I like to think that all my years of therapy have allowed me to progress from the severe insecurity and lack of self-esteem that crippled me until my mid-20s. But even now, when I find out that someone I know has something or has done something that I have never had/done, I get a stab of "what have I done with my life?"

I've just found out that someone I know went to university in Edinburgh. When I was graduating from high school, it never occurred to me that useless loser me could do something like that. I didn't even apply to other universities in Canada, because I lacked the confidence needed to move away from home–even though I was desperate to get out of there. I feel so sad now thinking of the things that I could have done at that age, but I just didn't think those things were for someone like me. They were for other people, who seemed to have all the confidence in the world, emotional and financial support from their parents, and they took it for granted that all these possibilities were open to them. Meanwhile, I was just crawling along, miserable about my life, desperately unhappy, convinced I was as worthless as I was treated at home, and exending so much energy trying to defend and protect myself emotionally. I had no big dreams for the future — I took it for granted that my life would never get any better. I didn't look outside my family for support or encouragement, because I thought that everyone would treat me the way my family did. I felt so terribly alone.

I'm in tears now — how pathetic — mourning the things I could have done and the person I could have been if I wasn't raised in an atmosphere of abuse, contempt, sneering insults, and being treated as a nothing. The things I might have done! The career I might have had! I get so upset just thinking about it. And ever time I find out that so-and-so had the confidence to a) have dreams and b) take action to make those dreams come true, I feel so useless. My life has been so small . . . and it still is.

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