Tara West

YA paranormal/fantasy and New Adult author

Self-Esteem Part One: You Never Have to Settle


When I was fourteen, my morning wake-up call was the sound of my dad screaming obscenities at my mom. His tirades were usually about money and the family business. After a while, the verbal abuse caused me to resent and disrespect my dad. It got so out of hand that finally one morning I went downstairs and yelled back. This was a bold move because my dad had a bit of a temper, but he stopped yelling at her for at least a few days afterwards.

Though the screaming didn’t start until my teen years, for as long as I can remember, my dad had always talked down to my mom. I remember asking my mom why she’d never divorced him. Her answer was simple: She stayed with him for my sister and me. She’s seen too many step-fathers mistreat their step-kids. She figured my real father beat the alternative.

I also suspect that her past marriage had a lot to do with it. Her first husband was abusive to the point that he’d broken her nose twice. He’d threatened to kill her if she ever left, but after eleven years of abuse, she finally escaped, telling no one where she was going, not even her mother and father. My dad never hit my mom, which is an improvement over physical abuse. While there are no visible scars with verbal abuse, the damage runs deep, especially with children who look to their parents for guidance.

My mom is an amazing and resilient woman who made many sacrifices for her children. I admire and appreciate her for it. At the same time I’ve come to realize that no woman should tolerate abuse in any form.

The summer before my freshman year in college, I fell for a boy who was cute, sweet and respectful of my feelings. We talked about a future together. I thought I’d found ‘The One.’ This harmony lasted for about a month.

Then he changed.

He quickly became verbally abusive, and I had a hard time reconciling this cruel boyfriend with the sweetheart I’d first met. I blamed myself, thinking I’d done something to offend him. I’m ashamed to say that the relationship went on like this for a few more weeks until he broke it off.


Looking back now, I wonder if I would have been strong enough to end the relationship if he hadn’t. I realize I’d been conditioned to think that abusive relationships were the norm.

It took a while, but I finally realized my own self-worth. The man I married is nothing like those others. He is kind and respectful and simply the best husband a woman could ever want. We have a very lucky little girl. She gets to witness firsthand exactly how a woman should be treated by her spouse.

Sophie Sinora, the main character in the first book in my Whispers Series, has a similar self-esteem issue and falls for the wrong boy. Sophie is very much like I was as  a teen. Luckily, she’s got two great friends who help her see the error of her ways. Sometimes, even the smartest girls can make unwise relationship decisions.

Recovering from the damage of growing up in an abusive household isn’t easy, but it can be done. The first step is realizing that when it comes to your future, you never have to settle.



Author: tarawestauthor

A former Texas high school teacher, Tara enjoyed coaching her writing team and even the hectic deadlines that came with running the school publications. After taking a break to raise her baby girl, Tara now works from home as a cover artist. In her spare time, Tara loves to read, exercise and spend time with her family and friends. She contributes the cover art for her own novels and has designed covers for over 500 other books. She’d love for you to visit her at www.tarawest.com where you can check out her Whispers series and sample her artwork.

8 thoughts on “Self-Esteem Part One: You Never Have to Settle

  1. What a great message Tara. Thanks for sharing. I only wish I’d learned this lesson a long time ago.

  2. Sometimes we have to learn through our mistakes, but it sucks. I certainly hope my daughter doesn’t have to learn the hard way.

  3. I was lucky, Really lucky. My Dad always told me the best thing a father can do for is children is love their mother. 🙂

  4. I’ve heard that before, too. Ed. I agree.

  5. Very powerful message. Thanks for sharing. I grew up much the same way. The abuse ran the gamut (verbal, emotional, physical) and included me as well as my mom. And I too dated someone verbally abuse. Lasted five years before I finally found enough self esteem to walk away. I’m married to a wonderful man now, but letting the past go has honestly been the hardest walk of my life. So I have to applaud you for not only sharing it, but being able to write it into your books as well. I put in bits and pieces, but my current WIP is so far the closest I’ve come (my Hero shares a very similar past to mine) and I’m finding it very difficult to write. Great post.

    • Thank you, Joanne, for sharing as well. It is hard to write sometimes when your character is making the same mistakes you once made but I find we are able to put more depth into our characters when we’ve lived it, too.

  6. Great blog post thanks for sharing. Definitely an important message!

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