Low Self-Esteem The Glue Of Women In Unhealthy Relationships

Postby fathom » Mon Sep 08, 2003 3:15 pm

Low self-esteem is the glue that holds women in unhealthy relationships

We've all seen them -- attractive, sweet, intelligent, popular girls -- involved in relationships with young men who are possessive, dominating, even abusive.

When they are younger, it's often caused by the fact that "bad" boys, being the ones who will bend or break the rules, are the more confident ones who more aggressively "chase" young women. So they are the ones who snare them before the "nice" guys, being more polite, have a chance.

But when a young woman stays in a relationship with someone who mistreats her or continues to seek out this kind of guy after being burned once, the "bad guy" may not be the only one with a problem. What causes young women to stay with or even seek out abusive relationships?

"Making bad choices in relationships is such a common pattern -- even for well-educated young women," says Dr. Carol Alt, a South Carolina State University sociologist, private therapist and hostess of a radio talk show dealing with relationships. "It's a pattern that's hard to break, but not impossible.
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#1

Postby Mark Tyrrell » Tue Sep 16, 2003 10:00 pm

Interesting post. I think there are two things here. Firstly the 'bad boy' can seem exciting, 'edgy' with lots going on. However I think this has more to do with a phase some girls go through and, as they mature, become more attracted to mates who are in the long term a 'better bet" ( I realise I.m a man sticking my head over the parapet here :? People who do exciting things tend to excite others (in one study women found men more attractive when they went on fair ground rides with them as there pulse rate increased so did their feeliong of attraction). However as far as low self-esteem goes the research (by Maurice Rosenberg and Stanley Coopersmith) indicates that genuine low self esteem is produced by early conditioning relating to abuse either sexual/physical or both plus verbal bullying, being overly criticised etc.. If someone has been treated very badly for a long period of time they very often feel like 'damaged goods'


So if a woman, for example' has been conditioned to feel she is really no good then if may feel 'all wrong' if a man dotes on her and constantly tells her how wonderful she is. It feels wrong because it is a mis-match with her own perception of herself. The quickest way to break rapport with people who have genuine low self-esteem is to over praise and compliment them. The pattern is that very often they feel more familiarity with people who treat them badly, because low self-esteem is about treating yourself badly (being overly self-critical etc.) so an abusive relationship (where the victim is reluctant to leave or shows a patter of choosing such relationships)consists of two people actually working in alignment.

Low self-esteem can produce a distrust and wariness of people who treat you well. However as people become more confident and a better snse of self emerges then we find that the abusive relationship pattern becomes less tenable as it ceases to feel in any way right.
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#2

Postby fathom » Tue Sep 16, 2003 10:18 pm

mark tyrrell wrote:Interesting post. I think there are two things here. Firstly the 'bad boy' can seem exciting, 'edgy' with lots going on. However I think this has more to do with a phase some girls go through and, as they mature, become more attracted to mates who are in the long term a 'better bet" ( I realise I.m a man sticking my head over the parapet here :? People who do exciting things tend to excite others (in one study women found men more attractive when they went on fair ground rides with them as there pulse rate increased so did their feeliong of attraction). However as far as low self-esteem goes the research (by Maurice Rosenberg and Stanley Coopersmith) indicates that genuine low self esteem is produced by early conditioning relating to abuse either sexual/physical or both plus verbal bullying, being overly criticised etc.. If someone has been treated very badly for a long period of time they very often feel like 'damaged goods'

Low self-esteem can produce a distrust and wariness of people who treat you well. However as people become more confident and a better sense of self emerges then we find that the abusive relationship pattern becomes less tenable as it ceases to feel in any way right.


Good to see you post Mark - you have too much wisdom that helps mold minds, to allow Roger all the glory! ;)

Interesting enough I was in a relationship that had these roles reversed, so can really appreciate your reasonings.

My military background, conditioning, and leadership skills helped keep me grounded from falling into a cycle but the damage was done nonetheless.

It took a long time to realize that self esteem (hers) played a major part of our relationship - and this can dragged people in without them realizing it - until too late.

Glad to see you on the board! :)
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#3

Postby AiryLeigh » Fri Mar 26, 2004 1:59 am

mark tyrrell wrote:Interesting post. I think there are two things here. Firstly the 'bad boy' can seem exciting, 'edgy' with lots going on. However I think this has more to do with a phase some girls go through and, as they mature, become more attracted to mates who are in the long term a 'better bet" ( I realise I.m a man sticking my head over the parapet here :? People who do exciting things tend to excite others (in one study women found men more attractive when they went on fair ground rides with them as there pulse rate increased so did their feeliong of attraction). However as far as low self-esteem goes the research (by Maurice Rosenberg and Stanley Coopersmith) indicates that genuine low self esteem is produced by early conditioning relating to abuse either sexual/physical or both plus verbal bullying, being overly criticised etc.. If someone has been treated very badly for a long period of time they very often feel like 'damaged goods'


So if a woman, for example' has been conditioned to feel she is really no good then if may feel 'all wrong' if a man dotes on her and constantly tells her how wonderful she is. It feels wrong because it is a mis-match with her own perception of herself. The quickest way to break rapport with people who have genuine low self-esteem is to over praise and compliment them. The pattern is that very often they feel more familiarity with people who treat them badly, because low self-esteem is about treating yourself badly (being overly self-critical etc.) so an abusive relationship (where the victim is reluctant to leave or shows a patter of choosing such relationships)consists of two people actually working in alignment.

Low self-esteem can produce a distrust and wariness of people who treat you well. However as people become more confident and a better snse of self emerges then we find that the abusive relationship pattern becomes less tenable as it ceases to feel in any way right.


You just described part of my life. All my life I was told I wasn't good enough and when my first boyfriend started to hit me I defended him to ppl and I stayed for 2 and a half years.
And now with my current boyfriend I feel like I don't measure up for him. He constantly compliments me and praises me and I don't understand why. I feel like he's lying and I'll never live up to this image he has of me.
It's tearing us apart. I don't want to lose him and wish I could learn to believe him. But I just don't feel like I'm worth loving and I'm afraid he'll realize that. I end up sabotaging our relationship without even realizing it. I'm afraid to get too far in and be rejected. So I try to end it and push him away and when I realize what I'm doing I beg him not to leave me.
I've become so pathetic.
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#4

Postby kfedouloff » Fri Mar 26, 2004 3:13 pm

Hi AiryLeigh!

I was on another forum today where somebody quoted this:
"during our lives, about 75% of the feedback we receive is negative. Of the 25% feedback that is positive, we receive 80% before we are 4 years old"


I don't know where the figure came from, but it certainly makes you think!

I think it is amazing that you have reached the insight that you have about your situation, and very hopeful. If you can see what the problem is, you have some hope of dealing with it!

Maybe you could look back now, and think about your experience. You said that you had been told all your life that you were no good - I wonder if you can recall when you FIRST became aware that you were receiving that message, and who from? And when you think about the person, or people, who were giving that message to a child, do you have any thoughts about what led them to do that, and whether they understood what the effects might be?

Kathleen
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#5

Postby fandango » Fri Mar 26, 2004 5:03 pm

fathom wrote:So they are the ones who snare them before the "nice" guys, being more polite, have a chance.


This was my experience exactly. I have been through 2 physically abusive relationships, and have often wondered why! Part of it was that when I was 15, abusive bf #1 was the only person who asked me out and paid any attention to me, or at least that was how it seemed. My self-esteem was so poor, that only his blunt attempts were noticed.

And as far as abusers being bad boys, I've met plenty of nice guys (like my DH) who were "bad boys", as well as plenty abusers (like abusive bf #2) that appeared to be "nice guys".
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#6

Postby Buffy » Mon May 03, 2004 11:12 am

This is a very interesting & sadly relevent issue for so many women right now.
There is little doubt in my mind that my childhood was unhelpful in equipting me to make good choices about potential partners.
I am sad that I clung onto an unhappy & confidence draining relationship that was well past its sell by date, but I am happy that when I was finally rejected by this 'bad man acting as a good man', I wanted to find out how I got there & avoid having that kind of relationship again.
Woman are always trying to find a balance between many aspects of their life, I craved ( and still do) a loving relationship, just not at any price.
I didn't consider my own needs before, just that I had to compromise & the alternative to that relationship was..... nothing.... who would want me.

Well that was my lack of confidence talking, there are always chances in life, but alone or in a relationship every woman must place her own needs at the top of her agenda in any relationship.
Women need to be reminded that any relationship that ignores or disrespects their own needs, does not have a place in their lives. This important message is often lost
when we see other high profile women accepting, infidelity, abuse & disrespect, aiding a cycle of negative messages to women.
Any message that could give courage & hope are whats needed to raise the issue of self esteem in many womens personal relationshaips.
Proof indeed that this type of site is so important, courage, hope, education... delightful cocktail....thank you
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#7

Postby fathom » Tue May 04, 2004 6:51 am

Buffy wrote:Women need to be reminded that any relationship that ignores or disrespects their own needs, does not have a place in their lives. This important message is often lost
when we see other high profile women accepting, infidelity, abuse & disrespect, aiding a cycle of negative messages to women.
Any message that could give courage & hope are whats needed to raise the issue of self esteem in many womens personal relationshaips.
Proof indeed that this type of site is so important, courage, hope, education... delightful cocktail....thank you


Buffy agree totally but with a modification... All "men" and "women" need to be reminded...

It was only recently that I got corrected on a common misconception: "a relationship is 50/50" > unfortuately if both participants only apply themselves at 50%, there is no common ground for the relationship to build on particularly through the hard times.

It must be 100%/100% effort at 100% of the time and you can often see the early warning signs of less without venturing too far.

Welcome to Uncommon Forum! ;)
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#8

Postby Buffy » Tue May 04, 2004 8:01 am

Yes I agree that the application should be equal, it was right for you to point this out. This is an emotive issue for me & there is a danger of being subjective.
That pesky low self esteem, oh well back to the confidence course for me, still removing bits of old glue.
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#9

Postby fathom » Tue May 04, 2004 8:59 am

Buffy wrote:Yes I agree that the application should be equal, it was right for you to point this out. This is an emotive issue for me & there is a danger of being subjective.
That pesky low self esteem, oh well back to the confidence course for me, still removing bits of old glue.


Well I'll say that "posting" is an exceptional way to gain confidence in yourself, and over time it is also a good record to reflect and view your growth in self assurance.

From a single post to the next you rarely see a difference - but when seen over time you can notice the subtle changes in style and it is quite revealing and rewarding experience to sit back and say "look how much I've grown!"

Keep up the good work!
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#10

Postby DaveDLT » Thu Oct 07, 2010 2:46 am

One of the things with this issue is that it is not specific to women and not to men.

In a relationship where a woman has low self-esteem, almost guaranteed the man has just the same.

So what is put out is that the woman must have low self-esteem to stay in an abusive relationship, especially physical abuse. But what is also going on is that the man has to have just as low self-esteem to feel the need to stay in a relationship where he gets so angry that he lashes out with physical abuse.

When you have two low self-esteem people in a relationship like that, the abuse goes both ways. It may take different forms, so one is easier to spot than another, such as physical abuse, but it is still there going both ways.

The most important principle I help people get when I heal them on relationships (in fact, it is the same with any issue), is that you get 100% of what you intend to give. This is observed all the time and I have never seen this principle fail. So you have the choice of what you will receive by what you choose to give.

Why people get 'stuck' in relationships is because they try to make their partner dependent on them. They try to make their partner 'stuck' with them. They do this because they have a fear that if they don't, their partner will leave. It is more important to them to be in a relationship whatever it is, than to only be in a loving relationship.

Because of this, they get what they are trying to give. They become dependent on their partner, even if their partner is abusive. So they become stuck in an abusive relationship.

To end this cycle once and for all, you need to change your focus and how you think of your relationship. You need to see your relationship as an opportunity to build up your partner in as many ways as you can. If you don't want to be stuck in a bad relationship, then you need to help empower your partner to be able to choose to have a loving relationship. Whatever you give your partner will come to you.

Where people mess this up is that they fool themselves into thinking that this is what they are doing when it isn't. They try to say that they were the one who just gave and gave and ended up being used. If this is happening then you need to be honest with yourself and see all the ways you tried to use your partner.

If you want to have healthy boundaries in your relationship, then help your partner have healthy boundaries. See how it makes you feel when your partner has healthy boundaries with you.

I hope this helps some people with their relationships. Relationships can be so happy when they go well and loving, yet so painful when they don't.

Dave.
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