Self Esteem Feed

When One Compliment Negates a Hundred Slights

People who find themselves in an unhealthy, even abusive relationship often ask themselves, "why do I stay?",  "what is it that keeps sucking me back in?"  Many times it can be the "courting behavior" that follows the abuse.  In domestic violence, this is illustrated in the Circle of Abuse.  The abuser becomes violent and lashes out at the victim.  Afterward, he or she engages in the courting behavior they originally used when dating the victim.  They are charming, caring, attentive.  They lavish the victim with compliments and gifts.  A victim who has low self esteem may tolerate the abuse to get the courting behavior.  The pain of being hurt is overridden by the kindness and attention that are lavished on them after it is over. 

In less abusive relationships a more subtle form of this behavior may exist.  If someone is in a relationship with a narcissist or a sociopath, they may experience a constant stream of unloving treatment.  Their partner may be uncaring, callous, accusatory, jealous, cold, distant, hostile, selfish, critical, demanding, demeaning, etc.  They may heap insults on them or demean them with a constant stream of disparaging remarks.  They may constantly accuse them of cheating.  Or they may be dismissive and condescending.  The relationship may be totally devoid of empathic, nurturing, caring, loving behavior.  So why do they stay?

It may be that they are totally taken for granted, until they attempt to leave or start to pull away.  When the emotional manipulator reailizes they've gone too far, they may engage in courting behavior to reel the partner back into the relationship.  If their partner's self esteem is low enough this may go on for years and years.  If their self esteem is somewhat higher, they may eventually realize that, "One compliment negates a thousand slights." 


Take Two Yoga Classes and Call me in the Morning

I'm reading the August 2009 edition (yes I am a little bit behind in my reading) of Yoga Journal and I am reminded once again of all the benefits yoga has to offer in one's struggle for peace of mind and mental health.

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Military Structure and the Chaotic Family

Working in a homeless shelter, I work with a lot of clients who came from very dysfunctional and chaotic family systems.  One man grew up in such a family and overcame it by joining the military.  How did that help?  

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Why Healthy Boundaries are Important in Relationships

Therapists talk a lot about boundaries, but we're not always clear what we mean by "boundaries", why they are important to an individual's mental health, or why they are important for healthy relationships.  

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Building Self Esteem through Self Care

Many people ask me how to build self esteem.  I think one of the most important aphorisms I've heard was spoken many years ago by Dear Abby, "We teach people how to treat us."  So this is where you begin, with good, healthy self care.  When you care for yourself you communicate to yourself and others that you are worthy of care.  What constitutes good self care?

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WWND? Why I Want to be More Like my Dog.

Some people, when confronted with a paradox in life, ask themselves, "What Would Jesus Do?"  Personally, I ask myself, "What would Nisse do?"  My goal in life is to be more like my dog, Nisse (pronounced "NIS suh").  I have a lot of human mentors in my life to whom I look up to, but Nisse has a special quality I lack and want to learn. 

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