Feeling valueless? Well don’t. A Case Study

Feeling valueless? Well don’t. A Case Study

Here are the facts, if you don’t get feeling valueless under control and learn how to value yourself, you will fail. Feeling valueless will continue to affect you into the future, as it has in the past. Negatively impacting your personal life, your business, and your career. So it’s really important you get it fixed. Valuing yourself improves every area of your life and the results you get in powerful ways.

Why Not Valuing Herself Set Rachel Up To Fail In Business: Case Study


Rachel had always wanted to run her own business. She had a natural flair for business and helping others succeed. But when opportunities arose to go into business for herself in partnership with people she knew, each time a pattern of failure had emerged. When it came to working through differences of opinion around the direction the business needed to go in order to continue to grow, Rachel repeatedly felt blocked and overridden by her business partner, and couldn’t stand her ground. She froze when it came to negotiating and working through differences of opinion. Instead she eventually just walked away from both business opportunities, feeling angry, resentful and taken advantage of.

Having spent most of her life shaping herself according to other people’s wants and needs, any situation that required negotiation and conflict resolution skills triggered stress and anxiety. After her second business partnership failed, a friend suggested Rachel do a mindfulness program to help her deal better with stress and conflict, and get some new self insights. But attempting mindfulness exercises increased her feelings of anger with herself and brought up feelings of low self worth and failure, triggering implicit memories from her childhood.

People try and work on themselves having to struggle with patterns of behaviour that sit in their implicit memory system. Memories of threat, stored implicitly, often come up first. Implicit memories operate outside of conscious awareness and drive subconscious beliefs and repetitive, default behaviours. Operating outside of conscious awareness, these memories cannot be visualized or reflected upon.

Rachel realised she needed a one-on-one relationship to talk about the issues directly affecting her. When we looked at what was triggering her, it turned out Rachel was still reacting to childhood experiences of being controlled and put down. Something she hadn’t been aware of. Now in her early 40s, Rachel still felt valueless and insubstantial inside. Feelings that stemmed from her childhood.

Common Reasons For Not Valuing Yourself

Early adversity in your home life growing up has huge impacts on your sense of value as a person, and your self esteem. Common examples of early adversity include:

  • Parental depression, anxiety or substance abuse.
  • Physical or emotional abuse or trauma.
  • Prolonged feelings of not being understood.
  • Repetitive devaluing experiences such as ridiculing, bullying, shaming or stonewalling.

Rachel had grown up in a family that was judgmental and critical. Her siblings would make fun of her and exclude her because she thought differently to them. Her parents were strict and controlling and openly favoured the youngest child, who could do whatever they liked. Rachel felt alone and alienated in her family growing up. As if she didn’t have a right to just be herself. She had always felt that her family just didn’t get her. This shaped how she viewed other people and her expectations around how they would treat her.

Feeling Valueless Influences How Other People Treat You

Not being listened to, validated or taken seriously growing up leads to subconscious expectations that you’ll encounter the same experiences in the outside world. Particularly when you’ve been repeatedly criticized, bullied or ignored for disagreeing with or questioning your family’s view on things. You end up defaulting to flight or freeze and sometimes fight responses that are security and safety based. This becomes your inner blueprint for how you do relationships and react to conflict.

Not expecting to be listened to and valued plays out in a variety of ways. When you don’t value yourself you can sit in meetings with managers and peers and put forward an idea that is dismissed or ignored. People just talk over you. Minutes later, someone else who’s confident and values themselves says the exact same thing, but in a different way, and everyone thinks it’s a great idea and takes it on board. This was happening to Rachel in her business partnerships, mirroring exactly what had happened to her growing up.

Rachel also found that over time her partner, who she had thought was different to her family, started talking to her in the same dismissive way as her family whenever he got annoyed with her. Each time this happened, all of her feelings of vulnerability and low self worth bubbled up to the surface, which then made things even worse.

3 Ways To Stop Feeling Valueless And Thrive

Valuing yourself 3 ways to stop feeling valueless and thrive


1. Work With Someone Who Can Help You Become More Self Aware

You can’t change what you don’t even know is there. To change deeply ingrained negative beliefs about yourself you first need to become more self-aware around why you feel valueless. The most powerful and effective way to do this is to find some who’s qualified to help you remember, think, and talk about your life in safety. Powerful constructive conversations with a therapist or coach creates new neural pathways in your brain and brings about the self-understanding required to be able to reflect, rather than react. You’re then able to identify what’s triggering you and why.

Reflection is a conscious process. It’s not something that we do automatically.

2. Commit To Valuing Yourself

When you’ve identified and understood the negative beliefs and scripts that have been making you feel valueless, you’re able to change the way you think about yourself. You’re in a position to commit to the process of valuing yourself. When you love and respect yourself, people pick up on this and treat you the same way. You’re able to express what you really feel and think, regardless of whether someone agrees with you or not.

3. Learn How To Set Boundaries

Personal boundary setting is an excellent way to value and take care of yourself. Boundaries give you effective strategies to handle people and situations where you’re feeling invaded, manipulated, or overwhelmed. Boundaries: When to Say Yes How To Say No To Take Control Of Your Life by Cloud and Townsend is one of the best reads on this.

Valuing yourself is essential to success in your personal life and career. It’s about releasing the negative and critical views about yourself that you’ve absorbed from other people growing up that don’t even belong to you. But just doing positive affirmations or CBT alone won’t shift low self value if your subconscious beliefs and behaviours aren’t first identified and understood. Seeking out positive, transformative relationships and experiences and then backing yourself is the key to no longer feeling valueless.

Our self feeling in this world depends entirely on what we back ourselves to be and do. William James

All names and identifying features in this article have been changed for privacy purposes.

© Copyright Janelle Legge | 2016

7 Reasons Why Successful Women Can’t Find The Right Guy [Case Study]

7 Reasons Why Successful Women Can’t Find The Right Guy [Case Study]

If you’re a single woman in your late 30s or beyond and have just about every area of your life sorted, except for being able to find the right guy, then it’s time to sort this out. Here’s how I helped Emma turn around her less than inspiring track record in the dating stakes and finally meet Mr Right. These tips are useful for any woman who’s struggling in the dating and relationship space. Because finding the right guy shouldn’t have to be like running the gauntlet, right.

‘Emma’ – Successful, Single And Ready To Change Her Dating Game Plan

Emma* (not her real name) came to see me to help her sort out why she was 39 and still single. Like many of the women I’ve helped, Emma was intelligent, attractive and successful in her career. Every area of her life was sorted, except being able to find a guy who wanted to commit and have a family. According to Emma, there had been a steady trail of guys in her life who just didn’t want to commit. Frustrated and upset over her most recent break up, Emma had reached a point where things had to change. She was fed up with the cycle of dating, breaking up, and being single all over again. Feeling increasingly on the outer socially because just about all her friends were married with kids, Emma felt like a third wheel around the couples she knew who, in her view, felt threatened having an attractive, intelligent, single woman around.

Emma’s self esteem and confidence had hit an all time low. She was finally ready to take a deeper look at what was really going on. Emma’s version of events was a story I’ve heard many times before. On the outside Emma appeared together, confident, and successful. Yet on the inside she felt like Cinderella still waiting to be taken to the ball. In her mind it was as if someone had cast a bad spell on her that was stopping her from having the fairy tale ending she was secretly longing for.

The Real Issues At Play

The reason many women stay single longer than they would like is because they have been focusing on all the external factors, and not on what’s actually going on in their inner life. This makes the problem remain invisible, unsolvable and elusive because it’s seen to be solely ‘out there’. When you view problems in this way, you lose confidence in your ability to do something about it and feel powerless in that area of your life. It then becomes your reality.

Over the years I’ve helped a lot of women sort through relationship problems, including why they can’t seem to find the right guy. Every single time it’s had little to do with there not being enough good men around and all the other stories and scripts they had convinced themselves to be true, like:

“Every guy I date just doesn’t want to commit to me”,  “There just aren’t any good single guys left [in Sydney/Melbourne/insert City…], they’re all already taken”, and “He was a lovely guy, BUT there was just no chemistry or fireworks, so I told him I just wanted to be friends.”

Yet when you look more closely at what’s going on, the problem is not ‘out there’ at all.

7 Common Reasons Why Successful Women Can’t Find The Right Guy

1.  Faulty internal model for resolving relationship conflicts.

When home is like a battlefield growing up, children often interpret this as it’s not safe to disagree with anyone who means a lot to you, because it will create unbearable conflict and potentially drive them away. For women, this means learning to be the good-girl and ignoring their own needs. They try and avoid conflict by defaulting to passive-aggressive vibing, expecting their partner to be adept at mind reading, which doesn’t get them where they want to go in their intimate relationships. They don’t speak up when they need to, or set clear personal boundaries. Relationships that matter should be able to withstand constructive arguments from time to time. It’s what brings more intimacy and authenticity to the relationship, making it stronger, not weaker.

2.  Being labelled the smart girl.

For some women, they were viewed as the ‘smart girl’ and constantly labelled this growing up. Particularly when they grew up around siblings or cousins whom the family decided were more attractive. When this is constantly discussed it sends powerful subliminal messages to the ‘smart girl’ that her best asset is her intelligence, and that maybe she’s just not in the marriage league. That she’s not good enough for that. Everyone in the family buys into these stories. They are powerful and limiting because children subconsciously comply with the roles parents prescribe for them. Young children don’t have the maturity level to critically evaluate what they are being told by their family and why. This leads into my next point.

3.  Subconsciously living out a parent’s unfulfilled dreams.

Parents sometimes attempt to shape you into who they think you should become. Often the driven, independent, career oriented women I’ve seen have subconsciously set out to fulfil a parent’s unrealized goals and aspirations. To the extent that this has been their sole driving force and focus until they hit their late 30s and then step back to reassess. They start to find that success on its own can be hollow and an anticlimax if there’s no one to share it with, and when there’s a huge intimacy void happening in their life as a result. Guys that they date often can’t see where they would fit into their lives, because on the outside they come across as highly independent, accomplished and not needing anyone else in their life.

4.  Disinterested or emotionally disengaged Dad.

Not having an emotionally engaged and available father or father figure growing up can have big impacts on girls. Particularly if there’s a messy and bitter divorce involved, making things worse. That’s because your father is the first significant male figure in your life. It sets a powerful internal blueprint around men, how they should treat you, and a whole range of other things. Not having a meaningful and emotionally close relationship with your father is one of the biggest reasons why women pick disinterested, emotionally distant, and unavailable men.

5.  The parent who was impossible to please.

This is yet another powerful influence on how you learn to do relationships in adult life. Growing up around a parent where regardless of what you said or did, it was never good enough, or enough, has negative impacts on a child’s feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. As frustrating, annoying and hurtful as this is for children growing up, women often keep dating guys of the same ilk. They find themselves mysteriously only attracted to guys who are controlling, self-centred and yes, impossible to please. Which leads into point number 6.

6.  Narcissistic parent.

When children are raised by a parent with a blinding inability to see anyone other than themselves, they usually develop finely tuned radars around everyone else’s needs except their own. To survive a self-absorbed narcissistically damaged parent, kids become adept at reading the emotional landscape at home and learn to comply with the parent’s wants and needs. There is no space for their own needs, wants, desires, likes, and dislikes. They numb this all out and don’t even know what they want. This arrests the natural development of a healthy sense of self, self-worth, and self-esteem. When this is the case for women, they can totally flounder in intimate relationships. Because they don’t know what they want. They aim to please, are too agreeable and don’t express their own opinions and preferences. Their relationships eventually flatline and fizzle out because the guy they are dating or living with has no clear sense of who they really are, and what they actually want from them and the relationship.

Points 1 to 6 are not about blaming your parents. Most parents do the best that they can with the level of awareness that they have at that time. It’s about becoming aware of the forces that have shaped you, knowing that you can release the patterns and beliefs that belong to the past. You are free to make different choices based on your OWN beliefs.

7.  Hollywood seduction and romance scripts.

As a culture we’re constantly spoon fed unrealistic notions around love and romance. It’s powerfully embedded in our psyches. The Bachelor and Bachelorette TV show formulas are perfect examples of the kinds of emotional highs and cliché scripts we’re told lead to true and lasting love. When actually they’re selling chemical endorphin hits packaged as tantalizing fairy tale romance scripts that are supposed to lead to true and lasting love. So for women who totally buy into this myth, unless a guy makes them feel special, adored and like a princess, they don’t get a second or third date. There’s nothing wrong with romance, flowers and being spoilt on a date, but when this is your main dating criteria and expectation around partner selection, you’re bound to end up disappointed as real life just doesn’t work like a movie script. Let’s be honest here for a moment ladies. Do you really believe the 2 final contenders in the Bachelorette series could genuinely tell Sam Frost that they loved her after such a short period of dating time? Yet this was the whole finale build up and angle of the show. Because the show’s producers know that deep within our collective psyches we are all still wanting the fairy tale ending. It’s these fictitious constructs of adult love that set so many women up to fail and look for love in all the wrong places.


Behind-The-Scenes Of A Breakthrough


Behind-the-scenes of a relationship breakthrough


Eligible guys had actually turned up several times throughout Emma’s dating life. But because she hadn’t experienced fireworks and was holding onto a Hollywood version of romance, she found them to be boring and not worth dating. They were put in the ‘let’s just be friends’ category. Emma wasn’t used to being around guys who were emotionally available and genuinely interested in her. They didn’t fit with her internal blueprint on men and romance.

The turning point for Emma came when we sorted through her confusion around men and what she wanted in a guy, and shifted the focus to loving herself and her life – exactly as it was. Not expecting a guy to fill the void she had been feeling in her personal life. Things changed significantly when Emma started being the person she was wanting to attract. None of this happened magically overnight. To fix this stuff you need to do the inner work. Which is exactly what Emma did. Not long after her attitude and mindset shift, Emma started dating a different style of guy who has since become her Mr Right.


5 Things You Can Do To Have Your Relationship Breakthrough


5 Things You Can Do To Have Your Relationship Breakthrough


If you’re still single and wanting to find the right guy, here’s what you can do to turn things around, starting today:

  1. Own the choices you’ve made to date. Most women who can’t find the right guy have passed up relationship opportunities because they wanted to travel, pursue their career goals, or just didn’t see the guy who was interested in them as cool enough, sexy enough, or enough in some way. That’s a choice, right. For whatever reason you weren’t ready, or didn’t know what you wanted, or what a good guy looked like in real life.
  2. Change your story and scripts. Negative, self-limiting stories and scripts give you tunnel vision. You just don’t see anything beyond what you’re telling yourself 24 hours a day. You become so totally fused with your story it shapes your beliefs and limits your options.
  3. Create a life that you love, instead of seeing a gaping big hole. Be what you’re wanting to attract. Be open to doing something different.
  4. Let go of the Hollywood scripts and fairy tale myths around falling in love and romance. They are not based on real life.
  5. Don’t buy into the stereotype cliche that all men like the thrill of the chase when it comes to women. It’s a myth. Guys who chase the hardest and are the most persistent at the start, are usually the ones who are addicted to the highs and excitement of the courtship and honeymoon phases of relationships. As soon as they know they have ‘got you’ they turn cold and focus on someone else. Leaving you feeling confused, angry and rejected. Reality check – men like women who know what they want. This needs to become your new mantra. A large percentage of men in committed long term heterosexual relationships are in them because the woman was crystal clear on how she felt and what she wanted.

Take Aways:

If you keep buying into the same old stories and scripts, your life won’t change. That’s just how it works.

Life changes when you take a chance.

“What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.” – Plutarch


*All identifying features, including names, have been changed in this case study to protect the privacy of my client. 

A version of this article was featured in the December Issue of The Sydney Standard.

Janelle Legge is a Psychotherapist, Leadership, Mindfulness and Wellbeing Consultant and Coach who specialises in Relationships, Career Success, Work-Life Integration and Wellbeing. Janelle has a limited number of spaces available each month for in person consults in Sydney. For enquiries including fees and scheduling, click here and Janelle will be happy to answer all your questions. You do not need a referral from your Doctor to book an appointment with Janelle.

Janelle also works with clients around the world via Skype. To book a skype session with Janelle click here.


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