The effect of abuse on my self-esteem

It is hard enough to recognize and accept the signs of being abused as physical or verbal actions taken by the abuser. However, I think it is even harder to recognize the effects that a person, as a victim, suffers internally.

The way my abusers made me feel was awful, to put it simply. They were both guys and were controlling, overbearing, perfectionistic, manipulative and lying. They both became violent, often physically, when they didn’t get their way. And when I was out-of-line with their wishes, my personal safety would sometimes be threatened.

I didn’t realize any of this until I had my aha! moment and even for sometime afterwards.

Aside from the obvious, what these people did, and the way they treated me, made me feel worthless. They were overly critical, and constantly accused me of not being good enough, not being pretty enough. I didn’t do my hair correctly, dress the right way. And ultimately, they brought me down in any way possible, to a level where they could be in control. If I didn’t feel good about myself, then obviously I didn’t know how to live my life. This made me believe I needed someone to direct me, because I wasn’t good enough to direct myself.

As for my younger years, once the sexual abuse ended, the physical and verbal continued. And I feel like the verbal abuse was the most difficult of all to cope with, and is the most lingering in my healing process.

For me, the hardest part of suffering from abuse is the way it makes you feel about yourself. It made ME feel bad. And for a long time, I never thought that the blame did not lay with me, but with him.

In my mind, that had been warped by the way I was conditioned to view myself, I was not good enough. I couldn’t do anything right. I was a ridiculous, over-exaggerating, clumsy Klutz who was flaky and couldn’t be trusted. I was incapable of taking care of myself. I never felt pretty, or loved, or respected. And what’s worse, I never felt like I SHOULD be any of those things.

This is my battle. This is the hardest part in dealing with what happened. How do I change my mind and see myself as beautiful and wonderful? How do I learn to trust myself and believe that I am worth it?

This is my current struggle, and I open this post to comments, feedback, and advice from any users. What has helped you the most to regain what your abuser took from you? How do you build your self-esteem again once it has been so demolished?

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6 thoughts on “The effect of abuse on my self-esteem

  1. I am also currently struggling with the same issues. It seems so unfair to be left holding the bag of guilt and shame when you did nothing wrong. Its so hard to pick up the pieces and try to put your life back together after you’ve been abused. I don’t have any answers for you but please know that you are not alone in the search.

  2. Pingback: The Power of Vulnerability « Healing from Abuse

  3. yeah the sad part is, it takes so long to recognize abuse….self-esteem, by taking that away from you, your abuser gets powerful or so i’ve seen.
    i’ve had the courage to say no & walk away but that took so many years & i’m unsure if he’ll get back at me somehow.
    believe in yourself, try to get back to where you were before the abuser caught hold of you….dont give up!! life’s too precious for that.
    yeah you are definitely not alone!! believe in yourself, if you wont, who will!!

  4. thanks for your support! and good for you to walk away! stay strong and take control of the situation so that he can’t get back at you. See my link on tips for doing that: https://labringle.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/take-back-control-of-your-life/

    My question is, I was a victim of childhood sexual abuse as well as domestic violence in my adult life (recently after I realized what happened to me when I was younger). The question is, if I have never known life without abuse, how do I find the person who I would have been if it never happened?

  5. your welcome lauren. thanks for the support too.
    childhood sexual abuse!! how old were you at the time? if you are comfortable talking bout it…
    tell me, how or where do you stand in matters of faith?

    that is a very hard thing to find, i do feel for you. you can only take on the life ahead of you bravely, understanding that you have passed that horrible phase of your life & that now you wont allow those scars to affect the brightness of your future.

    we can talk, how does you future or path you are going on now seem to lead?

    keeping you in prayers, believe in yourself. God has a plan for you & you will find that person in you, who you were meant to be 🙂

  6. I was abused from the time I was a baby, so it is something that, until last year, I thought was just the way of things..something I know now is NOT true.

    I would say I am a very spiritual person, and I do believe in God, but I explore my spirituality outside of the confines of a church. The person who abused me is one of the most religious people I know and very involved in church, so to me, that is not a safe place/church is a place I tend to avoid.

    Thank you for your prayers and your advice. The future is looking bright. I am currently in counseling and am taking steps to discover and appreciate the me that has previously been buried under the layers of abuse, but I am very hopeful.

    I would love for you to share your story here as well, if you wouldn’t mind. Along with what you have found helpful in coping with/moving beyond what happened to you. I am always interested in how others deal with their individual situations as well!

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