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by Abigail Van Buren

Being Lifelong Target of Ridicule Eats at Self-Esteem

DEAR ABBY: I have a huge problem with low self-esteem. For most of my life I was ridiculed, teased and bullied, not only by my classmates and co-workers, but also by my own family. It started when I was very young and continued well into my early 30s. (I am 35 now.) Because of this, I find it incredibly difficult to date anyone.

I always seem to find it easier to talk down about myself than to make myself happy. Please help me, Abby. I'm at a loss about what to do. -- SELF-ESTEEM ISSUES IN OHIO

DEAR ISSUES: I'm glad you wrote. The seeds of low self-esteem were planted when you were so young you didn't understand what was being done was a form of abuse. Because it continued for so long, you should seek professional help to overcome it. It is important that you get it from a licensed therapist. Your physician or your insurance company can refer you to qualified people. Please don't wait.

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