Last week I wrote about the ways that low self-esteem manifests in women’s relationships. This week I will do a very brief overview of the infinite places from which low self-esteem can originate – how your history and primary caregiver relationships shaped your opinion of yourself, how other important external variables contribute. Here is a brief inventory of sources of low self-esteem and how these feelings manifest:
When you’re depressed, it is so hard to believe that things really can get better. If depression becomes your familiar state, it can be scary to wade into the uncharted territory of feeling better. However, try to let yourself accept the possibility that although you don’t feel better right now, you will.
When we were young, we created many of the patterns that control our adult lives. This can be especially true of relationships – what did you learn to expect in your earliest relationships? Do you expect emotional reciprocity and respect? Or do you expect to be disrespected and rejected? As an adult, it can be hard to break these patterns of expectation.
One pattern I see frequently in my practice is that of patients who, now or when younger, used sex to try to pull an emotionally distant person closer. This tactic, of course, is not to be confused with the kind of sex that helps to bring you and your partner closer or sex that is relaxed and fun. Instead, we’re talking here about the kind of sex that is meant to close a perceived power gap – this person has emotional power over you, and you want very much to even the playing field.
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