An accomplished, smart and beautiful woman sits across from me in my office. She tells me about her relationship; the one she appears to be in but her boyfriend doesn't. She has tried to leave him, she assures me (and herself), but every time she manages to walk out that door, he gets to her. She turns around and walks right back in again. Once she's back, he acts like a jerk. Again. Leave. Get sucked back in. Repeat.
Who can't relate to this scenario? God knows, I've been there. Before meeting my husband-to-be, I was in a relationship with a guy who would only show interest in me after I decided to break up with him. To get me back into his orbit he would swear I was the love of his life. As soon as I returned, he would go cold as a dead snake on an iceberg.
More from YourTango: Am I Depressed or Just Surrounded by #%@holes?
What made me take him back more times than was healthy for anyone's tender self-esteem?
We give ourselves a lot of reasons, but the bottom line is that when we allow a guy to treat us as less important than we really are, our self-esteem is critically injured. Once our self-worth is low it is too easy for the ex to come over the wall of our good defenses and pillage what's left of our confidence.
What remains is fear. Fear that this jerky guy is as good as it gets. Fear of never finding love again. Fear of being alone with a dozen hungry cats for the rest of your life. This fear is so awful we make excuses (cognitive distortions) to stay in a bad or even a 'not good enough' relationship. After all, he's a known entity...right?
Result? The discomfort of sticking with him is not nearly as scary as what your distorted thinking is imagining life without him is like. So you stay put. What's a girl to do? Fight back those nasty, distorted, self-esteem abusing thoughts with empowering, righteous, healthy goddess thoughts, of course!
Here are some typical distorted thoughts with which we lie to ourselves and suggestions for strong self-esteem building self-talk to combat them:
More from YourTango: 8 Steps To Strengthen Your Marriage After An Affair
1. Instead of, "I'm afraid of being alone.": Tell yourself, "I am not alone. I'm with Me. I am good company. If I get lonely, I can check out meetup.com or connect with friends I haven't seen in ages. Most importantly, this time is an opportunity to dive into the world of Me and, for a change, listen to my heart first rather than someone else's!"
2. Instead of, "But the sex is so good!": Tell yourself, "Sweetie, it's time to grow up. The toxic effect he has on my self-esteem when we're not in bed is not worth the price. If I am that horny, I might just explore the exotic, erotic world of self-stimulation. A lot of people say their best orgasms are experienced alone!" Want A More Intense, Intimate & Fulfilling Sex Life?