I have had traumatic childhood experiences in my youth, which caused me to have little or no self esteem. Growing up I was very self destructive. In my twenties I started trying to figure out why I was acting this way. After years of therapy and self examination, I began realizing that I was doing the most damage to myself.
I was an established “victim”. To myself, my friends, and my family members. They were used to me acting like a victim. So it wasn’t unusual for them to cut me down on a regular basis. They knew that I was always looking for acceptance, so they took advantage of the fact that no matter what they did, I would never say a thing.
I remember the day that I figured it all out. Why was I letting the people closest to me treat me so badly?. I sure didn’t deserve it. I knew that I had to change. So I just did. I didn’t think about the consequences. The first person to notice was my husband.
It shocked me that he was so understanding and patient. He realized that he himself, had to make changes in the way he acted toward me. He admitted his mistakes, and told me he would try to improve his attitude. He was very supportive and accepting of the whole thing.
However, that is far from the end of the story. I have a sibling that for twenty years would cut me down in one way or another. Ever phone call or visit, had to have one good slam about how I did this or that wrong. Until one day I stood toe to toe with this person prepared for anything that might have taken place. I finally stood up for myself, but the sibling was very far from being happy for me to say the least. We did not talk for seven years.
One day out of the blue, the sibling called me to apologize. Of course I accepted. I am not one to hold a grudge. I am glad to have one less enemy in the world. Also I highly doubt they will ever say one bad word to me again.
So know this. When you go from being victim to survivor, you are doing the best thing you can possibly do for yourself. Also realize that you might lose some friendships, or even family members. Often people will not like the “new” you at first. They are ether going to get used to things, or they won’t. If they do eventually treat you nicely, then you can again form a friendship. If they never do, be glad. Nobody needs a negative person in their life.