Emotional Abuse: The Backbone of Self-Doubt

Over the span of 14 years few things I accomplished ever satisfied my husband.

No matter how hard I worked at something or how proud I felt of my achievements, in his eyes, I was never quite good enough. After showing him results or telling him of my efforts on various tasks, I was always left feeling as if I had not produced anything substantial.

Case in point: I was very successful in my career and received many promotions throughout the years. Each time I moved to a higher position, I expected he would finally be proud of me. After sharing my exciting news of a promotion though, he would only inquire about my salary, and then advise I demand a higher income. This left me to feel as if my inflated paycheck was still far below his standards.

Instead of seeing the disappointment as his issue, I’d begin to feel bad about my job and increasingly dislike it for not meeting his expectations. Rather than being proud of my promotions, I became increasingly insecure of my abilities.

His criticisms weren’t limited to my salary, in fact, his expectations weighed heavier in the other areas of my life:

  • I was never a good enough mother
  • The home was never cleaned correctly
  • I spent too much money, despite using coupons or discounts
  • Another ingredient would have always improved what I prepared to eat

When I wasn’t being criticized by my husband I was being insulted. He frequently called me crazy, incapable, and dumb. If he wasn’t directly calling me names, he was making comments to imply my incompetence.

During conversations with him I often became flustered and insecure. Eventually the anticipation of being put down and scrutinized resulted in ineffective communication, which then carried over into other areas of my life.

For years, I believed that having tough skin could effectively block out his negativity and being harder on myself would eventually bring the results that would satisfy him. Now, after being separated from such an environment for a year, I realize my beliefs were only working against me.

It is clear that no matter how thick my skin was, or how dedicated to improvement I was, my low self-esteem and growing social anxiety were the products of living with daily emotional abuse. Low self-esteem became the backbone of my existence and essentially prevented me from truly growing to my full potential.

I’ve seen light-years of improvement in my self-opinion since this time last year. Only now, with this honest belief in myself, and no one to break it down, can I begin to imagine what I am truly able to accomplish .


10 thoughts on “Emotional Abuse: The Backbone of Self-Doubt

  1. I don’t mourn for myself though I was married to the same man, but I do mourn for you. You are beautiful, capable, strong, and talented. That’s what he should have been telling you. Know this, he was intimidated by your superiority and had to squash you so he could feel better about himself. Bastard. (Sorry, I don’t curse often, especially in print, but…)

    1. I’ve told myself that about him many times but it didn’t make me feel better. What did make me feel better was removing his toxic attitude from my world 🙂

      The funny thing is that I worked so hard to build his confidence but all that did was enable him to come down on me harder. At least I don’t need to worry about any of that anymore and neither do you!

  2. From above, no the behaviour is not just limited to men! In the case of a woman she is called a “Fishwife.” My poor brother married one of those!

    As for the men… well the “B-Word” Linneann used is pretty accurate. We are the fortunate ones. We escaped the abuse and regained control of our dignity.

    For many women this is not a reality, not an attainable outcome. They are so crushed that they can’t see a way out. Yes, we are the fortunate ones!
    ~ Lynda

    1. I agree, Lynda.

      Also, in many cases, the victims of this type of abuse don’t recognize the treatment as abuse and find themselves just believing the abuser to be “mean” and think they can possibly change this, if they only try harder. It creates a vicious cycle that only grows more complex and self-defeating as time goes by.

      It’s very hard to really see the damage that is being done while in this type of situation.

  3. what a difficult thing to have to go through, but i am so glad that you have made it to the other side – stronger & wiser. thank you for sharing your story! you go girl… it’ll on keep getting better! xx

    1. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg.. I have much more to share. I am glad to be on the positive side of it now and hope to help bring awareness to this gloomy subject. Thanks for always having my back and cheering me on, you don’t know how much it means!

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