low self-esteem the core of fear of abandonment

From the previous blog you can see from what Nancy says that her core issue is low self-esteem. If she had high self-esteem she would not compare herself unfavourably with other women. She would feel good enough and they would not be a threat. You can see that she even conjures up imaginary women, a behaviour that is typical of fear of abandonment where the negative is ever present. Trying to convince Nancy that she is being irrational will not help her. The fear of abandonment lies in the pit of her stomach and sickens her. It is core. By the way, do not confuse self-esteem with self-confidence. Nancy is an extremely competent teacher, who loves her job, so it is possible to be self-confident in doing some specific tasks but have low self-esteem, which prevents you exploring new possibilities because you carry shame, fear, anger and the conviction that you are not good enough. Shame becomes part of the neural wiring from a very early age. You will see the sources of shame mentioned in this book, but one source is how a primary carer’s expression appears to the young child. If a mother, for example, looks at her child with contempt, blending disgust and anger, the child will feel intense shame and rage. This, of course, can be part of a parent’s efforts to help the child self-regulate, but if it happens on a regular basis over a long period of time, it will negatively impact on the child’s brain development, and in turn will breed many other pathological feelings. In brief, if the required empathic expression of the primary caregiver regularly becomes contemptuous and hostile, shame and anger will be the lot of the unfortunate child. Under these circumstances, low self-esteem quickly takes root. Controlling parents seem to be unable to connect to their children, because narcissism is the heart of control. Narcissistic or controlling people are unable to feel empathy, even for their own children. This makes the child feel unloved and defective, which breeds shame. Shame and fear of abandonment are compatible bedfellows.

Extract from Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood. Publication 2018
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