Last week, I talked about finding my worth after twenty years of being married to a gambling addict, among many other things. What I wanted to say is that, for all women out there, you have to know your worth even before you get into a relationship. Men will take you for granted if you let them see that you have low self-esteem. But then again, how will you know that you lack in that issue? I will discuss this later in the blog, but let me tell you my story first.
People acquire a sense of self in an interpersonal context. Unfortunately, it is this same social milieu in which this delicate sense of self is fractured. — Robert Firestone, Ph.D
When I was a child, my mother didn’t show much attention to me. For a very long time, I thought, my mother never loved me, and I think, that fuelled my low self-esteem issue. It crippled me some more when my father left my mother, and all of us, for another woman. I always looked for a father figure, and with that, I was naïve and gullible. My friends even told me that with my ways, I am easy to fool because I believed that people are good all the time. I do get hurt due to this, and up until now, I have never learned how to protect myself.
I do not blame my mother for being like that. When I had children of my own and were experiencing problems with my husband, my mother cleared up a few issues with me. She said that my father wasn’t very nice to her while I was growing up, and that caused her depression. I didn’t know that my mother back then was depressed. No wonder she wasn’t paying much attention to me, because she was battling her demons.
Our beliefs about ourselves are formed through recurring experiences with the world. Those beliefs have an enormous influence on how our personality develops. — Caty Harris, LCSW
During the seventies and eighties, therapy for depression was not common. If you’ve been to a psychiatrist, during that time, people would assume that you are crazy and mentally insane. That’s the reason why my mother’s depression wasn’t diagnosed and treated early on. She only dealt with her mental health issue in 2008, a few years after I got married. By then, she was able to open up to me, which was liberating since I always thought she never loved me.
My mother had four kids to rear and feed. Dad didn’t care if we starved – he just went on with his selfish life with his woman, and he never bothered to see us back then. All we had was a mom, and that took a toll on her mental health. Mom had to cope with her depression all by herself. No therapy and no treatment. That must have been very hard. She had to move on without help from a mental health specialist, which I know now is very hard to do. We talked about this a few years ago, when she was better and was able to manage her depression. It was a very emotional afternoon for both of us because I told her how I felt unloved, and she told me how worthless she felt.
At least now, we have released our lousy past. We have both faced our demons head-on, and we are trying to get better now day by day. As much as we want to blame our husbands for all the nasty things that happened to us, we cannot entirely put the fault on them. I am not saying that the mistake is on us alone – it’s just that mental health issues were not given much thought before, and there was also no support. But now, it is a severe matter that requires immediate attention, and finally, there is treatment.
People with strong white matter connections from the medial prefrontal cortex, the area dealing with self-knowledge, to the ventral striatum, the area dealing with reward systems, demonstrated high levels of self-esteem over the long-term. A well-functioning connection with high levels of activity between these two areas correlated with high self-esteem in the moment. — Megan MacCutcheon, LPC
Terrible things in life are happening, especially in a family, and if it hits yours – always have an open mind. If you feel something wrong within you, or if you observe that your child is not “himself,” ask for assistance. Know your worth, and let your children feel that they are precious and valuable too. Ask help if you can’t help yourself.