I’ve always struggled with low self esteem, for so long in fact that for many years I just assumed that was the norm and that everyone thought that way. That kind of thinking is all pervasive, it colours every area of your existence and it can still, to be honest, colour mine, however much work I do on myself. I’ve done cbt in various guises, online, books, one to one and in groups but, however much work I do on myself, it is still there, that gnawing feeling in the depths of my being that I am worth sod all. I can manage it better now, I avoid narcisists wherever I can now, those soulless empty shopfronts of people who act like they are the centre of the world and suck the life out of everyone else in the process. I avoid bullies too, as well as self righteous people and indeed anyone who intentionally or unintentionally damages me with their excessive demands or toxic view of the world.
One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make was to cut a family member out of my life, they put me through humiliating situation after situation, making me do demeaning things, shouting and screaming at me, making me feel like dirt over and over again. Yet I clung on, thinking that they would improve, they would change… They never did. Then once the fateful day came that I finally snapped, my life turned around, it was so much better without this negative force in my life. I’ve had a couple of friendships like this too in my time and, in both cases, their absence finally was the best thing about them.
The hardest thing though, as someone with low self esteem, is becoming involved with someone whose is far worse than yours. I have learnt the hard way to avoid toxic people and situations but the problems start when you let someone in your life without those kinds of filters. It’s like someone unintentionally treading dogshit in on their shoes onto your brand new cream coloured carpet. You can, if you aren’t careful, be left in a position where you have to compete for attention with the vilest of people. It’s impossible to compete against the kind of predators that are attracted to those with low self esteem, they can never have enough attention, it’s like trying to fill up a black hole with a thimble. The only thing I can do is keep my head down, get on with my stuff and pray for a miracle to happen. It probably won’t though.
It’s a sad day when the list of people and activities you seem to be less important than reads like something out of a Tom Sharpe novel or the works of Jonathan Swift. An effluent stream of grotesqueries, each more ridiculous than the one before. It takes a lot to understand, under those circumstances, that it really isn’t about you and all you can do is stand back and wait for the inevitable disaster to befall and hope it is in terms of months rather than years in the coming. There are other options, but none I like very much.
Although it is a contradiction in terms, I am quite positive for a depressed and therefore negative person, I have a basic faith in human nature but in having that faith you open yourself up for disappointment. I also believe in the power of love, fool that I am. I believe in right and wrong and I genuinely feel that people can change for the better… And yet…
And yet the world seems to constantly prove otherwise.