Kudos to you for sharing your story. As a person who was dealt a childhood full of verbal abuse (so different from your situation but similar in impact) that nearly destroyed my self-esteem, I too managed to rise above and slowly build my self-confidence and ultimately a very good and satisfying life for myself. I can’t even really articulate how I developed this resilience.
Resilience is a fascinating concept. It’s almost as though some people innately have it and others just do not. But clearly there’s much more to it — negative experiences during the formative years can either make or break a person. I sometimes wonder if I would’ve done even better (career-wise and socially) if I hadn’t grown up under the adversity that so negatively impacted my confidence for so long (like 30+ years). But then I remind myself that my struggles have essentially shaped my values, and I wouldn’t trade my values of compassion, positivity, kindness and equality for anything. In fact, in the last seven or eight years, I’ve finally developed a sense of gratitude for my childhood, as difficult as it was. That doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally think back to my childhood and grumble, but overall I’ve accepted it and moved on.
For me, I think the acceptance coincided with no longer feeling compelled to talk about it. Over time, and with some good therapy and a ton of reflection, I gradually and unconsciously stopped feeling like a victim and started owning my story, if that makes any sense. And that gave me internal peace and confidence. I am finally happy, even proud sometimes, of myself.
Wow, I’m actually a little embarrassed that I wrote so much, but perhaps it will help someone who is struggling. I certainly know that your story will help others. I hope you will continue to share, and I wish you the best. Peace to you,