Confession… waiting has ruined my self esteem

posted 2 weeks ago in Waiting
Post # 16
84 posts
Worker bee

Dusted off my password and breaking a two years’ lurking spell to reply to this one because you seem like such a lovely person. You remind me of one of my besties. I’ve read all your posted replies to other bees and you seem to take care and time to think through other peoples’ problems. I hope you know you deserve no less. I’ve felt a lot of the feelings you’ve described, so I’m going to throw my whole kitchen sink of coping mechanisms at you in the hope any of them could help even a little. If I’m ridiculously off the mark, ignore me with no worries.

Even when you aren’t dating someone who belittes you it takes half the length of a relationship to mourn its ending. You dated a butthead for two years, taking this year to heal is normal… It takes time to regrow your roots after cutting out what you expected to be half your life. You wanted to marry and “waiting” makes you plan your future with a person. It’s hard. Don’t beat yourself up for taking your own time to feel better.

If you find therapy helpful, that’s great… but instead of talking to your therapist about random socially awkward moments you’ve had lately though, have you gone through and really dissected your breakup and why you stayed in the relationship to begin with? He should never ever have been picking away at you like he did. I feel like either a friend or your therapist should make a list with you of every red flag he ever waived so you’ll be able to recognize an asshat so you never accidentally date one again.

I’ve been lost before; I’ve been broken-hearted, crazy, and I’ve been a hollow shell of myself. If I may suggest a few things that worked for me… to get your body to feel like it fits again, find its limits. Go for a run until your lungs feel like they will burst. Get a punching bag and wail away at it until your arms feel like wet noodles. Lift weights until you can’t anymore, and do it all a few times a week. You might feel like a weak mess in the beginning but I’ve always found a nice side effect of pushing my body is that it strengthens my mind as well. When you start out it feels like punishment but a constructive kind that will literally build you up at the same time. It’s harder to feel as bad about yourself when you’re doubling your physical capabilities and feeling stronger. In my experience, endorphins are great for helping mental/emotional healing.

Are you nerdy or into memes at all? I feel like you’re suffering as Awkward Penguin when you need to start feeling like Courage Wolf until you can love yourself *for* being Awkward Penguin, until you can laugh at being awkward instead of cringing. Make a motivation folder to feel like a badass, hit up pinterest & reddit. Become your own Courage Wolf. After a while, you’ll love yourself again and find your heart open enough to trust and go out there to date and find true love. I have faith in you. You’re too nice to be alone; you’re shiny. Also, say it with me loud and proud, “fuck him”. Fuck him for ever making you doubt yourself. He had no right. Be angry until you know your strong self again. You probably weren’t immature or bossy. You were probably fun and knew what you wanted. If you’re socially awkward, so be it, just learn to laugh again. Life’s too short to have to be cool anyway.

I’m as socially awkward as they come but my SO loves me because of this, not in spite of it. The right man is absolutely out there for you. You’re not “used goods”, you’re the “marrying kind” and you will find that one person who’s worthy of your open heart and love, you’ve just got to pick yourself up and make yourself strong enough to try again someday.

When you’re going through hell, keep going.
Wishing you every bit of luck in the world <3

Post # 17
306 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

Your ex sounds like a psychopathic abuser. I had the same experience with my ex bf. He said he wanted to marry me but couldn’t for various reasons – including that I had low self esteem and my the while putting me down and then put me down for having low self confidence). Put me down then flatter me saying that I’m different to all the other girls he’s dated etc etc, then put me down, flatter me, put me down etc etc. That went on for 2 years. Obviously we broke up, a nasty one too. 

How I recovered after the break up was by looking after my appearance, meeting new guys and going on lots of dates. It definitely helped me after several guys asked me out. It’s probably not healthy to rely on men wanting you to boost your self confidence but it did work for me because i felt so unwanted and unattractive and my self esteem was down the gutter after 2 years of that toxic relationship, abuse and manipulation. I felt attractive and wanted again. When I was with my ex I wasn’t getting anywhere with my career, felt ugly and fat and I generally lacked overall compared to other girls around me. I tried so hard to change myself and my flaws to fit the person that my ex wanted me to be but I couldn’t. Ultimately I concluded that he was just a loser, psychopathic douche and he was insecure because I was better than him.

Then I met my now DH who was the complete opposite. He adored me from the start and gave me lots of encouragements and affirmations. I swear I accomplished so much more within 6 months of meeting him than I had in the 5 yrs before I met him.

I hope you recover from the traumatic relationship you had with your ex. You dodged a bullet. Be glad that he never proposed. I think meeting new guys and just casually dating helps. It definitely helped me. Just don’t jump into a serious one or get too intimate until you meet the right man. I also believe that a good man will absolutely adore you and want to marry you from the moment he meets you because that’s what you deserve 🙂 

Post # 19
18 posts

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I have anxiety and one thing that is pretty common is holding onto ideas that aren’t true (i.e. you’re not worthy). A book that’s really helped me is called the Anxiety and Phobias Workbook by Dr. Bourne — it’s only a few bucks (you can get an earlier edition, there’s no difference between the 4th, 5th, or the 6th) and it has a whole chapter about how to let go of those destructive thoughts, even if you really believe them!

Post # 20
142 posts
Blushing bee

Honey, you need to realize that life is not about pleasing people. I used to be like you when I was younger. Always wanting to fit in with a certain crowd, or always trying to make sure people liked me. But honestly, that got tiring after a while, and as I matured, I realized that the only person that had to like me, was me. I didn’t care if lost friends or lovers along the way of finding myself, because I knew, at the end of the day, the people who actually cared and gave a shit about me, would still be there. 

I went through a similar situation a few years ago when I dated my best friend. I thought he understood me and that he cared about me. But he didn’t. When we broke up, he made me think that it was all my fault – that I had gained weight, that I was too boring, etc. But the truth was, that it had nothing to do with me at all. He later explained that he still loved me, but didn’t want to be tied down. People do nasty things when they are afraid of facing the truth.

You will find someone else. You will be happy, and with time, this traumatic experience with your ex will become nothing but a dull memory. This experience can make you stronger, as long as you let it go and see it for what is was. Like a PP said, your ex was weak, and he was manipulating you. It wasn’t that you didn’t deserve to be married to him, it was that he didn’t deserve to be married to you.

Bee, you have one life. Spend it being happy and loving who you are.

Post # 21
169 posts
Blushing bee

I’m so sorry for the terrible experience your ex put you through. No one deserves to be treated that way. You sound like a fantastic, caring person, and you truly deserve someone who will love and cherish you for who you are. Don’t lose hope, and work on really loving yourself. I’ve heard it said that we can only be truly loved by others if we also over ourselves. 

*Gently* I think though, that it was not the waiting that ruined your self-esteem…it was your ex. I see no reason why having slept with him would have made any of this better. In fact, it might have even been more difficult for you to try to get over him if you had. 

Like PPs suggested, perhaps trying a new therapist would help. Make sure to make time to do things YOU like, for YOU. When I had a bad breakup, those sorts of thoughts felt selfish, but it really is 10000% important that you take care of yourself first. You matter, and if you really want to have your whole self to give to another person someday when you meet the right one, your whole self needs to have been taken care of. You’re worth it! 

Post # 22
220 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

chaiteababy :  I have no advice to you, but can I say your post struck me a lot? Reading it is so honest, and you have rich insight into yourself. You are a strong person. May you have a long life ahead for you – and I would be glad to be you living those years. You will have a rich and meaningful time on earth since you have this strength and honesty in yourself. 

Post # 23
355 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

I understand this. It’s not logical, so please, don’t beat yourself up for not being able to just bounce back and “fix” yourself. Feelings are not always logical.

First, other PPs are right. If you feel your therapist doesn’t understand what you’re going through, then you need a new therapist. Therapy should be a place of comfort and acceptance, and you should feel safe and understood there. Keep trying different providers, until you find the one that clicks with you and is able to provide the support you need.

Second, I grew up feeling unworthy, because of a tumultous relationship with my father. I felt constantly judged. Nothing I did was good enough, and no matter how perfect I tried to be, I failed. And when I failed, he insisted I admit that I had failed and was “wrong.” He was obsessed with him being right, and with me being wrong. That severely impacted my self-esteem and self worth. I felt fat, ugly, stupid, and unwanted.

It took several years to overthrow that self image. Part of it, was in realizing that my father is not a happy person, and that he took out that unhappiness on me, never even realizing how unhappy he is. He believes himself to be perfect, but when I look, I can see the flaws. You have to look at your ex, and recognize his flaws, beacause right now you’re still believing his lies because he positioned himself as superior to you. It might help you to list his flaws out.

1. He’s a liar (he never intended to marry you)

2. He’s a manipulator (he made you believe that the reason he wouldn’t marry you was because you were deficient, even though that wasn’t the actual reason – see #1)

Those are two huge flaws that I can pick out, just from reading one of your posts. You can come up with way more I’m sure.

Now, look at those flaws, and ask yourself, “Am I really okay with this kind of person deciding my worth? How is he at all qualified to judge what makes a good person?” The answer? He isn’t. Only you have the utmost authority to decide who you are, and your self worth cannot be based upon someone else and be healthy.

Now, for relationships in the future. I too, had trouble dating because of the way I felt. I felt ugly. I felt unworthy. And more than any of that, I was weighed down with fear, that I would continue the cycle and marry someone like my father and grandfather, then have children that would have to endure what I did. But I had to realize that was just another part of the emotional damage from my childhood. I truly believed I wouldn’t be smart enough to recognize the signs of a bad future partner. I’m stronger and smarter than that, but I had to accept that I was in order to move on.

You are incredible! You are strong – you survived this bad relationship and break up. You are smart – you earned a college degree. You learn from your mistakes – you didn’t date a rebound or end up back with your ex.

It won’t be easy, and no two people are the same. But I’m happily engaged to someone who supports me, loves me, and makes me feel beautiful. Our relationship is not perfect, and sometimes those old insecurities rear their head, and sometimes I sink back into those old feelings, but I give it time, and I fight my way back up. I’ve also been honest with FI. he knows about my past, and he is better able to support me because of it.

Get back out there, girl!

Post # 24
6 posts
  • Wedding: June 2018

You need to actively change your internal dialogue.  Every time you think “I’m not good enough for that”, you need to immediately tell yourself “I’m a capable/strong/intelligent/responsible/worthy (etc.) Person” instead.  Try to catch yourself as soon as you feel the negative reaction coming on. Pretty soon, your instinctive feelings and attitude will be more positive.  I think you might have social anxiety disorder.  You should see a psychiatrist (who may want to prescribe an anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication while you work through this), and find a new therapist.  Cognitive therapy could really help you.  Therapists are not one-size-fits-all.  

You are no longer with that buttface.  Quit letting his negative crap that he dumped on you affect you.  


The best advice I can give you is NEVER to think of yourself as a victim.  You are strong, and you’ve got this!  You’re stronger than you were back then, but you’re not as strong as you will be next week or next year… you’re totally going to amaze yourself if you commit to this.


Post # 25
6 posts
  • Wedding: June 2018

 Here, a bright eyes lyric, (courtesy of the emo part of myself that came to the surface reading your post :P):

“You said, “I’m done feeling like a skeleton,
No more sleep walking dead.”
You’re gonna wake from this coma.
You’re gonna crawl from this bed you’ve made,
& stop counting on that camera
That hangs around your neck,
‘Cause it won’t ever remember what you choose to forget”


P.S. “don’t think of yourself as a victim” wasn’t meant to be harsh.  Please don’t take it that way.  I would give the same advice to my younger sister if she were in your shoes, and I love her to pieces.

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