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21 Oct 2009

is low self esteem genetic?
Dear CS

I hope you have not yet thrown your computer (or admin) out of the window yet (!) as I would really appreciate tapping into some of your wisdom...

Not sure if you remember or not, but I first entered this column about 5 years ago (still known as Garfield) because I was in a physically, emotionally and mentally abusive relationship that I couldn' t seem to get out of. TG I did eventually.

Recently I wrote i about my heart break at having to end things wth my Fiance. Turns out that he was highly manipulative and emotionally abusive due to (I think) having a chemical imbalance. I always made excuses for him until i seemed left with no choice but to break it off. (This happened a month ago).

I am REALLY battling, very sad, angry etc. For the last few weeks, I can' t seem to stop crying when I am by myself and often wish I could just die without actually having to do the deed myself.

I am seeing a counsellor, but am going to step it up with another Psychologist next week whilst I take a week off work to sort myself out and am hoping for a few lengthier sessions in that week just to try get to the bottom of it.

Here' s the thing - everyone asks me how I can think the way those people treated me was normal &  why I would put with it. Yet, my family is of the opinion that I am not very nice to them &  that I dont put with much from my family.

I dont feel that is true - in fact I always feel as if my family really dislikes me &  that I am the " loser, drama queen"  in the family and also, the one that they are hardest on. I can remember feeling like that since very early teens.

(Sorry - getting to the point now!) So, I have finally realised that I have always had very low self esteem - int thinking that my family thinks I am second rate (when apparently they say it is furtherest from the truth)  and also in thinking that I don' t deserve more than the unusually horrible treatent from opposite sex relationships for the last 7 years or so.

So, I have extremely low self esteem, even to the point of dilusion (i.e. with thinking my family dislike me). What causes this - is it something that may be part of a personality disorder? Do I need medication? I very much want to get to the bottom of it as it' s so not nice being unhappy, but this is the first time I know beyond a doubt that this is due to low self esteem - and I dont know what caused it in me.

On meeting me people would never think I have low self esteem - young, attractive, outwardly confident, intelligent ... these are words that other have used to describe me!!!!

CS, any advice/words anything you have to give will help whilst I (and my new Psych who I am meeting next week) try to sort out this mess that has become my life!!

Thanks AGAIN,

Answer 1,973 views

01 Jan 0001

Tap away, Garf, though I can't guarantee there's much wisdom left !
Just think of the major difficulties and crises you have surmounted over the past few years - and this time you'll manage again, even if it's not entirely clear yet just how.
Good idea to see another psychologist - dare I suggest you seek one doing CBT ?
Self-esteem could well be the central issue, and commonly helps to cause as well as being caused by, abusive relatonships.
Is it hereditary ? Not via genes, but it can be encouraged by the way some parents treat their children. Even if this is no what is in their minds, convincing you are are not worthy, and never good enough can be subtly but lastingly damaging. Its not that they dislike you, but they don't affirm and encourage you enough, perhaps.
No doubt you have nver deserved the lousy treatment you have received in relatonships - but most abusers are brilliant at convincing you that this is so.
CBT is the way to go, to identify and revise these habits of thinking so negatively about yourself.
Sorry, must dash now - on the day the forecast insisted would be dry and sunny till midnight, there's the Mother of all Electrical Storms approaching rapidly.
Let us know how it goes.
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