Why do I have self esteem issues?


Image by Shooting Paradise via Flickr

After thinking about how I sometimes get down on myself, think and speak negatively to myself, it occurred to me that I still have some self-esteem issues to work on.  Probably most people have some issues with self-esteem at various times in their lives.  I know I’m better in that regard than I was in the past, but sometimes that little voice is still there whispering in my ear, “You’re not as good as____”, “You’ll never accomplish____”, or whatever else that the little devil on my shoulder decides to say to me.

What causes this?   For me, I think it goes back to my father not being there for me.  He wasn’t there for me in any way that mattered.  He wasn’t there physically and he wasn’t there for me emotionally.  The few times I did see him after the divorce, he never failed to comment on my weight.  And his comments were always negative, of course.  I eventually came to the conclusion (as only kids can do) that he wasn’t there for me because I was fat.  That makes me sad for the little girl that I was.  No kid should have to feel like that, ever.

I allowed that to affect me for way too many years.  After I finally realized that I didn’t cause him to behave the way he did, it was a long time before that really sunk in,  a long time before I finally accepted that he didn’t treat me the way I deserved to be treated.  He didn’t love me unconditionally.  Unconditional love is something that every child should be able to expect from their parents.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of parents who are incapable of providing it.  And the children suffer because of the inadequacies of their parents.  Sad, but true.

Now that I’m in a place where I understand all of that, I guess the next step is giving myself that unconditional love.  I’m working on it, but it’s not something that comes easily.  Ahh…it’s so true that the things that matter most in life are often the things we must work the hardest to achieve. 

My friend deserved a better dad

Broken Heart symbol

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve got one more father’s day blog in me…I didn’t even intend to write this one, but I was doing my morning writing on http://750words.com/ and this came pouring out of me.  One of my best friends, from junior high on, was shortchanged in the dad department.  Really cheated.  No one was deserving of the dad she had.  He  molested his daughters from the time they were tiny little girls…and continued this until they moved away as adults.  There aren’t too many people in this world that I can honestly say I’ve hated, but this man is one of them.  He took my friend’s innocence and caused her to have so many emotional and psychological issues.  And she was never able to overcome this.

What kind of dad does this to his children, the children he has a responsibility to protect?  What possible excuse could he come up with, in his own mind, that made this okay?  Sure, who knows what happened to him as a child?  But he was the adult, the father…and he chose his despicable behavior toward his own daughters.  As cruel as it may sound, I don’t really care what happened to him…whatever it was, it doesn’t excuse what he did as an adult to those little girls.

I couldn’t even stand to be around him.  I know I was rude to him, but that was nothing close to what he deserved.  When my mom first found out who my friend’s father was, she told me to never be alone with him (I hadn’t told her what he’d done to his daughters).  Come to find out, he and my mom had gone to school together in a different southern Indiana town and he’d attempted some type of sexual behavior toward her on the school bus.  One time, I was at the grocery store, and someone came up behind me and grabbed me around the shoulders.  When I turned around and saw who it was, I told him to never touch me again.  My guess is, he probably knew from that moment on, that I knew about him.  Whatever….he never touched me again and had very little to say to me from that time on…fine with me.

As unfair as this may sound, I almost blame my friend’s mother as much as her father.  This woman knew what was happening to her precious little girls and didn’t do anything to stop it!  What kind of mother allows this kind of behavior to go on in her own home and doesn’t do everything possible to put an end to it?  Seriously, if she wasn’t brave enough to force him to stop (through whatever means necessary, and I do mean through WHATEVER means…take that how you will), she could have at least removed her children from the home.  Granted, back in those days, these types of situations weren’t talked about openly, there weren’t all the programs available then that there are now, but still…those were her babies and she allowed this monster she was married to to ruin their lives.

My friend was never able to overcome this.  I tried to get her to see a therapist, but she refused.  I tried repeatedly to get her to go for help in dealing with all that had happened to her, but I was never successful in this.  That’s a regret I’ll live with for the rest of my life.  What could I have done or said that would have made the difference?  I ask myself this question every year on her birthday, but I’ve yet to come up with an answer.  My friend died at the age of 37…weighing over 500 pounds, plagued by an assortment of health issues, depressed…I think she gave up…I think she couldn’t see a brighter future, couldn’t escape the chains her parents had bound her in, decided that dying was preferrable to living the life she’d been dealt.  And as awful as it sounds, that makes me angry with her.  I know I can’t come close to imagining the pain she endured on a daily basis, but, perhaps selfishly, I wanted her to fight it.  I wanted her to win that battle.  I wanted her to be able to shake her fists at her parents and shout at them, “I won!  You no longer control who I am or the life I lead!”  I wanted us to be able to become feisty, little old ladies together, and she gave up.  And that makes me both angry and sad…my friend deserved a better dad than the one she was given…