Self-esteem… I never used to have much of a problem with it. I used to be comfortable in my own skin, contented with who I was and what I was. I stood confidently on the rock of my husband’s love and support and achieved many things. I enjoyed people and always looked for the good in them. I had a good sense of what others felt and needed, and always worked to help them.
I had been this way even as a child. My dad was disabled when I was nine and there was a time when I was the only one who could make him smile inside his bitterness and physical pain. I was a favorite among teachers and I had many friends.
I met Daniel when I was 17. It was not long after I had suffered a personal tragedy and I had closed myself off from most people. He was warm and comforting and drew me back into life, helping me to regain my confidence and trust in people. I placed my heart in his care and let him lead me out of the darkness. I rebuilt my life and my sense of self around him.
My parents were not thrilled that I was 17 and he was 21, but my dad saw how Daniel took care of me and he eased up. My mother was another story. Until the day she died, she gave him a hard time. She felt he was controlling and selfish. He did a lot of good, but everything was always on his terms. She was so right, but I couldn’t see it at the time.
It was a huge risk to rebuild my life and sense of self around any human being, and it all came crumbling down on D-day, or Discovery Day – the day I discovered his affair. My marriage coach James says that is a huge part of why I fell so completely apart, and why I still struggle now.
I am getting stronger and putting my life back together now in a better way. I am still me, but more independent and less trusting. That’s a good thing. I struggle, however, with self-esteem. I know in my head that his affair was all about him and his selfish, narcissistic personality at the time. It had little to do with me, and nothing to do with my worth as a human being. But my heart doesn’t completely buy it.
I obsess over my looks. I obsess over my personality. I obsess over everything sometimes.
A guy asked me out today. He was nice and all – he just didn’t realize I was married because I was not wearing a ring. My wedding ring is too big now, and I haven’t resized it yet. Anyway, it was a nice ego boost, but as he walked away, my mind couldn’t help but go to my obsessions. Why? Why didn’t Daniel think I was worth his attention? He has always desired me physically, but that’s not such a big deal for a man. He pursued someone else while married to me. It was not so long ago that he regretted ever marrying me. Am I not pretty enough? That guy thought I was pretty. Am I getting old? Well, I’m eight years older now than when he started his affair. That’s not good. Am I not nice enough, smart enough, engaging enough, feminine enough, alluring enough? I am gasping for air in a sea of self-doubt. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration. But I am feeling very insecure and undesirable right now when I should be feeling flattered that someone noticed me. Gotta go do some deep breathing Chi Gung and get back some self-esteem…