Women with low self-esteem: Why are they in relationships?

Much thanks to Therese and Darlyn!

I was talking to a friend yesterday, and we were discussing how women are naturally supportive and nurturing, sometimes to their own detriment. After a period of time of giving and giving without receiving, or subconsciously feeling that we don’t NEED to receive anything in return from our male counterparts, we slowly become co-dependent. We discussed how we ALLOW things to be a certain way, even when we know it shouldn’t be – because we want our relationships to work so badly.

Then today, another friend on FaceBook was venting about how so many successful women suffer from low self-esteem, and I felt compelled to write about it here.

So, why is it that we hold on so tightly to a man when clearly, we should let him go? I have a couple of theories about it, generally and racially.

Generally, women who suffer from low self-esteem have been either abused (physically or emotionally), haven’t seen a “model” of what a good relationship should mirror, have become damaged from a series of (or sometimes just ONE) bad relationship(s), or have learned to become co-dependent within a relationship.

If you have ever suffered from ANY kind of abuse, please….get help. See a therapist. A few of us are strong enough to come out of that situation unscathed, but some of us really need professional help when dealing with it. There’s nothing to be ashamed of – none of us are created the same way, and we all have different strengths. If you can’t afford a therapist, write in a journal, or talk to a friend – even those simple things can help you reflect on your past behavior and how it has affected your life and your ability to function “normally” in a relationship.

In my own personal experience, I have noticed that people mirror their relationships off of what they saw growing up – were you aware that 85% of your personality is formed by the time you are five years old and that the remaining 15% is from age five to twelve? So, if you’ve seen a good model by your parents (or whomever raised you), you will MOST LIKELY have success in choosing and having a good partner and relationship. If you have seen a less than savory relationship model, you may be well aware of it and do your best to be “different”, but your relationship pattern may STILL eventually end up just like the model you saw as a child. So what you have seen and experienced as a child is VERY important.

As women, again, we are nurturers by nature (those of us who allow ourselves to live in our feminine environment!). So we protect, we give, we support – we KNOW how to do that. But, we also need to turn that part of us off when it isn’t being appreciated and/or is taken for granted. We don’t realize sometimes that if a man is backing off – we ALSO need to back off. If he wants space, give him space! Instead, we exhibit behaviors that try to bring us CLOSER to him – that doesn’t work! And it doesn’t show confidence – it shows low self-esteem. But, we don’t realize it, and we just keep taking nonsense from men – making excuses for men that just don’t make any sense to anyone but YOU at the time! It’s not until you are far removed from the relationship that you begin to really see what you were doing. And then you try to be different the next time around. But, you SO want the new relationship to work – you are NOT going to lose this one, that you start the cycle all over again! Did you take some time to be alone and learn how you contributed to the demise of the relationship? How HE did? Did you fall back inlove with yourself and you remember how you are just THE BOMB with or without a guy? Think about it! HE CANNOT LOVE YOU IF YOU DO NOT LOVE YOURSELF FIRST.

Lastly, and unfortunately, there is an incredible amount of low self-esteem among black women. Have you ever gone to a store to buy something, you’re walking around the store – happy, but you notice one of the store’s female employees keeps staring at you in a mean way. You go to pay for your items, smile at the cashier, but the whole time you’re in the store, she was giving you a dirty look? You thought to yourself, “What the hell is wrong with HER?” I have had this happen to me countless times. And I started to wonder why this was happening. It is because some black women are in competition with each other for men. We have been socialized into believing that if we don’t have a man, something is wrong with us. Our hair isn’t straight enough, we aren’t light enough, we aren’t skinny enough, we aren’t driving the nicest car, our shoe game is off, etc. All of these material things are in the forefront of our minds – what about what is INSIDE? You have to start working on the inside before you get the outside right! But, we can’t do that, because so many of us are still focused on “who has what” or “status”. This is a condition that has been forced upon us. And it is sad. But we all need to embrace one another and help one another through this – it is the only way it will end. When you’ve gotten that MBA and that awesome CFO job at a Fortune 10 company, reach down and bring another woman with you on your way up instead of leaving her in the slums – we have become so selfish in our pursuit of material things.

And for ALL women, while we are working on ourselves, let’s not forget to look out for one another – let’s take a stand against low self-esteem and build ourselves up by building EACH OTHER up!


2 Responses to “Women with low self-esteem: Why are they in relationships?”

  1. Awesome and very well put Sophia!

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