I was driving the other day and saw a banner proclaiming that November is Woman Abuse Awareness Month. I have been “tweeting” with Girl Guides of Canada and a few others today about how each of us promote girls’ self-esteem and I wondered if low self-esteem is related to being abused as a woman.
While looking for information, I found 14 characteristics of abused women on Dr. Annie Kaszina’s blog. (Go to her website for more information.)
Dr. Annie listed the following (I put things related to low self-esteem in bold):
*It is important to remember that characteristics are not the same as character or nature.
The 14 characteristics common to abused women are:
- Abused women have to guess at what normal behaviour is.
- Abused women have difficulty maintaining their focus and drive.
- Abused women are often paralysed by their own negativity so that they find it hard to start something new and an uphill struggle to see it through.
- Abused women judge themselves without mercy.
- Abused women feel they always have to justify themselves.
- Abused women have difficulty being light-hearted.
- Abused women have difficulty trusting.
- Abused women take everything very seriously.
- Abused women overreact and catastrophize even over small problems.
- Abused women faithfully record every last criticism they experience and they discount the praise.
- Abused women need approval and affirmation and tend to look for it in all the wrong places.
- Abused women usually feel that they are different to other people as a result of their relationship.
- Abused women are extremely loyal, even despite the evidence that their loyalty is undeserved.
- Abused women envisage a future that will be just as hard as the present.
Dr. Annie also says, “Whether or not you feel able to shift these characteristics right now, please bear in mind that they are superimposed, they are not an integral part of you.”
I had a hunch that low self-esteem could lead to being in an abusive relationship, but Dr. Annie highlights specific traits that emphasize this. It is so important to become a confident young woman in order for that high self-esteem to translate into adulthood. I would also like to point out that although there are common characteristics for abused women, abuse is never ok and it is never the abused person’s fault. I just want girls to know that if they continue down a path of negativity and self-deprication and don’t treat themselves well, it can allow someone else to also not treat them well.
Remember that you are unique and you have the power to do anything. You are wonderful and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.