Tag Archive | Self-esteem

Writing a Letter You Will Never Mail

I was doing research online to help me write my letter and ran across this from a Counselor/Psychotherapist named Patricia Burnett and thought I would share.Wastepaper basket with crumpled paper

 

One choice for someone wanting to rid oneself of emotional pain resulting from abuse as a child or an adult is to write a letter you will never mail. You write a letter to your abuser, expressing your anger and hurt and shame and whatever else is shoved down inside and possibly impeding you from a full and successful life as an adult.

 

Writing a letter you will never mail

Patricia Burnett – Monday, November 07, 2011

Dear Abuser. . .

One choice for someone wanting to rid oneself of emotional pain resulting from abuse as a child is to write a letter you will never mail. You write a letter to your abuser, expressing your anger and hurt and shame and whatever else is shoved down inside and possibly impeding you from a full and successful life as an adult.

Some perspective

As a child, you were voiceless and powerless. You were small, and your abuser was large; physiologically, you didn’t stand a chance. Your brain was not yet fully developed, and you were intellectually unable to meet the abuse with adequate resistance and creative response. You lacked the vocabulary and the logic to confront and defend. You did not have a full knowledge of the world and your place in it. You did not know there were people beyond your family who wanted you safe; you did not know how wrong this abuse or neglect was, from a sociological view, nor from a loving and kind view in which every child is sacred.

The psychological and behavioral damage

As a child or adult, you lived in fear, and this meant that the stress hormone cortisol was ever-present, attacking your immune system and changing your brain chemistry so that you became, lifelong, more vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety than people who did not experience abuse.

Behaviorally, people who have been abused may display some or all of the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty in establishing and maintaining trust in a partner relationship
  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger, including road rage
  • Passivity
  • Clinginess and dependence
  • Self-loathing
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sleep problems
  • Self-isolation
  • Guilt and shame
  • Fear of new situations.

How writing a Letter to My Abuser can help

Writing a letter to the person or people who tormented you can have a cathartic result. You know how you feel, but somehow putting it in words, may help you in a number of ways:

  • Just “getting it out” feels good. You may have many difficult emotions as you remember and write, but when finished, most people say they feel better, which is the goal, or course.
  • Exerting the power of expression may lift your self-esteem. A common trait of people abused as children, or as adults, for that matter, is low self-esteem. “Telling off” your abuser feels empowering, across your current life.
  • In the writing exercise you may conceptualize your past in new ways and gain new perspectives.
  • You may process past events in ways that will give you a feeling of release and freedom.
  • You may feel that you can reclaim lost parts of yourself, or your soul.

Overall, a Letter to My Abuser can be a first step on your path to forgiveness. ( I am sorry, but I am not sure I will ever be able to forgive any of my abusers).

 

 

The latest from Patricia

 

Writing a letter you will never mail

Patricia Burnett – Monday, November 07, 2011

Dear Abuser. . .

One choice for someone wanting to rid oneself of emotional pain resulting from abuse as a child is to write a letter you will never mail. You write a letter to your abuser, expressing your anger and hurt and shame and whatever else is shoved down inside and possibly impeding you from a full and successful life as an adult.

Some perspective

As a child, you were voiceless and powerless. You were small, and your abuser was large; physiologically, you didn’t stand a chance. Your brain was not yet fully developed, and you were intellectually unable to meet the abuse with adequate resistance and creative response. You lacked the vocabulary and the logic to confront and defend. You did not have a full knowledge of the world and your place in it. You did not know there were people beyond your family who wanted you safe; you did not know how wrong this abuse or neglect was, from a sociological view, nor from a loving and kind view in which every child is sacred.

The psychological and behavioral damage

As a child, you lived in fear, and this meant that the stress hormone cortisol was ever-present, attacking your immune system and changing your brain chemistry so that you became, lifelong, more vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety than people who did not experience abuse in childhood. Abuse in childhood is, in effect, trauma.

Behaviorally, adults abused as children may display some or all of the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty in establishing and maintaining trust in a partner relationship
  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger, including road rage
  • Passivity
  • Clinginess and dependence
  • Self-loathing
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sleep problems
  • Self-isolation
  • Guilt and shame
  • Fear of new situations.

How writing a Letter to My Abuser can help

Writing a letter to the person or people who tormented you can have a cathartic result. You know how you feel, but somehow putting it in words, putting it in adult language with an adult understanding of the evil perpetrated upon you – using the power you didn’t have as a child — may help you in a number of ways:

  • Just “getting it out” feels good. You may have many difficult emotions as you remember and write, but when finished, most people say they feel better, which is the goal, or course.
  • Exerting the power of expression may lift your self-esteem. A common trait of people abused as children, or as adults, for that matter, is low self-esteem. “Telling off” your abuser feels empowering, across your current life.
  • In the writing exercise you may conceptualize your past in new ways and gain new perspectives.
  • You may process past events in ways that will give you a feeling of release and freedom.
  • You may feel that you can reclaim lost parts of yourself, or your soul.

Overall, a Letter to My Abuser can be a first step on your path to forgiveness.

How to do it

So what goes into a Letter to My Abuser? Naturally, it will vary from person to person, and you are free to write whatever you wish – that’s the point! –but here are some suggestions:

  • Set the scene: Where were you when this happened? Remember your home and your place in it. Were you rich or poor? Did you have supportive family and friends? Were you isolated? Was there food in the house? Was there mental illness in your home? Was someone disabled?
  • Describe your vulnerability and powerlessness. Remember how small you were. Remember how little you understood the world.
  • Identify the abuser and the abuser’s power over you. Was your abuser an alcoholic or drug user? Was your abuser a narcissist or self-centered? A follower of a cult or religious sect outside the norm?  Ignorant?
  • Identify the abuse. There are many kinds of abuse – physical, verbal, controlling, demeaning, sexual, neglectful. Playing favorites among the children is another common and painful practice. Describe the abuse. Try to remember a specific event and use it as an example.
  • Tell the abuser how you felt. Did you live every day in fear? Did you feel ashamed or guilty? Try to remember what ran through your head.
  • Tell the abuser about the lasting effects, the lifelong damage that started with abuse of a child. Look at the list higher in this article. Do you have trouble with stress, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, etc.
  • Tell the abuser off. Tell the abuser exactly what you think of him.
  • And, finally, tell the abuser he hasn’t won yet. You’re fighting for yourself. You have plans to make your life better. In another letter, to yourself, on another day, you can write about commitment to change.

You can write in longhand or on a computer. Either way, be sure to safeguard your letter so that other people in your household cannot access it. The letter is for you alone, or you and your therapist

You can write in sentences or bullet points or just stream of consciousness. You can swear, or not. You can YELL in capital letters, or not. You can cry as you write. But if you become too emotional, please take a break, have a cup of tea or talk a walk. You can work on the letter over a number or days, or set aside a day when you can devote all energy to it.

What next?

You will want to keep it only as long as you need it. You may need to look back on it a few times for the letter to fulfill its potential promise of release. Sometimes letter-writers then choose to burn the letter ceremoniously, a metaphor of burning up all the bad things that happened. Another option is to bury the letter, as in burying the bad. It’s up to you.

Good luck if you decide it is time to write your abuser a letter….get it all out! Let him/her have it! They deserve it after what they have done to you! It is time that I write mine….and I can assure you, he will get the brunt of my pent up anger that I have been harboring for years!

You Are Beautiful

I got this off of another blog called…http://theanonymousdiva.wordpress.com

beautiful
My ex boyfriend and I broke up late last year.

The last few months have amounted to one of the most emotionally arduous times of my life, as I was left to cope with the aftermath of ending something I thought was set in stone. However, I hadn’t initially realized that the pain, the sadness and the sudden blast of insecurity that I was presented with stemmed from the actual relationship itself.

My ex boyfriend was verbally abusive and emotionally unstable, the extent to which is difficult to measure in a few short words. The psychological scars have made the healing process that much more convoluted, with numerous highs and lows along the way. The relationship and its inevitable end had atrophied my spirit. I was left lost, confused, resentful and, deeply hurt. I was broken.

The most debilitating outcome of a verbally abusive relationship is its fatal impact on one’s self esteem. I lost complete confidence in myself; from my decision making skills, to the ability to communicate properly, to my mannerisms, my accent, my vocabulary, my lifestyle, my cultural background and upbringing, to my friendships, my family and, the value of my life. Taking that back on one’s own terms is difficult due to the insidious nature of the abuse and the manipulation on the part of the abuser. In reality, my mind had already fully consumed the toxicity of the words.

How does one detoxify? Initially, I sought solace in the comfort of friends and family, I abided by healthy living guidelines, I read, I wrote, I listened to music, and I opened my heart to the healing properties of creativity and mindfulness.

But that wasn’t enough. I struggled. He popped sporadically and constantly into my stream of thoughts; he was everywhere. Every moment I thought I had achieved an inkling of happiness, I thought of him, and just like that, I’d remember the insults and viral words he spat to hinder my self-worth. My memory worked against me. Without fault, I’d delve deep into that feeling of worthlessness that I had grown accustomed to during our year-long relationship. I wasn’t healing. Something deeper, within me, had to change – the perception and belief in myself.

During this time, a colleague (mentor) of mine had been helping me daily in keeping me on track with staying positive, optimistic and confident. After one of many nightly conversations with him regarding my struggle, I arrived at work the next morning to find the following painted on the ceiling above my desk:

 

This was my colleague’s gift to me.

When I find feelings of sadness, anger and worthlessness creep up due to a memory of my ex boyfriend, I look up and repeat those words to myself. That is, I take myself back to that place which my colleague calls, “the truth.”

To those that currently struggle in abusive relationships and those that have struggled and are healing, remember that you are beautiful. As words will bring you down, words can also provide you with the means to rise above. Beauty does not lie in another’s control to affirm this for you. You just are. Believe it, and you are. Once you believe and forget that someone may have been convincing you of otherwise, you will find yourself moving forward and, fundamentally, healing. This is where I find myself right now and it’s a nice place to be. The right people, the right frame of mind and the personal self-worth that I control, are allowing me to heal.

Here is my mentor-ish affirmation for you, fellow survivors, to reference during those times you’re feeling down: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

 

Low Self-Esteem (for children)

How can you tell if your child has low-esteem

BY IMCONFIDENT ON MARCH 19, 2013

girl hold hands over face

Does your child have low-esteem?    Esteem is something that we learn starting in our early childhood.  Esteem is how we feel about ourselves.  It is an evaluation of our own worth.  We can develop good esteem if we live in a mostly positive environment surrounded by people who show love and appreciation towards us and others.  We can develop poor esteem if we live in a mostly negative environment surrounded by people who show little love and treat us badly.

If we have low esteem ourselves, we might not realize that our children also have low esteem.   Following is a quiz that will help you figure out if your child struggles with esteem issues.  It might help you understand yourself better also.

Have you ever heard your child say any of the following statements:

  • I’m stupid
  • I’m a loser
  • I’m too fat
  • I’m ugly
  • I don’t do anything right
  • Nobody likes me
  • I have no friends
  • I’m worthless

Does your child do any of the following:

  • Avoid group activities
  • Put themselves down
  • Blame others when they fail
  • Try to control or bully
  • Make excuses a lot
  • Always worry about what other people think
  • Think they aren’t important
  • Fear making mistakes or failing
  • Lie or cheat to win at something
  • Give up easily
  • Have no friends
  • Doesn’t talk about feelings
  • Want other people to fix their problems
  • Insecure about self
  • Believe they are always wrong
  • Easily influenced by peer pressure
  • Get into trouble

It is natural for children to feel bad about themselves sometimes, but if they feel this way a lot of the time, it might be a sign of serious problems.   Low esteem can be the cause or result of depression which can lead to serious problems in life.  If you feel that your child has low esteem, it would be a good idea to talk to your family doctor and discuss ways to build their esteem.   If you think that you have a problem with low esteem, discuss this with your doctor and work on building your own esteem, so you can help your child.

According to the National Mental Health Information Center, things that you (or your child) can do to raise self-esteem can include:

•Pay attention to your own needs and wants

•Take very good care of yourself and take time to do things you enjoy

•Get something done that you have been putting off

•Do things that make use of your own special talents and abilities

•Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself

•Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself

•Make your living space a place that honors the person you are

•Display items you find attractive or remind you of your achievements or of special times or people in your life

•Make your meals a special time

•Take advantage of opportunities to learn something new or improve your skills

•Begin doing those things that you know will make you feel better about yourself

•Do something nice for another person

•Make it a point to treat yourself well every day and give yourself rewards when you deserve them

It can also be helpful to change negative thoughts about yourself to positive ones, avoid using negative words, and develop positive affirmations.

Self-Esteem

313~365~Self-Esteem

313~365~Self-Esteem (Photo credit: Christina Ann VanMeter)

In abuse our self esteem is slowly beaten down and we begin to think untrue things like we are not worthy. Doing this over and over can help your self esteem turn around through repetition. I figured out that repeating good things about myself in a mirror to myself slowly got me to feeling differently about myself and soon I started to see that my self esteem was changing too.

************************************************
Make a list of all your qualities, and don’t miss a single one out – you’ll find there are many of them. Remember all the compliments you’ve had in your life and add them. It’s a good way to start to believe in yourself again.

Post a comment below but here is what the comment should contain:
1. list one of your qualities that you think about yourself
2. Now list a quality that someone has told you about yourself.
((The only rule is to be nice to yourself))

Warning Signs

Jealousy

Jealousy (Photo credit: williamshannon)

I found this on TWITTER and thought I would share it..this is the page that posted it.  https://twitter.com/loveyou1st

WARNING SIGNS

Many of the signs women are taught to Interpret as caring, attentive, and romantic are actually early warning signs for future abuse. Some examples Include:

INTRUSION: Constantly asks you where you are going, who you are with, etc.

ISOLATION:  Insists that you spend all or most of your time together, cutting you off from friends and family.

POSSESSION AND JEALOUSY:  Accuses you of flirting/having sexual relationships with others; monitors your clothing/make-up.

NEED FOR CONTROL:  Displays extreme anger when things do not go his way; attempts to make all of your decisions.

UNKNOWN PASTS / NO RESPECT FOR WOMEN:  Secretive about past relationships; refers to women with negative remarks, etc.

MORE WARNING SIGNS

1. Was or is abused by a parent.
2. Grew up in a home where an adult was abused by another adult.
3. Gets very serious with boyfriends/girlfriends very quickly – saying “I love you” very early in the relationship, wanting to move in together or get engaged after only a few months, or pressuring partner for a serious commitment.
4. Comes on very strong, is extremely charming and an overly smooth talker.
5. Is extremely jealous.
6. Isolates partner from support systems – wants partner all to themselves, and tries to keep partner from friends, family or outside activities.
7. Attempts to control what partner wears, what she/he does or who she/he sees.
8. Is abusive toward other people, especially mother or sisters if he is a male.
9. Blames others for one’s own misbehavior or failures.
10. Has unrealistic expectations, like expecting partner to meet all of ones needs and be the perfect partner.
11. Is overly sensitive – acts ‘hurt’ when not getting one’s way, takes offense when others disagree with an opinion, gets very upset at small inconveniences that are just a normal part of life. 
12. Has ever been cruel to animals.
13. Has ever abused children.
14. Has ever hit a boyfriend or girlfriend in the past.
15. Has ever threatened violence, even if it wasn’t a serious threat.
16. Calls partner names, puts him/her down or curses at him/her.
17. Is extremely moody, and switches quickly from being very nice to exploding in anger.
18. If a male, believes women are inferior to men and should obey them.
19. Is intimidating, for example using threatening body language, punching walls or breaking objects.
20. Holds partner against his/her will to keep him/her from walking away or leaving the room.