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Root of Low Self Esteem

Dear Dad,

I was a tiny little child posing no threat yet, you found it imperative to use great hostility and rage to parent me.  I quickly learned to not only obey you but to dread and fear you.   I came to fear for my life with each angry outburst.  I came to know that I was inherently a bad person, that I was dumb, lazy and stupid because this is what you told me (about my self).

An only child, I had only you.  There was no “safe” place for me to go to,  shyness and withdrawn and wanting to hide from others, not wanting them to find out what a bad, dumb, lazy and stupid person I really was.   As an adult,  I figured you could not tell these things about me by my appearance alone, so I could remain a quiet mystery.  Making friends did not become a skill I honed and therefore no one could discover the real me.

You hated me because I was unloveable and bad.  The seeds of my low self esteem were embedded.

When I was 5, I decided to behave the way you modeled for me ( a big mean angry person ) with a girl younger than me who was riding her tricycle out front.   I approached, asked for the bike and when I heard a ‘no’, I yelled, screamed and pushed her off so I could ride it.  Ultimately, I got into trouble for this.  I was just behaving how you had been demonstrating to me and to learn this was wrong left me feeling confused.

A different confusion all these years later that still lingers.  Of course, now I am grown and know the difference between being a bully versus trying to fit in to society but knowing how to just “be”  (as in being comfortable just being me)  is still a sad mystery.

That belt you used on me when I was so little, was that really necessary?  I was a terrified child just by your words!  My entire body would shake each time you yelled, something that would continue well into adulthood when anyone raises their voice to me.  Everlasting scars.

Leave a comment


  1. Sorry you’ve experienced this. I can relate to growing up with fear and it takes a lot of courage to confront it as you have done.

  2. didn’t feel right hitting “like” on this one, but I did appreciate it and well….. you get the point.

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