SELF-ESTEEM SO LOW I FEEL HOPELESS

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2004
SELF-ESTEEM SO LOW I FEEL HOPELESS
12
Sat, 10-25-2008 - 10:02pm

Hi,


I'm in my early 30's with 2 beautiful kids and a great husband. However, it may all seem nice from the outside. Inside, I feel so hopeless because I have major self-esteem issues.


I'm ALWAYS comparing myself to everyone. My husband has even asked me a couple of times if I was bi-sexual. He was joking, but in a way it seems like I am sometimes only because I'm looking at women. I'm not bi at all. I just look because I feel like I can't compare to anyone. I'm not terribly overweight. I would like to lose 15 lbs. That would make me skinny enough that I could fit into skinny jeans.


It's so bad that I can't even watch a movie with beautiful girls without feeling like my

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Sun, 10-26-2008 - 10:33am

Welcome idestiny.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2008
Sun, 10-26-2008 - 1:31pm

Hello and welcome to the board.


I'm sorry for the way you are feeling. Are there times you feel content as well? I hope so, because I would find it very difficult to feel that way all the time.

~ Rain   
       
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Mon, 10-27-2008 - 8:35am
n2 and rain already gave you some great advice, so i'm not sure how much more i can add. but what i would like to know is, how long have you been comparing yourself? a long time, or did it just start? i was wondering if you picked it up from your mom, or somewhere else. also, i know your husband is a great guy, but he's only one person. does his opinion matter exponentially more than other guys' because you're afraid that he'll leave you for someone 'prettier'? i don't think you need anti-depressants; i think it's just insecurity. so, as rain said, you have to find activities that you enjoy that can give you inner strength. you need to know inside that you're a great catch and that your husband can't possibly do any better. but it has to come from you and not from him. no amount of reassurance from him can make you feel better if you don't believe it yourself.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2004
Mon, 10-27-2008 - 2:18pm

Hi,


This started a couple of years ago for me. I used to be okay. When I turned 21, I experimented with a recreational drug. It seems like it all started going down hill shortly after that. My mom had something to do with it too because growing up, I was kind of treated like a second-class citizen in the house. My brother was older and he was clearly favored by my mom. She was the boss in the house. My dad favored me but he didn't have much say at home. It didn't bother me at the time, but I think it effected me in the long run.


Deep down, I don't believe that my husband would leave me. Anxiety takes over sometimes and crazy thoughts start running through my head. For example, if we see a really pretty girl on TV, I automatically start thinking "Wow, she's so pretty. I'm so ugly. She's skinny and I'm not. Her skin is so perfect. Her chest is big. " I start feeling like a troll. I almost want to go hide somewhere because I feel so ugly. I see and hear men talk and stare at women (especially with big chests). I'm not necessarily talking about men

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2008
Mon, 10-27-2008 - 4:48pm

I realize you wrote to Jess, but I'm going to jump in anyway. :-) First, I really want to say. Normal exists!? Where!???.... And then apologize for that too. Between my family, friends, myself, and the people I run into, I'm starting to wonder just what in the world normal is - and if it actually exists. I have yet to meet a good number of people who are the same, and then I have never met someone who wasn't strange in someway or wierd in another.

If the wieght gain is what is triggering alot of insecurities, maybe in working losing it you will hit an "ah-ha moment" or something. I have a kickboxing class that I joined just this fall. I love kickboxing (well the idea), so I finally went for it. First couple weeks I was kinda scared of the class because we face mirrors and watching yourself barely get moves in un-flattering work out clothes sometimes isn't the greatest of pick-me-ups to have in the morning. However, a couple weeks ago, I noticed that I actually didn't mind my apperance and seeing myself do better in those moves was more rewarding than the fact I could also still see love handles, even though I wear baggier T's to try to hide them. I still don't like the mirrors, but having them in the class, and then the class itself has helped me to take a different look at me. Maybe you can find something to do while you are working around the house, or on an erran. Something that might slowly change your persective, and then also make you feel good. I like to think alot of what we 'see' in life, is more about how we think and feel - vs what is actually there.

I am like you though. I put too much pressure on myself. I am trying to learn to make time for myself because I do better when I have taken a 'me' break once a week, vs stressing myself out, or just keep going even if I don't feel the stress. That break kind of refreshes me, and I do enjoy it - when I actually follow through. Some days it's very hard though.

I'm hoping Jess will pop in with more questions, she came up with a good array of them last time. :-) I like hearing how you are doing, and how things are going. So, how are you today?

~ RainCL for Self-Esteem Support

"One Step At A Time The World Will Be Traveled"

~ Rain   
       
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2004
Mon, 10-27-2008 - 9:02pm

Hi,


I was kind of responding to everyone. Sorry I didn't change the "to."


Anyway, I do much better during the week because I'm mostly with my kids all day. I don't have to get dressed for dinner or another thing with my husband. I don't see the "pretty girls" when my husband is around. That's when it's the worse for me. When I'm watching TV by myself, I just say "she's really pretty"

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2008
Tue, 10-28-2008 - 1:39pm

There's a lot of really good diet, workout, fitness, health boards here on ivillage if you want some support, motivation, etc. I have found them to be a great benefit, personally. If you want the names of some, I'd be happy to go look up all the ones we have.

I'm glad you are doing better right now because of being able to help your children. It sounds like you have insecurities with image around your husband only? To me that gets close to sounding like worrying about the relationship and him choosing other girls or people, vs self-image. Or maybe worrying about him making comparisions and then the idea of not passing what ever the bar or standards are that you have set. n2 had some great ideas that might help changing the ideas on standards. I know when I think people are comparing me, that I set much higher standards on how I should be, and how they won't be able to accept me, than they even think of.

Another member posted an interesting article (not sure if you saw it), but it's about disappointments, and kinda about standards and comparision (if you make a bit of a leap, lol) It's here if you want to read it. http://messageboards.ivillage.com/n/mb/message.asp?webtag=iv-bhselfesteem&msg=6296.1&ctx=0

I must apologize, I'm not on the correct computer to be able to link it. :-P

Well, I hope things continue to go well for you this week, at least while it's during the week. Are you and your family doing anything for halloween?

~ RainCL for Self-Esteem Support

"One Step At A Time The World Will Be Traveled"

~ Rain   
       
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-08-2008
Tue, 10-28-2008 - 3:35pm
Hello I just wanted to tell you I am in the same situation I too feel very jealous when I see pretty women I do find myself looking more at women I don't know why but I do maybe to compare but when I do I feel worse because I see things that I would imagine my boyfriend would be looking at like how tight her pants are or how she walks etc... and it makes me so mad so when I see "LoL miss perfect" I try not to look at her the same way I do to a good looking man I do that out of respect for my Boyfriend . and I know it is extremely hard to deal with on a daily basis I guess the only thing we can do is concentrate on the good qualities in ourselves and make time to get dressed up and if you get a compliment suck it in and let yourself feel good that someone complimented you (and don't pick it apart like I do like oh they really
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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Wed, 10-29-2008 - 9:42am

you are normal, or at least a normal american :), and i'll tell you why:


1. you felt that you had to be perfect to please your mom. i can't even count how many women i know who had the same issue. mothers are harder on their daughters than their sons, i think because they don't want their girls to make the same mistakes they did. it really is just out of love, though. i have a brother and a sister - my mom has always seemed to favor my brother and be really tough on my sister. she was sort of detached (if that's the right word) from me. another reason why i think moms are hard on their daughters is because their standards for themselves are sky high and they think they have to be perfect, and if they're not then they take out their frustration on their daughters. sounds strange, but let me explain. my mom was a size 0 in college. she put on a little weight after she had the three of us, which is totally normal. but to her, that was not okay at all. so she's been dieting for the past 25+ years to get back to being a size zero, but it's gone the other way and now she is obese with quite a few health problems. (but if she'd just accepted the extra 5-10 pounds then she wouldn't be where she is now.) she's always been self-critical and projects it onto my sister and me. if one of us "looks fat", or eats something that we "shouldn't", she'll say so. but it's just because she's unhappy with herself and can't meet her unrealistic self-expectations. so maybe it's the same with you and your mom.


2. you're constantly bombarded with media images

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Fri, 11-07-2008 - 1:21pm

I think the most difficult part of this is that this is really about our own relationship with ourselves not the external situation.

It about being caught up in what is often described as the critical parent role. Most often a defensive mode of relating to ourselves that we needed to develop at some point in our lives often childhood to deal with a difficult situations. We developed it to protect ourselves and get though what we had to endure. As we grew it becomes stuck. A once usefully defense becomes an unhealthy adaptation once we are removed from the situation.

Also a part of it is that we often have lost a lot of our true selves in the process. Forced to hide or bury parts of our true nature they over time become lost to us. We dissociate with those parts of ourselves we were told were bad or not good enough

To change it I believe requires us to try to identify the situations and people who caused us to feel bad about ourselves. To open up and relive the hurts and so that we might finally reduce the associated feelings we still hide from.

And through identifying the hurts and their origins we become aware in the moment when we are feeling down on ourselves the situations that first created those feelings. Initially it's just about becoming a distant observer of yourself and seeing how you are relating to yourself. I'm now doing to myself what was done to me. This is not about what’s happening in the present but about what happened in the past. In that moment you suddenly become aware you are not reacting to what is happening now actually but actually replying your own past.

The first bit of awareness is the most important part. In becoming aware in the present moment we can connect to the experiences and the feelings we are reacting to.

You were not born feeling you were not a pretty girl, someone some time gave you that label and now you are giving it to yourself every time something triggers the emotions around that experience.

Understanding where the feelings are really coming from and being cognizant in the moment they happen in time will give you the power to change them.

You can't make the pretty girl ugly, you can't make the thin girl fat you can't make the
Person who made feel bad about yourself change,

but you can.....

Remember and grieve the hurts that cause you to feel so bad about yourself...

Reduce the power those memories have over you ( though unfortunately the only way past that pain is though it.....and that may demand more courage than any thing else you've ever done.)

By being aware in the moment of how you are relating to yourself start to treat yourself differently.

You can rediscovered your true self and by finding out how wonderful she is come to truly love and accept her in the way you were never accepted for who you are by someone else

Only then will you start to accept and love yourself fully

Then you will be able to love yourself.. and when you want to change some part of yourself it will not be about fixing a problem but growing and enhancing yourself not about repairing a flaw. Then even if it doesn't work out that will be ok because your will love who your are today. You will give yourself permission to try things and fail and love yourself for simply having the courage to try.

I hope this make sense for you….I think at some level all of us who don’t feel good about ourselves are somewhere in this journey if only one step down the path

If this triggers in you strong emotions, feeling or memories embrace them that is a sign your begining to heal....

I’m just fellow traveler and have no magic only some incite from my own travels and willingness to try to help the others whom I meet as I travel down this road.

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