I’ve been in a lot of abusive situations and dated so many people in which I ended up in some kind of off kilter romance. In these affairs I often found myself on the crappy end of a power play always expending a lot of energy trying to win the other person back. Staying in the situation causes a lot of mental anguish and stress. When you are in the midst of this, it is easy to lose your voice because you are people pleasing. Going through the gamut of emotions that come up in an abusive scenario cause your mind to exist in some sort of mental flurry- perhaps similar to the fight or flight reflex you often react rather than act. This mental flurry makes it difficult for you to live in the moment and you often lose track of your own wants and needs. When you are stuck in the middle of this much emotional stress, you are no longer paying attention to yourself and run the risk of letting others define you.
This happened to me a few weeks ago when I got sent to self-esteem classes by my counselor. I will tell you why she initially sent me. I was obsessing over whether or not the guy I was dating liked me. In fact I was very insecure about the whole thing. My counselor figured that he did. He asked me out didn’t he? She couldn’t understand why I was acting so insecurely and thought that perhaps self-esteem was the root of what was causing me to have insecurities in this new relationship. “You don’t have any self-esteem, Hayley. You don’t like yourself.” I thought about what she said.