Self-esteem

Dear Mr. “X”

“I am Woman. Hear me Roar”

I am sorry about the profanity, but the censored version wouldn’t load

Dear Mr. “X”,

I don’t know you, but I know I don’t like you.  I have a serious problem with the way you’re treating my friend.  You may think you can break her, but you have truly underestimated the woman you’re dealing with.  Maybe it’s because you never took the time to love or know her as a husband should.  Let me just enlighten you, that girl has more strength and character in her little toe than you’ll ever have in your life.  Tell me, exactly what kind of man spends his time trying to tear down the mother of his child?  What kind of miserable person wastes his own life trying to destroy someone else’s?

You may think you can convince the world with your lying and manipulation, but I am on to your games.  You abusers all study from the same handbook; not one of you ever has anything original to say.  You spend your time telling your target she is crazy, unlovable, selfish, unattractive, and a terrible mother.  The list goes on and on.  You try to convince her she’s isolated and cut off her support system.  You make her feel like her problems are a burden to other people.  You attempt to tear everything that makes her happy out of her life. You know how to play the victim card, how to fein concern, and how to strike for the jugular once her guard is down. This time, however, in your case, it isn’t going to work.

You won’t convince her she’s crazy because she has too many people who care about her to show her the truth.  Plus, thanks to your insistence on having her head examined she now a psychologist to back up the fact that YOU- NOT HER are the problem.  YOU are the crazy one.  YOU are the weak one.  YOU are the one who needs therapy.  Strong men don’t chip away other peoples’ self esteem.  Cowards lacking any self esteem of their own do… BULLIES do.  You are a coward and a bully, and I can’t stand either. 

You won’t convince her she is unlovable because I LOVE HER, and I tell her everyday.  I will continue to tell her everyday until she’s tired of hearing it.  That girl is like a sister to me.  I know exactly what she is going through.  I know WHAT YOU ARE PUTTING HER THROUGH.  For every insult you utter in her direction I will offer 100 words of encouragement.  THAT is kind of treatment she deserves.  Guess what else… I’m not the only one behind her.  She has a MULTITUDE of people who genuinely love her without conditions or criticism- a kind of love you can’t comprehend.  We will continue to love her no matter what you do.

You may try to convince both her and yourself of how worthless she is, but everyone who meets her loves her.  She has a gift for touching people.  She is capable of compassion you’ll never understand.  She is not someone you meet and forget.  That girl has star quality, and she SHINES IN SPITE OF YOU.  She is handling the most difficult situations (that’s right- plural) a person can face in her life-  ALL AT THE SAME TIME and still manages each day with more strength, determination, grace, and optimism than you could ever imagine.  You ARE TOO BLIND TO SEE IT.  That girl is NEVER bitter.  If there was ever a person who had a right to be angry at the world it is her, but instead she is CARING, GIVING, and LOVING.  THAT IS WHY WE LOVE HER.  That is why we ADMIRE her.  She may think we lift her up, but it is she who lifts us up on a regular basis.

That is NOT the behavior of a selfish person.  She doesn’t have a mean or selfish bone in her body.  Making her health a priority is not selfish.  Going after her goals in life is not selfish.  Wanting to be the best person she can be, to be the best mom she can be is not selfish.  HOW DARE YOU TRY TO MANIPULATE HER INTO FEELING GUILTY FOR TRYING TO BE HAPPY.  It’s bad enough that you are completely incapable of being EVEN REMOTELY SUPPORTIVE.  To be MEAN and SPITEFUL enough to call a woman a bad mother FOR EXERCISING and EATING HEALTHY is down right inexcusable.  What gives you the right, please tell me?  Are you so threatened that you can’t stand the sight of her getting stronger?  Are you so demasculinated by the fact THAT SHE CAN NOT ONLY SURVIVE WITHOUT YOU, BUT BE HAPPIER WITHOUT YOU that you have to threaten to take away the one thing that matters to her most?  You need to attempt to take her child from her simply to get even and make her miserable?  A child you don’t even have the slightest idea how to care for, seriously?  The fact that you would even consider tearing your daughter away from the person who loves her most, that she is most closely bonded to proves in itself what a flat out TERRIBLE PARENT YOU ARE.

That is the mother of your child and SHE DESERVES YOUR RESPECT.  She is a beautiful person inside and out.  You were LUCKY to have ever gotten her at all. You knew she was too good for you and were afraid of her realizing it, so you tried to tear her down to your level.  But it didn’t work because despite all the garbage you tried to fill her head with, that girl still knows her self worth.  Even if she doesn’t believe it 100% to the core yet, she will.  You’re hold over her gets weaker everyday as she makes further steps to improve her life.  She went and got healthy and it pissed you off.  How dare she be happy when she has so much to fall apart over.  I’m sure it just eats away at someone like you who could have the world on a plate and still manage to be miserable.

You can’t cut off her support system or keep her from the people who care about her.  WE WON’T LET YOU.  There are too many of us who love her way too much to ever let you get in the way.  You have grossly underestimated your ability to control her.  You can’t manipulate everyone into seeing her in the twisted light you do.  We aren’t blind.  We can see her for who she truly is.  It’s too bad you are too busy seeing your own flaws in her to appreciate it yourself.  While you’re still finding reasons to blame others for your problems, THAT GIRL IS GOING TO CONQUER THE WORLD.  She will succeed IN SPITE OF YOU and BE STRONGER FOR HAVING GONE THROUGH IT.  You just keep it coming because it’s all fuel to keep her pushing forward toward success and happiness.  It won’t be long before she leaves you in the dust.

Sincerely,

Jenny

PS. These shirts are actually available for purchase. I just may get her one!

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Rise Above

Optimist: someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha. 

 ~Robert Brault

I finally finished “The Happiness Project” on the flight to California.  I had started it several months ago and have been so busy, I hadn’t had a chance to pick it back up until now.  It is interesting for me to read because I have already been doing so much of what the author recommends in her book.  When I first started it, I was still struggling with criticizing myself and feeling bogged down by guilt and negativity.  It was not that long ago, and yet it feels like it’s been years.  I have had so much personal growth in the past 2+ years since I left my abuser that I feel like it’s not only been a major turning point in my life- but the greatest single event to date.   My life is now divided into 2 parts: before and after abuse.  I believe the Hatford Marathon (in just 4 wks!- yikes) will likely be another life altering moment, and I have to admit that it will be a relief to measure my progress from a new, more positive starting point. 

I am writing this post not only in my typical theme of reflection, but also as a vehicle to do something I never rarely do (hold your breath people!)- give myself a little credit.  I know- shocking, right? But, it’s true!  I want to give myself credit for getting out of a terrible situation; letting go of the guilt and blame that kept me tied to it; for committing to make a happier, healthier life for myself; for starting a blog in the interest of helping others- despite the fact that it meant opening old wounds and making myself vulnerable and open to criticism; for taking my life back; for pushing outside my comfort zone; for embracing other people- including new ones- without fear of betrayal or acceptance; and for accepting myself. Wow that was a mouthful! 

The truth is that I am happy- not only happy, but grateful.  I have so many wonderful, positive people in my life, and I know that I have been doing something right to attract them.  I am learning to balance looking for the good in people with not letting them take advantage of me; and I have made a commitment that I will continue to be a happy person even if it does make me vulnerable. 

Even before the abuse, my cheerful disposition made me a target of unhappy people.  I suppose there is not much more irritating to a discontented and pessimistic individual than someone who appears to float merrily through life.  I would take the snide comments, yelling, and bullying in stride- reminding myself that it wasn’t personal, just a sign of his or her own misery.  This worked well until the abuse started, and I no longer had the energy to brush it off.  However, now I feel like I do have the strength again; and I refuse to be dragged down by grouchy people looking to pollute others’ moods with their poor attitudes.

I don’t need others’ approval or acceptance because I know who I am and accept myself.  I have struggled with anxiety, trauma, and abuse and have emerged an even stronger, more compassionate, and self-aware individual.  Most surprisingly- I am happier.  I was a happy person before, but I am happier now.  I know the depth of my strength and resolve.  I value myself now more than I ever did; I appreciate my life more than I ever could have before.  Any good day is a terrific victory- and by good I don’t mean exceptional, just free from anxiety.  I don’t regret what I’ve been through.  I am not angry.  I don’t resent my abuser.  If anything, I feel pity for him and his family.  I feel sorry for anyone who feels the need to drag others down.  Making other people miserable only perpetuates your own misery, just as helping and showing others kindeness will increase your happiness.

When others lash out at you, take it for what it is- a sign of unhappiness and low self-esteem.  People who go around picking others apart do so because they are unhappy.  They are equally critical of themselves.  Happy, self-accepting people don’t treat others poorly.  Only people who lack self-love put others down.

You can’t control other people, or how they treat you; however, you can control how you react.  Sure it’s upsetting when someone takes an undeserved shot at you; but ultimately, it’s not your problem- it’s his or hers.  You will go on with your life and continue to be happy and well-adjusted.  The bully, meanwhile, will continue to be irritated by everyone and everything.  It’s a miserable existence.  It’s not a life anyone strives to live- bogged down by anger, self pity, and self loathing.  Rather than focus on their attempts to bring you down, instead be grateful for who you are.