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To ask if anyone has successfully increased self esteem as an adult

36 replies

Thingsmustchange · 26/06/2017 08:04

(NC for this) I'm exhausted fighting the voice in my head that says you are useless, you are stupid, you don't deserve any of this. On paper things are good. I have a happy marriage, two DC and a well-paid, responsible part-time job. But as soon as there's a hint of stress or tiredness this internal negative voice pipes up. I desperately want to fit in, be sociable and feel part of something but I feel like I never quite manage it. We moved closer to family fairly recently and it feels like things have got worse since then, although I don't know if this is caused by their input or is more generally due to the stress of moving.

I have previously experienced severe depression and at one point did over a year of counselling. Right now though I'm able to function but I just feel that something constantly holds me back from being able to enjoy life and recognise my achievements. I would love to know if anyone else has ever successfully dealt with these types of issues and found a way to break free and just live.

OP posts:
Laiste · 26/06/2017 08:52

Lizzy ... ''she's now elderly, she continues to behave in the same abusive way and I choose not to inflict it on myself or my children.''

Coffee ... ''I also cut down the amount of time I see my mum. She means well, I think, but she's just so negative''.

Similar here. However for reasons too complicated to go into here 'cos it's not my thread, we're moving in with her soon and i'm seriously dreading it! Hmm

Laiste · 26/06/2017 08:54

Lotta Flowers Send me strength in a couple of months :)

DJBaggySmalls · 26/06/2017 08:57

Counselling felt like wallowing in the past. I tried CBT and it was a game changer. If you cant access it where you are try MoodGym online.
CBT is like being handed the instruction manual for you. You set realistic goals and use a step by step approach.

I also went NC with some family members and took assertiveness classes. It takes time and consistent effort, but you can leave it behind.

lizzyj4 · 26/06/2017 09:00

Flowers for you Laiste, hoping you find a way to survive unscathed. Smile

ittakes2 · 26/06/2017 11:22

Ring your doctors surgery and ask for the local Nhs health minds service - you can self refer and they will perhaps offer you CBT to help you change the way you approach things. I used to have what you had with a 'voice' in my head saying I wasn't good enough - but when I worked out it was my mother's voice it helped stop it.
You might also want to 'listen' to yourself when you speak to your children. My mother was lovely and would do anything for me, but was also in the habit of saying I wasn't doing enough or things weren't good enough. For example if I cleaned my room for 2hrs she would find something I hadn't done to her standard - instead of praising me for my work and then working with me to show me how to do things I didn't notice.
I realised her language had crept into my parenting. The councils offer lots of free positive parenting courses that are very helpful to break the cycle of negativity which leads to poor self confidence. Good luck.

TheSparrowhawk · 26/06/2017 11:46

As others have said - I think for many people low self esteem comes from the way they were brought up and increase self esteem is a matter of coming to terms with your parents, who they are and how they treated you and then taking steps to decrease their influence on your life.

I moved country. A bit drastic but very effective!

Coffeetasteslikeshit · 26/06/2017 11:47

Good luck Laithe. Remember, deep breaths and detach emotionally!

Lottapianos · 26/06/2017 12:58

'I moved country. A bit drastic but very effective!'

Same here. I recommend it very highly! The only thing that is rubbish about it, is that if you do go and visit family, its a few days at least, and that can be tough. In some ways, it might be easier to live closer and keep contact to popping in for coffee or lunch or whatever works best

EatTheChocolateTeapot · 26/06/2017 13:25

Same as well, moved country nearly 10 years ago now but what changed things was realising it was coming from them not me. No matter what I did it would never be possible to get their approval.

I am also on the spectrum (high functioning) and that helped a lot to understand that I am not a failure for not being able to communicate with people, that's just how I am and I have other strong points. If you know yourself you can better accept yourself. Reading about psychology, doing online personnality tests and thinking a lot about me, who I am, why did I feel like that and how I interact with people, why I sometimes feel unwell physically (sensory issues), etc... it all helped turn tables. I won't say I am completely out of it but much much better.

rabbit12345 · 26/06/2017 14:22

Yes, but it took a lot of heart ache to get there.

I come from a family of gas-lighters. I am not sure why they do it. It could range from being so discreet that I barely recognised it to blantantly telling me that I had said or done something that I simply hadn't.
Discreet could be as simple as them having the ump and being snappy and then when I enquired, rather than say "oh I am just having one of those days" they would state that I was imagining it and they had been perfectly fine" but there would always be the emphasis on my imagination or state of mind.
As a result, I grew into someone who has always questioned myself and struggled with friendships as I couldn't trust my own instincts.

Last year my sister again went into a huff over something she decided I had done. I tried to establish the problem and a sequence of blatant gas lighting happened. She demanded an apology which I did to appease her but she continued to accuse me and attack my state of mind. She managed to make it look like she was the victim of me while insisting that I had physically and verbally attacked her. (none of this happened at all but some family members believed her) I had enough and I finally went NC with her.

Best thing that I did. It made me realise exactly what had been going on all of these years.

CountryCaterpillar · 26/06/2017 15:28

I am trying to rationalise that it's my father who has the issues or is missing out instead of feeling so criticized and rejected constantly but it's who and how he is and I somehow need to minimize the power of that over me. He just isn't interested in me or the kids.

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