Do you want to know how to rebuild self-esteem after an affair? Listen now to this candid podcast by Anne Bercht.
We have a tendency to base our self-esteem on the value we perceive that others place on us. But this is a false foundation for self-esteem. When my husband had an affair, I felt like I had once been a coveted, priceless, one-of-a-kind designer dress that was esteemed above all others and now I was an old well-worn garment in a garbage bag, being dropped off as used goods at the salvation army thrift store to be sold for pennies (if someone would still have me). My husband’s affair left me feeling worthless.
Worthless, that is, until I got a grip on myself and realized, my value as a woman did not diminish when my husband chose to have an affair. (And a husband’s value as a man does not diminish when his wife decides to have an affair.)
Self-esteem is largely formed in childhood.
If you’ve had a more difficult childhood, you are more likely to struggle with low self-esteem than someone with a good childhood. And that can make affair-recovery more difficult for you, than for someone who comes into affair-recovery with high self-esteem. But even so, when betrayed, even the smartest, most beautiful, lovely people often find themselves feeling worthless.
I came into my marriage with very low self-esteem because of abandonment and neglect I had experienced at times as a child. I struggled with self-talk that said, “I am not enough,” and “I will never be enough.” I asked my husband often, “do you love me?” Little did I know, all this asking was tearing down his self-esteem, because he began to think, “I must be a failure as a man. Why doesn’t my wife know I love her?” It’s a vicious cycle when your self-esteem is based on false foundations.
When I think of it today, I realize how ridiculous it was. I was and am a valuable person, and so are you!
Unfaithful Spouse’s Suffer with Low Self-Esteem Too!
When affairs happen it’s not only the betrayed spouse whose self-esteem ends up in the toilet, but also the unfaithful spouse. After all they are the ones who not only failed their spouse, children and others, but they have failed themselves. They failed their own moral code. And now every day they look into the eyes of the person they love more than anyone else and can see the pain that they are responsible for. Frankly, I would not want to trade places.