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Author Topic: Impact of Low Self-Asteem  (Read 1310 times)

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« on: February 27, 2012, 05:14:37 PM »

Hey all...ive been reading all about peoples stories on this board - it is a great comfort - and i have occasionally posted when i feel like doing it.

I am 22 and have no kids with my exgfwBPD and we were only together for a year so in some ways i feel like my story is very tame and that others are more deserving of the support this board offers. While my feelings may not be fully resolved, in no way do i want any contact or anything to do with my ex.

Anyway...Since the final break up and having gone NC for 6 weeks, it is still all fairly recent. I have been seeing a T for 5 weeks and had a session today.

We've talked about so much stuff...lack of validation from oblivious father throughout life, death of my mother, lack of sexual confidence from bad experience with first gf and resulting ED which kept me a virgin until i met my expwBPD a year ago, which at the time i thought was the answer to all my prayers.

What i think i have basically realised is that i have very low self asteem. It is strange to feel that/admit that to myself and to write it. And i dont fully understand the causes yet. But it explains so much. It just sucks. In any sort of interaction with anyone i seemingly instinctively will try to please people/gain there approval/not offend anyone. So much so that i genuinely feel like my personality has diminished/never really come out.

On the face of it i am tall, bright, athletic, good looking and nice so i dont think anyone including myself would have ever really thought i would feel bad about myself but i really really do.

Everytime i have met a girl i like they seem to like me, we get on well but within a few weeks it fizzles out and we become friends and i am left completely baffled. This is because i go out of my way to please them, am really nice to them, buy them gifts, give them all of my attention. But that leaves none of my attention for me, so there is no "me" for them to like. This is a concept my T gave me which astounded me by its accuracy! They just see me as a nice guy who buys them gifts hahaha...

I became involved with a girl about a week after my rs with my exBPD ended which essentially meant i could focus my attentions on her and avoid the feelings of sadness, lonliness, and low self worth as well as the self-examination that i am going through now.

In hindsight i should not have gotten involved with this girl. It has played out exactly like previous involvements with girls. I just needed someone else to fix my attentions on to help me get through not having my expwBPD to "fill me up" with confidence/validation/assurance. Someone likes me, so i must be ok.

This explains perfectly why the only rs that i have ever had was with someone with BPD. My ex's disorder dictated that she just wanted someone who only cared about her, a one way, caregiving rs. I was prepared to do this, because that is how i am. I try to be nice and please people. My self asteem relies on the approval of others.

So essentially my little thing with the girl i met since my BPD rs has postponed what i am realising now. It gave me a temporary false belief that i was ok. I would not have realised this without therapy and without talking everything through with my T. I constantly doubt myself and put myself down and instead of focusing on what i want, i just try and make myself good enough for others.

I posted something a while ago on here and someone replied about the "gift of the BPD" in that they force us to look at ourselves more closely and in time become more rounded people. I have also read a lot of people saying "i am not ready for a rs yet" post BPD break up, to which i though "pshhhhh i have met this new girl already and everything is fine!"

How wrong i was. I am in no way shape or form ready for a r/s. It sounds cliched but i do not love myself enough to love someone else and ive got a lot of work to do. The way i see myself and the way i have always interacted with other people - seeking assurance and acceptance - is the reason why i have not had a rs other than a very unhealthy one and i need to change this.

I am very happy that i realise this now. But still very sad that the love i want still eludes me. Trying to make myself be what other people want is not going to get me anywhere.

Have any of you retrospectively realised that you have low self asteem which is what drew you to being in a rs with your expwBPD? How are you progressing with this post break up?

I hope i am making some sort of progress. You're comments would be appreciated, but i mostly just wanted to get that out.



The objective of this board is to learn and apply healthy emotional practices to the rebuilding of our love life. This board is about the discipline and strength of making those hard choices in life for good sustained emotional health. It is about not repeating the problems of the past; it is about understanding the wounds and baggage we carry forward, it is about healthy and practical ways to build new relationships. Click on "more information" for access to the lessons.
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 05:59:36 PM »

Hi there Tonyyeboah

Having read your post, I don't have much to say, except...can I have your number?  wink

Only kidding...but you sound like a real catch!  I think that what you have to offer a partner are fantastic qualities, and you shouldn't be put off by ex's who didn't appreciate those qualities.

Women long for a partner who is as considerate as you are!  I think that your therapist is right, though.  Perhaps don't show all of your cards from the off.  Believe in your abilities to make a connection with the things that cost you nothing; your caring, considerate nature, your willingness to give them your attention, etc etc

You don't need to hide yourself with a shield of gifts or expensive gestures.  You may attract selfish people and users.   Work out first of all if the new date is what YOU are looking for in a partner.  You need to feel sure that the date is genuine, and can offer you what you want in a relationship, too.  In my opinion, the beginning of a relationship should be a gradual exchange of feelings, and then by all means, give a gift  or gesture now and then.  As the relationship gets more serious, then feel free to shower your loved one with gifts and affection, because you will know by then that they are worth your efforts.

Instead of going into a new relationship thinking that you need to prove your worth with material things, go into one knowing that you are a nice, honest, good person, with a great deal to offer them...and so what can they offer you?  They need to earn your affections too, you know?



P.S.  I have suffered from low self esteem in the past, and that is how I ended up in a relationship with my exuBPDbf!  It's really important that you work on that self esteem and self confidence, before attempting to get into a relationship.  This will help ensure that you aim for the right kind of person, and do not allow yourself to be used or abused.
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Freedom is peaceful

« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 08:55:09 PM »

I can see how my low self esteem helped continue a r/s with my stbxH. My father was very controlling and domineering. I learned to set aside my own feelings and opinions because he demanded it.

I am much older than you are and have had time to not only look ahead, but look back and learn from mistakes. Your awareness is part of what will help you overcome your low self esteem. You will find that not all r/s will be the same and there will be good ones and bad ones. Take your time. Don't rush in and try to make every r/s permanent. Let them take their course naturally. Allow the r/s to be give and take, not just you give, they take.

You sound very level-headed and mature. You are still healing from your r/s and need time to heal. Work on healing you and you will feel much more ready to get out there and date and find the right person.
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2012, 02:23:11 PM »

You definitely have some very good insight...I am 47, and no way could have written or realized what you have.  I just looked up some self-esteem stuff on the internet and came across this very simple phrase: "If you have low self-esteem then you are better than you think you are."

So, as jessicapuppy says above, you seem like a real catch!  I know it's hard to incorporate what people tell you into your own thinking.  After reading some signs of low self-esteem, I know I have it, too.  I know that most everything about me is good, and that I am a catch, too, but feeling that way vs. thinking that about yourself are two different things.  I think that I am a good catch when I verbalize all the reasons why, but I don't necessarily "feel" like a good catch.

What is one thing that you think you can do to build your self-esteem?

“The path to heaven doesn't lie down in flat miles. It's in the imagination with which you perceive this world, and the gestures with which you honor it." ~ Mary Oliver

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« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2012, 01:19:51 AM »

I am also close to 50, but I can certainly relate to your situation.

Most people would not believe I had low self esteem. I have no problem having a presentation for a hall full of experts in a subject I do not fully know. However starting a r/s is really a challenge.  smiley

I have no problem getting in contact with women, or having close and intimate conversations with them. But the step beyond that is very much a mystery to me. Most times we end up being close friends, until she is starting to date a "kind of bad guy", who she admit she is very attracted to, but who she do not really believe in a r/s with. I had lots of female close friends when younger, but it took until I was 23 before I got my first kiss.

The start of my four r/s, through 25 years, show a pattern. Two through pen pal and internet dating, and two through introduction by my previous ex (they told me they wanted to help me along after the breakup). All my partners have been very satisfied with the r/s and told me I am a "dream of partner". But it has always taken at least half a year from meeting first time before they started to be really "attracted" to me. The same was true for my xpwBPD (second last r/s), but when she got, she really was a sweet treat, making my self esteem sky high (before crashing it below ground level). All four of them have been rather extraordinary women who I am lucky to have met, even though I am glad my pwBPD experience lasted less than a year, she gave me a few good experiences and a lot of valuable insights into myself.

I have kind of realized that I will never be a man women get attracted to in an instant. However, I have learnt that I can attract women, given some time, and I can also afford to be very specific in who I actually want to start a r/s with. My r/s after my xpwBPD was hard to start. I certainly missed the idolization and intense passion, but it is now slowly moving along and gradually growing more intimate.

Well, I do not know if it helps you. But in my experience it is possible to meet very nice women and have very good experiences, even if you have very low self esteem when it comes to dating and starting r/s. My advice is to be yourself, give it time and be really picky about who you want to be in a r/s with. I certainly do not believe in "love at first sight". It has never worked in my favor, but often the opposite.

The advice from Jessicapuppy sounds good to me!

« Last Edit: March 01, 2012, 01:33:32 AM by Upnorth » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2012, 06:51:43 PM »

Hey thankyou for all your responses!

Jessicapuppy that was really sweet of you to say that! I think up till now i have not at all, not even once thought about what i want from a partner! Apart from the obvious companionship and fun and sex. It was always about me trying to be good enough and feel wanted/needed. Every girl i liked i didnt think well shes ok, this is good this is bad, i like this about her...I would just be thinking i hope she likes me...

Aquarian thanks for sharing, my dad is a strange one. He is very nice but at the same time, especially when i was younger, would make me very angry. He would always shout. He was very much a dictator and didnt show he cared much about my feelings, just making sure i knew what i should do in life and how to succeed! So i suppose i did feel a bit like i needed to measure up to what he wanted.

Want2know thanks for that. I am mature and level headed as people tell me this. But i still doubt it! When my T said i was good at conveying stuff i said to her i thought i was terrible at it and didnt really believe her. So strange how this happens. I am reading a self help book and am trying to change my body language and clothes i wear so i think thats a start! Thanks

Upnorth thanks thats really interesting. Its funny how we can see ourselves one way even when we get feedback from other people that is the complete opposite! And evenr worse not believe them when they tell us. My expwpdb was certainly in control of my self asteem! Even though i did not realise it at the time and struggle to really acknowledge it fully now. Im sure we can all relate to that, the sky highs and hellish lows...Be myself is certainly good advice.

So i have started trying to work on myself and build my self confidence. I visited a friend at his university, went out, got drunk and managed to kiss a girl in a club! I was very drunk and so was she. It didnt go any further despite my trying. Its kind of normal i guess but if im in a good mood and get very drunk i can be chatty and charming and very at ease which allows me to be funny and have a real laugh.

This proves (kind of) that i am attractive enough to attract women. However my mind is still plagued with self doubt! So strange.

I want to get to the stage when i am not caring about what anyone thinks of me without a bottle of wine, a few beers and a few shots!

I have been listening and reading to a self help book designed to change ones self image and help people gain confidence (i wont specify which one as i dont want to sound like im plugging anything!) It focuses on re-programming your mind, with small daily activities and a half hour CD. After listening to the CD i immediately crashed, felt low and had zero energy so had to take a nap. Its strange as this was exactly how i felt after my first session with my T 5 weeks ago. In that first session when i was detailing stuff about my life and insecurities i literally started shacking it was horrible.

Anyway then later tonight, having listened to the cd in the day i had my weekly 5 a side football game. What can i say the cd seems to have had an effect! I was much more breezy in my actions and communication, made some jokes and lead my teamates to an effective victory! Constantly shouting orders and giving encouragement. That felt like me as an uninhibited me. I felt good enough in myself to encourage others.

The book talks about getting back to my "authentic self" and tonight i honestly felt more like that. I felt empowered to lead my team, confident enough to act how i want and thoroughly enjoyed it. I did still feel like i needed validation/to impress people slightly but i certainly felt a hell of a lot better tonight than i have in ages!

Its remarkable that it had seemingly had an affect already.

I have also recently learnt that communication is 90% non verbal! 90% are you joking! So i have been trying to be aware at all times of my posture, my stride, my body language, my eye movements and what im wearing. Doing things like standing up straight with hand at my side, sitting back when sitting, engaging people when meeting them for the first time and am going shopping tomorrow to buy some new clothes for a night out that i may previously have shyed away from. I am going to wear shoes and silver suit trousers and possibly a shirt. Im sure my friends will make comments about my appearance as i would not normally wear that! And when i sit down tomorrow i am going to lean waaaaaaaay back, put one arm round the chair next to me and spread out all of my 6ft8 frame!

Apparently we project what we think of ourselves by our body language and effectively tell people how to treat us. Im going to start trying to tell people that i am important, happy, confident and that they want to get to know me. Whereas before i would lean forward, slouch, fiddle, shuffle, touch my face etc etc. It has just never actually been pointed out to me that body language can say so much.

Im not getting ahead of myself, i know this isnt going to work overnight. But i guess its kind of like going to the gym. If i went to the gym for 2 months i would improve my body but then if i stopped it would go back to normal. If i want to get the body i want then i will have to exercise, work out and eat healthy everyday for the rest of my life (which i have been doing most days since splitting from my expwbd and today a friend pointed out that i was looking like id lost weight and bulked up a bit smiley...)

Soo if i want my mind to work in a certain way i am going to have to keep trying to eliminate my own self doubt that has got me to where i am today and change my self image into being what i actually want to be like. It sounds a bit cheesy all this self help stuff and i know its not a magic formula. But the positive thing is i can recognise that i am not as happy as i thought i was, that i constantly look for the approval of others to feel good about myself and that i do have low self asteem. Even more positive is that i want to change and i feel as though i have the tools to do that (or the best tools i could realistically get) being my T, my self help books and this website!

I could not tell this to a friend/family member (not yet anyway) and you've all gone through something similar to me so i am so grateful to have you all listening and giving your thoughts.

Im about to listen to the cd again, go to bed, and hopefully tomorrow have a good night out. I want to relax and be myself BEFORE i get drunk, and then have more and more fun as i get more and more drunk!

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« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2012, 05:41:41 AM »

Want2know thanks for that. I am mature and level headed as people tell me this. But i still doubt it! When my T said i was good at conveying stuff i said to her i thought i was terrible at it and didnt really believe her. So strange how this happens.

I could not tell this to a friend/family member (not yet anyway) and you've all gone through something similar to me so i am so grateful to have you all listening and giving your thoughts.

Im about to listen to the cd again, go to bed, and hopefully tomorrow have a good night out. I want to relax and be myself BEFORE i get drunk, and then have more and more fun as i get more and more drunk!

It's funny because I can write my feelings and thoughts much easier than say them in the moment.  Plus, like you said, it's easier to do that with people who you know have had similar experiences, like us on this board. 

Hope you have a great weekend!  Day by day...  

“The path to heaven doesn't lie down in flat miles. It's in the imagination with which you perceive this world, and the gestures with which you honor it." ~ Mary Oliver


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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2012, 09:22:23 AM »

Had a pretty terrible night...didnt enjoy it all that much or feel like i could be myself...still looking for validation and felt as though some people didnt want to talk to me at all...

Then i lost my iphone 4S on the train, think it was stolen...And when i wake up find that my dog has chewed my brand new shoes to bits sad...added to that i got 3 points on my drivers licence this week for driving without due care and attention..

I really feel like my luck is not in at the moment
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2012, 10:26:22 AM »

Hi Tonyyeboah

You sound like you've had one of my typical days  lol

I'm really sorry it was such a bad night/morning for you   

With regards to the phone, shoes and driving license...in my experience, stuff like that tend to come in threes, so that should be it for you now!  It should be your turn for some better luck   smiley

Sometimes when I've been at my lowest, things like that have come along and felt like someone was trying to really kick me when I was down!  It's a horrible feeling.  Of course, it's not true, it's not like anyone is out to get us, but that does't matter when we are feeling that way!

What matters is that you tried!  You went out there and you gave it your best.  That's all any of us can do, and if you keep trying you will get there eventually.

I thought I'd mention a couple of books that you might want to have a read of:

Instant Confidence - by Paul McKenna (book and CD)

Change Your Life in Seven Days - Paul McKenna (book and CD & DVD)

Paul's book 'I Can Mend Your Broken Heart' helped me so much when my exbf with BPD & NPD dumped me.  I think he's really good.

I'm a great believer of us having to think positive in order to get positive.  When I think of some of the hard times I've been through (and to an extent still am going through), the only think that has kept me going is the belief that one day, things are going to get better.

I wonder if your dog has a bit of anxiety?  They pick up on us being low, and so perhaps yours is doing that.  Chewing is a common outlet for a dog's anxiety.  I realise we're not here to support your dog  lol  but I'm a dog trainer and so I notice things like that   smiley

So...what to do now...

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again tomorrow  Doing the right thing     That's all any of us can do, because the alternative is not pretty!

You are stronger than you think, and good times are around the corner 



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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2012, 07:25:21 AM »

Hey Jessicapuppy thanks for your reply!

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again tomorrow      That's all any of us can do, because the alternative is not pretty!

You are stronger than you think, and good times are around the corner

Thats really nice to hear! You are right that is all i can really do so i will do it...still managed to drag myself to the gym yesterday and things cant exactly get much worse  rolleyes...haha

Unfortunately my family dog is 3 quarters yorkshire terrier and 1 quarter chiwawa! So she is way too small and way to cute to stay angry with! Thats interesting what you say though. We all agree that whenever one of us is feeling down that our dog can "sense" it and will come and sit with us. What sort of dogs do you train? Our one is so cute she gets away with a lot and all she really recognises are: "sit" "walk" and "who's that!"

Funnily enough i bought those exact books and the one i have been reading is change your life in 7 days. Didn't read it yesterday due to being pissed off but today i will resume reading. I think i will be on day 3 today...

So yes i guess thats life really isnt it, i still wnat to change and be more positive/confident so will keep trying. The thing that annoys me most is the wanting people to like me. The overlap between having confidence, being cool, being happy, doing what i want, having good social skills and wanting people to like me/want their approval makes things more confusing.

Plus i was out with old friends so feel more inhibited in some ways but in others not. I would be curious to think what they actually thought of me although in fairness they probably didnt really notice or care purely because they were only interested in having a good time themselves...blah blah blah lol...i also think that going out more is something i should probably do just to make me more at ease in general.

Also yesterday at the gym when i was feeling sht i had a nice little chat with a girl that works there who i had spoken to previously (since reading paul mkenna) when i was feeling positive. So thats a little indication of that phrase "what you put out into the world comes back to you" or whatever it is.

Anyway thankyou again for your kind words and heres hoping for a better week!

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