So often we talk about building self-confidence and self-esteem when we talk about healing from abuse. It makes perfect sense. The abuser has spent years and years breaking you down, so learning to trust in your own abilities is an important aspect of your journey. It is not always easy though.
I am sure you have all seen examples of my illustration work knocking around the SwanWaters site and social media platforms. These days that is part of how I make my living. It took me a long while to trust my talent though, since my mother (an art teacher) used to say: there is no black lines around things, so you should not draw them either. Not only was she my mother, she also had the authority of being teacher of arts. Even though I received praise and high marks from my teachers, I still had that nagging doubt in my head that she planted there: these are not really that good (because they have black lines).
It is only one example of many where my talents and abilities were carefully broken down. Like when I returned to my parents’ home after reconsidering my choice of degree. Of course the tension rose quite quickly, and I suggested my mother and I sit down to talk about some things. “No,” said my father, “she does not want to. Your communication skills are too good, and she feels she cannot talk to you.” Looking at that statement now, it amazes me that they even managed to give a negative spin to the seeming talent of having good communication skills.
That’s how an abuser breaks your confidence. They make you doubt your strengths and focus on your weaknesses. No wonder you feel like a seriously flawed and incompetent human-being.