New Insight for an Exhausted Character Trait, Low Self Esteem

The interesting facet of the brain injury that happened to me is the fact that the files/memories of my life are not weighted. Case in point: I have never had a neutral or even a positive self-esteem. It has always been low, and never have I considered it to be a battle which I could win. The neat thing is even though there are memories stimulated and recalled that I have not always remembered,  many times there is a heightened recollection of them with a decreased weight attached to them, especially if the past memory was faint previously.

I have had a low self-esteem for as long as I can remember. I remember during my childhood years being teased by other children ruthlessly. In fact, I had always associated my childhood peers being the reason for my demeaning view of myself. However, thanks to all these strewn files/memories that are regularly stimulated, I recognized another cause. These are strong memories; however there is one memory that was faint before I attained a brain injury.

First of all, let me say that when I was a child and adolescent, I always admired Mom when she would talk about her beginning with my Dad with goo-goo eyes. Dad would always chuckle and wipe the grin off his face. They made a life-changing decision together. Mom was not seemingly overbearing to my father, and Dad was often neutral about life. HOWEVER, Dad would nag Mom for whatever she failed to do. Either that, or he would henpeck her on what she COULD HAVE and what she SHOULD HAVE done. This experience was a distant memory.

In recollection of this faded memory, I realized and remembered how much I had felt that I should be my mother’s sister or mother emotionally. No, I did not have sage advice yet; however, I had ears and shoulders for her. So to see Dad nag and henpeck wore on me emotionally greater than I ever knew. What I see in retrospect is that it was as if my father was talking to me and relaying either in present or future form my failures.

We tend to be drawn to our parents, even if it may cause negative effects to us. The action I did with my life is to marry a man over two decades ago who eagerly conveyed my shortcomings and even what my supposed thoughts, feelings and motives were. thus intensifying and magnifying this poor view of myself.

Understanding this as another part of the foundation of my negative perspective is helpful to cause this obstacle to be removed. After all, if I enter the general aura of Joe Friday from Dragnet, the emotional drama does not support functioning in a logical way or to be helpful int solving a case… of any sort.

There are many couselors and psychologists who address that arguments (or even henpecking and nagging) should be done from spouse to spouse in a closed environment. Being I associate my poor view of myself with relating to my mother and father having these conniption fits within an open area which my brother and I could hear added one more part of my life that sent me the message either I’m not good enough or I will turn into not being good enough at __________fill in the blank.

However, since this is a rejuvenated memory, what I do now is connect my low opinions of myself to this distant memory followed by focusing on the good in myself versus everything that is wrong. Throughout my life when I see something less than admirable about myself, I have often worked on repairing the problem and creating a new identity and facet of myself. I do not ever expect to be perfect; however, there is a lack in always having something poor to say about anyone, especially when you live with that person 24/7.

Approximately two to three weeks after I returned home, my brother-in-law, his wife, and his church sent me a greeting card wishing me well. When I received this card, I cried fiercely. Part of me was completely confused. Why would a greeting card bother me so? Why was it so overwhelming? Part of it was that I never knew nor spoke to anyone in Pennsylvania, let alone it be signed by strangers. Furthermore, I did not know Dan’s brother lived there. I tried hard to be grateful and honored, but I felt like I was a nobody. Why would there be this fuss over me from people with whom I have never spoken? The card made me feel so worthless, which was the opposite of the senders’ goal. I later learned that my brother-in-law, with whom I never spoke, was in charge of this act. Once it was understood who sent it, my emotions neutralized to some degree. It took me some time to not feel worthless. After all, I was not accomplishing anything in my home let alone has there ever been a visit nor accomplishment in Pennsylvania.

The other thing that has happened repeatedly is calls from groups, whether they be support or resource groups. The representatives inquire how I am, and I always feel like fighting to prove that I am truly beyond the expected status of most brain injury survivors only having a 3rd month anniversary since the accident. Here there are these concerned people representing professonal groups, etc. and I feel defensive.
After much thought and a brief discussion with a dear friend, I realized why. My parents through the years have called the state department to investigate my parental abilities. Every accusation was examined and labelled as “Unfounded.” The experience of my parents threatening my family life is the same as someone loving asking quesions “out of concern” to which the answers are turned into chum to lure the sharks. Luckily, the sharks never considered such chumming issues as bait. However, hearing from concerned strangers about my state of being and condition causes me to feel just as defensive as if an investigation was being performed to diagnose whether my children are/were in the wrong home.
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