest and sharing and real.

    Shanyn your poem was beautiful and touching. I cannot say what it meant to me. and the last part

    Dear Me,
    Want to meet me by the pond?
    We’ll skinny dip or dig in the sand.
    want to meet me in the hammock?
    We can read a book or have a nap.
    It is our time now.
    Let’s go play like the kids
    we
    never
    were.

    to my child shadow who is finally free

    I can read it ten times and each time the tears will fall..

    Being here with you all has helped me so much you will never know…

    I know my words are probably jumbled and don’t make much sense at this absurd time of the morning but I don’t care, isn’t that wonderful? It felt good to write whatever I felt and it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks….ha that’s a good feeling right there…

    thanks so much again Darlene <3

  11. By: Shanyn Posted: 11th February

    Dear Me,
    I think you should know,
    it wasn’t your fault.
    You didn’t do one thing wrong.
    Wasn’t asked for,
    wasn’t earned.
    You were just a kid, you know?
    No one listened, no one heard you.
    Their silence said yes,
    Your tears stained face cried NO.

    Dear Me,
    It’s not easy being here now,
    knowing what we know.
    That they could have, should have
    done something, anything…but
    they chose nothing.
    You aren’t to blame, they lied.

    Dear Me,
    We are okay now, ya know?
    They cannot hurt us,
    they cannot blame us.
    We know the road to freedom.
    We have a voice to shout,
    and we do.

    Dear Me,
    I love you, ya know?
    Scars and rough spots.
    Places that always seem sore,
    that ache that doesn’t fade.
    I love it all because, you and me
    we survived. We are alive.

    Dear Me,
    Want to meet me by the pond?
    We’ll skinny dip or dig in the sand.
    want to meet me in the hammock?
    We can read a book or have a nap.
    It is our time now.
    Let’s go play like the kids
    we
    never
    were.

    to my child shadow who is finally free

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th February

      Hi Patricia,
      I completely relate to this. I think about times as a child when I “learned” not to be who I was in the first place. I was reprimanded for being “dramatic” when really I was just showing creativity. This type of shutting a child down mixes in with the abuse and the whole thing fits together to cause a real deep wound ~ and we ARE so afraid to be ourselves because we ARE convinced that ourselves will be rejected.
      Thank you so much for sharing this Patricia.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Shanyn,
      I am honoured to have this poem here with this blog post. Wow.
      This is so beautiful, healing, powerful and there is a softness about it. A real self acceptance and self nurturing. And there is a touch of pain there too, which speaks to me of the truth ~ that we have been hurt, that this whole thing hurt. But also the message that we can come back to ourselves.
      Your poem brings tears to my eyes.. thank you so much.
      Love Darlene

  12. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 10th February

    My self worth was so low that I was afraid to be me, whoever that was because if I did, you might not like me. I was afraid to have an opinion because if I did, you might not like me. Having you like me was more important than being the real me. Plus the real me went into hiding when the incest started because she was afraid that if you knew her you wouldn’t like her. She was afraid that if you saw the real her, you would see how worthless she was. She was so worthless than even her own dad abused her and her mom didn’t really know that she existed except to bring her mom coffee or cigarettes when she needed them.

    I was afraid that if you got too close, you would see the shame of the incest. There had to be something in me that caused my uncle and my dad to sexually abuse me. It had to be my fault. They said it was. Something in me attracted the abuse. Something in me was bad and was worthless. That was what I believed until I learned to love myself and like Darlene, I looked at the beliefs that I was taught as a child.

  13. By: Lisa B. Posted: 10th February

    My health is starting to be affected by my lifetime of bad choices. I need to start making better ones. Not for anyone else…for myself…but there’s the problem. I can’t seem to do ANYTHING for myself. Only if there’s some external motive…to be more acceptable, or whatever.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th February

      Hi Louise
      Thanks for your lovely words about ME. 🙂 and about my words. If I can inspire anyone to feel a sense of validation, then my mission is accomplished for one more day. And yes, this statement IS an antidote. (beware though, you will have to take this antidote over and over ~ but it will last longer and longer with each use)
      Keep going forward, you are doing great. The desire to go all the way with my recovery was the first solid thing that I had after I got hope.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Lisa B.
      I think that at the bottom of every issue is the issue of self esteem, but let me word it differently. I think that the beginning of each area and issue to do with my wholeness is in restoring my self esteem. This process is scary, but when you stay away, don’t give yourself heck for it. Just accept that you can’t go hard every day. I had the same fear, that I was going to find out that it was me. That I was defective.. but I didn’t find that out, and I don’t know anyone else that found that out either. How could that be the truth?
      It is okay if you don’t believe it, just keep trying. I believe you do have what it takes. I tried to improve myself for my whole life, and it was when I stopped looking at it that way, that was when I started to get it. It isn’t about improving me. It is about accepting me, and what happened to me was wrong and and realizing that I wasn’t born this way, and self empowerment and really the biggest change was about how I see myself, and how I think about love, and relationship and equality (equal value) now.
      You are a better person ( then you realize)
      Keep sharing.
      Hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Lisa B. Posted: 10th February

    I have been away a while.

    Only a couple weeks, but in this process, that can be a long time. Too long. I feel like I’m starting over from scratch. So it’s amazingly timely that you posted about self-esteem today.

    My self-esteem (or lack of it) is, I think, at the bottom of every issue that I face (or don’t face…haven’t faced). I feel like I have a sign tattooed on my forehead: “FREAK” that everyone can see except me. Every attempt I make to “fit in” or “be normal” ends in spectacular failure.

    I have been away from here because I’m so afraid of this process. I’m so afraid of facing everything and finding nothing on the other side. I’m so afraid that I really WAS born with it and I’ve over-exaggerated the “abuse” I’ve suffered. It wasn’t so bad. So many have been through so much worse.

    I make a friend, I think it’s a good solid friendship. That friend pulls away (even for reasons completely unrelated to me or anything about me) and I assume it’s my fault. That I somehow made it happen. I replay every conversation, every look, every gesture, every opinion, and I wonder which one of those things was the thing that did it…and I hardly ever successfully figure it out. And it makes me CRAZY.

    I wrote this in my journal last night: “I am afraid of hurting her [meaning my mother] and not being forgiven for it.” I have refrained from calling my mother lately (last couple months or so) out of “obligation”…not to punish her or myself, just to answer some questions for myself about the nature of our relationship. She has not given me a hard time about this. She calls me occasionally and our conversations are always pleasant. But I haven’t initiated a call in a long time. And I have eaten myself up with guilt about that. About the fact that I want to figure out who I am without reference to her. SHE is not doing anything to me. I am doing it to myself. So it begs the question, is it possible I WAS born this way…neurotic and self doubting and frightened and timid and scared and unlovable?

    I have tried so often to “improve” myself…to lose weight, give more, exercise, quit smoking, be a better person…etc. I start, I make progress, I give up. Because I do not believe I deserve it. More essentially, maybe, I don’t believe I can do it. I don’t believe I have what it takes.

    Don’t misunderstand me. I want to believe it. But the truth is, I don’t. So I want to commit to checking in with the blog that speaks my truth until I’m able to do it myself (this one… 😉 ), and I want to commit to doing better for myself and stopping the truly HATEFUL self talk. But I don’t dare commit to anything.

    I’m tired. I’m treading water like mad to try to keep my head above water, but I tell you, my legs are getting tired. And every time I start to “swim” and give up, I sink even further. It’s exhausting.

  15. By: Louise Posted: 10th February

    ‘There were reasons for the depressions, the struggles, the nervousness and anxiety. But I wasn’t born that way.’

    You have a way of writing something that so entirely makes me feel a sense of validation and in turn makes my self esteem go up, and it’s such a statement – said without any doubt or wavering, but absolute conviction. I think this is so important to grasp in all of society. People are often maligned and looked down upon because they’re ‘messed up’ No one even considers there’s reason. Just as no one considers there may be a reason that the bully is bullying or anorexia might be to do with more than just how someone views themselves…
    Yet just this one statement is so POWERFUL. It’s an antidote. It says we’re not finished with or damaged goods, we’re salvageable…
    And it also says we’re not LESS or bad because we’ve suffered post suffering… or because it’s not obvious to anyone that we have scars…

    ‘Many of us were defined by the illnesses that were developed as a result of mistreatment! (both medical illness and mental health illness)’

    Yes, I was treated in a way that did not promote more health or healing, but more illness, I was boxed in the ‘illness’ box and it might not have just been on paper but was also in the way someone looked at me over my ‘file’. There aren’t enough ‘in between’ boxes in society. There aren’t any ‘recovering’ boxes, or ‘getting ill’ ones, it’s either or. In the UK either you are permanently disabled or you are well, there is NO in between.

    ‘…I realized that I had love mixed up with obligation.’

    Yeah, love is true when it is truly given free. I feel like I have a debt to pay for my existence, like I was born with it, that is a consequence of abuse, or of lies I haven’t quite figured out. I STILL feel like I have that debt to pay.
    Yeah, I wish I had a Tshirt that reminded me that I wasn’t born this way, that I have scars you just can’t see them, that I don’t owe anyone for being, that I am precious and have a unique value. That the earth is glad to provide air for me to breathe and offers it freely, because I forget this even as I’m writing it and I don’t want to forget it anymor, I want to understand it.

  16. By: carol Posted: 10th February

    darlene, it hhas been with your openess that i was able to grow as much as i have,
    i have had problems fitting in with the other students, for what ever reason everytime i open my mouth i offend someone in the room. it has been achallenge to continue at times because otf the mental pressure my past reactions and the ones i am practising clash. there has been this one particular woman, also a suryivor of sorts but she makes my klife hell at times. she hates that i wont stop talkong baout hoe toxic family can be, that my tone and delivery let me down all the time and that it annoys everyone. well im sorry they got til june and they wont ever have to see me again, they dont need to make my studies even harder due to the lack of mutual respect. i say things as i have seen them, and in this politcally correct world my meanings get lost in them tearing it apart to see if im out of order. very tiring on top of everything else

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th February

      Hi Shanyn
      Thanks for being here! You know I got this strange feeling when I wrote that part of the blog post about not having been born that way. I felt strong. I felt right. And I felt slightly angry again, that we didn’t think of this one my own YEARS before I did, like it wasn’t LOGICAL for me to realize I was not born “wrong”. That in itself is such a BIG thing to realize. I really understand what you are saying here Shanyn. I really believed that it was me. God knows that I tried SO hard. And there are days, just once in a while now, where I still catch myself questioning deep down if I am good enough.. if I could have done something differently that would have made me loveable, but I know that isn’t true, and I know that the problem wasn’t ME.
      This is a wonderful contribution to my post. Thanks!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Carol,
      Oh I have met people like that too! I wonder what it is that they can’t stand to hear… the truth maybe? (I have been confronted in marriage seminars where I was actually working. I was confronted by people that could not stand to hear the truth.) And the rabbit trails that they go down ~ what you call your meanings getting lost in them tearing it apart to see if you are out of order instead of actually thinking about what you are saying. It is tiring!
      But I am glad that you are here and WOWEE you have grown so much since I first met you on these pages!
      Hugs, Darlene

  17. By: Shanyn Posted: 10th February

    Sigh – with my bad connection today my response to your post didn’t come through. Let me see if I can recreate it…

    I think I can remember some of what I typed…this post resonated with me. It made me think back to when I started to think I was the broken one, the one that was wrong, the one who shouldn’t be and how my own thoughts of myself were constantly devalued by those around me or altered by shame or embarrassment to leave me thinking I couldn’t know who I was or what my value was. Being valued for just BEING is something that I never experienced – any time I felt I had something good going on there was someone ready, willing and eager to knock me down, to remind me of mistakes and provide me with a good dose of shame.

    I’m still very sensitive to how I feel other people value me – did I please them, did I act or sound like a fool, should i have done/been/acted/lived differently for their approval? How long it has taken me not to be ashamed for being alive, not to be embarrassed to be a survivor…too long and yet just long enough.

    I used to agonize at the end of the day over every conversation and interaction – where did I go wrong, what was going to come back and haunt or hurt me…and when. I would injure myself to see the blood, to know I had at least something of value in me…and that I was real and alive. How sad that child was, and slowly she and I can look back and enjoy the good things, sooth and smooth past those times that didn’t matter then and most certainly don’t matter now (does anyone but me remember? probably not)…sigh…

    Darlene – you’ve done a great job sharing your rewiring and helped me (and many others) in doing the same themselves. It isn’t easy. Sometimes I still feel that burning acid of shame and realize that those wires need to be cut yet again, and I can move on. I wasn’t born wrong, bad, faulty or lacking anything. I was born ready for life and now I’m taking that life back…thanks Darlene for everything!

  18. By: Susan Posted: 10th February

    Darlene; this note is kind of off topic so forgive me if this is a bit hijacking but this train of thought is so applicable to not only the original trauma of abuse but in mine and many others I’ve spoken with this is also the truth that sets us free from the lie of the second trauma I’ve spoken about recently in regard to psychiatry.

    You wrote: “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.”

    Precisely. 🙂

    Thanks again for a post that hits it out of the ballpark!

  19. By: Jeff Posted: 10th February

    “The foundation for relationship was never built properly in my life.” Wow, powerful words there. Thought provoking and dead-on accurate for SO many of us!

  20. By: Jeff Posted: 10th February

    Darlene, as good as today’s post is, I also got a LOT out of your response to Susa(above). What you write there about not loving your parents, the definition of love, and the distinction between love and obligation is so eloquent, so honest, and so TRUE that I read thru it several times. Might even come back to it a few more times. THANKS for sharing that!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th February

      Hi Jeff
      Thanks for saying so, and I am gald that this resonated with you. It isn’t that we have to reach a place of NOT loving parents (or whoever we are talking about) it is about having to. It is about the very definition of love. This was a big stick point for me for a long time Jeff. Now that I know what love really is, I can choose it. Or not. It was also understanding this concept that really helped me to make a beginning towards self love. In loving through obligation, mixed in with accepting abuse, there was NO WAY that self love was ever going to happen for me.
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Susan,
      Yes, ~ in a nut shell ~ we are devalued by the abuse, and then we are devalued because of the abuse. It is such a no win situation. But we can win now! When we really realize that something happened ~ that we ended up in this struggle because something happened, we can begin to do the necessary steps to healing. There are certain truths that just seem to make the rest easier.
      Thanks for sharing,
      Hugs, Darlene

  21. By: Susa (Art Cathartic on FB) Posted: 10th February

    Darlene,

    Again, you have totally nailed it…. Wow… just gave me chills I related to this post so much. You are right… we were not born all messed up, and feeling worthless, we were taught that over years and years of invalidation and abuse from the family of origin. That baby was innocent, and GOOD.

    It wasn’t long after continual repetition of the following theme by mother, that we started to believe her… after all, she was “mother” – and the constant drilling in by dad of “Honor thy father and mother” reinforced this. Mother repeatedly told that little girl that she was a result of “bad breeding” because her fingernails turned out, instead of in like a real girl’s fingernails should… Isn’t that just absurd? But, to a child, it is believable. This from the mother who let her young daughter run the streets even at night, barefoot, shirtless, and filthy with matted hair…. and, with dirty fingernails… Even to this day, we keep the fingernails cut so short that they are almost filed down to the fingernail quick…

    After beginnings in life that we have had, it is no wonder that we have such severe trust issues…. Like everyone has an ulterior motive for being nice to us, etc….

    Boundaries are still difficult for us… We still drift back to that part of me who will give us entirely away just so that we might be worthy of having a friend, or someone liking us. Well, I am learning slowly, and those who were used to the “old me”, are rapidly dropping away… especially the ones who wanted us to be there when they chose, but we were NEVER to depend on them for any support whatsoever. Well… that is changing in spite of the friend casualties! We DESERVE respect, validation, and support too!

    What a great post you made… It sure hit home.

    Thank you,
    Susa/all
    .

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th February

      Hi Arja
      I was also taught the death to self concept. Oh yes… that one is so destructive. Many of us were defined by the illnesses that were developed as a result of mistreatment! (both medical illness and mental health illness)
      Yes, the re-wiring process is hard on those deep down inside layers. (because they formed when we were so young)
      BUT progress is progress, and the only way that I know of to progress is to keep trying to come forward. Just knowing that your inner layers have a ways to come is HUGE. I was in denial for YEARS even about my self esteem.
      Thanks for sharing!
      Hugs, Darlene

      Hi Susa
      I think I got chills when I wrote that part! I wasn’t born that way! None of us were. Things happened.
      Thanks for sharing your story. That was brutal. (and so absurd!)
      I asked my therapist if it was “bad” to not love your parents. This question haunted me for years and I never found anyone willing to talk about it. During that conversation I realized that I had love mixed up with obligation. Something I was taught well. I realized that by definition, (even by biblical definition) they didn’t act out of love. They didn’t teach love. I have a whole new understanding of love today and I didn’t get it from my upbringing. (but in looking back I sure was able to understand what love is not. )
      Thanks for being here and for sharing
      Hugs, Darlene

  22. By: Arja Posted: 10th February

    I have spent my whole life with the “please like me” mentality, having it blow up in my face on a regular basis. Seeking approval and then discounting it if / when it comes.

    I too was given that message from diapers on. Add to that the “death to self” concept….soul murder. Add to that myriad distortions of Christian concepts…engineered to control, manipulate and abuse.

    The outer layers of myself accept my self-worth, while the inner layers still have a ways to come, because those layers have embedded concepts that are more difficult to rewire.

  23. By: moodmonster Posted: 10th February

    You’re post rings so true with me. The self-talk saying “you are not valid enough to exist”. It is strangely comforting to read your words; read that I can be my own validation. That I’m not the only one who has ever said: I was born defective. And perhaps I can also be one to overcome those beliefs. Thank you!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th February

      Hi Splinterdones,
      This is also very true and a very good point. This whole journey is about finding our selves.
      This nasty little problem works its way into everything. We are so used to being defined as invalid, we will often give authority to people to further invalidate us too. This is a big one for sure and something that I see coming up over and over again in recovery.
      Thanks for being here!
      Hugs,Darlene

      Hello Moodmonster and welcome;
      This is the heart of the journey for me and the heart of my message. THEY were wrong and I had to stop trying to prove my worth and realize it for myself. That is the process; there is HOPE!
      I overcame those beliefs.
      Hugs, Darlene

  24. By: Splinteredones Posted: 10th February

    Yah. The pesky hypervigilance. It’s also the case I think that i hqve looked to others to validate what I AM because I really have no idea.

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