25 Responses

  1. bethteliho
    bethteliho June 29, 2014 at 8:51 am | | Reply

    Jana, this is a gorgeous, brave, and candid post. I relate to this so much it could practically be my story. My heart ached reading it, the way a heart aches when you can empathize almost too close for comfort. I applaud you for learning from your past and moving forward BELIEVING you matter; believing you’re worth being with someone who treats you well; believing you have a soul of sunshine that deserves to be honored.

    Carry on, warrior.

  2. Maggie Wilson
    Maggie Wilson June 29, 2014 at 9:59 am | | Reply

    Hi Jana – your experience is similar to mine… including the way you identify your ex’s. Mine are “The Cowboy, The Performer, The One…” and so on.

    Do I wrestle with self-worth? Absolutely – not as much these days, though I wager if I looked deep enough I can find doubt at work. I think that unless we are taught how to value ourselves, how to set boundaries… well… even how to *know* that boundaries need to be set in the first place… all we have to go on is external messages. I think it is a rare individual who, from childhood, has a solid sense of self and worthiness.

    Do you allow myself to be vulnerable in your relationships? Yes. I don’t know how to be any other way.

    Did I ever have an “ah-ha” moment that helped me to really believe that I am worthy?
    No epiphany that I can recall. It was more of a gradual realization. Usually coupled with moments of anger when I realized that, Hey! This is wrong, damn it, and I’m going to take steps to deal with this. I credit a great deal of my healing to an online forum years ago. It was called “I am Responsible.” The name is a reminder that I make the choices that I do, and I am responsible for my well-being. Not some “other.”

    I want to thank you for this post. I appreciate that you shared your story.

  3. Michelle
    Michelle June 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm | | Reply

    I’ve struggled with self worth my whole life..I can say it’s improved over the past 10 years with the most growth happening in the last 2 or 3….that’s not to say that I don’t have a way to go still..I do.

    I would LOVE to say that I never identify my self worth from the way a man feels about me…but the truth is..the longest I’ve been single since age 15 is about 9 months. This includes all marriages and that one engagement…so…36 years

  4. lrconsiderer
    lrconsiderer June 29, 2014 at 5:03 pm | | Reply

    Holy fuck. That first paragraph is like looking in a mirror to my own experience. From there we deviate, because I was never pretty/nice/worthwhile enough that I ever actually attracted any serious boyfriends. I had one kinda serious one, but he had so many issues of his own…

    …so now I’m married to a husband who is sick, whose illness has robbed him of almost every vestige of inclination towards or capability at sexual function, and I am (and have for the past four years been) living a life of constant, undermining, horrific rejection….from the one man I *thought* I could count on for acceptance and reassurance that I wasn’t repulsive.

    Our marriage nearly ended today. But we’re going to work on it.

    In the meantime, advice I’m great at giving and crap (but trying so, so, so hard to believe, in spite of a lifetime’s worth of evidence and conviction to the contrary) at taking – You don’t have to FEEL worthwhile to BE worthwhile. Your value is intrinsic.

    *shrugs* All I got :/

  5. Steph
    Steph June 29, 2014 at 9:00 pm | | Reply

    Jana, I don’t know what to say, but I wanted you to know I’m here and you are most definitely worthwhile. I think we all struggle with that from time to time…at least I know I have and do. *hugs*

  6. Roxie
    Roxie June 30, 2014 at 9:04 am | | Reply

    I was a little different. I knew and accepted that fact that no one would ever love me. I never tried, in fact, if someone seemed like they liked me, I knew right away that they were lying, and either wanted something from me, or was setting me up for a practical joke. Even though my mom tried to tell me good things about myself, I would never believe her, or anyone who told me otherwise.

  7. jaklumen
    jaklumen June 30, 2014 at 5:47 pm | | Reply

    He was, in his heart, a good Mormon boy – and we had sinned in a big way.

    This frustrates me to no end… to realize that members of my faith are still deeply hung up about sex. Yes, no premarital relations is the ideal, but, I’ll be honest– I did not come to my marriage a virgin, and my dear wife was not pure… albeit she is a little teeny bit homely, which is fine by me.

    I mean, if anyone dared to give me crap about it, I’d make them sorry with TMFI details on how Cimmorene HELPED me get over my hangups about sex, but more especially, the abuse. Cimmy was abused sexually. I… well, I hesitate to call my experience by that label, but, my mother messed up my head several ways about sex, which would take too long to describe here.

    It was awkward and somewhat painful, but I remember feeling a sense of jubilation, because he wanted me and he found me sexy!

    I remember feeling that way, after years of my mother beating me down with criticism, especially about how I needed to act if I wanted to marry a good girl. Showed her. My wife farts, burps, and does not act two-faced about sex.

  8. qwertygirl
    qwertygirl July 2, 2014 at 9:21 am | | Reply

    I’ve never felt myself to be good enough. At anything, ever. To this day I’m surprised and genuinely flattered when people compliment me on something (anything). There are things I recognize I do pretty well, but I am my own harshest critic. Nothing is ever good enough for me. A lot of that goes back to my issues with my parents–my dad was chronically ill, and my mom worked long hours. I somehow worked out in my head that if I was perfect, I wouldn’t be a problem to them (I was the only child). I’m trying very hard not to inflict that perfectionist behavior on my kids. The three younger ones I think I may be OK with, but the oldest one is me all over again, and it’s really hard.

    Fortunately this has never manifested itself in a willingness to stay in a bad relationship (beyond that experience with Ellie the Bitch in high school). Some not-so-great relationships, I’ll admit (ones that were clearly not going to work over the longer term), but not abusive or anything. I’m sorry it was so hard for you–it sounds like you’re working on moving to a better place emotionally, so that’s excellent. All we can do is the best we can do.

  9. Val
    Val July 10, 2014 at 7:04 am | | Reply

    I keep on coming back to this post of yours, Jana – I could fill up your page w/a similar story, only featuring MOAR early promiscuity 😉 !!! For years my only measure of self-worth was whether a man desired me; it’s taken years to build my self-esteem upon other foundations, yet even now (in my obese, aging menopausal carcass) I have to admit the pain that comes w/acknowledging that I must be the partner to “take the lead” to get anything going romantically these days w/H2… (Not just Sex, even as simple a gesture as holding hands)
    And those last few mechanical, obligatory encounters w/H1 years ago – in which he was just going thru the motions as I was trying to secure some sort of emotional connection – make me CRINGE as I recall how I simply debased myself.
    “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it”, amirite??

  10. maurnas
    maurnas July 11, 2014 at 7:57 pm | | Reply

    This was very well written.

    And my self esteem was so bad. Worse than I can even express. I *knew* nobody would like me based on my appearance. So I worked really hard to be better in other ways to get someone to eventually like me. It is pretty sad in retrospect. But at least I am good at a lot of stuff, I guess.

If you don't comment, then I'm just talking to myself -- and I do too much of that already.

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