I took a workshop at school called "verbal self defense for women." I signed up for it thinking, specifically, that I wanted to be able to deal with my dad better. We fight a lot. I'm told by other people that he loves me, but the only time he really has anything to say to me is when he deems I've done something wrong. Nearly every conversation turns into an argument, and normally I just stay quiet as he slowly shreds my self-esteem, in hopes of having it end quickly. Sometimes I shout back, but he always has the last word. And the end result is always the same. Every fight with him - and there are a lot - makes me feel completely worthless. Which makes me want to hurt myself, and sometimes I do. Whatever anger should be directed to him, inevitably I turn on myself. And I want to try to change that, because that's a messed-up way to react. So I signed up for the workshop.
We talked about passive, aggressive and assertive behaviour; about why we wanted to become more assertive and what was holding us back from doing that. And the more we talked, the more I realized that there have been a lot of times when I've let other people take advantage of me and treat me badly. I don't stop them from hurting me, and when they're done doing that, I get angry at myself for letting them. And eventually I take that out on myself, in one way or another.
I knew I was on the passive side of things; that much was obvious. I guess I just never realized how big that problem was, or how much that's affected my own opinion of myself. I didn't realize that being passive led to feeling worthless.
So here's something else to add to the list of things I want to change.