Emotional Abuse & Low Self Esteem

I have issues with self esteem, it’s been something I’ve struggled with for most of my life. Thinking back, I think it initially began with my ballet teacher. She taught the R.A.D (Royal Academy of Dance) classical ballet – and was known for being strict and disciplined. In terms of classical ballet – her school was one of the best around, because of the high standards associated with the R.A.D.

However she was a horrible person. If I were more spiritual I’d venture to say she had a very dark and nasty soul. Logically though I think she was mentally disturbed.

She treated people either with general indifference, or sheer nastiness. I was one of the people she singled out to mistreat. Nothing I ever did was good enough – right from the beginning she picked on me. I was only 6 years old – and preparing for my primary ballet exams. All grades were gathered and taking turns to rehearse their solo dance for the examination. Others made mistakes, big mistakes, and she’d get them to start again. If I did something minor – like not look up at the introduction, or not smile, I was sent to the back of the line, no second chance. This went on all night, it got late, well and truly beyond my bed time – and I’d not even been given the chance to do a full run through of my dance. Each time I was sent to the back of the line for a minor infraction.

It got worse as I got older. When I started a growth spurt at about 10, one leg grew faster than the other. So I had 1 leg a little longer than the other. As a result, my hips didn’t sit straight. My teacher would yell at me for not standing straight and hit my hip. Sometimes she’d grab me round the neck and pull me upwards.

One time, one of the girls in my class asked me what I got for my exams and I’d received honours, and told her so – and I never ever boasted, just quietly stated my grading. My teacher yelled at me and told me I had no right to brag about my grading, and never to talk about how I did in the exams. She never told anyone else off for talking about their results, only me. I wasn’t allowed to be happy that I got high marks.

Because of her devaluing me at every chance, I learned to believe that I was worthless. I tried so hard to gain her approval, but never could. And I suffered emotionally & physically at her hands. And yet, year after year I kept going back. Like a sick little puppet on a string I tried to bend to her every whim. It wasn’t until I was 12 that my mother finally had enough of her behaviour towards me and pulled me out of the school, 2 weeks before the end of year concert.

But by then the damage had been done. I hated myself, and in my eyes I couldn’t measure up to anyones expectations. I was a loser. And I was lost, without my tormentor. Without her poison to drag me down I turned to poisoning myself. I started the emotional abuse, perpetuating all the things about myself she made me believe. It’s sick, I know. But I was young, impressionable and because I couldn’t gain her acceptance I believed that something was wrong with me.

She planted the seeds of abuse, but I’m the one who took a steel pipe and bashed the living hell out of my self esteem.  She was just a bully, but because of her I learned exactly how to torment myself.

Today The Loneliness Hurts A Little

I’m feeling a little melancholic today and I’m not really sure why. I’m not depressed (not yet anyway) it’s just that there is a little heaviness in my heart. I think it’s the fact it’s getting close to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It really sucks feeling lonely at this time of year.

Three of my team mates at work became engaged over the past couple of months and so they do a lot of gossiping about their upcoming weddings and all the plans they are making. I’m not jealous, I’m really, really, not. I don’t want to get married, not really. It just seems like too much of a hassle and too much money to invest into a single event.

I just want someone to love me. But I know that can’t happen until I love myself. I really don’t have the energy to devote to anyone else when I am still so fragile. And I can’t honestly say that I have any love for myself. I don’t hate so much anymore, but I’m still a long way from love. Indifference I think it where I am at in my feelings about myself. Oscillating between sheer indifference and vague dislike.

And until I can find at least a shred of love to give to myself, there is no way I could even begin to let another person into my life. That would be dishonest and irresponsible. I couldn’t expect anyone to love me when I haven’t any for myself. But how do you make yourself love something you are so heavily programmed to have negative feelings towards? That is something I don’t yet have an answer to, but I’ll keep looking I guess.

Unfortunately logic and rationality doesn’t ease the nagging sadness in my heart.

Picking Up Good Vibrations

I’m feeling a little bit loved today. A few of my colleagues at work were making a very impressive joint effort to get me to say yes to attending our works Christmas party next month. One of my teammates even said he’d give me a ride there and back! That is a big deal for an introvert like me.

A lot of my introversion stems from my severe lack of self esteem. I am constantly terrified that people don’t like me. Even at work though I get along with people, I have this part of me that still believes that none of them would really want to engage with me in a social situation. So because of this fear I tend to avoid social functions at work. Ironically, this probably makes people think I’m stuck up and not really want to socialise with me.

For people to genuinely try to convince me to come (not just a half hearted “oh you should go” and leave it at that) makes me actually want to go. And gives me warm feelings of actually being accepted. This is fantastic because my mind is evil to me and constantly gives me an irrational nagging worry that I’m only tolerated and not accepted.

The burning question now is – can I actually bite the bullet and make myself go?

Another Failed Romantic Tale.

Time for another flash back, another failed romantic endeavour.

It was 1996, I was in the tenth grade and his name was Ben. He was tall, dark haired, with soft doe eyes, and he had this gorgeous smile where one corner of his mouth curved up higher. He was a little bit bad boy and that was really attractive to me – the Miss Goody-Two-Shoes. Of course this is a private school version of bad boy – what made him an undesirable (not to me, but to my cliquey school friends) was that he had to repeat year 10 and wasn’t of the same “social class”. Some people in my school were very much snobs it seems.

Anyway, he was in my homeroom; and we had our main classes together. Before too long I found myself totally into him, and it turns out that he was into me too. Of course he couldn’t just outright say it, instead he teased me mercilessly (you know all attention; even bad attention; is good attention). And of course my reaction was an overreaction because I was so into him I couldn’t help but react.

Eventually one of my friends (not one of the snobs) had enough of Ben and I circling one another. She (without my knowledge to all of this) outright asked him if he liked me, and he admitted as much. She told him to ask me out, and he said he would if he got me alone. So right before one of our elective classes; she drags me over to him under some pretence and then takes off. I’m left alone with him.

We’re both standing there awkwardly; trying desperately to make small talk, until one of us has the courage to make a move. Right at the last second I am the one to cave. I ask him out and he says yes and tells me that he was gathering up the courage to ask me out. We share a shy smile before we head off to our classes. I’m uncharacteristically a little late to my class; but I have the biggest grin on my face.

Now here is the totally awkward and fail bit. Even though I had asked him out – and he had said yes – I still couldn’t believe that he actually liked me. I had very low self-esteem, and even when faced with evidence to the contrary – I was convinced that this was all some joke on me. I was terrified that he didn’t really like me; and that somehow it was a practical joke, like out of CarrieAnd so I became really shy, and aloof, and practically stopped talking to him – where before I’d done every little thing I could to get his attention. It was like I didn’t know what to do now that I’d had him. He got the impression I wasn’t into him, and the relationship was dust before it even got off the ground.

He resorted to being unpleasant towards me at lunch times; staring at me and calling out mean things when he was in his group of 11th grade friends. I took to ignoring him in class, and acting like he didn’t even exist. Our friendship had disintegrated because I didn’t know how to show him I liked him, and he thought that I wasn’t actually interested in him.

Then one day, one lunch time, he came up to me. He’s mustered up the courage to apologise to me, it’s awkward and adorable all at once. He says he’d like to start over, which of course stupid oblivious me somehow misinterprets. I say to him “Ok, so we’re friends again yeah?” and hold out my hand. Poor Ben has been unwittingly rejected, and limply shakes my hand with a dejected “Yeah, I guess…” and turns on his heel.

Suffice to say we never really talk again after that one. And for the rest of the year, and into the next (until he left the school mid way through the 11th grade) he’d always give me this strange look in the halls. At the time I thought he was staring me down to make me intimidated and uncomfortable – as if he was trying to tell me I was an idiot for thinking he ever liked me. But looking back with experience, I think his face showed something more like a forlorn wanting. I was unable to interpret back then that his expression reflected the disappointment of his belief that his feelings were unrequited. And my suspicious, self-preserving glares back at him really wouldn’t have helped the situation.

So now it’s time for another apology to another guy.

Ben, I’m sorry I couldn’t show you that I really was into you. I had pages and pages of diary entries filled about you, and had a major crush on you for a long time. However I was naive and unsure of myself. So I did the only thing I know how to do – shut down, and hide my feelings. I wish I’d been more confident – because now I’ll never know what your kisses taste like.