Prego and the Loon

Self Esteem and DV

In Domestic Violence on December 18, 2012 at 7:14 am


Let’s talk self esteem, and the role it plays in domestic violence. Personally I believe it is one of the top 10 reasons people stay in an abusive relationship. However there has been some dispute, and I am curious how other individuals feel in regards to this topic. I highly agree with what Bennyd10 has stated here, and here alone “I do believe that in an abusive relationship the abuser belittles and demeans the victim and that can create low self esteem.” Although I also think that she fails to recoginze that prior to being in an absive relationship we (the so called victims) were individuals. We stood alone, we acted alone, and yes we even made choices on our own. Typically prior to being in an abusive relationship a vicitim already has low self esteem. The abuser rushes in and sweeps the victim off their feet showering them with love and affection. They tend to be over the top… overly charming, overly romantic, and overly caring in a very obsessive manner. For example I came home from work one day, and walked into a sea of beautifully lit tea candles. My first instinct was Oooo Ahhh WOW how incredibly romantic. I am one LUCKY girl! Although my secondary reaction consisted of racing thoughts that our house was going to catch fire and burn to the ground. I frantically ran around blowing out candles. Point being that the abuser catches us when our self esteem is already at a low, and they know exactly how to wiggle their way into our world.

If you are a victim of domestic violence… please help me wrap my head around this issue, and voice where you stand in regards to this topic!

  1. I see where you both have interesting and valid points and I think you are both wrong and you are both right. Fist of all to pigeon hole a victim is a disservice to everything you both are both fighting for. I don’t think a person has to have a low self esteem to be charmed or swept off her feet and I don’t think that the pursuer who charms in such a way will always be an abuser.
    I do think that a person’s self esteem can be whittled away in an abusive relationship. Often these relationships don’t start out with physical abuse but rather with emotional abuse. Normally there is a gradual build up to the physical abuse. And often this occurs when the abuser feels more secure in the relationship, as odd as that sounds. A pregnant wife is less likely to leave him especially if he has done well at distancing her from her family and friends.

    • Relationships are complicated, domestic violence is complicated, people are complicated… or they just complicate the world around them. You make excellent points, and I appreciate your participation in this discussion. Thanks for your support!!

  2. I definitely think it is one of the top 10 and one of the most easily manipulated no matter what form the abuse takes. Once everything else has been taken away from you “self” is all you are left standing with. When that comes under attack, repeatedly, then what? That self feels it has no worth or possibly even reason for being at a certain point. You are caught in this viscious circle that is very difficult to step outside of despite all of the “wonderful and sage” advice you are receiving from family and friends and possibly even experts. I also think it’s the hardest thing to gain back, along with self-respect.

    • In regards to self esteem Lucille Ball beautifully stated, “One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”

  3. It is not merely an issue of low self-esteem. There are a number of other qualities that would make one a target for a socio-path. These characteristics would include but are not limited to a caring, loving person, some who is responsible and someone who has integrity and loyalty. As a person with these qualities one does not readily fathom that the person who is claiming to love you to be your soul mate could possibley be abusive on purpose. What starts to occur is a form of gas lighting in which you start to question your self. It is in this process that one’s esteem starts to get domolished by the abuser as we try to “fix” ourselves in order to please them. So even a woman who is strong, intelligent and independent can fall prey to the workings of the socio-path.

    • I agree with you on this. I was such a people-pleaser; I lived to serve him. I would do anything to make him happy because I couldn’t imagine him doing what he did to me willingly. I changed everything: the way I talked, dressed, responded, cooked, ate (at one point I was 90lbs at 5’4″ because I wanted to be thin enough for him), anything to make him happy. I thought that I was broken, and I wanted to be perfect for him, then maybe he wouldn’t hurt me. Then maybe I wouldn’t deserve to be punished by him. It took me so long to realize that I would never please him no matter what I changed or “fixed” of myself. It took my longer to realize that I didn’t deserve to be treated badly, no matter what. My self-esteem was shattered in the process.

  4. Self esteem and self worth play such a huge role in any abusive relationship. Usually, it starts with emotional abuse, then escalates. I lived this life with an emotional abuser for 18 months. It started getting more violent, as he would flip my furniture, or “push” me out of the way, or scream and yell at me, and then say he would never hit me. (he never did, but I’m sure it would’ve escalated to that) I have no idea who I was before him, but who I am now is a stronger person who can see the signs more clearly and I value myself more. Abusers are master manipulators. It is up to us to spot them from the beginning and walk away.

  5. Having been in support groups on and off for the past seven months I have seen a variety of stories regarding where the victim was mentally before entering the relationship. I was shocked to realize that not every woman was at her lowest point in life (as I was, feeling like I had absolutely no control and that I was worthless) when they met their abuser.

    For me, well…I think I was an easy target honestly. I’d been the happiest, more successful, most optimistic girl in the world at one point, but at the beginning of my second year of college everything changed (I’ll get into why that happened sometime in the future on my blog). I met my husband four months after the huge change and he showered me with affection, praise, googley eyes, and whatnot. I was both terrified and ecstatic. I couldn’t get enough of him. No one had ever wanted me so badly.

    Within four days of meeting him I was his girlfriend, and it was pretty much the end of my having control over my emotions or my opinions of myself. From then on out I began to see myself as he saw me, good or bad. Seven months after we’ve separated and I still wish he was here sometimes just to validate my feeling ugly or pretty or…anything. It’s sad. I’m working on having self-esteem again, but it’s really difficult to form a positive perception of myself after eight years of having someone else tell me what, who, and how I am.

  6. This really feels uncomfortable to me. Of course a person who is being abused struggles with self-esteem – it is part of the comprehensive pattern of the abuser to demean, degrade, and dis-empower his victim. The problem lies partly with this type of conversation – a relationship is not abusive. A person who feels entitled to take power and control from another person is abusive. Abusers abuse, not relationships. We really need to change the conversation from why do women let themselves be abused to *why do men abuse?* and get serious about holding abusers accountable for their behavior. Every time we let a woman feel like it is her fault for being abused – whether it is because she has low self-esteem or because she has stayed long after red flags warned her to leave – we give the abuse more power and give him more excuses to continue his behavior. I know this is a contentious issue, but each one of us can help by changing our language – this is a situation where it is appropriate to assign blame, not to use neutral language. Using neutral terms presumes equal responsibility for the abuse, but the abuse exists because there is an imbalance in power… sigh. Sorry to jump in with all the negativity, but this is my story too, and I struggle every day, even years later, to stop blaming myself for the things my abuser did to me. Blaming myself hurts nearly as much as the abuse I endured.

    • I agree with what you’re saying. It’s hard for me to put it into words, but this sums it up for me. My ex-abuser is constantly trying to tell me what I did wrong, how I mistreated him, how nothing was really his fault. That’s why I don’t even try to use neutral language. Because it is ALL his fault. I assign blame squarely where it belongs. I didn’t abuse him—he abused me. And just as a side note, I think, when I met my ex-abuser, that I was outwardly strong and independent and full of self-esteem, but on the inside I lacked the validation from others that I needed in order to believe that. So when he came along and showered (more like suffocated) me with praise and attention and promises of what was to come I jumped in with both feet.

  7. The thing is… It’s about too many different things, to hang everything on just one thing. It’s not just about taking a person who has low self esteem and making them feel lower. It’s about making themselves look like they are something they are not. It’s about manipulation and control. It’s about making another being reliant on them. And that’s only a small list. There are many reason and how’s. And each list of those “qualities” is unique to each situation, and each form of abuse.

  8. i so agree with this. It is one of the reasons I work so hard with my stepdaughter in relation to her self-esteem. Without a sense of value for ourselves, we are vulnerable.

  9. I’ve never had a self esteem issue. The reason I stay in my emotionally abusive relationship for so long is because every time I tried to leave she threatened (and even attempted) to committ suicide. It took me almost 9 years to get to the point where the guilt didn’t matter to me any more and I just couldn’t take it any more.

    • You bring up an excellent point… This is a very common scenario that I believe I failed to mention in my top ten post, and I appreciate you bringing it to the table for discussion! Thanks for reading my blog, taking part, and providing your support! I am glad you are currently in a safe place where you are able to express your thoughts and emotions in regards to this topic.

  10. Abuse… what a heavy subject… jmho: I think it’s a cycle that the abused and abuser do not even realize they are perpetuating. It is hard to break a cycle because in this situation it is often one you might not even realize you are in and when you do realize it, you are ashamed or embarrassed that you let yourself get into that situation. The shame and embarrassment make people defensive and then they don’t want to admit their situation so it escalates. I spent 15 years with a man who emotionally abused me without even realizing it. His words were disguised as sarcastic humor and the guilt he would make me feel for being ungrateful for him “putting up with me” was what finally broke me. I am free now but it was so hard to face what/who I had become. I was a victim and the funny thing is, he knew I had a martyr complex and used to point it out to me. Abuse is such a difficult thing to speculate on and generalize because often times it is based on one’s perspective of a situation. You would never think my ex-husband was an emotional abuser because he actually appears to be an easy-going guy but he is a manipulator who plays it all off with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor. You don’t even realize who he is because he talks a good talk and you laugh it off.

  11. I think that yes, there are some people that go into abusive relationships with already low self esteem. It’s easy for them to fall into that abusive trap.
    But there are some others that have great self esteem. They make their own choices etc and then they meet an abuser.
    Little by little their self esteem gets chipped away until they don’t know who they are anymore.
    I do think that most people who are abusers don’t even know what they are doing.
    I, myself have been in two. In both of them I was a curious mix of the abuser and the victim.
    Hell, I got into the second abusive relationship to get away from the first one!
    It’s not just the victim that has to make a choice but the abuser has to own up to what they are doing as well.

  12. I believe those who are prone to domestic violence have an instinctive predatory nature to find those who lack the self esteem necessary to avoid being their prey. It isn’t often that you find an abuser in a relationship with someone who is secure in themselves. Generally, abusers will set the trap by being thoughtful, attentive, etc., before slowly chipping away at their victim’s self esteem. Before long, the abuser is in control, leaving the victim to blame themselves for what’s happening. The longer that continues, the more the abuse escalates until the victim is trapped — emotionally and physically. That’s when friends, family and even acquaintances can make the difference.

  13. I have a question, just to toss out there… do all women have somewhat of an esteem issue anyway? No matter how beautiful or successful, or intelligent? Some of the victims of domestic abuse are very successful in every other area. Some are much more successful than the guy they are involved with, but somehow he charms his way in. Some through tearing down and some through building up?

    Are there also different kinds of abusers? Some who prey on those in low estates and some who find a way to take advantage of the more successful woman, almost making them go out and work so that they can live a life of ease?

    I guess you were looking for answers not more questions, but that really was on my mind when I read this.

    • I think you raise some great questions here Darius. I was a successful professional and did not have a low self esteem and I spent 9 years with someone who did everything he could to bring me down to where he felt he was better than me. Nothing I did was ever right, nothing I said was ok. If I talked to our friends then he accused me of trying to show off how smart I was. If I was around when he screwed something up then it was my fault. I went from being very outgoing to someone who would come home from working 12 hrs to spend the evening cooking for the endless parade of people who came to our house and then sit in the living room by myself while they all sat in the bar and ate and had a good time.

      Why? Good question. It was just something that happened over time. years of being put down, years of getting yelled at, years of being treated like I wasnt good enough. It just happened.

      At the end my self esteem was no worse for wear really. But I was a shell of the person I used to be. I was like a dog that had been yelled at so often that I just hung around the edges and never entered in. Away from him I was confident and in charge but around him I was quiet and kept back and out of the way.

      I agree with the above poster who said that we should really be looking at and addressing the reason that people are abusive and abusers and not what the abused might or might not be.

      • Wow! Now you raise an deep, deep, interesting question there. If we could peg him, see who this guy is and what makes him do what he does then we’d have a good chance of informing people what to look out for.

        But I fear that not all abusers are the same. Some have been taught to abuse women, but foolish men in the good ole boys club (not meaning that to stereotype, but meaning that in the way that a lot of men who get together and bash women and discuss how terrible they are. So that over time the guy begins to believe the hype.

        But you also have loner abusers who don’t hang around with anyone and don’t want her to hang around with anyone either.

        Who is this guy who abuses? I think the abuser a lot of times has a greater self-esteem issue than the woman. Often you find those who feel the only way I can keep her is to dog her out, bring her down to my level and then she won’t see how pretty she is, or how smart she is, or how she could do so much better than me…

        I don’t know… those are things I have witnessed, but who really knows raging thoughts of a violent man?

      • Darius you make an excellent point… My Ex was raised in an abusive household, and very little was discussed in regards to his upbringing. I might as well have one foot in the grave if I dare spoke of his father. He despised the man, and sadly he wished to be the father he never had. Unfortunately we know how that story ended.

        I do believe my Ex loved the only way he knew how. The nurturing nest taught him his manipulative ways. I imagine deep inside there is an adult child suffering that needs to face his past in order to move on. I think it’s a scary step, and he was not strong enough to man up and break the cycle of abuse.

  14. Interesting blog post…. I was once in a relationship that turned violent (then ended shortly after). In my situation I felt like I loved a little too hard, and yes…suffered from damage self-image. I allowed him to tell me who I was and what I deserved and not the other way around. I think “victims” of DV may not even have low self-esteem, but just a damaged self-image (at least for the moment). Because they can’t see themselves clearly they allow someone else to paint them, mold them and yes….hurt them in order to feel complete. Lucky for me this phase lasted less than half a year, but for some it goes on for years even decades. My heart bleeds for the individual who feels that the definition of who they are somehow dwells in imagination of someone else.

  15. I think that this is pretty true. I have a friend who is in what at least used to be an abusive relationship, she now has a baby with him. She was already insecure and had terribly low self esteem, and always sought validation and her sense of worth from other people. Now she has even lower self esteem which I think comes from the fact that her partner seems a bit withdrawn from her so she feels worse.

  16. I venture to think the verbal abuse is probably the worst of it, I wouldn’t know much about DV though. MY heart aches for those affected by this evil!

  17. I’m still trying to figure it out… I know my lack of self-esteem was the biggest issue…. Wanting to be loved so desperately… Already thinking abuse and ‘I love you’ went hand-in-hand (thanks family!) ….

  18. I agree with you, I think the abusive relationship starts with one person having a low self esteem. The one experience that I had of a relationship like this was definitely at the time when I valued myself at nothing..

  19. I grew up in a home full of domestic violence. My parents stayed together for 17 years. My mom tells me it was because she was afraid to leave. Of course back then they didnt have nearly the resources that they have now for helping victims. But, I also think that the fact that men too can and are victims of domestic violence is also over looked. I have a friend at the moment in a horrible domestic violence situation and she’s expecting in march. I’ve told her she needed to get away even more before the baby is born. She’s got offers for help with a place to stay and so on. Family wise she doesn’t have much support I mean her own mother wanted her to have an abortion. I think part of her is afraid to leave him and seeing her in previous relationships I think part of her enjoys the abuse because its all she’s ever known so its almost comforting to her. Plus, she also has no self esteem what so ever which is sad because she’s beautiful and a very talented young lady. So she has it set in her mind she’s got what she deserves. Every person that’s a victim of domestic violence has there own reason for staying or being there. I do think abusers pray on those with no self esteem or low self worth because they think and know that people like that will put up with about anything because they think no one else will want them. They also believe the I am sorry stories and it won’t happen again. Holding on to the few good times they may share with the other person. Or hoping that things will be as good as they once were before the abuse started. I’ve sadly been married a couple of times my first husband was mentally abusive he broke me down. Before him I was out going social and loved life. I still think he’s the reason I am so painfully shy now. But, I ended up leaving him. My 2nd marriage was short lived he was an angel to good to be true until I gave in to him and married him and it was like a light switch. He hit me once…and it never happened again because for one I hit him back…, several times LOL I stood my ground and fought back knowing it could end badly. But in the end I kicked his ass. And I left him. Idk why I put up with the mental abuse as long as I did from my first husband other then maybe he stripped my self esteem to nothing and I figured he was the only person that would ever want me. But, physical abuse I wouldn’t live with no matter how little self esteem I have because its dangerous. My mom still swears she stayed with my dad because of being afraid and being afraid he would take off with me. But, knowing my mom too I would say lack of self esteem had a ton to do with it because her 2nd husband was abusive as well and she was with him 11 years before he finally left her for another woman. Domestic violence and the victims is a very complicated thing. We may never know why some stay in the situation when there’s help to get out of it. But, they need to realize that it could get them killed. I do think its something that needs psychiatric help on both sides of course. I don’t get why people stay in any situation that there constantly hurt and sad, not now. Before I could relate.

  20. I would also like to add that both my ex husbands have very low self esteem and the first one was physically abused by his biological father until about the age of 6 or 7. And his loon of a bible thumping mother (not bashing any religious people but I’m sure you get my point here would’ve probably smashed him with a bible then prayed for him) she was always putting these expectations on him that were just unreal. Also, constantly mentioning his weight because she was so small and always dieting she doesn’t think a man should have a belly *eye roll*. She was so controlling she limits how much Ice cream her husband can eat because she doesn’t want him to be over weight. Which he was an average built guy. And, I believe that is why my 1st husband treated me like he did was low self esteem. I’m still very close with my first husband as we have a child together and we were friends before and saved that friendship. I felt sorry for him because he honestly can’t help it I don’t think and I’ve helped him over the years. And, although he’s still a bit controlling in his relationships he’s a lot nicer to them. But, I’ve helped him realize he’s worth more then he thinks. And I told him his mom was a nut job and take it all with a grain of salt when she starts. My 2nd husband his dad was just a mean man and his parents tore him down bad and I know that’s affected him. He’s not so much got a low self esteem as low self worth. I know some look at it the same but, I know the difference because I have suffered from both. Just a little insight on what I’ve seen personally

  21. Wow. A lot of thinking and experience reflected in comments!

    My take: either, or both – self esteem issues prior or as result of abuse. For me it was both.

    Agree that wording can be important – a balance between calling it what it is and not labeling ourselves (survivors) in a way that we make ourselves feel more like victims -judged by what kind of gut response the word gives the one who is coping with the abuse/aftermath – or what word provokes understanding and action on the part of non-participants.

    12 years out of a 20 year, mostly psychologically/emotionally abusive Christian marriage, I STILL try to find and trust my self. For me that is a huge obstacle, along with loss of trust in God, people, and the future. And immense ongoing irritation at crappy advice given by people with simplistic views of the issues.

    The abuser. Why they do it. HOW they do it! I’m horrified by that inner knowing of how to control another and the need to do so! My daughter gave me a book: In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, by Gabor Mate, which is about down and out addicts, not abuse as such. But all his patients have been abused. It is a huge book, but mind-blowing as we look at WHY and the effectiveness of usual strategies for remedy. Highly recommend if you have plenty of time to digest it.

    Knowing WHY helps to identify HOW to deal with. But getting the momentum and word out to make real changes is harder. I try to be transparent about my experience and the continuing struggle to regain my mental/spiritual footing and stay there, in small doses, to people who don’t get it – to build a little empathy and awareness – subtly – one on one. That’s what I can DO for now – I’m still fractured and trying to become effective in my own life.

    My bottom line: People are in pain. Abusers, abused, observers, helpers. It seems to me that we (meaning those of us who care about this issue) can at any time learn, demonstrate, and talk about healthy boundaries – what is EFFECTIVE for building and maintaining respect-based views of self and others – hopefully to create greater awareness of and innate RESISTANCE to manipulation in ourselves and then pay it forward.

    And if we see someone being abused, we can knock the abuser flat!! (kidding)

    Sorry for the long comment. The conversation got me going!


    • I have stood up for people I have seen being abused in public that I do not even know. There’s been times in my life that I wish someone would’ve done it for me rather then turn a blind eye. Yes it’s dangerous to interject in others lives at times but, I can’t see abuse and walk away because I’ve been in it nearly all my life until 7 years ago.

      I’m a non violent person I do want to put that out there. I use to be a scrapper when I was younger but I had a ton of anger issues to work out. Now I do not like violence at all. I guess some of it could be PTSD according to my doc. But, if I witness abuse out I can’t help but stand up to the abuser. My husband now (who’s an amazing wonderful man) gets very nervous because he’s always worried I’m gonna get hurt. But, to me if I’m not gonna gonna stand up for someone who’s being abused in front of me and turn and walk away I will carry that guilt. My husband will not put up with seeing a man put his hands on a woman either. Violence doesn’t answer violence but sometimes getting on there level shows them there are people who will stand up and fight for the other person. And the one being abused my see that there are people who genially care and will open there eyes. Like the drunken guy that stopped in front of my friends house and started beating on his wife kicking her out of the truck we had the door open and seen it my natural reaction was to run outside and my husband followed while my friend called the police. We got the man off the woman and he took off. We took her in and I took care of her best I could until the police arrived. She was telling me he’s sweet until he drinks and that’s what happens. But, she started crying telling us that no one had ever just reached out to help her before and thanked us. I would like to hope she didn’t go back to him. But who knows. I had taken psychology in collage and i would like to talk to some of the abusers just to get an idea. I know why my ex was the way he was. There are hope for abusers to stop the cycle or get the help. But, every case is very different. I just hope anyone in a abusive relationship understand that there’s always someone that will help you.

      • Hi, Monroe! Truly I was kidding about knocking the abuser flat, although I have tried (and missed) in a weak moment. Not proud of that, but it is what it is. I have a huge tender spot for those being abused, because I have guilt about not being defensive enough for my daughters with their abusive dad – though, realistically, acting differently may not have caused a better outcome, anyway. My next post is about exactly that.

        Like you, I would have really loved it if those who saw tidbits of my ex’s abusive behavior would have called him on it. Even if it was just to say, “hey dude, you’re being a jerk.”



      • Exactly. If its a taught habit sometimes they really don’t see it. I lived in abuse almost my entire life in some form or another from abusive drug and alcohol addicted parents to significant others. I use to be a very violent and aggressive person myself seeing its all I was taught growing up. Anger was the only emotion I knew. It took someone just telling me and it hit me…I was being the one thing I never wanted to be. I have no issue with taking a stance against abusers and saying something. But, to I know some need just as much help as the one getting abused. But some just need a slap upside the head lol. I’m a very laid back person now. After years of therapy I’ve learned how to express all emotion healthy but, my temper rears at the site of abuse like I said I guess its PTSD. Its a reaction when I see it. I carry lots of scars from my past due to abuse I’m glad I can turn it around for the better even though sometimes my husband thinks I’ve lost my mind and I’m going to get myself hurt. But most abusers need someone to stand up to them. Best wishes to you.

  22. Thank you for keeping the dialogue “out and open” in public consciousness. It is brave, there are many perspectives, but we cannot be quiet on this issue. You sound like a level-headed moderator and I thank you for your work and courage here. I, too, survived an abusive marriage – according to my lawyer who specialized in domestic violence: “one of the worst of that nature” he had ever seen. I have Asperger’s and certainly it was a contributing factor in how I ended up in the situation to begin with, the dynamics in my already confusing social world, and ultimately it complicated recovery. I was fortunate to have some professional intervention or I may not be here to write this reply today. I am an intelligent woman, but there are people like me with “neurobiological differences” who are particularly susceptible to relationship predators. I know there are other factors as well, I am human. But, supported by the lagging body of knowledge about female Aspie’s, this is certainly a significant contribution. And certainly for people with other “neurobiological differences”, such as schizophrenia, they can be particularly vulnerable to abuse. This, I reiterate, is not an intelligence issue, nor is it a matter of being “weak” or “strong” due to psychiatric/brain factors – it is just being at a disadvantage for experiencing the world in different ways. It doesn’t mean it “will happen” for this community of people, I am just adding to the dialogue on contributing factors. In this way, we can look out for each other – non judgmentally – and the children who are so often along with us. This absolutely does tie into self-esteem. When I already feel different, wrong, and broken – was bullied and rejected by peers, generally did not fit into this world – and did not know why – it is not a big leap to see how self-esteem played a role at every stage. It was like salt in a wound.

  23. Hi! Thanks for the “Like” on my blog. I have to say, I don’t know much about domestic violence, but I appreciate you speaking (writing) about it. I like the little picture at the top of this post about being amazing. That made me laugh. 🙂 God Bless, Lori

  24. this is a narrative — I wrote mostly as it came to mind — on how i saw abuse in my house. i felt very connected to your blog! keep up the great sharing of info, and really just stories– they need to be told!! xo.

  25. Very good points…
    You indicated some of the early warning signs people need to look out for.
    I will probably mention your Blog (where appropriate) when I publish some of my posts.
    Hope you’ve had a good holiday so far. 🙂

  26. It is interesting that you bring up the issue of self-esteem and abusive relationships; I often said that the real me had to tuck away deep inside until I could get out. I didn’t have low self-esteem, I had no self-esteem…

  27. Low self-esteem is a two edged sword. Certainly the abused person will take a hit to their self-esteem however, often the abuser abuses because they personally have low self-esteem. The pivot point both ways what is done about the self esteem issue. NEVER is it correct to hurt someone intentionally, and never is it correct to wrap your implied devaluation around yourself, wallow in it and sink deeper. You my dear, are on the right track. Accept that you are a wonderful, beautiful, and totally unique individual with many people who are interested in seeing you thrive and encouraging you to be all you can be and more.

  28. I do believe low self-esteem can be a cause of a victim allowing themselves to stay in such a situation. It’s of course not the only reason, but it’s definitely a big part of it. I definitely agree with you that the abuser really goes overboard in the beginning on building that false trust with the potential victim. The abuser really plants that seed, becomes more controlling, more possessive and does it in a way that the victim feels loved and adored and cared for. It’s all smoke and mirrors. The abuser eventually gets the victim to believe they need them, they rely on them and they depend on them. They are pulled away from family and friends and their normal support system and now look to their abuser for that which makes it all harder to leave at a later point. It becomes a vicious cycle. I myself have been there and put up with it for 5 very long years. I always thought if I just loved him more he would stop. I was ashamed and embarrassed and I didn’t want people to know what was happening behind closed door so I hid it, I kept it under wraps and that only allowed it to continue for as long as it did. I endured bruises, cuts, broken bones, broken belonging, emotional abuse, damage to my house, my car, my dog all to keep me “in-line” and doing as he said. I had no where to turn, or at least that is what I was led to believe. This man saw me as his property and at one point pulled a knife on me and threatened to kill me if I ever tried to leave him. He told me that if he couldn’t have me that no one else would either, sad thing is, I wasn’t even breaking up with him at that moment, I was just leaving to go over to my mother’s house. I had to secretly relocate to get away from this man and go into hiding away from most people in my life, but it was the best thing I ever did. I am definitely a much different, much stronger, outgoing person than I was those 5 years out of high school.

  29. I ADORE the statement on that drawing at the top! The truth revealed!

  30. Thanks for your follow. You have a wonderful, helpful blog. I wish you and your little one all the best on the road to a better life.
    Your comments about self esteem are true. I believe if I had healthy self esteem I would never have been attracted to the narcissist. When the abuse started I went to Relationship Counseling for help, but after her session with the abuser the Counselor’s attitude towards me changed! My mother suffers from Bipolar disorder, which was a very useful label for the abuser to slander me with, and the counselor believed him. I would have got out a lot sooner had he not been validated like that. Sadly the same thing has recently happened to my sister. We now know that counseling is not safe for us. I wonder how many other children of mentally ill parents have this happen? I turned to the Lord for help after finding in the Bible that one of His names is “wonderful counselor”. I totally agree he is and I’m fortunate than when no-one else would help, He did.
    I now am happy, am a changed person, have a changed life, and am married to a wonderful man – a match arranged by “the King”. My story “The Kingdom” tells of my journey out of abuse to a happy marriage. Now I want to help my sister.
    All the best to you, and I wish you happiness in 2013.

  31. I, too, want to add that I LOVE the statement on the ecard at the top. 🙂 I hope more people learn how to celebrate themselves without feeling guilty about it. (There’s a difference between recognizing the good things in yourself and becoming arrogant.)

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