Tag Archives: self worth

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.

When Will I Be My Old Self Again?

I hate to break it to you but you will never be your old self again, nor should you, for many good reasons. Here are a few reasons why you should take this opportunity to become the new and improved you.

1. Your old self got you into this mess in the first place, lets hope we all are wiser and stronger people for the experience. No experience in life is a waste as long as you learn and grow from it, don’t waste this chance to do some major personal growth.

2. Being naive and oblivious to the evils of the world gives us a false sense of security, and feeling secure is something everyone wants. We want to believe everyone has a good side, that bad things happen to other people, not us, evil people are in the movies and live somewhere else. We liked thinking we would be able to detect if someone was evil, we also used to believe in Santa Claus; but we all have to grow up and face reality some time.

3. Dwelling on the past and all you lost is only going to make you unhappy. Wishing things were different will only make you unhappy, you can’t change the past but you can change how you handle the future.

4. You can’t fix anyone else, you can’t change anyone else, but you have total control over how you live and if you live true to yourself and your core beliefs no one can ever make you feel guilty, less than, or that you don’t deserve to be happy.

5. No one, no matter how much you love them; has the right to expect you to compromise your principles or your well being. 

6. On the same note, to expect someone else to make you happy or feel valued is giving them too much responsiblity and pressure. I know I sure the hell don’t want the responsibility of someone else’s happiness and self worth.

7. It is not your fault you got sucked in by a narcissist because you didn’t know better, but now you do know better and need to figure out how to avoid it happening again. The scarest part for me was the thought that I had totally been a victim and had no control over what happened to me, it meant I had no control over it happening again. I HAD to find a way where I had control over what people did to me, I could not go the rest of my life helplessly reacting to life and the actions of others. 

(To not take some responsibility for it is setting yourself up for a life of fear and unhappiness. You are relying on luck to keep you safe and saying to yourself, “you are helpless to protect yourself”, then wonder why you keep getting hurt. There are women who go through life lamenting, “Why do I keep meeting assholes?” We all meet assholes, assholes are every where, the question should be, “Why do you stay with them?”)

8. Living true to your core values, having “deal breaker” boundaries, not sacrificing your happiness and security is NOT being selfish, it is being smart and it protects you from being a victim. Love is NOT sacrificing yourself, your values, your security, your morality. If someone says, “If you really loved me you would do this thing I ask.”  rephrase it and say, “If you really loved me you would not expect me to do something or accept something that I do not feel comfortable with.”

9. Some where along the way, during our upbringing, someone instilled in us that we are not complete or valueable without a partner in our life, that a bad relationship is better than no relationship at all. That is straight bullshit!! 

I am not a man hater, I am not the least bit bitter or jaded about relationships, a relationship can be wonderful, sharing your life with someone can be fantastic, a shoulder to lean on when life gets you down, someone to share the good times and weather the bad times with. I liked being part of a “couple”,  when a relationship is healthy there is nothing better but there is nothing worse than feeling alone when you aren’t, or always having to fight for your right to feel a certain way, there is nothing comforting about having to snoop to see if your spouse is being faithful, you should be able to trust your partner’s word, you should be able to trust your partner’s promises, you should be able to trust your own recollection of events and not be told you are crazy or paranoid. None of those things are part of a healthy loving relationship, and if you stay with that person, you never will have a healthy relationship.

10. You owe it to yourself and any future partner to take the time now to heal present and past hurts, deal with that inner voice that says you are not good enough, learn to set boundaries, YOUR deal breaker boundaries, learn to listen to your gut, to block the negative shit we have been told about ourselves, learn how to live a true and honest life in every area of your life. Stop being what you have been told you should be and start being the person you are meant to be. I guarantee you that if you start living life true to your core self you will know your worth and no one will ever be able to make you feel less than again, you will have less and less self doubt, and you WILL find inner peace. 

I recommend taking at least a year or two after a narcissist to heal before dating. If the thought of that makes you feel panicked and anxious, then you most definitely need to take a couple of years. If you need to find a man because you think the clock is ticking and time is running out for you to have a child, or you feel you can’t support yourself, or you can’t survive without a man, or all your friends are married and you feel like odd man out, and especially if you find yourself trying to be the kind of woman the man wants instead of being honest with yourself and him and admitting early on when the man is not the kind of man you want in your life. Too many times women bend over backwards trying to be what the man wants and making excuses for his unacceptable behaviour because they just started dating and don’t want to appear demanding or bitchy. 

I have actually had women come into the blog complaining because a guy doesn’t treat her with respect and at the same time describe how he got blind drunk their first date, she slept with him on the first date and she has been concerned about his drink all along, he has a warped sense of humor and expects her to come to his place for sex and then leave. He has never pretended to be in love with her and she is calling him a narcissist. No, you are a door mat that won’t demand a man treat you with respect. I think it was Dr Phil, or Oprah that said, “We teach people how to treat us.” And it is the truth. We teach people how to treat us by what we accept, asking for respect is not the same as demanding respect and being prepared to walk if you don’t get it.

So, please don’t wish to be your old self ………… strive to be your best self and make it a life long journey

Eleven Things I Wish My 30’s Self Had Known

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If you could go back in time and change things, what would you change?

Because of the ripple effect I probably wouldn’t change a thing because it would mean giving up something else. Even with my experience with my ex, as horrible as it was; I wouldn’t change anything because it taught me so much about myself that I probably would not have learned otherwise.

Plus I used to lose sleep worrying that I would never find my purpose for being here on earth and I believe it is through my experiences in the past I am able to live my purpose through this blog and other outlets, like Quora.

Things DO happen for a reason, even if we can’t see that reason at the time that it is happening, later we realize there were very clear steps to getting where we are.

That said, this is what I wish I would have known 30 years ago, it is hard earned knowledge, will any 20-30 year old listen to me? I doubt it, growing up takes time and experience, some people are slow learners, some never learn and some people are too afraid to dig deep enough for real personal growth.

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#1. I wish I would have known how pretty I was while I was still pretty so I could have enjoyed it. (That may sound egotistical, but I think it is a common problem with women and men; we don’t realize how great we are just the way we are, that is understandable when you look at social media, magazine covers, etc)

A few years back I was looking through old photos at a friend’s house and kept coming across pictures of my ex husband snuggled up to the same sexy redhead. I was starting to get pissed, “who was this bitch?? and where was I??” Then I remembered I used to dye my hair red and it was me!

My brother and I were talking one day when I mentioned that, I was shocked when he agreed with me and said he wished he would have known how attractive he was when he was younger. I had always thought he was so confident. He had never had a hard time getting women, he was good looking and very charming his whole life. I had been the one who could always find flaws with myself and had been shy.

What difference would it have made in my life? Instead of dating more, I would have dated a lot less because I wouldn’t have been deriving my self worth from the men in my life. I have wasted a phenomenal amount of time thinking and worrying about men. Long before I met my ex, I would be immobilized waiting for the phone to ring, spend hours upon hours discussing with friends, “what do you think he meant by that?”, “Do you think he likes me?”, “Will he call?”, “Why hasn’t he called?”, “Should I call?” and then he would call and I would go on a date and wonder if he had a good time, did I say anything stupid? Omg! hours and hours wasted on dating guys I didn’t even particularly like.

#2. Your mind lies to you. I didn’t know this until I was in my early 50’s. I spent years as an anorexic/bulimic, from about 17 until I was in my 30’s. When I looked in the mirror I saw a fat person. I always felt grossly overweight, I put myself through hell. I finally joined a gym, started working out and drop kicked my scale out the back door, but it took years, I mean years! before I could look in the mirror and not think I looked fat. I was looking through old photos the other day and I was never fat!

So, if my mind could lie to me about the way I looked it could also lie to me about the narcissist is my life, or that I needed the narcissist, couldn’t live without him, and I just had to retrain my brain to think otherwise.

#3. Other people lie to you, even the people who love you, they don’t necessarily mean to do you harm, but your brain only knows the information it is fed; if you are fed erroneous information early in life you could grow up feeling like an imposter or feeling less than. You are not what other people say you are. No one knows who you truly are at the core, even you probably don’t know. I went most of my life not living true to my core self. I did certain things because I had been told I was that way by my father, mother, teachers, boyfriends, it was not until my ex totally broke me and I had to put myself back together that I realized I wasn’t being me. I spent so much time feeling like I was a fraud and people were going to pick up on the fact that I was not perfect and hate me. My house had to be spotless, I had to be skinny, I had to be the best mom, sister, daughter, employee, cook, host, and I drove myself crazy in the attempt. (psst…..no one is perfect, it isn’t even possible!)

My father used to bitch about my mom and even said to me, “You won’t be like your mother, you will always want sex and will want to please the man in your life.” “If you aren’t good I will take your brother and leave.” My mom used to criticize other people and say, “You would never do that.” “You will always keep your house clean.” “I wonder why that guy asked you out”, she was always on some new diet and talking about being fat.

I had some pretty fucked up beliefs about myself. I went to counselling and had come along way by the time I met my ex, but a narcissist is an expert on picking up on a person’s tender spots and I was unprepared for his insidious wearing away of my self confidence. It wasn’t until I was totally broken that I discovered who I am at the core and found my true core values.

#4. Being sensitive is NOT a flaw!! This is a  HUGE one!! OMG!!! my whole life I was told I was too sensitive, like it was a bad thing. The world needs sensitive people to balance it out. Where would the world be without sensitive people, we would all be a bunch of Trumps! But it is not an excuse for letting yourself get caught up with an asshole either. You have to learn to know when you are being played for a fool and when you aren’t. Often times I hear a victim say, “I can’t help it, I am sensitive, it’s just the way I am.” Everyone can change or learn to control certain behaviors that are unhealthy for them.

#5. It is not my job to make sure everyone is happy, safe and not suffering. I can not and do not have to fix the world.  If someone has a problem, I don’t have to fix it. In fact, by always taking control and fixing things for everyone I was sending them the message that I didn’t think they were capable.

#6. Not everyone is going to like you. You don’t like everyone, you don’t have to, and neither does anyone else. There are going to be people who like you, love you, hate you and who are indifferent to you; none of it reflects your worth. It just means we are all different. The people who have to be “right”, which makes you “wrong” are narrow minded and limiting; try to surround yourself with people who don’t have to be right and can appreciate other’s differences. And just because you have a different value or  belief does not make you special or right and the other person wrong. I learned the hard way that judgements have a way of coming back to bite you in the ass.

#7. You don’t have to make decisions immediately and it is ok to change your mind, especially if the person you have made plans with changes the rules. If someone is pressuring you to make a decision, it is probably because they are afraid that if you think about it too long you will realize it is not a good idea and not in your best interest. The best thing to do when you don’t know what to do; is nothing. Things have a way of working out on their own.(It may not be the resolution WE wanted, but there will be a resolution, and it will be the right resolution) Often times when we rush to make a decision it’s because we know it is wrong and if we wait we won’t get what we want. A great example is when the ex narc comes back loving bombing the victim wanting them to try again, making all sorts of promises and the victim feels pressured to say yes. Pressure from the narc but pressure from themselves also; they are afraid that if they don’t say yes right away they will lose the narc. If you lose the narc because you needed time for him to prove he is a changed man, to build your trust again, and prove he is a man of his word; well that is your answer right there.

#8. I am not invincible or better able to recover from hardship than the next person; but I am far stronger than I ever knew or gave myself credit for. You don’t know how strong you are until you are on the other side. When you think you can’t survive remember, you already are. If it was easy, we wouldn’t need strength. Just like a bodybuilder doesn’t know how much weight he can lift until he lifts it and the more he lifts the more he can lift. You don’t know what you are capable of surviving until you do it and the more you go through the stronger those emotional muscles get. All you have to do is look at where you came from to know you are strong enough. If you focus on repeating over and over again, “I am not strong enough” you will feel weak, if you focus on, “I have been surviving for X amount of time, I am strong” you will feel stronger. This takes us back to #1, our brain only knows what we put in it, change the way you talk to yourself and your mind will start thinking differently. I remember the moment I went from being a victim to being a survivor; it was when I realized that I had been saying, “I can not do this one more day.” for something like 700 days, I HAD been doing it for 700 days!

#9. Listening to my gut instincts would have saved me a whole lot of heartache in life. If you wait to see if your gut instinct was right it will be too late, trust your instincts know better than you. I heard a guest on Oprah one time, a detective of some sort, say that any survivor of a rape he had interviewed told him that they ” had a feeling” to not go into the building or go down that street, or whatever put them in danger. Our gut instincts may not see logical at the time and we tend to rationalize things to ourselves  in order to stifle that inner voice.

#10. How people treat me has far less to do with who I am and a whole lot more to do with who they are. If someone treats me badly it is not a sign I have done something wrong or need to change; it probably means that this person should not be in my life and they have issues.

#11. What we plan for, what we hope for, how we see our lives being in the future, very rarely comes to be and as disappointing as it may be, we have to pick up and make the best of it, learn a lesson from it, use it to grow and be a better person, help others with our knowledge, and just carry on best we can. Lamenting, “But that’s not fair!” never solves anything and isn’t going to change anything.

 

None of us know where our lives will take us, even if we are in total control of our life, we can’t control the lives of other people and there are going to be times someone makes a decision that affects your life, peace of mind and happiness. The best laid plans can go south in a heartbeat and if you want to be happy, you had better learn to go with the flow. Thirty years ago I certainly didn’t envision my life being what it is at almost 60. I didn’t have any grand plans for my life but I didn’t think it was even possible for me to be homeless, or that a man would ever hit me and I would stick around, or that I would end up with no money and a ruined credit rating, or heart failure.

I also never imagined my writing helping thousands of people or being published on a website that is in the top 10 sites in the world, or being interviewed on talk radio. I never knew I had talent painting and that someday I would live off of money I made from selling my painted creations. There were times I didn’t think my son would live past 20 and I was brought to my knees with grief and worry over him and now he is a man I am so proud of my heart fills to overflowing. It is so nice to see your child grow into someone you not only love, but someone you really really like.

I have no regrets because I can’t, life doesn’t come with any guarantees, don’t we all want a fairytale life with no pain, troubles, trauma or broken hearts. Very few people, if anyone, gets that. There are so many people who have suffered far more than I have. People who have lost a child to a drunk driver or some psycho. They just found a woman who was held captive since August in a shipping container, she watched her husband get shot dead by her kidnapper. Why did that happen to her? who knows, there are evil psychopaths in the world who commit horrible crimes against humanity. Life sucks sometimes, I don’t understand why a baby has to die, or why a good kind person gets abused and taken advantage of.  All I do know it; there is evil in the world, and you protect yourself best you can and then just live life the best you can.