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Low self-esteem is deadly when it comes to relationships. Insecurities and a lack of confidence can lead to a person overwhelming their partner and turning a relationship that started off harmonious into a living hell. Low self-esteem is not just about how you view yourself. It affects your perception of others and situations, your self-respect and your judgment.

My own low self-esteem came from being bullied and never having a relationship throughout my teenage and young adult years. The first things I heard about myself from my peers was that I was fat and ugly, so I believed it. Not knowing your self-worth and being naive about relationships is a recipe for heartache. When a man would express interest in me, I would automatically assume that we would be in a relationship. I didn’t think they would hurt me. I didn’t think they would lie or take advantage of me because, quite frankly, I didn’t know any better. I had no clue how to deal with men. I dreamed of having a relationship but didn’t know anything about the dating game. I would move too fast because I was too trusting. I was too kind because I assumed they were deserving.

When I was younger, I would date guys who had nothing but bad intentions for me but I didn’t want to believe it. It was better to have someone who was only around sometimes than to not have anyone at all. After they used me up, they would disappear and I would be confused. I figured I was a pretty nice person, so why would they hurt me?  I never understood how a man could be so sweet and then dispose of me like I was trash. I would try and figure out what I did to push them away, not realizing they were never in it for the long run in the first place. I now see that it was because men can sniff out low self-esteem. Some will play on that to get what they want while others will distance themselves. Unfortunately, I ran into men who would use my low self-esteem as motivation to take advantage of me. They saw my desperation to have someone else to make me feel beautiful and wanted, and they gave me my temporary fix and then vanished without a goodbye.

Having low-self-esteem is torturing. Without a man around to give me attention or make me feel special, I felt undesirable, unwanted and disregarded. You can have so many talents, skills and a good heart but be blinded by your inability to love yourself. I would base how I felt about myself on what men told me because I couldn’t fathom my own internal and external beauty.

With no one to turn to, I had to rebuild the self-esteem that was torn down by others. Whatever I didn’t like about myself, I changed. My weight always bothered me, so I changed my lifestyle and lost over 50 pounds and counting. I learned to embrace whatever I couldn’t change.  I also turned my passiveness into assertiveness. Saying no to guys helps me get rid of problems before they start. I remain kind but I use better judgment when meeting men and allow them to show me what their intentions are. As I matured and learned to put myself first, I’ve learned that if a man wants a woman, he will make it his business to be in her life. The woman will not be doing most of the work. I have accepted myself instead of shaming myself without validation from of a man. 

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