Tag Archives: low self esteem

Knowing Your Worth

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Ocassionally I have a woman come into the blog thinking the man they are in love with is a narcissist because he won’t commit. I have to tell them that just because a man won’t commit does not make them a narcissist. For one thing a narcissist is not that honest. There is nothing wrong with a man for not wanting a commitment. Maybe he should stop seeing a woman who he knows wants a commitment but if he is honest and the woman keeps coming around, screwing him, cooking for him etc even after he has repeatedly told her he will never commit, can you really blame him for taking what she is giving? She obviously doesn’t respect herself or her own boundaries, is it up to him to do it for her? I suppose he should but in reality very few men will. She would call him a narcissist and be angry either way for rejected her.
News flash!! Not everyone is going to love you.
The following is my reply to a woman asking me how she can break away from a man she has been seeing for 3 years who won’t commit and never pretended he ever would commit.

Jane, I am not a trained professional therapist so I am not qualified to counsel you, I can only give you my personal opinion. Plus, I know absolutely nothing about you, your past or how your personal relationships are and have been in the past.
I am guessing this is a pattern in your life, with all people; not just in romantic relationships.
I would guess that one or both your parents were critical or distant and no matter how hard you tried you were never able to win their love and approval, you were never “good enough”.
You were the “people pleaser”, the “fixer”, always doing for others and derived your self worth from the praise of others. Sacrificing your own well being, being a martyr, all in the name of being “loved”. But never learning that you were being used and taken advantage of, not loved.
Most narcissists are not as honest as this man, they profess total commitment but lead a double life, often having many women at one time, all believing he is committed to them and that is where the victim gets sucked in. If the narc would have been honest they would have left the relationship.
The fact that you stay knowing the truth tells me that you rely on other people to give you value.
It is human nature to want to be liked, in fact we tend to try harder to please people who don’t seen to like us. No one likes rejection.
But most people wont stick around to be rejected time and time again. You do not love this man, you have made him your “value gauge”. If you can make him commit then you have value, you are worthy, enough, loved.
The truth is; what he thinks of you has absolutely nothing to do with your value, worth or whether you are loveable.
He has every right to not want to commit, and he shouldn’t continue to sleep with you knowing you want a commitment but most men don’t do the right thing and if he tells you he will never commit and you keep coming around he’s going to take what you keep giving.
You are not the victim of a narcissist, you are a victim of your own inability to defend your boundaries.
You want to be loved and have worth but you have attached your self worth to being loved. Your value has absolutely NOTHING to do with who loves you. You are willing to give up your boundaries, what you stand for; in order to be loved and have value. But you fail to realize that in order to be loved you must be loved for who you are, not the pretzel you contort yourself into, not for the things you are willing to give up but for the things you stand up for. If you don’t respect yourself and who you are (boundaries define who you are) you won’t be respected by others. Respect is essential in any loving relationship, in any relationship period. If you don’t have boundaries and defend them how do you ever feel loved for who you are? How do you ever trust yourself to not be disrespected and used?
Loved based on how much you are willing to sacrifice is never real love, it is never secure and you never feel fulfilled and empowered. You always doubt it.
The way to ensure you don’t get involved with a narcissist is to stop dating until you stop deriving your self worth from a man and know your value without being told you have value. When you love yourself, for all your perceived “flaws”, and are willing to walk away from any man who doesn’t appreciate you for who you are, you will continue to get hurt.
I suggest you stop trying to figure out what the man wants, stop trying to be the woman you think the man wants and start looking at men from the perspective of; is this the type of man I want? Is this man worthy of MY love, is this man’s values in line with MY values? I think you need to find a good therapist who can help you do that.
I know it is scary to let go of this guy and be alone but until you can be comfortable alone and truly enjoy your own company you will repeat history.

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Why Am I Not Enough?

I received this heart wrenching comment on the blog yesterday and wanted to address it in a stand alone post because, although it doesn’t happen often, I have had other women come in the blog with the same issue. First let’s read the comment from “Jane” and then I will discuss it.

“From the start he told me he wanted a one sided intimate thing with me and no relationship like girlfriend boyfriend. the narc was married once.From the start I cared for him and went along with this nightmare.He is cold aloof angry and says he has no feelings for anyone including me.He doesn’t like any closeness and the intimacy is for him only without being graphic.L can’t sleep at his house.Only please him there and he takes me home.No hanging out or staying at his house.From his bedroom to his car to home.Why does he act this way? Do you think he was hurt by some female and now protecting himself from me? That’s not a typical narc because they have no feelings.I’m looking for excuses for why I am staying with him.Why do I care for a man who treats me like dirt and everytime I go home from seeing him I cry and so depressed.I feel so alone and empty and horrible but yet I can’t leave him.Why is he putting this cold,onesided wall between us.Please can you explain why he doesn’t want a relationship with me but had one when he was married. I am always sad and feel like I’m dead inside.I’m not happy like I was before I met him.Why do I care for him? Can you tell me please?”

Jane, your pain and confusion is heart wrenching and it’s very obvious how unhappy you are. I am sorry you, for whatever reason; feel you are not deserving of love and respect and have spent the last 18 months with a man who treats you with less respect than he would a prostitute. I hate to put it that bluntly but there is not much more a man could do to a woman to prove she is worthless to him. A prostitute has control, she chooses when she will have sex and how much she will charge, she decides what sex acts she will perform and which ones she won’t. A prostitute has no expectations of the relationship going any where and she is quite happy to take her pay for services rendered and go home. The man you are seeing is not even giving you the respect of valuing the sex he gets from you. Is it any wonder you go home and are depressed, crying and feel horrible about yourself, yet you continue to see him. Why? Very good question.

I am not a professional therapist and I know nothing about your past, if this is history repeating itself with every relationship you have had or if you were abused as a child, felt abandoned as a child etc And we certainly don’t have the time to get into all that here. I think you would benefit greatly if you got into therapy with a reputable counselor and investigate why you find it so hard to set boundaries, demand respect and would settle for a man who treats you like garbage.

All I can do is touch on the generic reasons for you to be in this relationship and feel you can not walk away. I think I will do it in point form for the sake of brevity, not importance.

  1. I am not going to discuss the reasons I think he does the things he does because I don’t see him as the one with issues. I am not convinced he is even a narcissist. Everyone is calling everyone else a narcissist these days, it is the go to buzz word whenever a person gets hurt, the person doing the hurting must be a narcissist. No, sometimes they are just not that into you. I will tell you what I told my son when he started dating and having sex.

I explained that women tend to give sex for love and women find it very hard to just have casual sex. Men can have sex with anyone whether they are really attracted to the person or not but women are different, when they have sex, chemicals are released that make them more trusting and fall in love more easily. It is human nature, nothing you can do about it. I do not believe you have to wait until marriage to have sex but you do have to be honest. Never tell a woman you love her in order to get her into bed, as long as you are honest about your intentions it is her responsibility to say no or accept that it is just sex without strings.  That said there are women who will tell you that they are fine with casual sex when they really aren’t, not many women can have no strings attached sex. If you see that happening you need to end the relationship because she is going to get hurt and even if you were honest and tell her a dozen times you are not interested in a relationship,every time you have sex with her she is going to think maybe you love her. Some women will just not accept the truth and it would be wrong to take advantage of that. (I want to put a caveat in here. I always had a very open and honest relationship with my son, not all men, especially older men would have heard that kind of advice coming from their mom) I also told my son to be sure to use protection at all times because there are women out there who will be so intent on making a relationship happen, they will purposely get pregnant.

In my heart I really do believe a woman, especially a middle aged woman; needs to be responsible for her own happiness and well being and if a man tells her he is not interested in anything more than casual sex on his terms she has to either accept that (fine, we are all adults nothing wrong with a sexual relationship if that is what they both want) or move on.

2. There are a couple of red flags of a narcissistic relationship that are consistent through all narcissistic relationships and they are;

  • they are all pathological liars
  • it is always a whirlwind romance in the beginning. They can’t gt enough of you, they thought they had been in love before but now they know what true love is, you are soul mates, you are perfect, he wants to be with you constantly, professing his undying love. It might not last long because as soon as the narcissist feels he has the victim firmly hooked he will start the devaluing stage

Those two elements are not in your relationship from what you have told me so I tend to think he is exactly what he told you he is; he doesn’t want a relationship, he just wants sex. If you are going to tolerate that why should he change? He is getting exactly what he said he wanted, you are the one being dishonest. You are the one who has spent the last 18 months wondering why he doesn’t love you and what is wrong with you when you should be saying, “This man can not give me what I need. I need to move on so I can find  a man prepared to and capable of giving me what I need.”

3. He has done nothing to warrant your love and devotion. You have created a fantasy love relationship with him in your mind. It does not exist. Victims of narcissistic abuse are led to believe the N loves them with all his heart, they are promised forever, he is their knight in shining armor so they have a basis for their love and it is embedded in their brain by the narcissist and when he withdraws his affection the victim tries to win back his love. But in your case he didn’t lie, he didn’t pretend, he was straight up honest and you created the whole fantasy in your own head. For 18 months you have pined away for a love that isn’t there and imagined how wonderful it would be to be in love and in a relationship with him, if only he loved you. Do you see the problem here? You are refusing to accept him for who he is. You were attracted to a man, and randomly you have created your fantasy love relationship in your head with him. You are in love with someone who is only in your head, he doesn’t exist any where but in your own mind and you have brain washed yourself to believe that if only this man would love you the two of you would ride off into the sunset happily ever after.

4. Our brains only know what we put in it. We say things like “I can’t stop thinking about him” “I can’t stop obsessing.” But we can, we control our brains, not the other way around. We are born with a blank slate and our brains store information from the day we are born to the day we die. We all get fed misinformation throughout our life and we believe lies about ourselves or other people. Every thought we have, every reaction we have comes from the information we have been given in some form or another throughout our life. I suspect that at some point in your early life you were made to feel you were not worthy of love and being treated with respect. That you had to give sex in order to get love. You have the power to change the way you view things. You created the relationship, you are the only one who can uncreate it. It will take effort on your part, but every time you find yourself thinking you love him and can’t walk away, stop yourself (every time you think a thought you bury it deeper in your psyche and the quicker your mind will go there. It is a vicious cycle that only you can stop) and tell yourself the truth. Literally write it out and say it out loud to yourself whenever you start thinking you love him and can’t live without him. Something like this

“He does not love me and has given me no reason to love him. I deserve and am worth so much more than what he can give me. He has proven to me that he is incapable of loving me. That does not mean I am unlovable or that I am flawed in any way. This is not love and I do not need it in my life. I am capable of protecting myself, I am strong, I am a grown woman who deserves to be treated with respect.” Keep saying it over and over again, or any other version of the same thing, as long as it reinforces you are enough, you are strong etc and not listing all your flaws.

5. You seem to think that because he was once married he is capable of love and commitment and that there must be something wrong with you if he doesn’t love you. Did you ever think that maybe he wasn’t any different in his marriage and that is why he is no longer married? Maybe he was a cold bastard to his wife and she finally left him and he was smart enough to realize he doesn’t like being married and he should be honest about that with women? Marriage does not indicate an ability to love and be faithful. A 30 year marriage does not indicate two happy people, ask anyone who was married to a narcissist for 10-20-30 years. You really are creating a whole person in your head and running on misguided truths.

6. Another possibility is that you are actually afraid of commitment and true honest intimacy,  so you seek out men who are unable to commit, keeping yourself “safe”. Purposely picking a man who reject you right from the start of the relationship protects you from ever truly opening up and exposing your most vulnerable areas and being rejected for it.

It is human nature to want to be loved and wanted, we are born needy and with any luck we are raised by parents who ensure we always know we are loved and accepted, who encourage us to express our feelings and be the best version of us we can be. But humans are fallible, our parents are packing baggage from their past that they may inadvertently unload on us. They may have unrealistic expectations of who we should be and not allow us to develop into our own person. Other people may be raised to believe love is conditional, or that we are totally unlovable no matter how hard we try to be what they want. Maybe your parents were perfect but you were abused my a relative, or teacher, or you were raped and never dealt with the after math or were made to feel it was your fault. There is endless reasons why you may feel you are not worthy of love not even respect. I truly feel that if you find out what these lies are that you believe about yourself and have subconsciously reinforced your whole life, you will find the answer to why you can’t walk away.

What can you do about it right now?

I know it is easier said than done; but you really need to go no contact. Without explanation or excuses or ultimatums. You need to take a break from any relationship and find out who you are and why you don’t like yourself.

Dr Phil said one time, “We teach people how to treat us.” and it is very true. This fellow you are seeing treats you the way he does because you let him. You think that if you don’t give him what he wants when he wants it, he will leave you. You don’t realize that you would not be losing anything. Neither would he, because he has nothing invested in the relationship, he can always find a woman for sex. Don’t you want a man who enjoys all of you? values you and worries as much about losing you as you worry about losing him? A love relationship where both people are invested and you are not the only one. Love does not hurt like this, co-dependency hurts like this, unmet expectations hurts like this, not living true to your core being hurts like hell, not having boundaries hurts, never having your feelings considered hurts, BUT the most hurtful thing happening in your life right now is the lies you are telling yourself about yourself. I am sure you would not let a friend carry on with a man like this knowing she is short changing herself and allowing herself to be abused and used. Do you have a daughter? wouldn’t it break your heart to see her lower herself to this level? Have as much compassion for yourself as you would anyone else.

We are here as moral support any time.

Hugs

Carrie