Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

I remember near the beginning of my divorce chatting with an old friend.

“I don’t feel very good about myself,” I said.

“I never knew a Colleen who was anything but confident,” he replied.

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But there was in fact, a day I stopped liking myself. 

Worse, I can pinpoint exactly when it started yet at the time I was willing to forfeit a part of myself to remain with the person I loved.

I think most people who remain in broken relationships can relate to this.

The moment you morph into an undesirable entity fighting an inevitable truth.

Sadly, the above bears repeating…

The moment you morph into an undesirable entity fighting an inevitable truth.

I didn’t simply wake up one day and transition from healthy self-esteem to damaged self-esteem.

The longer I tried to get the attention of someone I loved, the more I demanded bad behaviors stop, the more I urged marital counseling, the more I begged him to care about me, our marriage and our family…

The MORE desperate I became. 

I was fighting for my family after all.

But that would, in fact, be the reply of an enabler.

There is zero excuse for putting up with not only bad behavior but someone who repeatedly sends the message you are not worth fighting for.

No, my self-esteem did not slip away because I feared he did not love me because despite his behavior I knew he did.

My confidence slowly dissipated as I began to live a life I was not proud of. The bad behavior would not stop which made me cry at first and then it made me angry and then it made me yell and then it made horrible things come out of my mouth.

I have said this before – My healthy self-esteem wasn’t the result of believing I was smart or funny or good at what I do or any other aspect of personality.

My confidence stemmed from my foundation.

A mother who loved me undeniably, made me believe I was ridiculously special and who meticulously laid out and lived a strong value system. And I somehow knew that as long as I forgot NONE of these things, I would hold onto not only my self-esteem but my self-respect.

It all seems so clear now that the tears have evaporated. 

I got lost in someone else.

And no, I can’t blame him.

I should have waited for him to assume responsibility for his actions rather than becoming overly responsible for his bad behavior myself. I shouldn’t have mistakenly believed ‘caring’ meant ‘staying, crying, begging and yelling.’ I shouldn’t have called his family asking for help. I should have packed my bags.

Instead of making excuses and convincing myself this was a person I loved in a bad place – I should have reminded myself I deserved, everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect. Because the longer I stayed the disrespectfulness heightened and the more I got frightened and mad and yelled. The more I exhibited bad behavior. This just resulted in two things. It gave a person who was already doing the wrong thing a reason to say I now was.

And it shook my foundation.

I was no longer feeling loved or incredibly special AND I was not living a relationship or family life that coincided with my values.

I think most people who remain in broken relationships can relate to this. 

Rather than getting out before…

The day comes when you stop liking yourself.

When you have a relationship which is evaporating and confidence that is diminishing.

The moment you morph into an undesirable entity fighting an inevitable truth.

 

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E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com
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