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Tag Archives: self esteem

Self Absorbed

I have been thinking a lot lately about the concept of self. Maybe because of all these books I am reading about eating disorders. Or maybe just because.

I keep thinking about the difference between self-esteem, self-respect, self-worth, self-awareness and how all of those things relate to myself. I think about how related they should be to each other, and yet, how unrelated they all seem to be with me. It’s such a strange contradiction.

I have terrible self-esteem and self-confidence. I say and think things about myself that are horrifying. I would never let anyone else say that shit to me. Because I do, strangely, have self-respect. But I don’t respect myself. And I’m not sure how I can expect others to respect me when I so obviously don’t respect myself.

I definitely have body dysmorphia and poor self-image. Though my eating disorder didn’t start out that way. I still imagine myself to be the gangly awkward teenager I was instead of the person I am now. That self-image is stubbornly pervasive, even though I look nothing like that now.

I am trying to get better with my sense of self-worth. But it wasn’t always great in the past which is why I allowed people to behave abusively without leaving them immediately. And again I feel I need to demonstrate that I believe I have worth before others behave as though I do.

I know all of that is related to self-awareness. All the therapy I have done has given me new insight into my self-awareness. And yet, I still have not fully changed my behavior. How can I recognize that I have these issues but not be able to change or fix them?

I’ve never had a good sense of self. It’s partially why I don’t always recognize my feelings right away. I still get so caught up in what I should want or what I want myself to want. I sometimes lose track of what I actually do want.

Sometimes it is safer to not admit my feelings to myself. It saves me from being hurt when I don’t get what I want. It has saved me from abuse in the past by not allowing me to display anger when it was unsafe to do so. But that model of living is no longer relevant to my life. And recognizing my feelings is getting much easier.

I do love self-denial. Anything to prove how strong my willpower is. Because giving into something that I want is somehow weak. And I’m not allowed to be weak. I’m too busy trying (and failing) at being perfect.

My only sense of strength, power, or accomplishment came from denying myself something (or someone) that I wanted. Food is the perfect vehicle for this. I had three chances a day to prove how strong I was.

And that denial made me feel more powerful and superior than anything I have ever felt in my life. It is addictive. It felt like I was purifying myself. It’s no surprise to me that people go on religious fasts, or give up something for Lent. I am not a religious person, but the appeal is obvious. And dangerous.

I never imagined that I had an addictive personality. I have never been much for alcohol, never done drugs, or smoked or even gambled. But denial and self-punishment? That is my addiction. It is an addiction that is every bit as destructive as the other ones. And it is the same mixture of pleasure and misery.



I know it is irrational but I can’t help feeling worried and afraid. What if I am causing all my relationship issues? I saw a bunch of guys from my old office on Saturday. They all seem to be in relationships now. Everyone around me is getting married and having kids. And I am single. Still/again.

I know these guys are not necessarily happy. But I’d like to think that they are. I want to believe they are because it gives me hope for myself.

But I can’t help but wonder why I am single. I’m starting to believe I am attractive, so it can only be my personality. But at the same time, I have been picking awful men. And I need to stop doing that.

I could be with someone right now if I had stayed with JC or AT or AB. They would probably have never broken up with me. So, the first issue is dating a non-abusive man. I feel like that is somehow hard to find since that is all I have ever dated.

I didn’t find any of these men, they all seemed to find me. But my therapist is right when she says that by not choosing who to date, I am choosing to date just anyone. Which is exactly what I have been doing.

I had been saying yes to anyone that asked. If I was single and someone asked me out, I just said yes. I didn’t even feel like I had much of a right to say no. (Hooray for low self-esteem).

I thought I should just take what I was getting otherwise I’d be alone forever. And though I really, really don’t want to be alone (especially not forever), I’d rather be alone and safe than be abused.

I have got to stop dating whoever asks and wait for someone that is going to treat me right. Because I am afraid of what will happen to me if I don’t. I’m afraid that all this abuse and shit is piling up on my soul or something. I’m afraid that if it doesn’t stop I really will be broken.

I’m afraid I’ll wind up settling to satisfy this hunger I am experiencing for intimacy. I’m afraid I’ll get bitter and angry and think all men are abusive bastards. I’m afraid I’ll be one of those shell people that have nothing left of themselves. I’m afraid my PTSD will become who I am instead of just a part of who I am.

And, speaking of intimacy, I am afraid of how badly I want to be touched. I don’t know where it came from. I never recall feeling this way in my past. I think I just need to start having some positive touch experiences.

If it takes nine good experiences to overcome one bad one, I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to ever even break even. I’d need thousands of positive experiences. And I feel like getting that is really crucial to me genuinely healing and getting better.

I can’t do it alone, which is the most frustrating part. I need someone I can really trust to help me with this. I feel like this is some kind of deep, soul need. I don’t know how to explain it. It isn’t just a desire to have sex, though there is that too.

But sex wouldn’t be enough to cover it. I need physical intimacy in a way I never have before. I’ve never experienced much actual physical intimacy before, and I feel like I need to before it’s too late. And that is much harder to come by. I don’t know where to find it or how to get it. Or how to have it.


Lately I have been thinking it is probably a good thing I am single right now. I feel like my problems keep building up and stacking on top of each other. It’s becoming a LEGO city of troubles and issues and neuroses. And I wouldn’t want to wish that on another person. By which I mean putting up with me.

It’s hard to know if that is just my low self esteem or if it is me being considerate of others. I know I have good qualities. I know I have things going for me. And I know I am a good girlfriend. But it is so hard to not focus on the negative.

Then I see my friends. They are troubled. Some of them in the same ways as myself. And they are in reasonably successful relationships. Someone loves them. They are happy.

I should give someone the chance to love me. There probably is someone out there that would want to be with me. Even knowing my problems. There has to be someone that will accept who I am.

I start thinking that waiting till my problems are resolved before I start dating is like waiting to lose weight before buying new clothes (which I also do). What if I never lose the weight? Should I just wear rags? What if I am never “better”? Should I be alone forever? Don’t I deserve to have love too?

I actually don’t always believe I do. I sometimes think I should just take what I could get, no matter how bad the relationship or how abusive the man. Because I am damaged goods. I’m broken. And that means I don’t get to be happy.

But then, I also know that isn’t true.